Colombia

  Colombia  

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. Cartagena, a walled colonial city on those turquoise shores, is one of Spanish America’s most beautiful enclaves.

What’s more, Colombia boasts beautiful areas where the cost of living is the lowest you’ll find anywhere in South America—lower, even, than in Ecuador.

 

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Fast Facts About Colombia

Colombia
  • Population: 45,745,783
  • Capital City: Bogota
  • Climate: Tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
  • Time Zone: EST (GMT-5)
  • Language: Spanish (official)
  • Country Code: +57

Archives

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Finding Our Way to a Better Life in Good-Value Medellín

Don’t you just hate it when your kids are right? In January 2011 we were in the middle of “talking” about moving overseas during one of our daughter’s visits home from college. She sat quietly during dinner, listening to our conversation. During dessert she just couldn’t stay quiet anymore. She blurted out, “You guys are never going to do this, you know.”

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The Top Five Overseas Havens for Effortless Healthy Living: Part Two

“We have dropped an incredible amount of weight,” says expat Armand Brodeur, who lives with his wife Joyclyn in Las Tablas, Panama. “And we’re not even eating as healthy as we ought to.” The Brodeur’s story is not unique. They’re just two of the many expats who come to Panama and lose weight without even trying. “I didn’t realize I was losing weight” is a constant refrain here. The outdoors beckon…there are produce stalls, fish markets, pristine beaches, and rainforest parks to visit. In much of the country, walking is the preferred method of transportation. So much so, that many expats here don’t even have cars. Imagine the effect on your waistline…

Global-Property-Notes-_Italian-Riviera_Portofino

Best Places for a Lock-and-Leave Condo

Peace of mind. Less hassle. That’s what it’s all about. A lock-and-leave condo is perfect if you want to leave behind harsh North American winters and escape to a snowbird getaway. Or perhaps you’ve found your dream spot and got a great deal on a property, but you’ll be renting it out until you can move down in a few years. No matter what your situation, the lock-and-leave condo is ideal.

Bogota, Colombia

Earning an Income from Colombian Street Art

Wandering through the busy streets of Bogota, Colombia, you’re bound to come across some colorful street art. From murals to graffiti, the city has become a hub for urban art, a testament to the artistic freedom that Bogota awards to its inhabitants. Expat Christian Petersen first visited in 2001 and moved here full-time in 2011. “Colombia is completely different now in terms of security, tourism, opportunities, economics, and its global perception,” he says.

Cartagena, Colombia

Earning in Dollars, Living in Colombia…The Perfect Match

About a year ago, I woke up one morning in Chicago and realized that another endless day stretched ahead of me. Another day of the same routine, the same monotony, running in the rat race, racing as fast as I could to get…nowhere. Cliche, I know, but I woke up knowing that unless I made a substantial change, I would lose my zest for life.

Medellin, Colombia

Mountains, Beer, and Entrepreneurial Opportunity in Colombia

“I was drawn to live in a place surrounded by mountains,” says Todd Morrill. Although originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Todd, 36, attended college in Boulder, Colorado and became enamored with the beauty and tranquility of the mountains. It was this love of the mountains that ultimately brought him to Colombia.

Medellin, Colombia

Discover Huge Possibilities for a New Life in Colombia

A short 45-minute ride from downtown Medellin in Colombia, Rick and Marsha Snow have found their slice of heaven. They are renting a house in the town of Giradota while building their dream home there. Amazingly, the value of their lot has doubled in the two years since they bought it.

Pereira, Colombia

Warm, Easy Living and Good Social Life in Colombia

Morning comes casually here. I wander into the kitchen in shorts, a tank, and flip flops…it will never be cold enough for something heavier. As I get breakfast going, my husband, Jaime, fixes his hot chocolate. No rush hour traffic, no icy roads either.

Manizales, Colombia

A Surprising Truth About Colombia

“To be completely honest, Colombia wasn’t my first choice,” says Ashley Peak, about her move to South America. “I had dreamed of the mountains of Peru and the wine in Argentina.”
But Colombia was where she ended up after applying for a number of teaching positions on the continent.
Since moving to the mountain city of Manizales, in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle, Ashley’s experience in the country has made her question her first reactions toward living in Colombia and her fear of the unknown.

