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Medellín - the perfect place for me to live, photo by Jenny Bojinova
Jason, an expat from the U.S. with a pension living in Medellín, explains the reasons why he chose Medellín as the perfect place to live.

Medellín, Colombia – Why it’s the Perfect Place for Me

I want to start off by telling everyone a little about myself and the reasons why I chose to relocate to Medellín from the U.S. and why it’s the perfect place for me. I am a 46-year-old single male who receives a pension from the U.S. government. And I came to realize that it did not go very far in the state of California, or any state in the U.S. for that matter.

Due to some major injuries, I have been unable to perform many of the regular duties of my job. With a limited income and the high cost of living in the U.S. I had to quickly figure out what kind of life I wanted to live. I decided there are three main things I was looking for in a perfect place to live for me.

Note the above photo of Medellín is by Jenny Bojinova.

1. Weather

First of all, I did not want to move to a location that had terrible weather. In California, the weather is pretty much perfect all year round. Sure, it gets colder in the winter but where I lived in San Diego it never really got that cold.

If I wanted the cold it was only a few hours’ drive to the mountains where I could even find snow if I so desired. As far as getting hot, it never really got above the 90’s on the beach.

So, it was very important to me to find another location that had similar weather. At first, I thought it was impossible to find elsewhere. That was until I noticed that in South America  and Central America there were some locations with similar weather.

2. Affordable Living

Second, it was very important to find a location where I could receive my government pension without any problems. Also, that the location was affordable and I could actually live on the funds that I receive.

I also wanted not just live but to live the quality of life that I wanted to live. I wanted to live alone without roommates. In addition, I wanted to be able to enjoy eating out a few times a week. I wanted to go out and enjoy the nightlife as well.

This left me with even fewer choices. I didn’t have the income I used to have. So, I needed to find a location that had decent transportation systems in place. I expected to never own another car again due to the costs of owning a vehicle.

3. Things to Do and Food

Finally, it is important to me that there are plenty of things to do. Plus, it’s important to have a good selection of different foods that I like to eat.

And last, but certainly not least, was a location that had many beautiful women. I am single after all. I wanted to find a location where I at least found the women attractive since I am still single. That leads to another expense. Ha ha. It also had to be a location that owning a vehicle was not a big deal for anyone especially the girls.

Panoramic view of Medellín

Panoramic view of Medellín

Medellín: The Perfect Place for Me

There are several reasons that led me to select Medellin over other possible locations. I didn’t have trouble finding several locations with similar qualities that fit the description of what I was looking for. But the choice of Medellín was easy for me because it had the best of everything that I wanted.

Everything I needed to live a quality life is found here in Medellín. Most of the other locations I looked at were missing one or two of the items that I wanted. For example, the cost of living was higher than I wanted, food was not that great, or it was just too far away and would cost a small fortune to get there.

Now that I have been living in Medellín for a while I figured it would be helpful to others to share my personal experience. And hopefully this can also help you to relate to additional articles I plan to write and how I perceive things. Most of the things I disclose of course carry my personal bias and why I personally believe Medellín is the perfect place for me to live.

For me there are seven main reasons why Medellín is the perfect place for me, which follow.

Perfect Place Reason #1: The Weather

With that in mind I will start by saying Medellín is truly a city of eternal spring with an average annual temperature of 72.5 °F (22.5 °C). I noticed on Google weather before arriving here that it always said high probability of rain almost every day but the temperatures were perfect.

After living here for a while I can actually say that it doesn’t rain every day. In fact, most of the days are beautiful. When it does rain most of the times it is late in the evening or early in the morning. Even then it does not seem to last very long. It is a bit humid here at times, but usually has a nice breeze to even things out.

To sum it up the Medellín weather is great! Now I know why so many people here ride motorcycles.

Inside my apartment

Inside my apartment

Perfect Place Reason #2: Cost of Renting

Here in Colombia it is very easy to make use of your government or retirement funds. They are on the list for approved countries to receive any benefits you might have. In fact, having a pension makes it easy to get a visa here.

Secondly it is very affordable here. It is very possible to be able to find a decent furnished place to live for $700 or less for a one bedroom and not a whole lot more for a 2 or 3 bedroom. It does depend on location like any place elsewhere in the world.

I was able to find a nice one bedroom furnished apartment in Laureles for 1,500,000 pesos per month, which is around $500 per month at the current exchange rate.

This place is completely furnished and all bills are paid by the landlord. This includes Direct TV and Internet as well. In addition, it also comes with a washer for clothes. My place is approximately 430 square feet (40 square meters). Also, unfurnished apartments in Medellín can be cheap.

View from my apartment on a rainy day

View from my apartment on a rainy day

There are some obstacles to overcome when looking for rental as a foreigner. One of these obstacles is the language barrier. You may also need to use a real estate agent for unfurnished rentals, which will more than likely require you to have a fiador, which is a cosigner. We looked at ways to avoid the fiador requirement in an apartment rental guide.

