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Colombia | The #1 Spot in LatAm
Brasil, Argentina, and Mexico can all make claims, but...
That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Errrr, claim.
Alas, for this bro living in Latin America over the past 8+ years, one country stands above the rest.
And I’m not sure it’s even close.
While Brasil has better beaches, a more outgoing culture, and similar women…the country has many an issues for the average digital expat.
Argentina is dirt cheap right now…with great looking girls and a couple incredible cities. But no beaches, annoying culture, and a few other issues.
Mexico is by far the most convenient country in Latin America. Amazon Mexico is functional, the flights to and from the USA are 1-3 hours and cheap, and shit just works here. However, it’s like comparing apples to oranges in some respects ;)
Which leaves us with Colombia…
Many will argue, but let me make the case for Colombia being the best place in Latin America for the average male expat looking to live abroad.
Why Colombia is #1
FYI: I’ve spent 20+ months in Colombia. So I know a thing or two about the country.
Enough of the fluff, let’s dig in…
Easy to Get To
Flying into Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena is an easy direct flight from a handful of cities in the USA.
Flights are cheap, with roundtrips coming in at $400-900 USD.
And the flights are quick, 3-4 hours flight time.
When you compare getting to Colombia vs. getting to Argentina or Brasil, it’s not even close. You can land in Colombia in less than 5-7 hours, even with a connection. Brasil is going to take you a full day of travel…or more.
Variety of Cities
Colombia is home to a dozen cities I’d say are worth at least a week to a month of travel time.
Just to name a few off the top of my head…
You could visit any of these cities and be more than entertained with tourism, exploring the city, nightlife, and dating. From massive cities to small mountain cities to beach towns.
No, not of people. Although there’s that too. I’m talking about shit to do.
Colombia is a very biodiverse country with coasts on both the Pacific and Caribbean. There’s jungles, mountains, and everything in between.
From a “let’s do some cool shit in nature” perspective, Colombia has:
Pacific coast beaches
Amazon river + rainforrest
You could be surfing in Palomino one week and then hiking in the coffee region the next.
The amount of actual dope shit to do in Colombia is staggering, especially for a country of its size.
Brasil has a case here.
Argentina does in some respects too.
Venezuela would have.
Dominicanas have their place.
However, the women in Colombia are top notch in many a regards.
Attractive? Very much so. Pleasant? Very much so. Interested in foreigners? Indeed.
I’ve yet to meet a man who went to Colombia, and visited cities not named Medellin or Cartagena, who wasn’t completely thrilled with their dating experiences in the country.
Whether you want to make sex with as many women as possible, date a few good looking latinas, or find a girlfriend — Colombia fits the bill.
Yes, there’s is a good amount of sex tourism in the country and “prepagos” are around every corner. However, you get out of Medellin and Cartagena, and you’ll find that diminishes significantly.
Even though there’s 10X more gringos in Colombia now than 10 years ago, the country is still relatively cheap.
The Colombian Peso is down vs. the US Dollar, trading at around $4,000 Pesos per USD.
This means you can live a damn good life in Colombia for $1,500-4,000 USD a month — all in.
Rent, food, gym, martial arts, Ubers, dating, monthly adventure travel, maid, etc.
Depending on what you wanna do…
Penthouse in Medellin + eating out every night + daily maid = $3,500-4,000 a month.
Studio Apartment in Cali + cooking own meals = $1,200-1,500 a month.
Latinos generally are a friendly group, and Colombians are no different.
I’ve found Colombians to be some of the friendliest locals you’ll run across while traveling. Good vibes all around.
It’s easy to make friends here, especially in non-tourist areas where everyone is trying to scam you — i.e. Cartagena.
Due to the riddled past of the country, the people live in the moment and truly enjoy the present. This is incredibly pleasant if you’re coming from a place where everyone over-plans things and continually is distracted from the present — i.e. the USA and Europe.
Easy to Understand Spanish
Apart from the “costenos” — the Spanish in Colombia, especially in Bogota and certain parts of the coffee zone, is incredibly clear and easy for foreigners to understand.
If you’re starting to learn Spanish, Colombia is one of the best places to check out.
As locals don’t speak a ton of English, but will speak clearly and slowly with you — to try and help you.
Downsides to Colombia
Now, of course there’s some negatives to life in Colombia too.
After traveling for 8+ years, I can assure you one thing: no place on earth is perfect.
So here’s some shit that sucks about Colombia…
Colombian food is consistently bad.
This is NOT Mexico. This is NOT Peru.
The local food in Colombia is marginal at best. The main issue? Colombians do not like spice. They don’t like flavor. Food here is fairly bland on average.
That being said…
The international restaurants in Bogota and Medellin have gotten very, very good over the past few years.
And the country does have great steak in the higher end spots.
Hard to say how this is going to play out…
But the incoming President of Colombia is a socialist, and that rarely works out well in Latin America. See: Venezuela, Cuba, and Argentina.
I predict a rise in violent crime in the country as Petro’s policies shake things up and completely destroy foreign investment throughout Colombia.
Speaking of crime…
Colombia is home to a good amount of petty theft and street crime. Not to mention the scopolamine pandemic in Medellin. Google it.
It’s recommended to not use your phone on the street in major cities in Colombia and never walk alone at night.
Just part of the game.
Lack of Great Beach Towns
Cartagena and Santa Marta both have their charms, as Colombia’s primary beach cities/towns.
Neither hold a candle compared to the beach cities in Brasil. Hell, I’d argue Mexico has way better beach towns for expats looking to base up in.
I wouldn’t come to Colombia if living at the beach is your primary objective. The cities and the mountain towns in Colombia are far preferable.
That being said…
There’s some beautiful beaches here for weekend trips.
Colombia | Overall
Colombia is the best spot for expat males looking to spend six months a year in Latin America.
I’m confident in this assertion.
Life is good, everything is cheap, the women are great, and the nature is plentiful. Plus, it’s easy to learn Spanish here.
What else could a red-blooded male need during his first extended stay in Latam?
My highest recommendation:
Grab an apartment in Bogota or Cali for 3-6 months and enjoy yourself.