Retiring and living in Medellin: An expat's testimony

by BCR

Medellin, Colombia, is attracting growing numbers of expats and foreign retirees thanks to its pleasant weather, its beautiful setting, its sophisticated cultural offerings, its modern infrastructure, and its affordable cost of living.

"Live and Invest Overseas" Editor Katheleen Pedicord made interviews with expats who've already settled in this beautiful, sophisticated city.. Here's a preview of one of those conversations...

Q: How did you choose Medellin?

Joe's Response: I ended up in Medellin by accident. I was driving from Seattle, Washington, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and my van broke down three hours north of Medellin. It was impossible to locate parts for my vehicle here (VW van), and it took nearly three months to get it fixed.

By the time I had my van back, I was sold on Medellin. The first week I was here, I played tourist and saw the sites. I was impressed from the first day with how modern the city and its transportation system are.

Having taken a six-month road trip through Mexico and all Central America, I can tell you that, for me, no city in that region compares. This is a notably cleaner city than cities in Central America, for example.

For me, the friendliness of the locals was a big selling point. It was evident that there have been few travelers and foreigners in Medellin to date. The locals welcome newcomers with open arms and with lots of pride in their city and their country.

Q: What's there to do in Medellin?

Joe's Response: Medellin is a big city. Full of events. I have been very impressed by the sporting complexes, for example--modern and well-maintained stadiums, gyms, swimming pools, running tracks, etc. One section of the main road system is shut down every Sunday to encourage locals to walk and bike the city. Again, not what I had expected to find anywhere in Latin America. The city is progressive in its thinking and its government. The library system is large and modern, and Medellin is big on green spaces and public parks.

Q: Do you own a home or are you renting?

Joe's Response: I own an apartment in El Poblado with a business partner, that we rent out. I rent and live in the San Joaquin neighborhood.

Q: What are your favorite things about living in Medellin?

Joe's Response: Climate for sure. Also no mosquitos. On my driving trip down here, I contemplated living in many locations, including Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. The reality, I found, is that, once you get south of Baja, Mexico, the weather anywhere near the ocean is extremely hot. You just want to be in an air-conditioned vehicle or an air-conditioned building all the time. For a week's vacation, a tropical location can be great. You spend your time lounging by the pool. But as a place to live and work, I find Medellin far more pleasant.

Q: What don't you like about life in Medellin?

Joe's Response: Traffic is becoming more of a problem. If you need to drive a lot in town, it can consume a lot of time. With the economy moving ahead, more and more people are owning vehicles.

Q: Can you comment on the availability, price, and quality of medical and dental care in the city?

Joe's Response: My only experience in this department so far is having my teeth cleaned. The cost was approximately US$40. The office was as clean and sophisticated as I've ever been in. They even had a TV that they position over your head and a set of headphones so that you can watch TV or a movie during the procedure. A lot fancier than I would have guessed. The dentist spoke excellent English.

Q: Has language been a problem for you?

Joe's Response: Language can be a hurdle, depending on the neighborhood you are in and what you are looking to accomplish. I would consider myself a beginner in Spanish, and I know I need to improve. I have recently enrolled at the local university for classes. The more "touristy" a neighborhood is (El Poblado, for example), the more English that is spoken. But, generally speaking, the people here don't speak English.

Q: What would you say is the future of Medellin? Where is this city headed?

Joe's Response: I would guess that Medellin is on the verge of a major growth spurt. The city will continue to modernize and to internationalize. The government seems to be investing heavily in transportation infrastructure and educational systems (with an emphasis on teaching English to the next generation). The locals are moving up the "class ladder," and the middle and upper classes are expanding.

In just the time that I have been living here, I'm noticing more and more Americans, Europeans, and Australians settling here.

Click here to see the complete report

Comments for Retiring and living in Medellin: An expat's testimony

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 19, 2016
It worth a special page
by: Mauricio

Hi R.Doerr, Thanks for sharing such a great story, and for taking the time to writte your passion for Medellin. Your comment has been created as a complete page you can find it here living-in-medellin-a-great-place-for-expats.

Mar 01, 2016
A great place for expats
by: R. Doerr

Only living here for two months at the moment but I have been to Colombia some fifty times to vacation, work and do research. It is like a second home to me and I love this country with a passion. I am a retired college professor of Spanish, Latin American literature, culture and civilization, now retired. Totally fluent in Spanish. My wife is Colombian, from Bogota. The first time I came to Medellin was back in 1964 after... Please check the complete post here

Sep 30, 2015
by: William Jack

Medellin is a very beautiful place which is situated in Columbia, the best thing about is that it has beautiful nature and its atmosphere and climate is always good.

Sep 21, 2015
by: Anonymous

Your blogs are simply amazing! I am a custom essay writer with a whole lot of experience in the area. I have to say, in all the years that I have been writing; I have not once read a piece that describes what I do as well as your recent blog does. Thank you for the tribute!

Aug 04, 2015

by: Mauricio

Gloria, good to know you are happy living in Medellin. There is a bit expat community in Medellin. I'm sure you have met some of them.

May 14, 2015
Retiring in Medellin
by: Gloria

I am from Colombia but American citizen also, I was living in USA 19 years but now I back to retired in Colombia. I am happy again, the people is so warm and the city is so clean. My husband was American, he passed away 8 years ago, but he was so happy living in Guarne, Antioquia, this is 45 minutes from Medellin, close to the Airport. I hope to find American friends living in Medellin.

Apr 23, 2011
Soy Colombiana Paisa con Mucho Orgullo
by: Anonymous

Soy colombiana , conocí un extranjero y me fui a vivir a usa pero definitivamente la vida en usa no se puede comparar con el calor humano que encuentra uno en Colombia a pesar de tantos problemas de guerrilla delincuencia y tanta inseguridad pues normalmente mientras uno no se meta en problemas con nadie se mete con uno los delincuentes se matan entre ellos mismos , la calidad de vida el calor humano los paisajes la comida la sencillez de la gente es mas la gente buena que se encuentra en Colombia , la gente gentil colaboradora y la buena comunicación entre los vecinos acá en usa no existe ni calor humano acá la gente muere de soledad espero algún día regresar a mi tierra natal

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your reason for living in Colombia.