Colombia has been off the radar of foreigners due to its past troubles. Now, it’s taking its rightful place.
I love the nicer climates (you can pick your favorite), friendlier people, and lower living costs. The dollar has a power of 3-to-1 on average giving us expats a great return and meaning our lifestyle is far above what we would experience at home.
It’s like being on a new frontier.
I live in the Coffee Triangle in a small city called Pereira. I live with my retired mother and four-year-old son. The city has re-landscaped all the green spaces and is updating roads and infrastructure. The local economy is flourishing.
While the country modernizes, and more expats come, it’s still a place of traditions and farm-fresh food. I can buy handmade soap at the local farmers market, have fresh goat yogurt delivered right to my door, and I can even have a girl come to my house to give me a manicure/pedicure for a third of what it would cost Stateside.
Here are what some of my expat friends are saying about why they chose Colombia…
My friend John is 57, originally from Tampa. When you ask him “why Colombia” his answer is, ‘”The people! The citizens of Pereira and Colombia are the friendliest I’ve ever met. Everyone bids you “good day” and will make every effort to help out if they can. Then there’s the climates. Where else can you go from snow-peaked volcanoes to lush tropical forests to a desert in a single day.”‘
Another friend, 64-year-old Kevin says: “I can live comfortably without working anymore, as opposed to working till death do us part in the U.S. What seals the deal, however, is the varied climates, the geography that gives such beautiful vistas.”
The city of Manizales is about an hour from Pereira. It’s often called “the San Francisco of Colombia” thanks to its climate and hills. My friend Michael lives there. “After taking several months to travel eight different countries around the world, Colombia was the one that made me feel most at home,” he says. “The relaxing lifestyle of siestas here forces us to slow down and enjoy time with our family and friends for two hours each day. This and the other simple traditions of Colombia awaken a yearning to return to a lifestyle long ago lost in the U.S., and many other countries.
Farther south in the “Salsa Capital” of Cali, my friend DP says, “It’s the beauty of the country. It’s the kindness and generosity of the people. It’s sharing a laugh when trying to ask for directions in my poor Spanish. It’s seeing the sun every day. It’s the sharing a drink carved out of a coconut on the untouched beaches on the coast. It’s a hungover morning coffee in the rolling mountains. It’s knowing when you wake up in the morning, today is going to be different than yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. Colombia chose me, not the other way around. Because upon its discovery, I knew there was no way I could possibly return to my old life as I knew it.”
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