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Colombia, A Great Country for Retirement
Do you want to retire to a coastal paradise, moutain village, tropical flower garden, or a peaceful city in South America?  Are you looking for a safe and friendly community, inexpensive and excellent health care, affordable and comfortable housing, good public transportation, and a moderate climate?  Colombia has it all and welcomes U.S. citizens as residents, tourists, students, investors, and business partners.  Come and meet the friendliest peole in the world in cities surrounded by fog-tipped mountains in the Andes, farm villages that celebrate their heritage with flower festivals, nature preserves that protect Colombia's exotic flora and fauna, and Caribbean islands surrounded by crystal bue ocean and sparkling white sand.   

Colombia, A Great Country for Retirement
  
Do you want to retire to a coastal paradise, moutain village, tropical flower garden, or a peaceful city in South America?  Are you looking for a safe and friendly community, inexpensive and excellent health care, affordable and comfortable housing, good public transportation, and a moderate climate?  Colombia has it all and welcomes U.S. citizens as residents, tourists, students, investors, and business partners.  Come and meet the friendliest peole in the world in cities surrounded by fog tipped mountains in the Andes, farm villages that celebrate their heritage with flower festivals, nature preserves that protect Colombia's exotic flora and fauna, and Caribbean islands surrounded by crystal bue ocean and sparkling white sand.   Join the growing number of U.S. citizens who have discovered Colombia's advantages for retirement: 

Diverse Geography and Climates
Colombia's geographic location at the northwest corner of South America has both Atlantic and Pacific coast lines, three Andean mountain ranges that are home to its major cities, tropical rain forests, and the wilderness of the Amazon River.  Select the perfect climate for your lifestyle from Colombia's diverse ecosystems.  Enjoy the  gifts of Colombia's biodiversity by canoing, hiking, bird watching, camping, swimming, and boating.

Housing.
Housing options vary from convenient high rise apartments to rural fincas (small country homes or farms) with all the amenities of comfortable living such as fire, safety and building codes, purified and safe water, modern sewage systems, dependable utilities, and internet service.  Whether you decide to rent or purchase a home, you have all the rights of citizens, and your investment is protected by well enforced codes, regulations, and statutes.  Choosing which area of town to live in is aided by a national system of Estratos.  All cities and villages are divided into Estratos (zones) that identify each zone's economic level and cost of public services available to residents in each zone.  Estratos also indicate which area of town has the most modern housing, convenient public transportation, modern shopping malls, and highest level of personal safety.  

Health Care.
Colombia's health care system is unequalled in Latin America.  Due in large part to its excellent medical universities and long standing research relationship with major universitites in the United States, Colombia is a pioneer in transplant medicine, cancer research, and tropical medicine.  Nationals from across South America come to Colombia for heart, kidney, liver, and trachea transplants and recovery.  Premium health insurance by private carriers costs a fraction of U.S. health insurance and allows full choice of services.  Premium health insurance costs approximately one fifth of the cost of Blue Cross/Blue Shield.   Less expensive health insurance is available through a government sponsored plan that pays for treatment by qualified health care providers.  Private pay for services is also an option and is affordable on a fixed income.

Transportation.
The most cheerful, artistic, culturally unique, and fun transporation is the beloved Chiba, colorfully and individually decorated open-air buses that run between villages and in some sections of Medellin.  Fortunately the Chiba is supplemented by a sophisticated system of modern transport with feeder buses to a rapid rail system in Medellin, and all cities have abundant buses, taxis, and pedicabs.  Medellin even boasts a cable car system that traverses the valley of the city up to its highest mountain areas. Private automobiles are easily purchased from dealerships that offer a range of imports, but Renault is the nation's favored car.  Renault also has the only car manufacturing plant in the nation.  Motor scooters and bikes are omnipresent, inexpensive, and a good alternative to a car for the brave and quick. 

Nutrition and Diet.
Street vendors, open-air stands along the roads and highways, and fresh produce markets dot Colombia's villages and cities.  Giant avacados, cabbages, carrots, mango, and papayo are reasily recognizable, and you will quickly learn to appreciate native fruits and vegetables like the maracuya, tomate de arbol, lulo, granadilla, curuba, guanabana, pera, fresas, ochua, and coco -- all fresh, locally grown, and full of vitamins.  Juices are the national drink, and sidewalk cafes offer an infinte variety of refreshing combinations.  Beans, rice, and arepas (thick corn tortillas) are staples for most people, and the country loves its beef, pork, and chicken broiled and served "typical" -- on a large plate with beans, fried bananas, arepas, salad, and rice.  It is always served with gusto and appreciation.  Colombia also has nutritionists and herbalists who follow the medicinal traditions of Andean cultures, including legal and wide spread  use of coca zagradha, a tea made of selected leaves of coca plants.  Coca is seen by indigenous people as sacred and a gift of the god Sun (Inti) to "alleviate the hunger, the fatigue, and to give light to the mind" and recommended by homeopaths as a rich source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and fiber. 

Entertainment.
Everybody enjoys dancing in Colombia -- young, old, women, men, rich, poor, beautiful, ordinary, skinny, and ample.  Locals delight in teaching the porro, cumbia, merengue, tango, salsa and mapale to any willing dance partner.  It's a national past time, along with rooting for soccer teams, spending time with family and socializing, spending the weekends in family fincas, and riding, selling, and watching horses.  An annual parade in Medellin has 10,000 horses.  Colombia has more festivals and holidays than any country in the world and celebrates its Spanish and indigenous heritage with parades, fairs, botanical and bird shows, and popular contests.

