Cost of Living in Medellin, Colombia

The cost of living in Medellin, Colombia is in between Thailand and USA. It's not cheap however it's not expensive. Below I break down the cost of living in Medellin.

If you are thinking about living in Medellin, Colombia for a bit, chances are you want to know how much it costs. I personally found it be reasonably price. It isn't as cheap as South East Asia but it's cheaper than USA. 

Accommodations

The price of your apartment obviously will be your biggest expense. How much you want to spend solely depends on how much luxury you would like. You can get a high rise apartment with beautiful views from your bed or you can get a normal Colombian apartment. The price also depends on where you want to live within Medellin.

Prices below are for 1bed & 1 or 2 bath.

Poblado or Laureles (Fancier): $600-$1,200 USD

Pretty much anywhere else in Medellin: $300-$550

 

Food

Colombian food is pretty diverse and tasty. Good thing for you, the food is relatively inexpensive.

Normal Restaurant for 1 meal (local): $3-$6.50 USD

Fancy Restaurant for 1 meal: $10-$19

 

Transportation

The transportation in Medellin is by far the best in the country. However, the traffic is absolutely terrible. You can take the train North and South and East and West. There are cable cars to take you up the barrios in the northern area. The bus system is really easy and you also have a choice of taxi or Uber. Keep in mind Uber is not legal here and the drivers are a bit more careful when picking people up. (It's not a problem for you. Just keep in mind that noone have the Uber sign on their car)

Train - One way: $2,200 CP ($0.80 USD)

Bus - One way: $2,200 CP ($0.80 USD)

Taxi (10-15min): $10,000-$15,000 CP ($3.50-$5.00 USD)

Uber (10-15min): $9,000-$16,000 CP ($3.00-$5.00 USD)

 

FOR FUN

Medellin has plenty to offer in the terms of fun! Bars, dance bars, strip clubs.. and the list goes on. Here are a few prices for other activities in Medellin.

Beer: $2,000-$6,000 CP ($0.80-$2.00 USD)

Liquor: $10,000-$50,000+ CP ($4.00-$17.00 USD)

Why You Should Travel With Carry-On Only.

Carry-On Luggage is the perfect way to travel for those who want to save money and be more mobile.

Pros of traveling with carry-on only.

  • Quicker times in and out the Airport
  • Save money on Airline luggage costs
  • Never have a lost bag
  • Easy to travel by bus or car
  • Buy less items because you don't have room for anything

Cons of traveling with carry-on only.

  • Less room for luggage
  • Essentials only
  • A lot of weight (sometimes) to carry around

Best Carry-On Luggage combo

I will break down my normal luggage combo. Since I need to carry around camera equipment and other minor computer gear, I have one backpack specifically for my important/expensive equipment. The other bag is for clothes, shoes, and toiletries. 

Incase Designs DSLR Pro Pack Camera Backpack

Price: $114

The Incase DSLR Backpack holds every single piece of expensive equipment I own. It's large enough to hold everything I need and small enough to pass as a personal item on a plane.

This bag is also great for working on the go. If you want to bring you computer the a coffee shop, empty out all the camera gear, and you are good to go.

incase_designs_corp_cl58068_dslr_pro_pack_nylon_black_1401287759000_1054465.jpg

NorthFace Base Camp Duffel - Medium

Price: $135

This NorthFace bag doubles as a duffel bag and a backpack. This is key for both airports and outside of airport travel. When in the airport sometimes you need it to be a duffel bag, however, when traveling by bus or walking around, the backpack aspect is perfect. 

This bag holds 8 days or clothes, 3 pairs of shoes, a tripod, and much more. 

I chose the NorthFace because I dislike the traditional "Backpacker" packs. Not my style.

northface duffel.png

There are many ways you can travel carry-on only. Mine is simply an example for the best combo I've found in two years. Keep in mind I have quite a bit of camera equipment. You could travel with only the NorthFace or a bag as big.

Anytime I see people at the luggage wheel, I just smile and walk out the airport. I'm always the first from my flight to be leaving the airport. If you can deal without a LARGE amount of clothes, you will find this method of travel is much more enjoyable than the wheel luggage bags. 

5 Useful Apps for Thailand

Looking for useful Apps for Thailand? Lucky for you I've lived there and visit Bangkok at least 5 months out of the year. Here is a short list of Apps I have found useful in Thailand.

