The nice neighborhoods of Medellin are absolutely booming due to two factors:

  • Surging tourism. Medellin is gradually becoming a major destination in the Americas.
  • Long term nomads and people moving there full time from developed countries as well as from other parts of Latin America.

This inevitably brings a bit of a backlash from locals as core neighborhoods in the city are fast gentrifying.

Every time I go back to Medellin I marvel at the amount of new restaurants, bars, and infrastructure development taking place. Granted, the pace of development is not as fast as in Asia or the Middle East, but for Latin America it is quite impressive.

Of course the city has its issues as well, but it’s not without reason that it is seeing such an influx of people moving there.

In this video I had a chat with my Swedish realtor Mauricio about the pros and cons of living in Medellin.

An affordable market

Real estate in Medellin is still very affordable. Feel free to read my whole analysis on the real estate market in Medellin.

If you have any questions you can get in touch with Mauricio my Medellin realtor. His team is managing my investment property there.

To a World of Opportunities,

The Wandering Investor.

Other articles on Colombia:

Services in Colombia:

If you want to read more such articles on other real estate markets in the world, go to the bottom of my International Real Estate Services page.

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Transcript of “Pros and Cons of living in Medellin, Colombia”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from And today, we’ll have an interesting discussion here in Medellín on the pros and cons of living in Medellín in Colombia, because an increasing amount of people are moving here. Today, we’re with Mauricio, my realtor here based in Medellín, originally from Sweden. And you moved here how long ago?

MAURICIO: Eight years ago now.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Eight years ago full-time moved to Medellín, right?

MAURICIO: Yeah. Don’t regret it a single day. [laughs]

Why did Mauricio leave Sweden?

LADISLAS MAURICE: So why that decision? Why leave Sweden? People think Sweden is almost like a European paradise. You left Sweden eight years ago, why and why here?

MAURICIO: My specific case is because I was adopted from Sweden. I came here, I wanted to learn Spanish before I started university. And then when I was here, I saw how nice it is, the city, I got to know a lot of friends, and just the community here was great, and saw a lot of opportunity into real estate, which I’ve always been interested in. So got back to Sweden motivated, worked hard, and then made a move two years later.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Fantastic.

MAURICIO: Yeah, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Essentially, you skipped university and then moved here?

MAURICIO: No, I studied Spanish here and then went back to finish university. And then when I finished university–

LADISLAS MAURICE: You’re like, I’m out of there?

MAURICIO: Never looked for a job. Same day I graduated, moved back to Colombia. Now, I’m here, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Then let’s have an honest discussion on the pros and the cons of living in Medellín, essentially, as a foreigner.


LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Let’s start with the pros.

Cost of living in Medellin

MAURICIO: Okay, okay. For me, the number one pro is the cost of living. It’s very affordable to have a good life here in Medellín. For example, healthcare, which we know for a lot of the American customers can be very expensive, here, in Colombia, you can get a one-year health insurance for $1,000, which is great.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, it’s pretty good.


LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, that’s pretty good.

MAURICIO: Like, dentists and everything, that’s also very cheap to come down and do.

LADISLAS MAURICE: For example, let’s talk about you. How much do you spend roughly per month to have? Because I see your lifestyle, it’s a nice lifestyle, we hang out together. How much do you spend roughly per month?

MAURICIO: About $2,500, and that’s including rent, bought all my furniture to the apartment, go out for nice dinners with clients, friends. I have a personal boxing training in the mornings two times a week, squash one time a week. You can just live a really comfortable life for that amount of money.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And Mauricio doesn’t cook a lot, so–

MAURICIO: [laughs] Oh, yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: I’m sure there’s a good–

MAURICIO: Menú del día is, like, the traditional dish here in Colombia, so I eat a lot of menú del día, and that’s, what, like, $3 for lunch. It’s good, yeah. [laughs]

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Mauricio is not very good in the kitchen.

MAURICIO: No. [laughs]

LADISLAS MAURICE: So cost of living, definitely an advantage here.


LADISLAS MAURICE: More of a difference for Americans and Canadians than for Europeans, I would say. Colombia is not as affordable. It used to be. It’s still great value for money, but it’s not downright cheap anymore. Cool. And other pros?

Weather in Medellin

MAURICIO: So the second pro I would say, which you can see, is the weather. It’s perfect weather. It’s called the city of eternal spring for a reason. And yeah, this kind of weather you can expect if you come down there. Obviously, it rains a little bit now and then but the temperature about 25 to 30 Celsius it’s about what you get.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. Other pros?

