Medellin Colombia, view of the city and high rise apartment buildings

What I’ve Discovered After 9 Years Renting In Colombia

Dipping A Toe In Your New Home Overseas

Living overseas doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For many expats we know, it’s been a gradual process…

Take Jeff Paschke, for instance.

Jeff started out simply looking for a winter escape from his home in Dallas, Texas. He began his hunt by reading Life Magazine’s “100 Places to See in Your Lifetime,” whittling that list down to just two places he thought might suit him: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena won out—by being closer and cheaper—and so, he booked a flight to spend some vacation time in the city.

Jeff admits there are better, more scientific approaches to finding a place to spend time overseas. But, as it happens, he lucked out. I’ll let Jeff take over from here…

Colonial street in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena—Jeff’s first stop in Colombia

“I had a fantastic time on that first visit in 2006. Given the reputation Colombia had, my friends thought I was crazy. But I loved Cartagena. To me, it was the perfect combination of Caribbean beach destination and European-style streets like you find in New Orleans. As I continued to go back on more vacations, I met with more expats. All of them told me that if I liked Cartagena, I should really go and see Medellín….

“I visited Medellín for the first time during Christmas—to see the world-famous lights—and I fell in love. Over the next two years, I took several vacation trips to the city and started to develop a new plan…

“My job was location-independent: I already worked out of my home in Dallas. Why couldn’t I take my job with me and spend more time in Medellín? I would continue to earn my salary in U.S. dollars, and, as a bonus, enjoy a cost of living that was much lower than Dallas.

“I decided to go to Medellín for a month trial living there. I rented in the expat favorite neighborhood of El Poblado while I explored other parts of the city. After the month was up, I was ready to get out of the bubble and experience real life in Colombia.”

Medellin, Colombia at night

A one-month trial in Medellín led to a full-time home for Jeff

Nine years on, and five apartment moves later, Jeff now lives full-time in Medellín with his Colombian wife. And those friends that thought he was crazy to go to Colombia? They occupy his guest room in Medellín from time to time.

“The rent here is so affordable that I still can’t justify buying,” Jeff says. “I recently surveyed 200 expats in Medellín for an article I was working on. About 70% of the respondents were renters. For our three-bed apartment in the suburb of Sabaneta—which we furnished ourselves—we pay just US$500 a month.”

Jeff shared his full story at last year’s Live and Invest in Colombia Conference. And, if there were a prize for “most apartment moves in a single city over a decade,” he’d probably win it. But those moves gave him insight into the rental market… allowed him to get to know a selection of Medellín’s neighborhoods intimately… all of which he now shares with our attendees and readers.

Each expat has his own story to tell. His own part of a country… a city… a neighborhood that is home to him. That’s why we work to gather a diverse team together for each Live and Invest Overseas conference—to cover as many lifestyle options as possible… so you get the complete picture. We’ve pulled in a strong expat team (including Jeff) for this year’s Live and Invest in Colombia Conference (now officially open for registration)… as well as our trusted team of experts who will give you the lowdown on all the practical matters you need to consider when moving to Colombia—including buying and renting property, your residency options, opening a bank account, acquiring health insurance, learning the language, and more…

At this 2019 Live and Invest in Colombia Conference, July 17–19, you’ll get all the inside information and on-the-ground support you need to be able to make your plans and invest wisely.

This is your only chance this year to meet us in Colombia and:

  • Explore with us to see the best of what the country has to offer, region by region. We’ll not only have expats to give their point of view, but also Colombians who can showcase their country…
  • Get the facts on being a part-time resident in exciting locations like Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Medellín…
  • Visit the expat-friendly neighborhoods with the people who live here now…
  • Discover how to find an affordable rental—starting at US$500 per month—and where you should be looking…
  • Get the facts on safety and security in the “new Colombia”…
  • Discover Colombia’s medical care… what many believe is Latin America’s best, most modern, and most affordable…
  • Learning the language is a terrific investment to help you get the most out of your experience in Colombia. We’ll showcase the best of Colombia’s many fine language schools for your convenience…
  • Get a grasp on the cost of living. We’ll show you actual budgets from people who live here…

Valentine Fouché

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