I'll leave out the obvious Apps that you most likely already have. Apps such as Google Maps, Sky Scanner..ect. The apps below are specifically for use in Thailand.

1. LINE Messenger

Download on Android

Download on Apple

Line is the main messenger app used in Thailand, Korea, and a few other Asian countries. Anyone you meet in Thailand will have Line. If you want to contact someone it's either through Facebook or Line. Also, many businesses use Line to contact customers. Download it!

2. Foodpanda Food Delivery

Download on Android

Download on Apple

Let's say you are hungover, don't want to the leave the house, or staying in for the night, you can order food for almost any restaurant in Bangkok (or most large Thai cities). They will pick up your order and deliver it via Motorbike. This service is similar to UberEats in the USA.

3. Learn Thai Phrasebook

Download on Android

Learning just a small amount of Thai can get you places and stop you from getting ripped off. Knowing your numbers, how to negotiate and understand the responses, directions, and simple daily phrases will make your experience in Thailand 100x better. 

4. Thailand Rail Map

Download on Android

If you are staying in Bangkok for longer than a week, get to know the MRT and BTS. This app will help you understand the stops. By the end of the week you will be traveling around Bangkok like a local.

5. Google Translate

Download on Android

Download on Apple

Google Translate is kind of a given, however it belongs on the list. When using Google Translate, be aware not to use slang terms or complicated sentences. Not everything translates correctly. Make sure to download the offline version, so you will be able to use it quickly and under any circumstance. 

 

10 Things You Should Know About Colombia Before Visiting.

"You are going to Colombia? Won't you get kidnapped?" or "Isn't it really dangerous?" These are questions I often get since I've been living in Colombia. Here is what you should know before coming to Colombia.

Living in Colombia has been a wonderful experience and I will for sure be back. The knowledge I had was based off of YouTube videos and general research. I knew it wasn't as dangerous as people make it out to be, but you never know until you go. I've put together a list of things I think you should know before coming to Colombia.

1. Is Colombia Dangerous?

The answer is mainly NO. However, are parts of Chicago dangerous? Like any large cities, there are parts that are more dangerous than others. I've lived in Medellin, Colombia for three months and have not once had any scares. I've been all over Colombia and haven't seen crime. Keep in mind, I've heard of horrible stories from other people. Keep your eyes out, be smart, and don't be ignorant.

2. You will need to learn at least some Spanish.

Most people in Colombia do not speak English. Which makes sense...since you know.. their main language is Spanish. Lucky for Americans, we learn basic Spanish in High School and can pick it up fast. You will need to learn at least numbers, general conversation, directions, and food related terms.

I have found that most people here expect you to know Spanish. So, get to it.

3. Colombia has a wide variety of landscapes to explore.

Colombia is a very diverse country in terms of landscape. Medellin is surrounded by mountains and is spring time everyday. Bogota is cold and has a big city feeling. Outside of Bogota is jungles/mountains and the temperature can change based on the elevation of the city. Cartagena is hot and has a Caribbean culture. Cali is mildly hot and is the capital of salsa dancing.  

Adventure around Colombia and discover the amazing things it has to offer.

4. Medellin is pronounced Medejjean not Medeyyin.

Trust me.. Paisas (People from Antioquia) will correct you. The Paisa accent is much different than other parts of Colombia. You will find out pretty quick once you arrive.

5. Don't talk about Pablo Escobar.

Pablo Escobar died in 1993. That was 25 years ago. The country has changed drastically and the only thing people ever know about Colombia is Pablo. If you mention Pablo Escobar to a Colombian chances are they will roll their eyes at you. It's old and no one cares.

6. The buses can take a while.

Sometimes you will be on a 1 hour bus ride for an hour and 45 min. The buses along the mountain routes will stop and pick up people along the way. Be patient, you will get to your destination soon enough.

7.  Dancing is a large part of the culture.

Yep, if dancing is scary to you as it is to me.. going out with a large group to a salsa bar can be frightening. Don't be afraid though. Just take a few shots and let loose. Colombians are big on dancing, you will often look into a bar/club and see people swinging about and having fun. If you are like me, I watch from a safe distance and hope not to be forced into a dance routine.

8. Social groups are big.

If you are a single male looking to go to a bar and "pick up chicks"... Good luck. You will quickly discover that people go out in groups and close themselves off. This makes it a bit hard to meet Colombians on a night out if you are by yourself. Make a friend at a coffee shop or something and see about going out with them and their friends. 

