The Secret is Out…Expats Have Discovered This Great Destination

I am living proof that dreams can come true. For more than 20 years, I worked in jobs that I never really wanted, all the while trying to convince myself I was getting satisfaction that wasn’t really there. Secretly, I dreamed of doing what I love best—traveling, taking photographs, and sharing stories of my adventures with the world.

Guess what? That’s what I’m doing today, sharing my travels with you, through words and pictures—from Colombia.

And I could not have chosen a better place to live my dream. Colombia offers something for everyone. Imagine a place where you can raft the rapids of an untamed river one weekend and enjoy a symphony performance the next. Colombia has both, and much more.

Colombia is no longer Latin America’s best-kept secret, because more and more expats are moving here to start a new life. I see so many people realizing their dreams in this beautiful country…either retiring or continuing to generate an income. I even found another American living in my tiny little Colombian coffee town.

There are so many good towns and cities to choose from in Colombia. A few years ago, Kim Macphee and Tony Clark settled in the fairytale city of Popayán—with its whitewashed colonial buildings and great café culture—and opened a hostel there. Then they opened a second hostel…then a bike rental business…then a tour company.

Buga is a bustling tourist and university town. Stefan Schnur even opened a microbrewery there…well, with a student and tourist market for good beer, why wouldn’t he? Business is thriving and he’s about to launch the beer nationally. The city hosts annual jazz and film festivals, and it’s located just one hour away from Cali, Colombia’s third largest city.

There’s a great outdoors scene in Bucaramanga, if you’re looking for that kind of lifestyle. The weather is consistently good and the topography lends itself to all sorts of outdoor pursuits. American expat Russell Agnew is flying high there as a paragliding instructor, while a number of other expats have settled in the village of San Gil to set up businesses around the adventure sports scene.

Manizales sits majestically atop a mountain ridge in the heart of the Coffee Triangle and this is where American expats Daniel Buitron Jaramillo and Eliesha Lovell have found the peaceful yet sophisticated lifestyle they once craved. With so many visitors coming to the Coffee Triangle, Manizales was the perfect location for Daniel and Eliesha to set up their travel agency.

And obviously the coffee is great around the Coffee Triangle. Some foreign transplants have turned their love of Colombian coffee into thriving businesses. One expat is growing coffee in Salento while two others export coffee beans from nearby Armenia.

It’s relatively easy to open a business in Colombia. In fact, you can start one while visiting on a tourist visa. And starting a business can help you qualify for a residence visa.

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