San-Juan-del-Sur

Discover A World of Travel Possibilities When You Live Overseas

When you move overseas, you don’t just benefit from the better weather, lower cost of living, and the affordable healthcare…you also open up a world of travel possibilities. During our working lives, we’d take those one- or two-week trips, and were lucky enough to see a few highlights.
But when you live in a foreign country, you have the opportunity to use this new location to travel to other countries as well as to explore the place you’ve chosen to live. This happened to me when I moved to Nicaragua.

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Monserrate: Million-Dollar Views Over Bogotá

Usually, for a view like this, you’d have to spend a couple of million dollars on a hillside mansion. In Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, for only a few thousand pesos, or about five greenbacks, you can marvel at the seemingly endless city as it disappears into the hills from the top of the picturesque Monserrate Mountain, 10,000 feet above sea level. Monserrate’s fame began from humble beginnings, when the brotherhood of Vera Cruz frequented this peak for prayers in the early 1600s. The site has been a popular destination for residents, tourists, and pilgrims for well over a century now. On Sundays and holidays, it’s not uncommon for the more ardent Catholics to make the trek on foot.

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A Once-in-a-Lifetime Buying Moment in a Resurging City

Medellín, Colombia, is like no ordinary worldclass city. It sits in a valley 5,000 feet above sea level, with perfect, year-round, spring-like weather. You can stroll down leafy streets to lush parks, sip a coffee in eclectic cafés and bars, and shop in high-class boutiques. Young “digital nomads” huddle in trendy watering holes plotting the next Facebook. These are folks who can live and work from wherever they choose. They choose Medellín.

Medellin, Colombia

Irresistible Medellin: The City That Has Something For Everyone

The city of Medellin, Colombia is many things to many people. For some it is the “City of Eternal Spring” where the weather is always just right and the songbirds are hard at work in the flowers and trees that line the streets.
For others, it is a city of innovation where local universities churn out award-winning projects and top-notch students. And for yet others, it’s a place of historical treasure with a past full of gold, colonialism, and a stunning recovery after decades of turmoil.

Medellin-Colombia

Medellín, Colombia: City Living For 60% Less Than Our Costs Back Home

After years of promising ourselves that “someday”…“in the future”…“later” we would have a different lifestyle, my husband, Mike, and I finally boarded a plane to go in search of our piece of paradise. On the advice of an acquaintance we met while checking out Ecuador, we decided to “swing by” Medellín, a neighbouring city in Colombia, for a couple of weeks.

Medellin

A Cosmopolitan City with Perfect Weather in Colombia

One of the reasons I moved to Medellín, Colombia is because I hate winter. I hate everything about it (except the holidays). I hate driving in snow and ice, having cold feet for six months, scraping my windshield, praying I will make it home, and not end up in a ditch. You get the picture.

PERU

5 Low-Cost Countries Where You Can Live on $1,500 a Month or Less

By choosing to retire in one of the world’s best bang-for-your-buck destinations, Rob enjoys a lifestyle well beyond his reach if he had stayed in the U.S. Every day he can choose to relax on the beaches around his home in the town of Sihanoukville, on the Cambodian coast, dine on fresh French croissants…rent a sailboat or go fishing on an offshore charter…

MSCI Emerging Market Index chart

China’s Latest Craze, A Bump in the Road for India, and Much More

When emerging markets get going, they can really soar.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed 526% from September 2001 to October 2007. The problem is that these incredible highs are often followed by incredible lows. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today, as emerging markets hit their lowest level since 2009.

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Great Living on $1,500 a Month in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle

I’m here to tell you that I’ve found the Holy Grail of expat destinations. Each of us has our own priorities, but to find a place that ticks the boxes on nearly everyone’s list is something special. A perfect climate that’s neither too hot nor too cool (60 F to 80 F all year); amazing natural surroundings; plenty of cultural events; history-filled cities; superb healthcare; friendly people; and a welcoming country…all with a fantastically low cost of living—figure $1,500 a month for a couple, all in.

