Forget what you think you know about Medellín, Colombia. This vibrant and bustling city is one of the best kept secrets as a truly wonderful retirement destination. In the time it would take you to fly from coast to coast in the States, you can fly to Colombia where you’ll find a retirement haven that is still ahead of the wave when it comes to expats looking for the best place to retire. Medellín offers you “big city” living at small town prices.
The pulse of this exciting city can be felt the moment you step out onto its streets for the first time. With an estimated population of 2.5 million, Medellín is no sleepy little hamlet. The city is broken up into six different zones: Northeast, Northwest, Center East, Center West, Surorien-tal , and Suroccidental. And, there are 16 communes (communities) spread out between those zones, each offering a slightly different feel and atmosphere than the other. Whether you’re shopping at the ultra-chic and modern Centro Comercial Santfé in El Poblado, sipping a café lat-te at one of the many coffee houses found in Laureles, or browsing the thriving art scene in La Candelaria, Medellín has it all. And connecting all of these communes is one of the best metro systems to be found outside of the States with fares running you roughly 80 cents. Or jump in one of the many cabs found cruising the streets, and you’ll be at your destination with only pay-ing $3 to $5 (depending on traffic).
There are many restaurants to be enjoyed within the city. From Italian food to Peruvian, and all the flavors in between, you’re bound to find a delicious meal at prices that are a third of what you’d pay back home. A full course meal including drinks and dessert can run you on average of about $25 to $30 per couple for a fancier restaurant, while you’ll find plenty of places to eat for under $15 per couple. Half the fun will be walking the streets in search of that next favorite “hidden jewel.”
If enjoying a day at a museum is your idea of a good time, then look no further that the Museo de Antioquia in downtown Medellín. For less than $6 you can explore its many floors of art by famed Medellín native artist Fernando Batero, as well as many other local artists. When you’ve filled your senses by looking at the art, you can enjoy a lunch on the outside patio of the muse-um’s cafe and enjoy an incredible meal for under $10, while enjoying your view of famed Botero Plaza. This is truly people watching at its best.
Finding an affordable place to stay in Medellín is easy to do, as apartments for rent are plentiful. Rents can run you in the range of $300 to $900 per month for a furnished apartment (depending on your tastes), with many apartments offering you modern amenities like a gym, or 24-hour gat-ed security. Some apartments offer spectacular views overlooking a beautiful cityscape that lights up like a Christmas tree in the evening.
There are condos and apartments to fit anybody’s style of living. If the fast pace of downtown living is for you, then check out the commune of Buenos Aires. This area is just walking distance away from downtown, while still offering you that neighborhood feel. Or enjoy upscale living in one of the many apartments of El Poblado. With its high-end grocery stores like Carulla and Éx-ito to its retail lined streets, you’ll forget you’re not living in a city like San Francisco or Los An-geles.
Medellín may be the best retirement destination you have yet to discover.
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