We know: telling your family and friends about going to Medellin is usually met with silence, criticism or negative mis-information.
To you, it might sound dangerous and even a little mysterious…
But after a visit to Colombia what you’ll be taking home with you are memories of a stunningly beautiful country with dramatic Andean peaks and valleys, with hundred-mile views and some of the world’s best, most temperate weather. You’ll conjure images of Spanish America’s most beautiful colonial cities, one of its most-fascinating and rich cultures, long stretches of beautiful beaches, and one of civilization’s few remaining walled cities. Of course, not in the typical sense. No, Medellin is walled by a lush valley that makes for breathtaking views in every direction.
These are not the impressions that many of us start off with when we think of Colombia. Typically, it’s a country that will garner images of drug lords, kidnappings and Tom Clancy novels. Some people aren’t sure if the U.S. Government even allows its citizens to travel to Colombia. But after you’ve been to Colombia, you’ll have a very different image. In fact, today the cafes and parks are becoming increasingly populated with foreigners who presumed they would just come for a quick visit, a few days, or a week. These are the stories we increasingly hear, from one happy ex-traveler, now an expat, after another. The winning ways in this town are many.
Once you’ve been here, you’ll know of a country where you can live a dignified lifestyle on a Social Security check…and a luxury lifestyle on just a bit more. Where can you do that back at home? No place we know of. Ok, well we so we know of a few places where you could potentially pull that off, and most of them also have dangers like land mines or rocket grenades or kidnapping to worry about when you’re not spending that money. No, Medellin is unique in the world for being a place which is both safe and inexpensive. With gorgeous views in all directions and an easy, relaxed pace of life, you won’t believe what your money buys you at double the prices here now.
Located at the tip of South America, Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes and the Amazon. It’s a country that is more beautiful, dramatic, and diverse than nearly any other. It offers sparkling colonial cities in the highlands and world-famous (and safe) resorts along the Caribbean.
What’s more, Colombia boasts beautiful areas where the cost of living is the lowest you’ll find anywhere in South America.
Colombia has a lot to offer. Critical things—like low cost of living, inexpensive properties, and a colorful and diverse culture. Colombia can offer a sophisticated, modern urban scene or a cabin in a remote section of desert…a colonial walled city by the sea, or a sleepy Caribbean beachside town…spring-like weather high in the Andes, steamy tropics or the “perfect” weather in between…North American enclaves or indigenous outposts. Unless you’ve got your heart set on snow, you’re almost certain to find your ideal spot in Colombia.
In this report we’ll give you a snapshot of what life in Colombia can offer and tell you about our favorite location…
It’s called Medellin
Medellin sits at the perfect 5,000 feet above sea level, which explains its ideal climate with days that are enjoyably warm, and nights pleasantly cool.
The city is bustling, modern, and has everything from large shopping malls to mom-and-pop stores. You can get almost anything you can back home. In lush, green neighborhoods, modern highrises look out between towering eucalyptus trees, and Medellin also offers a colonial-style historic center as well as clean, residential neighborhoods…each with its own ambiance and lifestyle.
Most expats gravitate towards El Poblado, the sector known for its shady parks, trendy restaurants, sidewalk cafes, great shopping, and Medellin’s most-active property market.
See some hot luxury properties for sale or rent in El Poblado. Click Here
Property samples in Medellin
A one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in the El Poblado district of Medellin. It comes with oversized windows, ceramic floors and granite counters. Price: $78,000.
A 1,979-square-foot penthouse spread out over three floors in the El Poblado area. The property commands spectacular views of the city with its own private roof top terrace which features a custom designed Jacuzzi. The home also includes a master bedroom, three bathrooms and a small office.. Price: $199,000.
Buying real estate is relatively straightforward in Colombia.
Here are four basic points to remember:
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in Colombia, whether or not they are residents;
You can repatriate your gains and earnings to your home country;
If desired, you can set up a corporation fairly easily, with which to buy your property;
Colombia has a sound process for tracking property titles, and for recording liens and encumbrances against titles.
Renting in Colombia
We always recommend that you rent before you buy. Before you plunk down money on a house or condo in a new place, stay awhile and see if it suits your needs. Start your search for a rental on the Internet. You’ll find plenty of websites out there. Also some real estate agents in Colombia often offer rental properties.
If you’re lucky enough, you can sometimes find a company that does rentals of apartments, as well as homes for sale. The big advantage here is that you can test out the company as much as the location. In the event you’re a serious buyer, sometimes you can even persuade a landlord to allow you to try different locations out so you can pick out the neighborhood that makes the most sense for you!
Here’s a great site to review some rentals available right now.Click Here
The classified section of online local newspapers is also a good source (especially to get a feel for prices).
Pensionada visa: A pensionista in Colombia is a pensioner who is receiving a guaranteed income from a government, or from a public or private company. To qualify, you’ll need a certification issued by the authority responsible for paying your pension. This can be a government, public, or private pension. (If you are using Social Security benefits to apply, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota can help with this.) This certification must be legalized by the Colombian consulate. The minimum income level is three times the minimum wage, which would total $891 per month at this time. This visa is valid for one year.
Cost of Living in Colombia
One of the main benefits of living in Colombia is the low cost of living. And what’s more, it’s a low cost of living in a country that offers many of the first-world amenities and infrastructure that you’d expect in a much more expensive location.
In other words, Colombia’s a good value from the perspective of an expat or second home buyer. People we regularly talk to rave about the cost of living here, and we often hear these same folks telling us to keep the secret quiet.
If you move to Colombia, count on spending at least $1,300 per month for two people if you own your property; and $1,700 per month if you’re renting an unfurnished apartment. A full-time maid will cost more, as will owning a car. If you’re considering coming with a partner, or a roommate, you can live considerably cheaper by sharing some expenses. Of course, if you can afford it, why not pay what you’re paying back in your country? You’ll be shocked to see how much more house you can buy in this great market.
Here is a sample monthly budget for a couple renting an unfurnished apartment in Medellin:
Cable TV: $44
Public transportation $91
Monthly total: $1,790
Taxes in Colombia
Sales tax: The value-added tax (IVA) is a variant of the sales-tax. This tax charges 16% of the price of sale of all kind of merchandise, goods, and services, with some exceptions: the public transportation, the water supply and sanitation, and the transportation of natural gas and hydrocarbons.
Income tax: Colombian citizens and foreign individuals who have lived continuously or cumulatively in Colombia, for a total of five years are thereafter subject to individual income tax based on a system of graduated marginal tax rates, ranging from 0% to 33%.
Currency and exchange: Colombian pesos (COP) US $1 = 3,266 COP
Opening a bank account:
To open a bank account in Colombia, you must either have a cedula (which you receive after obtaining legal residence) or otherwise be able to prove to the bank that you have been living in Colombia for six months (hard to do without a cedula).
You also must have a valid passport, visa, Cedula de Extranjeria (Foreigner Identification Card) and your address details when opening the account in the bank.
ATMs: ATMs are widely available and can be used in English.
For more information, please download our free guide to buying real estate in Medellin, or the 7 Days in Medellin travel guide.