9. People are often late.

I call it CT.. Colombian Time. If someone says I'll be there in an hour.. expect 2 hours. If the Bus is leaving at 2:30pm Expect 3:00-3:30pm. Flights can often be delayed and boats will sit at dock for hours. Learn to love it... otherwise you will be upset quite a bit.

10. Colombia can be inexpensive but not as cheap as you may think.

Yes, compared to the United States, Colombia is priced better. However, you will find some items are much more pricey than they are in the States. For a week in Medellin I recommend a $600 USD budget or if you really want to have fun $1,200 USD. ;) 

Often times you can find a meal at a nice restaurant for 30,000-50,000 COP or at a local restaurant for 8,000-15,000 COP. Both are pretty well priced.  

How to find the cheapest flights from USA to Asia.

Looking for the cheapest cities in the USA to fly to Asia from? Here are some tips on how to find the best priced flights to Asia from USA.

In this post I will use my personal research for an upcoming flight to Bangkok from Denver, Colorado. No one wants to over pay for plane flights, so I will show you how I find the best priced tickets with the lowest travel times. I usually save around $150-$300 dollars. Using this method can save you much more or not save you anything. It all depends on where you are departing from.

I mainly use Google Flights to research and book flights. This is by far the most powerful tool to find the cheapest airline tickets anywhere in the world. Keep in mind Google.com/flights sometimes doesn't include more local airlines. For example, if you want to fly around Thailand for cheap, Google Flights will display Air Asia results but not Nok Air. Nok Air (Thailand Domestic Airline) can often times be more inexpensive and they also allow for a free bag vs Air Asia which charges for bags. Do your research on local airlines in the country you want to travel in.. chances are you can find cheaper tickets than you will find on Sky Scanner or other websites.

Finding the cheapest flights from the USA to Asia.

Obviously, Asia is a large area so I will narrow it down to South East Asia, more specifically Bangkok, Thailand. Every time I have flown to Thailand I have been in Denver, Colorado. I'll break down how I get the best deal on plane tickets. This will also apply to anywhere else in the USA that is not located near a major international airport. 

Let's say I am in Denver, Chicago, or any other city that is not located on the West or East side of the USA. Most of the time it will be much cheaper to buy two separate tickets. Let me explain with an example.

Flight Price from booking Denver, CO to Bangkok, Thailand: $897 - 37 hour travel time

If I booked a ticket directly from Denver to Bangkok I would have to stop in New York and Doha  (both with layovers) before I make it to Bangkok. 37 Hours sounds like a nightmare. Let's try another method.

Flight price from Denver, CO to Los Angeles, CA: $40 - 2:30 Hour travel time

Flight price from Los Angeles, CA to Bangkok, Thailand: $443 - 19 hour travel time (Layover in Taiwan for 3 hours)

So, buy purchasing a cheaper domestic flight from Denver to Los Angeles then purchasing another ticket from Los Angeles to Bangkok I saved $414 and cut my travel time almost in half. 

Using this method does require timing. Let's say your flight from Denver to LA get's delayed or canceled, you have no protection on your flight from LA to Bangkok. Be careful doing this and allow yourself buffer time. Maybe fly into the major city in the morning, explore a bit and depart at night.

I always stay overnight since I have friends in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland that I enjoy seeing. This makes sure I won't miss my main flight.

Cheapest cities to fly from USA to Asia:

For example if you are located in Nashville, TN, book two flights. One to New York and one to your main city. Booking a flight from Nashville to Asia will cost a fortune. Like I said above this doesn't always work however, 85% of the time it will work in your favor. See below for the cheapest cities to fly to Asia from USA.

WEST COAST

  • San Francisco, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington

EAST COAST

  • New York, New York
  • Miami, Flordia

Most flights to Asia from USA fly from the West Coast. Do your own research and maybe you will find out a few new things for your location!

Use this method in reverse for the cheapest cities in Asia to fly to.

You can also use this method to fly into a certain high traffic city and book another ticket to your final destination. For example sometimes it can be cheaper to fly to Hong Kong from USA if I buy a ticket from Los Angeles to Shanghai, China and a ticket from Shanghai to Hong Kong.

This method also works when returning to USA. I've purchased separate tickets from Bali to Shanghai to Portland to Denver.  BE AWARE: I find more flights are delayed or canceled in China than anywhere else I've been. This can cause MAJOR issues in your flight plans. 

Check out my other post about how to use Google Flights to find cheap plane tickets. CLICK HERE