Retire in Colombia – What You Need To Know

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Would YOU Retire in Colombia?

Say “Colombia” to just about any American, Canadian or European a decade ago and he or she would think: drug lords, kidnappings, violence. The idea of retiring to Colombia would have been laughable.

What a difference a decade makes. The U.S. Department of State has this to say about Colombia now:

“Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Colombia each year for tourism, business, university studies and volunteer work. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogotá, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Medellín and Cali. However, violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural and urban areas.”

With its safety situation much improved, this country has a lot to offer: gorgeous beaches and mountains, a climate for every taste and low cost of living, to name just three of its benefits.

The more I read about Colombia, the more I wanted to go and see for myself. I bet the same will happen to you after you delve into our 9 part article series. Enjoy!

Colorful street in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia [By Einer Rivera, Public Domain,]

Climate & Weather

Describing the weather in Colombia is a little like the story of the three blind men describing an elephant; it all depends on your perspective, or in this case, your location.

What this means is that you can find any weather you want, depending on elevation and distance from the coast. Of course there are two coasts, the Caribbean and the Pacific, to give you even more choice. [Read more about the Colombia climate.]

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Colombia is one of the main reasons so many people are considering retiring in Colombia. We’re going to check out current costs to see what you can expect in terms of standard of living, keeping in mind a base-line income of $1300 (USD) per month. [Check out our Colombia cost-of-living guide.]

Internet & Transportation

Before you decide to retire in Colombia, you want to know what to expect in terms of its infrastructure. Let’s take a look at getting there, getting around and staying connected. [Learn more about Colombia’s internet, infrastructure and transportation.]

Education & Schools

Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, you may find our detour into Colombia’s educational system interesting. Have you ever heard about the “Escuela Nueva” (New School)? It’s a new schooling system introduced in Colombia in the 1970s and since then adopted by 17 countries around the world. [Read more about Colombia’s education system and where to find the best international schools.]

Safety in Colombia

The bad news: Together with Belize, Colombia is the country with the highest murder rate among the countries we write about at RetirePedia.

The good news: There has been a decrease in overall criminal activity throughout the country, particularly in Bogotá, which is trying to attract tourists.  To achieve this, the city has hired a lot more police and cleaned up a large portion of the city. [Click here to get the full picture and our tips about how to stay safe.]

Housing & Properties

Like many things in foreign countries, Colombia housing searches take on a life of their own. You have to constantly bear in mind that the way we think or do things may seem universal when we’re at home, but this doesn’t hold true once you cross a border.

We’ll help you search for rentals or properties to buy more efficiently. We also talk about the prices you can expect to pay, taxes and more. [Read the full article about Colombia housing and properties.]

Visa Requirements & Residency

Do you need a visa for Colombia when you travel there? What are the requirements for getting residency? Are there any benefits for retirees living in Colombia? [Click here to read the answers to these questions.]

Health Care

Accolades have been heaped upon the country for its health care improvements and in many ways the health care program in Colombia is very progressive. However, like most things, the devil is in the details. We’ll explain what health care options you have, and what they will cost you. [Read more about health care and health insurance in Colombia.]

Colombia’s Culture, People & Entertainment

Did you know that Colombia’s a “carnaval country”? There are fifteen in the month of January alone, the first one lasting for 5 days with a different theme every day.

In the whole of the country but particularly in the cities, the cultural entertainment scene is bountiful, often boisterous and flourishing. Every city has live stage theater, music venues, art galleries, and movie theaters.

You will not be bored when you retire in Colombia[Click here to read the full story.]

Video: Colombia’s Resurgence

This 6 minute documentary takes you from the violence and drug wars during the 1980s and 90s to the country’s slow evolvement into a peaceful nation. Especially the changes in Medellin are fascinating and encouraging.

Spanish Language Course (Essential When You Retire in Colombia)

Learning the local language is, in my opinion, a must-do. Without at least a basic understanding of Spanish, you’d lose out on many aspects of the Colombian culture and its people.

Pimsleur’s Spanish course teaches Latin American Spanish, with native speakers from Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. Try their free lesson today!