I awake to the sound of gentle rain on the roof. Its chilly but not cold. It’s never cold. Even sweat pants give way to shorts by mid-morning on most days. My husband Jaime is already up making the traditional hot chocolate that I have learned to love, and my toddler is still fast asleep. My mother bustles around making her protein drink and choosing a book to read. She moved to Colombia only two months ago when her Social Security started coming in.
Together we have found the tropical microclimate of our dreams and share a nice life in Pereira, Colombia. Best of all, it costs us less than $1,000 per month, all expenses combined.
Since my mom’s arrival, we have been looking for a larger apartment or house to rent. The prices aren’t bad but we are taking our time. Demand is very high for housing in Pereira, up from what it was only three years ago when I arrived.
Capital of the Coffee Axis, Pereira is the fastest-growing city in the region with a population of roughly 700,000 inhabitants. With modern amenities such as parks, movie theaters, several large shopping malls, monthly farmers’ markets, and sports facilities, there’s always plenty to do.
The apartment we rent has three bedrooms, a maid’s bedroom, and two-and-a-half bathrooms. All for about $250 per month. Our utilities run around $35 per month and internet is $20.
City initiatives have led to a cleaner, more attractive Pereira, especially in the city center. Many roadways and city neighborhoods are being repaved and cleaned up. Security is also no longer the big issue it once was, when most of older buildings here in the center were constructed.
Most of the apartments and houses we are looking at are at least five or six bedrooms. We need the extra space for our home-based internet businesses and my husband’s cocoa business which requires space for equipment. We expect to pay about $400 to $500 per month in rent when we do move.
Buying a house is even easier in Pereira. With low annual taxes, your biggest cost is usually the administration fee for on-site maintenance and security. If you want the palace of your dreams, you can find a three-bedroom, five-bathroom home out in the countryside, but close the city—it’s just a 20-minute drive. The home, with a pool, Jacuzzi, and tennis courts in the closed community with 24-hour security on-site, can be yours for only $300,000. A bit expensive, considering that Pereira has the second-highest property costs in Colombia, but cheap compared to the cost of a mansion in the U.S. or Canada.
If country bliss isn’t quite your ideal retreat, you can find modern, spacious apartments in the nice part of town. One apartment currently for sale in the city center features three bedrooms, three bathrooms, hot water, plenty of natural light, and a fully integrated kitchen. With pool, gym, sauna, 24-hour security, and a panoramic view, it can be yours for only $120,000.
Even a nice three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with marble floors in the downtown area can be had for $65,000. With everything you need—including Western Union, a supermarket, gyms, retail stores, and even public transport—typically within a block of the house, what more could you ask for?
You can construct the life of your dreams from scratch like we have. Or, grab a small investment like many of our friends from the U.S. and Canada have. The expat community has also been steadily growing, and holds regular meet-ups that are always open to new members.
With some of the best roads, and infrastructure that eclipses the overcrowded big cities, Pereira is still a hidden secret, but not for much longer.
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