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Backpacker to Business Owner in Guatapé

“I arrived without a plan…just a duffle bag and a laptop,” says 45-year-old Greg Hillen of his decision to move to Colombia on a one-way ticket back in 2008. Many would think this rash. But Greg was so struck by what he had seen here that he had to yield to his heart’s call. After vacationing in Colombia that year, the Californian was certain that this was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. And in the small mountain town of Guatapé— famed for its colorful homes and spectacular mountain surrounds—he found a spot with a lot to offer visitors…and a perfect place to open a hostel to accommodate them. Along with an expat buddy, he has done just that.

Pereira-Colombia

Rent for $130 a Month in Colombia’s Low-Cost Coffee Region

“Pereira is a small city with just about everything you could want from a large city—an airport, theaters, more shopping than you could ever need,” says Mollee Thermos. “But it’s still not as developed as Colombia’s bigger and more well-known cities of Medellin or Bogota and I like it because of that.”

Colombia

Own a Piece of Paradise in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle

Colombia’s movers and shakers—politicians, business executives, and celebrities—have long used land ownership and country homes as a way to show their money and influence. The more beautiful the setting of their residences, the more bragging rights they have.

Medellín, Colombia

Good-Value Real Estate From $90,000 in Vibrant Colombia

When it comes to city living, most people have a few priorities in mind: Easy access to all parts of the city through roads, public transportation, or even walking trails is usually high on the list, plenty of activities and entertainment, and a feeling of safety along with aesthetic beauty tends to complete the package.

cambodia-sihanoukville

Three Most Affordable Overseas Retirement Havens in 2016

Cost of living can be a major concern for people on fixed pension, annuity, and other retirement income sources. In International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index, three countries stand out from the top 23 retirement locations in the world as having the best cost of living:

Best Retiree Healthcare

Best Retiree Healthcare on the Planet in 2016

As healthcare costs and complexity in the U.S. continue to spiral upward, more and more retirees are asking, “Can I get high-quality healthcare for less if I move overseas?” The simple answer is yes. The Healthcare category of the 2016 International Living Global Retirement Index ranks the healthcare systems of the 23 most popular retirement locations abroad.

Cost-of-Living

3 Top Retirement Havens With The Lowest Cost Of Living

In the right places beyond our borders today, you’ll find you have more good choices than ever for a comfortable—even a pampered—retirement. In International Living’s 2016 Global Retirement Index, three countries stand out from the top 23 retirement locations featured in the Index, as having the lowest cost of living in the world:

Medellin-Colombia

Low Prices and High Yields in Colombia’s “City of Flowers”

South America has many fine cities. Montevideo is known for its European flair and charming architecture. Beef and wine connoisseurs can’t do better than Buenos Aires. And Quito has its breathtaking colonial center. But there’s a new South American city on the rise: Medellín, Colombia. Largely ignored for decades, Medellín is now enticing expat retirees with its tree-filled streets and arts-rich character. A strong dollar makes today an ideal time to explore (and invest).

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The Five Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Retirement Havens: Part 2

“I really love my life in Guatemala. The low cost of living makes me feel that the opportunities here are endless, and I feel like I can really carve out my little spot here in paradise,” says expat Tara Tiedemann of her life in colonial Antigua, a gem at the heart of Guatemala. “It’s amazing how far your money goes in Guatemala. For $500 a month, I can rent a beautiful apartment in a colonial-style building right in Antigua. I’m within walking distance of the Central Park and my favorite bakery for fresh banana bread.

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An Expert’s Guide to Eating Out in Bogotá

If you’re after a new food adventure, my adopted home of Bogotá is the place to discover ancient traditions, exotic ingredients, passionate chefs, and exciting taste experiences—all at knock-down prices. Fresh ingredients from one of the most biodiverse countries in the world are the foundation for a terrific food culture. Here’s my pick of the places and foods you should try on a weekend in the Colombian capital.

best healthcare overseas

4 Countries With the Best Healthcare in the World

As healthcare costs in the U.S. continue to spiral upward, one of the main questions any aspiring expat asks is, “Can I get great healthcare when I move overseas?” The simple answer is yes…and without breaking the bank, either.

best places to retire

The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Colombia

Low-Cost, Luxury Living in Medellín, Colombia

My daily life has improved immensely since moving to the charming “City of Flowers” in Colombia. I feel calm and peaceful, unlike many of my friends living in U.S. cities. Every morning I wake up to the cheerful sound of birds. From my balcony I can hear the gentle trickle of the stream running past my apartment. I love to take these quiet mornings to practice yoga at a nearby studio and then head to my favorite coffee shop, Pergamino. It’s pleasantly quiet in the mornings when I go to read a book or write in my journal while I sip the best coffee in town for less than $1.