Same time zone as the US and accessibility

MAURICIO: Yeah. The third pro I would say is the time zone. It helps a lot for the clients who come from the East of America, because you’re in the same time zone as New York, Miami, Atlanta is like maybe one hour from. And then San Francisco, for example, is only three hours. So that helps a lot for the digital nomads who comes down, and they don’t need to adjust their schedule for work or anything. They just keep at the same rhythm. And yeah, it’s good.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Essentially, for people who have US-based clients, yeah, perfect place.

MAURICIO: Yeah. And also if you don’t want to move full-time, and if you live in Miami, it’s only three hours away. If you live in New York, you have direct flights five hours away. So we see–

LADISLAS MAURICE: Because there are, like, what, two, three flights a day in Miami?

MAURICIO: Yeah, exactly. Sí, sí, sí. And, yeah, it’s just a lot of movements back and forth from this part of the US, and that helps a lot here with the real estate.


Hiring local talent

MAURICIO: The fourth pro I would say be hire local talent. There is a lot of local talent for a good amount of money. For example, if you want to, you have a thriving business and you need a personal assistant to take care of your chores, that’s about $600 for full-time assistants. She might not have perfect English but she will be eager to learn, especially if she makes USD living here in Colombia, it’s also a great opportunity for locals. We also have a lot of clients that comes down and open call centers, so to hire locals and then have clients from abroad, so that’s a really good opportunity to both help the locals to learn English, get work experience in an international company, and you get a good salary for good money.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Look, you can have a full-time nanny if you have a family, cleaning staff, you can hire a cook, you can have a driver, all of that is still very affordable in Colombia. 

Great lifestyle in Medellin

LADISLAS MAURICE: Essentially, I think the message overall from that point of view, I think you’re going to talk about lifestyle as well.


LADISLAS MAURICE: And that’s why you’re here, right, ultimately?

MAURICIO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And to the fifth pro to live here in Medellín would be the lifestyle. You have a lot of options. If you come down here, you don’t know anyone, you can go out and do salsa classes. There’s a lot of expat community down here. You have, like, in Poblado, Laureles, you have language schools, you can go cooking classes for very affordable. And that’s how you meet the locals and interact in the culture. And the paisas here, they’re very interested in the people who are coming. If you walk down here, people will approach you, basically. That’s very nice. You come down here, maybe if you come from Sweden, so that outgoing, you come down here and you can have a social life in no time.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, it’s easy to meet people here. People are friendly, they’re good-looking, they’re a lot of fun. I mean, this is one of the key appeals of Colombia, just a fun-loving place. And then you combine it with all the other advantages and it’s pretty compelling. We’ll discuss the cons in a bit. But one last pro that I would add is that Spanish, a lot of people like to say that, “Oh, you don’t need to learn Spanish.” Guys, it’s not that hard. Spanish is not hard. It’s literally the easiest second language to learn. If you don’t want to learn Spanish, probably you shouldn’t be going overseas and moving overseas because, really, it’s not that complicated. So just get down to it. 

Great airport in Medellin

LADISLAS MAURICE: And then the airport is really well-connected.

MAURICIO: Oh, yeah, the airport is only 30 minutes away from Poblado. And they, two years ago, finished the tunnel, so you have a direct tunnel through the mountains, you’re coming out. You see the beautiful view of Poblado. And it’s 25, 30 minutes’ trip, so it’s no time.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And the airport is well-connected, daily flights to the US. Cameraman, flights to Canada, right?

CAMERAMAN: Sí, señor.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Flights to Canada, flights to Europe. Whenever I come here, I typically come from either Panama or Mexico direct flights, and, increasingly, more and more flights to various destinations in South America. Medellín is not just becoming like the gringo hub but it’s a lot of tourism from all over Central and South America that’s coming to Medellín because it’s increasingly emerging as a cool destination.


LADISLAS MAURICE: All right. So that’s all the nice stuff.


LADISLAS MAURICE: Now, let’s go into the bad stuff.

Hard to get a long-term lease

MAURICIO: Okay, so now to the cons. And when I put out the cons, I won’t do any specific order. Number one, we can say being that it’s very hard to get a lease without furniture, like, a local rental deal, it’s really hard to set up. Because the requirements to get a lease in your name, they’re super hard. Like, you need to have a bank history, you need to have an income in Colombia, you need to have, it’s called fiador, it’s a cosigner. And often, this cosigner needs to have a property in their name. If you’re flying down here first time, like, obviously, you don’t get to know any one of these people connections. So that’s number one. And then–

LADISLAS MAURICE: But you help people with that with your agency, help people find–

MAURICIO: Yeah, exactly.


