Sam - How To Expat
Sam - How To Expat

Pros and Cons Of Living In Medellin

Pros and Cons Medellin

Let’s talk about the Pros and Cons of living in Medellin!

We hope we can give some of you a better idea of how Medellin is like and things you should be prepared for before making the big move.

Medellin has so many advantages when living here. I mean the weather couldn’t be any better, the Cost Of Living is great and being in a huge beautiful country like Colombia, you have so much to discover.

The culture is also a big factor that makes the difference to other countries, they love to dance, to sing and to party. They are really family-oriented and love to invite other people to join them.

There Are Bad Sides To The City Too

But of course, with every advantage there disadvantages like people being late all the time. You never know if they will show up, come late, or even be on time. You always need a plan B in case the person doesn’t show up at all.

The bureaucracy is a hassle and it’s never the same, they change laws really fast and sometimes they apply it and sometimes they don’t, therefore you never know what you get. Also, you should try to avoid Rush-hour, the traffic is horrible and it can take you twice as long to get where to your destination.

Medellin Is Beautiful

Could Medellín be your new expat home?

First, we’re going to give you an overview of the city, then we will talk about the pros and cons. After that, we will talk about which kind of expats would be a perfect fit for Medellín. 

Medellín is a city of culture, complete with Latin music, dancing, authentic Colombian goods, and always new places to explore.

Pro – Cost Of Living In Medellin

The first advantage of living in Medellin is surely the cost of living. When compared to other popular expat destinations like Southeast Asia, Ecuador, or other places in Central and South America, Medellín is a bit more expensive in terms of cost.

Where Medellín really shines, however, is giving you a bang for your buck. Medellín, objectively speaking, is one of the greatest cities you can live in a world where you get the most for the least amount of cash.

You have a great number of amenities here, you have good wifi, good internet, and it’s a more or less safe city. It’s a city with a lot of big malls selling everything you need and the cost of living is $1,200-$1500, or maybe $2500, depending on what your lifestyle is. But this is sure, as we’ve said, one of the best cities in the world with the best bang for your buck.

Climate In Colombia

Pro – Climate In Medellin

Another pro, of course, is the climate. They’re a perfect, year-round, spring-time climate here in Medellín. Every other comparison you have isn’t really fair. You have a few other places in Colombia with a similar climate, but not with the same city lifestyle.

The springtime weather is just cool enough but doesn’t get as cold as other places in Latin America where you freeze a little bit during the nighttime or overheat during the day. In Medellín, you never have real cold as you do in places like Switzerland, Canada, or the United States. 

Pro – Size Of Medellin

Another pro for many people is the size of the city. It’s about 3 to 4 million people, which is really nice. It’s not too big of a city like Madrid or Mexico city, but it’s also not too small. So it’s surely nice in that you have variety, you have an international restaurant scene, and you have many different neighborhoods you can experience.

So it never gets too boring, but on the other hand, it’s not overwhelming. At the end of the day, Medellín, especially where the expats are, is like a village. You get used to it fast, you learn quickly where the places are, and it doesn’t overwhelm you. There aren’t a bunch of streets you won’t know once you’ve lived here for a few months or a year. So that’s kind of cool also.

Riding The Metro In Medellin Colombia

Pro – Public Transport In Medellin

So one thing that we really recognized when I came back from Bogota after spending some time there was that public transport is really good in Medellín compared to other places. We really have a great public transportation system here with the metro system and with the cable cars and buses.

It’s a fairly safe public transport system in comparison to many other Latin American countries like Panama or Costa Rica where it’s kind of notorious for the chicken buses to be unsafe. Here, it’s not really like that. It’s very well organized. It’s similar to the swiss system where it’s very punctual and everything functions very well, at least for a Latin American city.

So that’s kind of a real value added to living here. It makes the city very easy to navigate.

Pro – Investing In Medellin

Another thing is it’s a good place to invest and make business. The people here in Medellín are famous for being very entrepreneurial. So if you have an entrepreneur, small business style and you want to open a business here which is small scale and you just want to live a good life and have a couple of employees, Medellín is the right size and the right city for that, so that’s kind of cool also. 

Pro – Culture In Medellin

So last but not least, an amazing pro of living in Medellín is the culture and the people. The people here are really, really nice and many have traveled to so many places around the world, especially Latin America and Europe and U.S. I’ve never met nicer people in the world than here in Medellín.

