Nomad Guide to Living in Colombia
Colombia is a country that has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, shedding its dark past and becoming a bustling economic and cultural hub. Expats and multinational corporations are taking notice of the endless opportunities that unfold in Colombia. From towering Andean peaks to mythical Amazon jungles and pristine coastline, this country has something for everyone. In this guide, we will explore the cost of living, the best places to live, business and start-ups, vibrant culture, safety, real estate and housing, and second citizenship options for those looking to live in Colombia.
The Cost of Living in Colombia
Colombia offers an excellent low-cost upscale living ratio. In a country where one would expect otherwise, there exists an array of first-world amenities and infrastructure. Rent and the cost of living will vary from place to place, but in general, you can expect the following to be true:
- Dining out during lunch hours will cost you about $5 for the traditional Colombian lunch (soup, main, drink, and dessert). Dinner will cost about $10 – $20 a plate in a touristy area.
- City buses will cost you around $0.60-$0.90 one way, while taxis generally cost around $0.60 per kilometer in the cities.
- Rent in cities like Medellín and Bogota runs around $400-$1,000 for an average apartment. Nicer flats designed for expats can be rented for around $1,500-$2,000 per month.
- Utilities should only cost you around an average of $60/month for gas and electricity.
- A couple can expect to pay around $375/month in food. A liter of milk in the grocery store will cost about 75 cents, one dozen eggs around $1.50, and a decent bottle of red table wine around $10.
The Best Places to Live in Colombia
Colombia is built for any kind of lifestyle, whether you’re wanting to retire by the coast or startup in the metropolis. Here are some of the best places to live in Colombia:
Medellín was dubbed the ‘Worlds Most Innovative City’ back in 2012 by Citi and Wall Street Journal. A promising IT hub awaits, built on free after-school computer programming lessons and other government-funded programs. A strong educational culture with a blossoming arts scene provides a fresh and inventive workforce.
Santa Marta is perfect for those looking to retire or unwind from the daily grind. This paradise on earth is complete with tropical rainforest, snow-capped mountains, and a Caribbean coast. Tayrona National Park protects these pristine landscapes.
Bogota is the capital of Colombia and home to over 13 million people in its metropolitan area. Home to many business headquarters, Bogota conveniently lies just five hours by plane from New York, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. In the north, there are chic and sophisticated neighborhoods in many areas of the city. La Candelaria is the city’s cultural epicenter where the historic cobblestoned streets lead you through the numerous museums, restaurants, churches and convents.
Cali is the largest city in Colombia, after Bogota, with 3 million inhabitants. It contains a bustling industry of coffee, sugar, meats, cotton, tobacco, textiles, paper and more. The world capital of salsa, Cali pulses with its infectious salsa clubs and urban culture. This is Colombia’s only major city that gives access to the Pacific coast.
Business and Start-ups in Colombia
Colombia is near the forefront in leaders of Latin America when it comes to entrepreneurship, abundant natural resources, and a growing middle class.
Colombia has been rapidly growing and transforming itself into a sought-after destination for expats and investors. With its economic and cultural hub, diverse landscapes, and endless opportunities, it's no surprise that multinational corporations and expats are making the transition to Colombia's upscale living.
Real Estate and Housing in Colombia
Colombia is a country with an impressive infrastructure and a growing real estate market that is attracting investors and expats from all over the world. Recent government incentives to invest in real estate have made it easier to obtain citizenship in the country with minimal effort.
Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Santa Marta, and other cities in Colombia offer a great infrastructure and a decent real estate market for investing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cali is the most affordable city for real estate in both Central and South America, with a price of around $870 USD per square meter. Medellin came in third place at $1,119 USD per square meter.
Despite the excellent business and real estate opportunities in Colombia, it is still advisable to seek out a professional or partner when purchasing property. This can help with translating, navigating the market, and avoiding property scams that can take place.
Once you find the right connection, real estate in Colombia can be a great deal for open-minded expats and investors looking to relocate or find good rental yields in properties.
Second Citizenship in Colombia
Expats and investors who desire a second citizenship can obtain citizenship in Colombia in as little as 5 years. To become a citizen, you need to invest in either property or business in the country itself and visit Colombia at least once a year to keep your residency active.
After spending as little as five years in the country, you can apply for naturalization. A Colombian passport is much better than it used to be and will grant you visa-free access to over 100 countries, including Europe's Schengen Area and traditionally difficult countries like Russia.
As a dual citizenship country, you will not have to renounce your current citizenship to become a citizen of Colombia.
Colombia is an attractive destination for expats and investors who are looking for a vibrant culture, affordable living costs, and a thriving economy. The country is slowly shedding its infamous dark past and is now offering a safe and welcoming environment to visitors from all over the world.
The real estate market in Colombia is booming, and there are plenty of opportunities for those who are interested in investing in property or business. With a second citizenship, you can enjoy the benefits of visa-free travel to over 100 countries, making it an excellent choice for expats who want to explore the world.
Overall, Colombia offers a great lifestyle, affordable living costs, and a friendly culture that welcomes visitors with open arms. If you are looking for a new place to call home, Colombia should definitely be on your list of destinations to consider.