Colombia

One of the Best Places in the World to See Christmas Lights

Boasting an epic display of over 30 million lights, it is no surprise that Medellin, Colombia has been rated by National Geographic as one of the top 10 places to view Christmas lights in the world. The festive season in Medellin officially starts on November 30 at midnight, with an elaborate firework celebration. It’s called La Alborada and marks the night when EPM (the city’s public utilities company) who designs and sponsors the lights, turns on the extravagant displays and the locals chime in to celebrate with an incredible spectacle of homemade fireworks seen (and heard) throughout the whole valley of Medellin until dawn.

Up-Helly-Aa

Torch-Wielding Vikings and a City of Ice

All around the world, people like to welcome the New Year in style. Take the city of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. Every January sees the return of the Junkanoo Parade—one of the oldest street festivals in the Caribbean. With drums and horns blasting through the air, the party atmosphere is palpable.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens for 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Malaysia-Cameron-Highlands

Live Where It’s Spring-Like Year Round

As the savage North American winter begins to bite and the snow and ice pile up, many of us find ourselves yearning for warmer climates elsewhere. Imagine a place that’s never too hot or too cold—just perfect. Outside, the birds are chirping, while gardens and wildflowers bloom in multicolored glory. You can walk around in a light tee-shirt at any time of year. Throw out your coat and boots. Forget about heating and air-conditioning bills and suffering through sweltering heat and humidity.

Colombia

Earn the Big Bucks for a Life of Ease Overseas

Waking up every morning to the beautiful views of Medellin’s Aburra Valley is like a dream compared to the corporate life I left behind in America. Back then I dreaded the buzzing alarm clock jolting me out of a restful sleep followed by a 60-minute, rush-hour commute to my office only 15 miles away. Then wasting eight hours in a cubicle doing work I hated only to repeat the one-hour commute to get home.

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Tour Phang Nga Bay like Bond and Picnic with Sun Bears

When 007’s speedboat cut through the waters of Phang Nga Bay in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, he was zipping past some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world. Today you can tour this southern Thailand gem yourself. But with dramatic rock formations, turquoise lagoons, floating villages, and a vast array of exotic wildlife to view, you’ll need the whole day to fully appreciate it and a speedboat to see it all.

medellin

A Low-Cost, Luxury Lifestyle in Colombia’s “City of Flowers”

My daily life has improved immensely since moving to Medellín, Colombia’s charming “City of Flowers.” I feel calm and peaceful, unlike many of my friends living in U.S. cities. Every morning I wake up to the cheerful sound of birds. From my balcony I can hear the gentle trickle of the stream running past my apartment. I love to take these quiet mornings to practice yoga at a nearby studio and then head to my favorite coffee shop, Pergamino. It’s pleasantly quiet in the mornings when I go to read a book or write in my journal while I sip the best coffee in town for less than $1.

Colombia

My Time is My Own in This “City of Eternal Spring”

Before moving overseas, I spent 23 years working as an attorney specializing in litigation. My life was full of angry people and I was required to keep track of every minute of my day so my firm could bill the clients. I was basically living at the courthouse, and had very little time to relax or live my life. Then there was years of bitter cold and extreme snowfalls each winter in Northern Illinois.

Social-Security-Infographic-test

Infographic—Your Social Security Payments Overseas

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. retirees overseas received more than $3 billion in social security payments in 2013. That number shows an increase of $160 million since 2012—and has nearly doubled since 2013. In total, 373,224 U.S. retirees received their social security payments as residents of a foreign country in 2013. Europe is home to the most U.S. retirees drawing their social security payments abroad (154,238), followed by Canada and Mexico (95,767), and Asia (70,586).

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