Cost of Living in Columbia
It will cost you a lot less to live in Columbia and thousands of ex-pats have settled throughout the country. Your eating habits are likely to change since most of those foods you’re accustomed back home are imported and will put a major dent in your wallet, since they’re loaded with import taxes. Local produce is cheap in comparison and will make you a healthier person in the long run. An average lunch out, when eating at local comidas can cost as little as $5 or less, including soup, meat entrée, vegetables, salad and a non-alocholic drink. You’ll pay a little bit more at a fast food place like McDonalds and have, of course, lower quality. A dozen farm fresh eggs at the market will cost the equivalent of $1.50 USD and a pound of tomatoes is far less than a dollar. There are American style supermarkets in many of the larger populations but we prefer to shop at small local shops, many of them family owned. Supporting the local economy is the best practice regardless of where you roam.
A large (900 square foot) apartment, furnished, will cost anywhere between $450 – 650 USD, depending on what part of town, and the higher end place will be in a nicer district. All utilities, including internet will be under $100 USD per month, combined, though they are accounts that are paid for individually. Everyone, of course, has a housekeeper who shows up at least once a week and they work for approximately $2/hr. It’s normal to tip them, but percentagewise, even that’s extremely nominal. Younger people are inclined to live together in communal type situations, which affords them nicer accommodations with split costs.
Health care is always big on everyone’s mind, especially retirees. No one goes without good health care in Columbia. In 1991 the government adopted reforms that claim health care a basic human right and it applies to everyone, regardless if you were born there, come from another country, or just passing through. Nueva EPS, the public insurance company provides the same plan for all, including medical, dental and vision. There are private insurance companies, as there always will be and they do expand on basic coverage, but unless one has a specific condition, we recommend the national system and have found it to be perfectly sufficient.
Harriet Cochran Murray, Director of Cochran Real Estate, is a seasoned Real Estate professional both here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in the United States. Harriet has served in many capacities as a board member and President for the local Real Estate Association AMPI (AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals). She is also a member of FIABCI and NAR in the United States. Harriet’s expertise and experience in the Real Estate and especially in the Mexican market makes her Viewpoint blog articles both informational and intriguing. Harriet is a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in getting the best deal on the right property for her clients. Harriet specializes in retirement real estate and has expanded her markets to now include Panama and Columbia, If you are interested in viewing properties or getting a comparative analysis between the countries’ real estate contact her today.