A night out in Medellín

A night out in Medellín

Perfect Place Reason #3: The Nightlife

For as far as fun goes, I have found that Colombians love to party and celebrate as often as they can. Every Friday-Sunday there are nightclubs everywhere playing loud music. Colombians love to sing and dance. There are a vast number of holidays and different reason for festivals also. There is no shortage of nightlife here.

Many clubs and bars are open to 4 am. Night life here is amazing. You will often see more people out at night walking the streets then you will during the day.

Not everyone going out drinks. They just love the night life. The Colombian people are very friendly and usually very eager to help with anything you need.

I can honestly tell you that knowing how to communicate in Spanish will go a long way in making life easier for you. Since the majority of the people do not speak any English. And if you are in the more touristy locations in Medellín that will be a little different.

For example, I found that it’s possible in El Poblado to find some Colombians that have been learning English and some that speak it quite well. In addition, there are many schools here in Medellín that offer Spanish classes to get you up to speed on conversational Spanish fairly quickly.

Medellín's Metro

Medellín’s Metro

Perfect Place Reason #4:Transportation

Transportation here in Medellín is awesome. You have many different choices and there is no need to own a vehicle here.

Medellín taxis are everywhere at all hours. When using the taxis, it is better to have your hotel or location where you are staying call one for you. Another way is to use a service like the Easy Taxi mobile app.

If you just grab a taxi you possibly stand a chance of them making a lot of unnecessary turns and running up the bill. I have taken several cabs this way and I only had this problem once. It was also possibly because of traffic. Hard to say at the time because I did not know the area very well.

In summary, you can get anywhere in Medellin easily and for very cheap. The average taxi ride for me is about $3. A ride across town is only $6 and that about 15-20 minute drive. And the Buses are cheap for about $0.75 one-way and roundtrip on the Medellín metro train which includes an integrated bus fare for about $2-$3.

Colombians at lunch

Colombians at lunch

Perfect Place Reason #5: The Colombian People

I have found that the people here in Medellín are very friendly and helpful. You can ask anyone for help and they will go out of their way to assist you, if possible. In my experience, it helps if you demonstrate that you respect their culture and respect them, as you would anyone else that helps. It also helps to speak their language.

A great burger from a restaurant near where I live

A great burger from a restaurant near where I live

Perfect Place Reason #6: Food and Services

There is a large selection of different kinds of food here like in the U.S. You can get Colombian food everywhere of course. Traditional Colombian food includes avocados, rice, beans, chorizo, chicharron, and carne (meat).

You can get pizza, hamburgers and fries, sandwiches, sushi, Italian, Subway, Burger King and many others. There are even healthy food restaurants in Medellín as well as vegan restaurants. One of my favorite foods back home was Mexican and it’s still my favorite here as well.

They are big on bakeries here. There seems to be one on almost every block. Some of the foods here do taste different from the ones back home but are similar.

It is also very easy to get your medications here as well. Pharmacies are another thing that seem to be found on almost every block. Medications, medical, and dentistry are very affordable as well. The doctors are pretty good here as well. In addition, the dentists I have found to be very good and inexpensive.

View from El Peñón de Guatapé, photo by Wilc82

View from El Peñón de Guatapé, photo by Wilc82

Perfect Place Reason #7: Things to Do

There are many historical locations to visit in Medellín that are all very inexpensive. They even have water parks and a large lake at Guatapé that is not too far away.

In addition, you can always take a short plane ride to the coast from here as well – it’s only about a one-hour flight. And domestic flights in Colombia can be cheap and we have a guide to finding cheap flights in Colombia.

Also, they also have cable cars that are very inexpensive and takes you up the hills where there are places to visit and awesome views of the entire city.

Another panoramic view of Medellín

Another panoramic view of Medellín

The Bottom Line: Medellín is the Perfect Place for Me

You can see in my reasons above why Medellín, Colombia was the perfect place for me and why I chose Medellín as my perfect place to live. It just has everything I was looking for and at a very affordable price. Of course, I barely touched on a lot of topics that make this a great place to live or visit/

I hope you have enjoyed this article and that it may help you in making your decision whether to make Medellín your choice to visit or live as well.

My list of reasons above are my top reasons for choosing Medellín. There are many other reasons why Medellín is a great place to live. Jeff the founder of this website, previously wrote about 27 reasons why he chose Medellín as a great place to live.

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15 thoughts on “Medellín, Colombia – Why it’s the Perfect Place for Me”

    1. Catherine Rickert October 4, 2018

      My husband and I are going to come to Medellin in a couple of weeks. We plan on purchasing a condo for rental purchases. Can anyone
      suggest if we should buy a luxury condo or two small rentals. Planing on a purchase in the el polado area, maybe la linde. What are renters
      looking for. What do expats have a hard time finding in the rental market. Hope to make a wise decision. Thanks Cathy

    2. Hi! A lot of these reasons were the same for me in making the decision to move to Medellín. 🙂 I’m currently looking for an apartment and have had some issues with finding a nice one, furnished, for just myself- could you tell me how you found yours? Medellín is a bit city but maybe we’ll run into each other one day. Enjoy Medellín!