MAURICIO: That’s also why we do what we do so.


Horrible banking in Colombia

MAURICIO: Yeah. Number two is the banking experience. You can’t get any mortgage here in Colombia, it’s impossible if you don’t have an income in the country. That’s number two.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, I’d say, generally speaking, banking in Colombia is of very poor quality. If you’re a foreigner, you have to keep your bank account overseas in your country or open an offshore bank account somewhere. But yeah, if you move here, you don’t want to interact with banks.

Inefficient and bureaucratic

MAURICIO: Yes. And then number three of the cons will be the inefficiency here in the country. If you come down here, it’s a lot of things that is normal back in your home country that goes very quick. Open up a bank account, go and buy grocery, you’re waiting for an internet guy to come and fix your internet, that can take two, three days, they just not show up.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, Latin America is part of the charm as well, but yeah.

High taxes in Colombia

MAURICIO: And then the fourth one is that taxes are high. Here in Colombia, it’s about 30% income taxes, and then that’s going to depend how much money you’re making.

LADISLAS MAURICE: It’s pretty easy to get to the top income bracket of 39%. Look, there are quite a few ways to help reduce your taxes here in Colombia, various loopholes, etc. But overall, it’s not Panama. You’re not moving to Panama, you’re moving to Colombia. It’s, generally speaking, a high-tax country.

Crime in Medellin

MAURICIO: Yeah, correct. And then to the fifth one, and that will be the crime. The crime here is being in South America, obviously, it’s higher than in the most countries from where you’re from. So just be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you don’t go out with any expensive jewelry. Maybe don’t showcase your phone on the street. Just take normal cautions and you will be fine. I’ve been living here for eight years and, thanks to God, I haven’t been in any bad situation. But I also don’t try to blend out too much.



LADISLAS MAURICE: Cameraman got robbed once, I think.

MAURICIO: Yeah, he is.

LADISLAS MAURICE: And also, eight years?

MAURICIO: He’s also looking more Canadian than I do. [laughs]

Pollution in Medellin

LADISLAS MAURICE: [laughs] Cool. And then pollution is a bit of an issue. Like, today’s really clear. You can see blue skies, clear skies. It’s a little windy. But the air is good. But sometimes, it’s not that nice.

MAURICIO: Yeah. I mean, Medellín being located in a valley, and you have a lot of cars. Also, another con could be the traffic. At some hours of the day you’re going to be sitting in traffic. Yeah, those four, I would say.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Look, overall, Medellín has a fantastic lifestyle to offer, and that’s why so many people are moving here. Interesting cost of living, amazing lifestyle, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, it’s cool, it’s well-connected. So that’s why, I mean, you’re seeing, and you manage approximately 80 properties right now?


Many people are moving to Medellin

LADISLAS MAURICE: And you’re just seeing an influx of tourism, correct?

MAURICIO: Yes, that’s true. I mean–

LADISLAS MAURICE: And people moving here, too.

MAURICIO: Yeah, long-term. Of the 80 properties we have, about 60% of them, 70% is-long term. So there’s people come me here for three months, six months, even years. So yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Which is something new because, typically, in the past, like, 10 years ago, people who would come to Medellín were more–

MAURICIO: Backpackers.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah, backpackers, people on the scruffy side, just staying here for a bit then moving on. But now you have a whole class of people with money that are coming down to Medellín, that are staying here for months at a time if not years at a time. They’re basing themselves here. They’re spending money, they’re enjoying their lifestyle, and they’re helping this economy grow as well. The dynamics have really changed. I mean, you can see the gentrification in Medellín in a positive way, it is just accelerating. I come here every six months or so, I invested in real estate here myself. Mauricio and his team are taking care of the remodeling, and then you’re going to be renting out the place for me, all of that.


LADISLAS MAURICE: I believe in the city, I see what it has to offer, and I really encourage people to come here and check it out and stay here for a bit.


LADISLAS MAURICE: Because it has a unique space and asset prices are still quite affordable.

MAURICIO: Yeah. No, nice. If you ever think about coming down here to Medellín, don’t hesitate to reach out and we’re happy to help you, to accommodate you, answer any questions. Yeah.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. If you want to get in touch with Mauricio, there’s a link below. And also, I wrote a whole analysis of the real estate market here in Medellín, some mistakes you should avoid making, the neighborhoods to look at, etc., as well as ROI calculations. There is a link below.


LADISLAS MAURICE: All right, fantastic.

MAURICIO: Thanks, as always.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Mauricio, thank you.

MAURICIO: Thank you.