There are many reasons to live in Colombia, equally, there are many reasons not to live in Colombia.
After 11 years here, I’ve come across tons of people that fall in love with the country and stay. I’ve also met many people that have come to the country stayed a while, then left for good. Including Colombians.
In this post, I’m going over 3 reasons why people live in Colombia and why they don’t live in Colombia.
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1. Cost of Living in a 3rd World Country
If you make dollars, pounds, or euros, the cost of living in Medellin is considerably low.
If you’re going to make the move and actually rent an unfurnished apartment through a rental agency you can find a 90 to 100 square meter apartment in a building with a security guard, in a nice neighborhood for about $500 to $1,000 USD.
I live here on the 5th floor.
If your girl has a picture from that window…focus on yourself bro.
I live in El Poblado, in a neighborhood called Manila, in a 5 story building, without security, 3 beds 2 bathrooms, and I pay around $500 USD.
My dedicated fiber optic internet of 150 megabytes runs me about $100 a month.
The cleaning lady that comes twice a week to clean and cook runs me about $125 USD a month.
I go to a beautiful, trendy cafe every morning and my coffee and soda water cost me $4 USD.
I’m vegan, so fruits and vegetables in a tropical country are abundant and cheap.
Although I’m 6’3” and I can’t really find size 13 shoes or 36 inch long pants very easily, buying things via Amazon and having them delivered is relatively cheap.
When I take a girl out to a nice restaurant and have an appetizer, main course, and a cocktail, the bill comes to about $40 USD.
Why would someone not like to live in a beautiful place that has a low cost of living?
Even though the cost of living is low here, it doesn’t mean it can’t get expensive.
Over the past 11 years, I’ve met many people that just couldn’t handle living in Colombia.
Alcohol, drugs, and prostitutes are also cheap.
A gram of cocaine costs about $5 USD, a half bottle of rum costs about $7 USD, and to take a girl home for the night from one of the nice strip clubs in the city costs between $200 to $300 USD.
It’s very easy to think in dollars, pounds, or euros here, and the money can start flying.
Just because the cost of living is low in Colombia it doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to ball out every weekend for the rest of your life.
If you can’t check yourself, you’re better off just visiting, and not staying here permanently.
Furthermore, the cost of living is low because it’s a poor country. According to 2021 stats, more than 43% of the population in Colombia lives in Poverty.
Whether it’s people performing on street corners, whole families begging for money as you eat lunch, or homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk, you will not escape the poverty of Colombia.
For some people, this can be stressful. Seeing all this poverty and not being able to do anything about it can cause someone to not want to be here.
Some people get straight-up annoyed by the same people asking for money every single day.
Another trade-off for the low cost of living is the a high homicide and crime rate.
Petty crime is so common in Colombia that there’s a special saying to shame or blame a victim, “dar papaya.”
Some people may not like the fact that they have to be extra vigilant of their things when they go out, be mindful of when they take out their phone, take an uber home even if you’re just a few blocks away from your apartment in Poblado.
So yes, the low cost of living is very attractive in Colombia, but it comes with some trade-offs. After all, it is a 3rd world country.
2. The Beautiful People (Women)
The people in Medellin are some of the warmest, friendliest people on the planet.
It’s typical to know all of your neighbors by name, and even hang out with them on weekends or when they throw parties.
They like to dance, drink, and laugh a lot.
I come from Southern California, where beautiful people are abundant, but Medellin is special.
Black people are nice. Where I’m from, black people have a tough exterior. Here in Colombia, they dance salsa, smile a lot, joke a lot, and are generally, very friendly.
Metalheads are nice. You’ll go to a metal concert and have a great time. Everyone is friendly and is willing to greet you. It’s a very different experience than one in the U.S.
People don’t act hard here.
In 11 years I’ve only seen 2 fights at a bar or a club here. I think people here in Colombia don’t get in fights at clubs or bars because you don’t know who you’re fighting. They can be someone’s cousin that knows a sicario “hitman.” So people err to the side of caution and just don’t get into an altercation.
The women, oh my god the women. I’ve been here for 11 years and I’m still in shock. I don’t know what it is…the water, the beans, the rice…whatever it is, Colombia’s got it going on.
The women are approachable, humble.
Oh and not to mention the influx of Venezuelans! The best thing that has ever happened to Colombia was the arrival of Venezuelan women.
All this being said, Colombians are still Colombians.
They will be flakey. Even in a business setting, they will be late, or worse, not show up and ghost you.
They are proud so they will not admit they are wrong or be held accountable for their mistakes.
When someone has money it’s not unusual for that person to be taken advantage of, ser le marrano.
Most people speak Spanish, not English. So if you don’t speak Spanish you may have a tough time here.
Furthermore, there is very little sense of urgency. Lines at banks, supermarkets, and notaries can take lifetimes. And as you stand behind 10 people and watch the cashier chit-chat and laugh with her buddy you try not to pop a blood vessel.
As you get to a restaurant and sit at a table for 15 minutes without anyone coming to greet you and take your order you may want to storm out and go to another place, just to have the same thing happen there.
The people are beautiful, nice, and mellow, but it comes at a trade-off. Some people may not have the patience for Colombians.
3. Colombian Food
Growing up in a Colombian household, I love Colombian food. I’m vegan now, but when I was a kid I wasn’t
I grew up eating sancocho, sudado de pollo, ajiaco, mute, arepa, empanadas, buñuelos, almojabanas…
And drinking cafe, chocolate, jugo natural de mora, guanabana, mango, piña, lulo, etc.
Food in Colombia is pretty cheap and there are many variations of fruits and vegetables, many of which you won’t find growing in the U.S. or Europe.
To me, Colombian food reminds me of my mom & dad, my grandmother, my aunt, they were the ones that cooked the most in my life and an arroz con poll will always remind me of my mom, a pollo sudado will always remind me of my grandma.
That being said, the main ingredients in Colombian food are “salt” and “nostalgia.”
I’ve had foreign friends come to Colombia and try a bandeja paisa with chacharron and morcilla and fall in love with it.
But very soon, that food may get boring.
Colombian food is NOT Mexican food.
Colombians do not eat spicy foods. They don’t use any exotic seasoning. As a matter of fact, many Colombians won’t even try new foods.
So as a foreigner living in Colombia, there will be a time when the honeymoon is over. And all you want is a good burger, or a good piece of steak, or some curry, a great pizza.
Even though Colombia is a lot more diverse now than it was when I first got here 11 years ago, you will have a hard time finding variety.
It’s not like there are many people from different cultures around the world flocking to Colombia for a better life…and setting up “little saigons” little italy’s” in major cities.
Most “ethnic food” will be catered to Colombians, therefore, watered down.
At the end of the day, there are many pros and cons to living in Colombia. For me, the pros outweigh the cons. I’ve found that living here has tested my patience, and I have gotten more patient. I have learned to relax a bit. Even though I’ve learned to be patient, I have not lowered my standards or lowered my expectations of people. Because of this, I’ve been able to form long-lasting friendships and a great life.