Long Term Stay in Bogota or Medellin
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 15, 2013 2:35 PM Last Post By: Andresposner
Feb 4, 2013 4:32 PM
I'm in the very early stages of planning a longer term trip to Colombia. I'm thinking 6 months to a year. Just want to get out of the States, immerse myself in a new culture for a while, and have a couple loose connections in country. I'm trying to decide on whether to stay in Medellin or Bogota and one of the biggest considerations is cost of living. Does anyone know which of the two cities is cheaper in a very general sense? More specifically in terms of standard apartment rent (nothing luxurious, but I also don't want a dump) and food costs? I know it's a very broad question to ask but I'm hoping for some good insight. Thanks!
Feb 4, 2013 7:03 PM
Feb 5, 2013 12:38 AM
2Your questions are very general... gabri gave you good advice... but you may just want to choose one of the two...
The more we know about you, your budget and your interests, the better we can help you out...
You may first want to do a search of LP to research... then focus on specific questions to get better answers...
You will also need to plan your visa, health insurance and a bunch of things before you embark on such an adventure...
Feb 5, 2013 10:09 AM
3Thanks! Yes, there is still much to plan out. A lot of questions, but I'm giving myself a few months to get all the info together before heading off. A good friend is really pushing Medellin because of how beautiful it is. After looking at pictures, it'd be hard to disagree. As far as my budget goes, I'd be working remotely and able to bring in perhaps $700USD/month. And interests are more focused on relaxing. I do want to be around people, so a totally isolated town in the middle of nowhere isn't ideal, but I also am in need of a break from a big, bustling city which makes me think that Bogota may not be the best choice.
Regardless, thanks for the advice, everyone. Really appreciate it.
Feb 5, 2013 3:46 PM
4Well your objective is healthy. Bogotá has more international influence and "expensive" variety of foods and cultural events.
However, it is a mini-New York and the cachacos can be rude. I am not very familiar with Bogotá, so I would gladly bow to a more informed yet credible opinion.
In Medellín, it is "slightly" more affordable than Bogotá... and you may be able to find the piece of paradise that you're looking for BUT only $700 a month for everything will make it very difficult.
Feb 5, 2013 4:33 PM
5Weather is another consideration to keep in mind. Bogota can be very cold and rainy; Medellin has an almost ideal climate. Also, much more pollution in Bogota.
Feb 5, 2013 5:25 PM
6US$ 700/month = COP 1.250.000 is pushing it, especially being new in the country. If you are lucky you can find a room for 350.000. Forget about renting your own apartment, not only because of your tight budget but also the paperwork involved (you will need 1 or 2 guarantors who own property/have proof of decent income), rental contracts are for 1 year... and it ain't cheap, especially when renting a furnished place. Colombia is not exactly cheap :-(
Feb 6, 2013 11:51 AM
7bogota isn't cold...it's 22 degrees all the year......
I presonally estetically prefer bogota...but this is the typical "cities' war"...they are definitely very different that's why i would taste both...i wouldn't personally live in medellin,but for a week end is very nice....it's up to you, enjoy
Feb 6, 2013 7:23 PM
8I would agree with gabri on trying both... but disagree on the weather... Bogota is indeed cold, dreary and rainy.... and it's not 22 degrees all the year... It is a range of tempreatures.... but if I had to select one, then I would go with 14.
But again, Medellín can be warm at times and rainy at times... We had a lot of thos days last year.
Feb 6, 2013 8:47 PM
9You can easily live in Medellin for $700 a month, unless you plan on drinking till you puke every night. There is a facebook group called GringoPaisa which has a lot of apartments listed, usually around $300 a month. YOu can also stay at a hostel and work there. The Wandering Paisa in central Medellin (in Estadio, just down the street from the metro and the sports complex) lets people bartend in exchange for discount or free rooms (depending on if you bartend full or part time). I lived there for 4 months bartending 5 nights a week (full time), but you should plan this with them ahead of time.
The richer neighbourhoods in medellin are obviously more expensive, but you can also find roommates pretty easy. I love Medellin. Bogota is freezing cold, rainy, grey, and i dont find nearly as exciting or easy to get around as Medellin. Medellin has a metro system, great buses, and everything is pretty close and cheap by taxi. But yes, they dont have a wide variety of restaurant foods. however, at La Minorista (the farmers market) you can buy anything you want (except for fennel) and cook yourself.
Medellin i feel is also more central to visiting other areas of Colombia. Plus, because of the weather, there is way more to do. There is a free swimming pool complex in Estadio (right off the Estadio station), water parks, outdoor parks, paragliding, easy day trips to Santa Fe and Guatape. Medellin is very much a city, but laid back with a hell of a lot better weather than Bogota.
If you want to know more about Medellin, I have some posts on my blog Going Nomadic or go read a great site all about Medellin called Medellin Living
Feb 6, 2013 9:33 PM
10Hi Dani... nice blogs and videos on youtube...
Please can you support your claim "You can easily live in Medellin for $700 a month" for someone who intends to live here 6 months to a year...
What threw me off was your use of the word "easily"...
I think we have a responsibility to give travellers a realistic and accurate picture...
Please include everything, including health insurance and copays, rent and rent deposits, furniture, appliances, clothes, utilities, entertainment, transportation, taxis at night, internet, cell phone, food, drinks, home supplies, weekly cleaning, travel, small vacations, bank fees, etc...
Prices at the Minorista are not the cheapest in Medellín... you can find the cheaper prices in the smaller alamacenes in certain areas in El centro but you have to know where to go...
Feb 7, 2013 8:42 AM
11Speaking of Medellin Living, here is a pretty informative blog post highlighting the writers monthly expenses in Medellin:
A more budget minded person can easily cut corners off the monthly expenditures highlighted in his post (i.e., clothes, transportation, food costs and nightlife). However, 700$ is pushing it. Good luck!
Feb 7, 2013 11:05 AM
12freezing, cold????come on guys.....I have been many times in bogota and been living.......at night temperature can get low bcause of the altitude but durtin the day temperature is around 18-22 degree ALWAYS....at night can get to 8-10 degrees easily....but it's not that bad, of course it's not medellin but in my country everyone would sign up an endless contract to hace such a climate.....I don't want to influence anyone bcause everybody have to experience and get an opinion which is influenced by millions of different factors.....I personally don't love huge cities despite having lived in severals but I like Bogota which is less stressfull than my city(milan) and cachacos are good, smiling.......paisa is a little bit more "chamuchero" as argentinian would say...anyway enjoy colombian experience in his wholeness(?') bcause anypart of colombia deserve a visit!!!any!
Feb 7, 2013 12:37 PM
13Of course, gabri, when you compare it to Milano.... just kidding...
We are comparing whose first among equals here in relative terms to other place in the world... Cachacos may be rude and dry in comparison with the paisas, but they are still Colombians and good folks...
Feb 15, 2013 2:35 PM
14Hi. I'm from Bogotá and probably can help you with the information you need... accomodation in a room could be around $250.000 a month in an avarage area, food about $80.000 a week if you cook, transport is a little expensive it could vary but bus tickets are around $2.000. .... are you planning to work in Bogota or only want to stay there for a long while? .... I don't know if you really like big cities... but i would rather been in a small city with lot of things to do,...
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