Medellin, coffee country or Arequipa - long term stay
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Oct 20, 2012 7:41 PM Last Post By: STD
Oct 2, 2012 11:59 AM
Medellin, coffee country or Arequipa - long term stayI am planning to move to South America for 3-6 months to practice my Spanish (I’m fairly fluent, but always looking to improve) and teach English. Top choices right now are:
-Medellin, Colombia (seems like the best fit for location, but not as happy with the programs I have found there)
-Coffee region of Colombia (Manizales, Pereira, or Ibague)
The main reasons for these picks is that they satisfy my main criteria of a pleasant climate (not too hot, cold, or rainy), are relatively safe, low cost of living, mountain setting, friendly people, and are not overrun with tourists (I hope?).
1. Mosquitoes: I can handle a few now and then, but don’t want to be spraying myself down with DEET daily. Lots of mosquitoes is an immediate disqualifier!
2. Long term city appeal – I will hopefully be teaching full time, so I don’t need tons of touristy things to do, but also don’t want to be bored senseless (this is mostly a question for the coffee region cities). Also, friendliness/ease of making local friends is a big perk, as is cheap cost of living.
3. Proximity to parks/nature (that I don’t have to pay for). I like to walk 4-6 miles a day, and I know smog is often an issue in latin American cities, so being able to get to a local park or scenic are to enjoy some mountain views and fresh(er) air, without having to pay for a guide/bus trip is huge.
4. I am a solo female traveler – been to latin America several times before so I know what to expect generally in terms of safety, male attention, etc. – but any perspectives from fellow female travelers is appreciated!
Oct 2, 2012 1:34 PM
Oct 2, 2012 3:52 PM
2Wow! I'm surprised to hear that there are lots of mozzies in Medellin. Thought the mile high altitude is higher than where they like to hang out.
Oct 2, 2012 6:12 PM
3As regards mossies - I have just got back from Colombia. I found the mosquitoes in Medellin quite bad , but in Salento in the Zona CAfeteria, I was almost devoured alive. And I was using DEET. Having said that, they seem to like me more than the average person, so you may be alright. I think I need to change my aftershave. (Other than that, Colombia was amazing).
Oct 2, 2012 7:45 PM
4Thanks matt. I have Salento on my list, too. Somehow or another I had not yet uncovered the mozzie problem in the Colombian mountains. How'd I miss that? Well, that's why I've been on here many months before my travel, to learn whatever I can.
Oct 3, 2012 2:46 AM
5I live in medellin and have never had a mozzie problem at all. Medellin offers a lor more in my opinion than manizales , periera etc and they are easy to visit from Med. Would choose Colombia over Arequipa as well. Lots to do as a tourist from there but not nearly as nice for living as Medellin. It does however rain a hell of a lot in Medellin so that may sway you.
Oct 3, 2012 7:54 AM
6Thanks for the replies! Everything I see and read about Medellin seems so amazing, but mosquitoes LOVE me (and I have a bad reaction to them), so that is a big point in favor of Arequipa. And my understanding of the rain in Medellin is that it is fairly predictable, short showers that pass - not all day downpours. Is that true? One of the big draws for Colombia is also the reputation for outgoing, friendly people - people in LatAm are all nice in my experience, but since I want to practice my Spanish, I would prefer to be in a place where people will really want to talk to me (this was my experience in Nicaragua and Buenos Aires, less so in Costa Rica and Guatemala). What are people in Arequipa like?
Oct 3, 2012 1:47 PM
7OP - I agree with Bickerss; Medellín has A LOT to offer, and I never noticed mosquitoes - period. Also had much less rain during my visit than expected, but yes - brief/short afternoon showers.
Colombians are friendly, the Paisas of Medellin willing to interact but also didn't find them as outgoing to do so like in Nicaragua. You'll probably have to make a lot of the initial contact, but from there all is good. There will be some dialect adjustments based on whatever you've learned. My Spanish is Caribbean and more like a Costeño. That could understand me, but some of the differences were amazing! We use aquí for most everything, and I was laughing at how many time I got corrected with their +acá+! Enjoy ~
Oct 3, 2012 2:11 PM
8Just to clarify...I have no personal experience of mosquitos in Medellin. Just heard about it and know that it isn´t a problem in Aerequipa. Anyway from the other users I wouldn´t base my decisions on the mosquito issue.
Oct 17, 2012 9:39 PM
9Yes they'res mosquitos in Medellin, but NO they're not the bloodsucking type.
Oct 18, 2012 6:30 AM
Oct 20, 2012 7:41 PM
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