      Saludos,

      Megan

    3. Raymond F Conlon October 27, 2017

      Jeff, Your article was perfect and struck a cord with me except I am 63 not 46. I lived in Laguna Beach CA for 22 years and was spoiled by the climate. My monthly SS check is $2,000. It sounds like this could be enough. What gives me the most anxiety is what to do with all of my stuff. Have you kept anything in storage in the USA?

      • You should be able to live comfortably in Medellín with $2000 per month. I kept some things in storage for about a year but finally got tired of paying for storage and got rid of everything in the U.S.

    4. M Frazier October 10, 2017

      Thank you so much for the information. I am seriously considering moving out of the country and Medellin is on the top of the list. I have visited before, but only briefly. The three things that stood out to me, just within 48 hours, was how beautiful the landscape is, how friendly the people are, and how beautiful the women are. Of course, there is more to living there than the above, but they certainly represent the prospects of a good start. Your article definitely helps shed light on the other essential things to consider and I am appreciative. There is nothing like experiencing for one’s self though, and I am seeking guidance in that regard: when to come for a month, where to area stay in, how to secure lodging during that time, how much I should expect to spend, and how to link up with other expats while I am there? Anything you can assist with would be great. Also, as an expat, did you consider Costa Rica?

    5. Michael Morton August 24, 2017

      Great article. Thanks. My name is Michael and I am currently living in San Diego. I have $1500.00 per month coming in from SSA and pension. Is that enough to live on comfortably in Medellin? thanks.

      • JASON C TURNER August 24, 2017

        Hello Michael.
        Great question. I am from San Diego as well. Yes you can. A lot better then you can in San Diego. Of course it really depends on what your opinion of living comfortable really is.. That was one of my main reasons for moving here. I hope this helps. If you have further questions feel free to ask.

    6. JASON C TURNER August 24, 2017

      Hello there Rob
      Well for me it’s really a combo of things that works well for me. Being immersed in amongst the people forces you to try and communicate. Going to classes helps you learn the words and phrases to use when you communicate. And of course to be willing to be uncomfortable and put yourself out there and try to speak with as many people as possible. You need practice daily to make it stick. Hope that helps.
      Jason

    7. Great article Jason! I think you hit on a lot of great points about why Colombia is a great place to live. Quick question, how are you learning spanish? I know there are many ways to learn the language; apps, websites, classes, private tutors, etc. so I was just curious which method you found works best for you.

    8. Jorge Salinas August 22, 2017

      I lived for 25+ years in Chicago, the third city in the US., Industrial hub of the country where for me was very easy to find good jobs. I was awarded a Federal Scholarship for learning English at university level. I did pretty good (I think), and after the first year my scholarship was renewed for one more year, which was very helpful as far as writing and composition was concerned. Once I was able to communicate with americans I felt as if I was holding the world with my two hands. I couldn’t be happier.

      After 25 years I decided to come back home for good, where I´m actually smelling the roses, as the gringos say, with my retirement money and some savings I could put together to make my life here much easier. I found out the kind of weather I had left behind when I got to the Windy City to experience the hot and sticky summers and the long, cold, snowy and horrible winters. That´s why spring and fall were my favorite seasons.

      Well, having said that, I want to congratulate all the americans who are making my beautiful city of Medellín their new home. In the name of all PAISAS, I want to welcome and wish you the very best that life can offer you here. God bless you all and have ALL the fun you want.

    9. Brock Canner August 21, 2017

      Thanks, looks wonderful. Heading outside to take some pictures of the eclipse.
      Have a good one, Brock

    10. Hi Jason, thanks, nice article. You made a good decision to choose Medellin. I love living here.

      I chose Medellin for the same reasons but I would add good and inexpensive medical care to your list. Medellin also has several of the best hospitals in Latin America.

      • JASON C TURNER August 24, 2017

        Thanks Dan
        Your right about that. I just have not had to visit any hospitals or use any of their medical care here yet. I am aware of the many different types of insurances and yes they are know for their medical care. I just didn’t want to comment on something I have not experienced for myself yet. I will look into learning some more and try to get some info out to the readers. Thanks for your comments

        • Brock Canner August 24, 2017

          Thanks Jason, When I asked Jeff the other Medellin Guru Which hospital in Colombia is the best. He answered
          The best rated hospital on that list in Colombia is Fundación Valle del Lili in Cali, Might want to pass that along.
          Cheers, Brock

    11. Geoffrey August 21, 2017

      A retired person can arrange their daily life to avoid the ghastly pollution from traffic. It’s ghastly on the main streets but a flexible schedule and a little research of the neighborhoods have been decisive for me. I’m up a hill and on the tenth floor and the clean, cool gentle breeze off the surrounding mountains flows right through my apartment. Lovely.

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