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Medellin, Colombia

Enjoyable Living, Exciting Culture in Medellin, Colombia

Medellin makes a good impression immediately and on many levels. Architecturally, this city is lovely. Built almost entirely of red brick, with most every structure topped by a red clay tile roof, the place is pleasing in its consistency, especially when viewed from some height.

The city of Medellin is an enjoyable place to be and draws visitors from around the world. From the hole-in-the-wall shop selling homemade empanadas to elegant restaurants with fine French cuisine, your dining experience will be varied and limitless. You can also spend an evening at the orchestra or one of 28 theaters, explore the city’s 40 museums, visit its many galleries, or relax in one of 21 parks. And what’s more, the nightlife sizzles in Medellin.

Medellin is physically beautiful. The area has lush hills, with tree-lined streets, green parks, and meandering roads. Throughout the area, small streams tumble down from the mountains, their borders lined with dense areas of lush, tropical vegetation. The city is impressively green, with trees, plants, and small gardens everywhere, and remarkably clean. In the central neighborhoods, you see no litter. The metro, a point of pride for the local population, is spotless and like new. At every station and in every train we boarded, I looked for but was unable to find even a cigarette butt or piece of gum on the ground.

Cost Of Living In Medellin

Medellin is about the best value you’ll find anywhere in the Americas. For the weather, First World ambiance, culture, and amenities we enjoy here, the cost of living is moderately low. You can live here for just over 3.5 million Colombian pesos per month. Day-to-day costs in Medellin are on slightly less than those in Panama City, which is to say they’re not ultra-bargain basement. A bottle of water in a corner shop, restaurant meals, taxis, and movie tickets all cost just slightly less what they’d cost in the Panamanian capital. The difference, of course, is that the cost of everything fluctuates in U.S. dollar terms every day. The dollar has really strong against the peso lately, so purchasing power is going up for those using US dollars.

One notable cost savings living in Medellin would have to do with utility expenses. Thanks to the climate, you could live here with neither heating nor air conditioning, meaning your utility costs could be almost negligible. This could reduce your overall monthly budget by as much as US$200 or more.

In Medellin, you’ll enjoy a reasonable cost of living, high-value, fairly priced properties, and the chance to earn a non-dollar income with a rental property. The real cost advantage of Medellin has to do with real estate.

El Poblado, in the heart of the city, is the top end of the market, for both renting and buying. Here you’re looking at US$1,000 to US$1,500 per square meter to purchase resale (sometimes furnished); US$1,500 to US$2,000 per square meter to buy new; and US$1,000 (for a one-bedroom) to maybe US$3,000 (for a luxury-level penthouse) per month to rent, furnished.

Again, that’s the top of the market. In less recognized, more local neighborhoods, those prices can fall in half and more. Right now you can rent, for example, a one-bedroom apartment in the Laureles neighborhood (a neighborhood Lief and I explored and found to be safe, pleasant, and up-and-coming…a very good budget choice compared with more central and more discovered El Poblado) for as little as 850,000 pesos a month, maybe less. At the current exchange rate, that’s about US$450.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Medellin, Colombia

Expense ItemCostNotes
RentCOP 2,300,000 Unfurnished, two-bedroom, comfortable apartment in El Poblado or other expat-popular neighborhood.
GasCOP 320,000
TransportationCOP 255,000For metro and taxi use.
ElectricityN/ABundled with gas.
WaterN/ABundled with gas.
Cell PhoneCOP 56,000
Internet and CableCOP 193,000
Medical AppointmentCOP 55,000A basic doctor/clinic appointment; per visit.
Household HelpCOP 400,000Two visits per week; 50,000 per visit.
GroceriesCOP 1,300,000Basic items for couple.
EntertainmentCOP 696,000Movie tickets: 13,000 per ticket; dinner and drinks for two: 55,000-200,000; drinks for two: 20,000.
TotalCOP 5,575,000 US$ 1,776.06

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Infrastructure In Medellin

It’s a First World environment. Medellin boasts well-maintained roads and drinkable water along with dependable phone service, electricity, and high-speed Internet. You’ll find shopping galore, from mom-and-pop stores to upscale boutiques to a number of large, modern shopping malls. The banks and financial services are solid and dependable.

Climate In Medellin

The weather is perfect. Perched at an elevation of 5,000 feet (1,500 meters), it enjoys beautiful weather all year, with warm, balmy days and cool, pleasant nights. The average daytime high is 79 degrees Fahrenheit and the low is 63, with only one degree of seasonal variation. I like to say that Medellin is “room temperature” every day, all year.

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