A Real Look At Colombia: Answers From Our 2017 Conference

Real Answers To The Tough Questions

Medical insurance and the related costs in Colombia, including out-of-pocket medical expenses, are generally less than one-third the cost of comparable expenses in the United States.

That’s where we began our discussion of health care in this country during last week’s Live and Invest in Colombia Conference.

Attendees were also surprised to hear that doctors in Colombia provide their personal cell phone numbers to patients and even make house calls if requested.

Here’s something else on this subject that got attendees’ attention last week:

Just south of Medellín is a modern assisted-care facility called Hábitat Condominio. This is a place where folks can live with complete peace of mind as they age and require additional services.

The cost to live at Hábitat is a fraction the cost you pay to live in a comparable facility in North America… and the lifestyle is top-notch.

By Day 3 of last week’s event, attendees were even more enthusiastic than they’d been at the start of the conference. On this final day in the room with all our Colombia experts, attendees were moving quickly from one speaker to another, trying to get all their questions answered while they had the chance.

This one-on-one access is one of the greatest values of an event like this one.

During the break on the third day, I chatted with a couple from Santa Fe, New Mexico. They had their overseas plan in place and were very excited about Medellín. By this stage, they were asking very specific questions about bringing their pet parrot into Colombia and about finding specialty cooking appliances.

I posted their questions on a few Medellín-focused Facebook forums and emailed a local bird-loving friend so I could provide answers to their questions within minutes.

I’m always impressed by the people who attend Live and Invest Overseas conferences, and this group did not disappoint. These folks are good company. They’re also thinkers. They’re looking to make outside-the-box changes to their lives… but they aren’t seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.

Several asked questions about air pollution in Medellín and how the government is addressing associated concerns. Coincidentally, Medellín was celebrating Earth Day on the final day of conference by restricting all vehicles (except taxis and buses) on the roads from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. to reduce emissions.

For several years, the city has mandated a regular weekday restriction called Pico y Placa, whereby your license plate number dictates which days you can and cannot drive during morning and evening rush hours. Colombians follow these restrictions without complaint.

Air pollution can be a concern in Medellín, but litter definitely is not.

You see hundreds of garbage cans throughout this city. Medellín’s inhabitants are proud of and respect their city, and you do not find litter or dog droppings on the ground anywhere.

One attendee who had arrived in town several days before the conference told us, “We came in on Saturday. When we left the hotel on Sunday morning, they had the road shut down so we were able to just walk up and down the street. It was lovely and a great way to get acquainted with this charming city.”

Every Sunday, Medellín hosts Ciclovía. From 7 a.m. until 1 p.m., the south-bound lanes of the city’s main boulevard are closed to traffic so people can walk, run, bicycle, and skate at their leisure. Families enjoy their Sundays with their pets, and friends meet and share fresh fruit drinks and treats offered by vendors along the route. 

One couple of attendees stayed through the weekend and joined me for Ciclovía the Sunday following the conference.

“Being able to socialize with you outside of the conference,” they told me, “walking on Sunday during Ciclovía, going to the mercado for fresh fruits and veggies, having brunch in a family restaurant… getting together with folks on Sunday night at 37 Park in Parque Lleras… all of these things painted a picture of how easy it can be to be part of the community here.” 

The conference came to an end with Lee Harrison bringing us full circle.

After summarizing the three days of presentations and discussions, he posed the question:

“So, how can you take those exciting next steps?”

The answer, as Lee explained, is: With our help.

Everyone in the room now has a support team ready to guide them into the next phase of their adventures.

One conference attendee has already taken her next steps. She told me proudly as the event came to a close that her two houses in the States are on the market and she came to Colombia with a one-way ticket.

She and I are now neighbors in lovely Medellín.

My husband and I received so much help from the Live and Invest Overseas team—the staff, speakers, expats, and other conference attendees we met—when we made our move to Medellín three years ago. Now we’re trying to pay all that forward by sharing our experience and knowledge with others thinking about making this kind of move.

Attending a LIOS conference in a country you may be considering is absolutely the best way to build your own support team, understand and process the many options available, and find answers for all your difficult questions.

I hope to meet you at one sometime soon.

Wendy Howarter
From The Scene Of Last Week’s Live And Invest In Colombia Conference