“Kathleen, as I have been enthusiastically following your newsletters over the past two years, I was genuinely thrilled to read of your discoveries in Medellin. As an American who has traveled throughout Costa Rica, Panama, the Bahamas, and most of Colombia, I moved to Armenia, Colombia, about three years ago with my Colombian wife and our three children.
“You are absolutely right about the magnificence of Medellin and it is one of the tops on my list of favorite places to live in Colombia. But, as wonderful as Medellin really is, you owe it to yourself and to your readers to explore the rare beauty and uniqueness that is so abundant here in Armenia.
“About a five-and-one-half-hour drive from Medellin, Armenia is the capital of the Departamento (State) of Quindio, which is the center of the Zona Cafetera, Colombia’s world famous coffee district. Nestled in the midst of the Andean mountain range, Armenia arguably boasts the world’s most perfect climate, with a yearly average temperature of between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s never a need for heat or air-conditioning here, and the average monthly electric bill is about US$45.
“Next to the coastal Caribbean cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta, Quindio boasts the second-highest tourism annually for all Colombia, as many people from Bogota, Cali, and Medellin flock to this area to rent fincas (small farms) and chalets throughout the year.
“The locals here are known as paisas and are extremely friendly to international visitors. Last November, 2009, Spirit Airlines launched jet service directly to Armenia from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the flights are almost always full. This has been a real awakening for this region.
“A retired couple could live very comfortably here on about US$1,250 per month, and there are many wonderful, affordable restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and cultural opportunities to make it easy not to miss the excessive comforts of the United States.
“With the economy now worsening back home, opportunities such as those available now in Colombia become ‘a breathe of fresh air’ for those looking to get away from all the stress of having to work…work…work…just to pay the bills. The real estate bargains here are amazing. Annual taxes are next to nothing.
“I hope you’ll come check out Armenia in the not-too-distant future. And when you do, be prepared to be impressed, because you will be.
“I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for the great job you always do.”
— Paul Anthony M., Colombia
I’ve put Armenia on the list for our next Colombia trip.