Shopping.
Traditional street markets are the mainstay of local economy, but modern retail malls offer internationally recognized brand names, designer boutiques, discount stores, specialty shops, and food malls.  Upscale supermarkets offer organic foods, conventional groceries, and pharmacuticals.  Whatever your tastes, you will find friendly and helpful staff to help you meet your needs.

Technology.
Colombia's technological infrastructure is highly advanced and allows easy and reliable communication internationally and locally with telephonic, cable,and wifi service.  It has the third highest teledensity in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico.  Internet cafes have caught on, and technical assistance is available from small or larger enterprises.

Safety.
Colombia has made great progress in personal safety and security for all its people and guests.  Decades have passed since the notorious days of Pablo Escabar, and peace has returned to Medellin, now considered the jewel of Colombia and one of the most desirable places to live in South America.  Local police and military services guarantee safety and security, respond quickly to emergencies, and are well trained and professional.  Street crime is easily addressed by following the same kinds of precautions followed in larger cities around the world.

Cost of Living in Colombia
The cost of living in Colombia is a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S. and is very competitve with other South American countries.  To give you a better idea of the cost of living, the chart below shows the average cost of a few basic items for families living in two different regions (Zonas) in Medellin.

Basic Shopping
Product Name

Prices in Pesos and US Dollars
*based on 2,000 pesos per dollar

Estratos 
(neighborhoods) 
5 and Up

Estratos 
(neighborhoods)
2 to 4

Oat Flakes
400 grams

$1.100 Pesos
*$.55 USD

$890 Pesos
*$.45 USD

Toilet Paper
4 rolls

$8.400 Pesos
$4.20 USD

$5.650 Pesos
*$.55 USD

Dish Soap
250 grams or .5 lbs

$3.610 Pesos
$1.81 USD

$1700 Pesos
$.85 USD

Salt
1 lb

$1.130 Pesos
$.57 USD

$500 Pesos
$.25 USD

Sugar
1 lb

$1.050 Pesos
$.53 USD

$950 Pesos
$.48 USD

Rice
5 lbs

$6.850 Pesos
3.43USD

$5.000 Pesos
2.50 USD

Dozen Eggs

$4.310 Pesos
$2.16 USD

$3.250 Pesos
$1.63 USD

Crackers

$3.120 Pesos
$1.56 USD

$2.400 Pesos
$1.20 USD

Vegtable Oil
1 Liter

$4.950 Pesos
$2.48 USD

$3.500 Pesos
$1.75 USD

Milk
1 Liter

$1.900 Pesos
$.95 USD

$1.700 Pesos
$.85 USD

Carrots
2.5 Lbs

$2,230 Pesos
$1.12 USD

$1.200 Pesos
$.90 USD

Beef Steak

$13.000 Pesos
$6.50 USD

$8.000 Pesos
$4.00 USD

Chicken Breast
Skinless - Boneless
1 lb
$12.000 Pesos
$6.00 USD
$8.000 Pesos
$4.00 USD

Potatos
2 lbs

$1.600 Pesos
$.80 USD

$1.000 Pesos
$.50 USD

Pasta
1 lb

$1.400 Pesos
$.70 USD

$1.650 Pesos
$.60 USD

Can of Tuna
184 grams

$3.600 Pesos
$1.80 USD

$2.800 Pesos
$1.40 USD

Head of Lettuce

$2.240 Pesos
$1.12 USD

$1.800 Pesos
$.90 USD

Coffee
1lb

$4,800 Pesos
$2.40 USD

$4,600 Pesos
$2.30 USD

Box of Cereal
450 grams

$3.600 Pesos
$1.80 USD

$2.250 Pesos
$1.13 USD

Sausage
1 lb

$5.800 Pesos
$2.90 USD

$5.300 Pesos
$2.65 USD

Johnsons Baby Soap
1 Bar

$2.200 Pesos
$1.10 USD

$2,000 Pesos
$1.00 USD

Note: prices gathered from *el poblado, laureles major super market chains farmers markets and local market suppliers


The approximate average costs of other basic needs are:

Basic Living Needs in Medellin

Prices in Pesos

Housing Rental
Costs

Unfurnished 2 Bedroom Apartments in Estratos Level 3 to 4.

$350.000 to 850,000 Pesos

Unfurnished 2 Bedroom Apartment in Estratos Level 5 to 6

$1,000.000 to $1.800.000 Pesos

Public Transportation
Costs

Bus Fare

$1.400 Pesos

Metro Ticket

$1.550

Minimum Taxi Fare

$3.900 Pesos

Clothing Costs

Shirts

From $15.000 Pesos
$7.50 USD

Pants

From $40.000 Pesos
$20 USD

Shoes

From $50.000
$25 USD

 :

Basic Living Expenses

Cost in
Pesos
Zone 4 to 6

Rental
2 Bedroom

$1.000.000
500 USD

Utilities

$300.000
150 USD

Transportation

$450.000
225 USD

Food

$600.000
300 USD

Others

$100.000
50 USD

TOTAL

$2.450.000
1,225 USD

 How to Get Legal Residency in Colombia

To get a pension visa or learn about other types of visas for residing in Colombia long term, please visit www.ColombiaVisas.com. They are experts at processing foreign documents, assisting with foreign investments, translations, and last but not least, obtaining rapid residency visa document services. Visas y Tramites Internacionales has the expert staff for getting documents legalized for use over seas or for use in Colombia. They have a list of almost 1,000 notaries they work with around Colombia!

For more information about visiting, touring, living or retiring in Colombia contact:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
57-4-581-57-70 Colombia
57-313-390-7109 Colombia Cell
1-415-240-4698 USA

 
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