The other thing is the culture. You have a lot of clubs if you want to go out and not just the clubs where electronic beats destroy your ears, it’s very nice with the salsa, merengue, and bachata styles. There’s a big variety from the whole country coming together here in Medellin, which is very very nice in my opinion. It’s just very nice to go to a restaurant, sit outside, and enjoy the environment.

That’s what’s really nice about Medellín. It’s not too cold of a culture or too vibrant, it’s right in the middle, which makes it very enjoyable but not unsafe at the same time. 

Also Medellin has a lot of holidays and festivals throughout the year like the “feria de las flores”.

The Cons Of Living In Medellin

Now: the cons of living in Medellín, Colombia. First, every city has its pros and it has its cons. For the cons, for sure, topic number one is safety.

Is Medellin Safe?

Con – Safety In Medellin

As a Latin American city,it’s generally not as safe as a European city even though it gets publicized that way sometimes. But surely, if you know what you’re doing, if you know which areas are safe and unsafe, if you have a sense of your surroundings, you’ll be safer like any other city.

If you don’t have an awareness of your surroundings and you leave your drink everywhere, or if you just leave your bag somewhere and walk away, there’s a high probability that your bag will get stolen.

So, I would say this is the biggest downside of living in Medellín, Colombia. But it’s not as you’ve seen on the news, especially on channels like Fox. In fact, it’s very little hostility. 

Con – Traffic In Medellin

The other thing is the traffic. Every big city in the world has bad traffic, but Medellín is on the not-so-nice end of this because Medellín is in a valley, so it has effectively run out of space to build more roads, which is why, during rush hour, the traffic is not so great. But there are many worse cities around the world when it comes to traffic.

Another bummer is that for many reasons Expats usually don’t own a car.

Pollution In Medellin

Con – Pollution In Medellin

Also with the valley comes sometimes heavy pollution, which cannot be blown out as easily because of the mountains. So you have kind of a pollution issue in the city. However, it really comes down to where you live.

Some places are surely better than others. If you live up high in the mountains, for example, the pollutionwill be much lighter than if you’re down in the city. But in general, there is a pollution problem in Medellín. 

Summary Living In Medellin As An Expat

So, those are the main pros and cons of living in Medellín. Now we’re going to talk about which expats are a perfect fit for living in Medellín. Objectively speaking, we have to say that Medellín is one of the greatest cities you could live in Latin America because of the weather, relative safety, and the low cost of living. It’s just a great city with great people in general.

Who Is A Great Fit For Medellin

One thing that we really want to mention here is that retirees especially love Medellín because of the great weather, the slow-paced lifestyle, and it allows you to get as much out of your social security as possible. So, if you would struggle to live on $1,500 per month in the States, here, you can really live a comfortable lifestyle at a slower pace, so that’s really good.

Retire In Medellin

However, for the relaxed retiree who just wants to have a house and a couple of dogs that you want to walk every day, then you should probably move to the metropolitan area surrounding Medellín. The city of Medellín is more of a place for active retirees and is probably one of the best places in Latin America to stay. 

Entrepreneurs Living In Medellin

Another group of expats who tend to like Medellín is the entrepreneur types and the business types who want to come here and open a business, do something for the local community, and employ a few people. Medellín is surely the right place for you if this is your type.

There are a lot of knowledgeable people here and you can find good employees. So this is really great. It’s surely the right environment for every small business venture here in Medellín. 

Digital Nomads Medellin

Digital Nomads Living In Medellin

This is also a great place for digital nomads. You have a lot of digital nomads already living in the city. So, if you’re a programmer or have some kind of programming skills, those people tend to come to Medellín.

It’s probably next to Shang-hai in Thailand, which is currently the digital nomad hub of the world along with maybe Bali also. Either way, digital nomads really tend to like Medellín. 

Summary – Pros and Cons Living In Medellin

So, that was it for the pros and cons and what kind of expats tend to like Medellín. Of course, this is our personal opinion from living in Medellín ourselves. For us, it’s the one place in the world where we decided to start spending our time after looking at the map and exploring places all the way from Mexico down to Argentina.

This city is the place we’ve decided to call home for now on this big, big planet.

Sam and Tacha
About Us

Our mission is to help fellow Expats and Soon-To-Be Expats, to start their journey, avoid Gringo Prices, and settle down hassle free.

We are:

  • Relocation Managers
  • Culture Fanatics
  • Dog Lovers
  • Colombia Enthusiasts
Video Course

Everything you need to know and more in one package! Get to know the good, the bad and the ugly of Medellin.