Thinking of moving to Manizales from Columbus, Ohio

Hi everyone,

For a few years I have been thinking about making a big change and living abroad. After much consideration I have narrowed in on Manizales, Colombia and was wondering if anyone could give me some more information.

How long have you been living there? Are you happy with the climate? Are the locals accepting & friendly? Do you feel safe? Where should I be looking for apartments where a newcomer can get a good deal but still feel safe (at least until I get my own bearings)? Also, alas I am not rich and will need to be bringing in an income while I am there. How is the job market? Are there opportunities for expats? I am starting to brush up on my formerly decent Spanish language skills & hope to be at an intermediate level by the time I arrive so perhaps that will help (I hope). Is there an expat community there or are well all pretty scattered?

Many thanks for any info you can give me.


There is a very small expat community in Manizales.  You will find a larger community in Pereira.

Sorry I can't help you more.  Manizales is a beautiful town.  I'll be heading to Pereira in about 5 years....

Thanks for your response although I am now looking at Medellin. The housing expenses are more daunting but with all the growth Medellin has been seeing it has better job/business prospects (I hope).

Good luck in Pereira - I read it was a fantastic town but I don't know if I could live in a city that shares a name with my ex. Lol. I really don't know much about Pereira though. Perhaps that will be tonight's bedtime reading.

I use to live in Bexley by the way....

Seriously? I am about to head over there now. I own & operate a pet sitting business and have a little Jack Russell in Bexley waiting to be tucked in. I live right by amount Carmel East off of Broad.

Why are you moving to Colombia in 5 years and why did you choose Pereira? Sorry- I'm nosy :). Well, and all my friends think I am insane so I don't talk about my move with them too much.


Hi, Rebecca.  I think we spoke before. Just in case....  I have been spent a lot of time in the Manizales-Pereira region since 2013.  We run medical missions in the region so I have visited a lot of Caldas & Risaralda. I prefer Manizales. It is more picturesque than Pereira. Pereira just feels like a big city to me, not that pretty. Pereira has more entertainment and business opportunities, but Manizales is more of a university small city. I prefer Manizales. In fact, I prefer the surrounding smaller towns of Manizales.  But the good news to you is that you don't have to choose right away. They are close to each other. In fact, I would just spend a couple of weeks on each and see how you feel personally; see where you fit best.  You are welcome to stay at my guest house. Look up MINGA HOUSE in Manizales. And my mother-in-law Angela can show you the city.  And then I can connect you to my staff who know Pereira very well and can show you the coutry side as well.  Eitherway, staying in each town for a  couple of weeks will let you appreciate the weather and atmosphere personally. You'll love the whole region, and you'll choose more securely where you want to call basecamp.  Hit me up for any questions, ok?

When are you thinking of arriving?   I need bilingual staff in Chinchina, which is in the middle of Manizales & Pereira, smaller city of about 50,000.  Maybe we can hire you from time to time to help you while you get started on your pet grooming business.


Thank you so much for your offer- how very kind of you, I will definitely keep it in mind.

I am actually a pet sitter, not a groomer. I come into people's homes and care for their animals while they work long hours or if they go away on vacations, etc. It is a healthier alternative to boarding at a facility for pets. I have 26 years of experience working with animals, but little to no artistic ability so grooming was not a possibility for me- haha.

Manizales seems like a lovely town but I find myself getting drawn back to Medellin over & over. The housing costs are daunting in comparison, but I am thinking that with all of the corporate growth it seems to be experiencing it may be my best shot at finding people who would use & value my services. That being said, there is a very real possibility I won't be able to get a company off the ground & may just have to move to Manizales & take you up on that after all.

Oh- I am looking to move at the end of November.

We really miss Bexley...but the job took me away.

Moving to Pereira because my wife is from there.  Getting ready to retire early...but am waiting 5 yrs.  Hope to open a Bed/Breakfast or Hostel there or close by in a smaller town or farm.  Or a restaurant...but there is a lot of competition.

Good luck in Medillin.  Traffic and pollution are becoming a problem...and the price of you said.  Yes, there is not much in Pereira and Manizaliz is much more pretty and inviting, so don't blame you there.

Good luck.

Hello Rebecca,

I am moving to Manizales from Dallas, TX on Aug. 3rd. I chose Manizales because of the beauty of the area and the friendliness of the people, even though I don't speak much Spanish, as of yet.

If you do decide to make the move to Manizales, I would definitely use your pet sitting services. I have a ragdoll cat that I purchased when I lived in New Zealand. He has traveled with me for the last 12 years and has never stayed in a caged environment while I traveled on business. They don't do such things to animals in NZ. I will no longer be working, but will venture out on trips from time to time.

Please keep in contact if you do make it this way.


Hey, lets connect....i aarive to manizales July 17 from WA.  I have a guest house in manizales.   I run medical missions in Caldas and Risaralda with American nursing and premedical students, and Colombian doctors of course.  Its fun, perhaos you would like to join us.  No experience needed, just a desire to help and learn.

Hi,are you living in Manizales now? I wanna move there in September,native Texan from Palestine Texas,71 y/o,very fluent in Spanish,wanna rent a furnished 1 bd-rm or studio apt in middle-class area,not with the rich folks. Thanks for any tips! Best,Frank

Frank, yes, living in Manizales now for two years.  I have purchased a home.

In order to rent most local apartments, you will need to have a Colombian Cedula. I needed to rent my first apartment, prior to arrival, through an Air B&B rental. It was much more costly, than a local rental, but the laws were changed awhile back, requiring this documentation.

A lot of new apartments going up. Who knows, you may find someone willing to take the insurance risk, without the Cedula.

Good luck.

Hello, am glad to help. Been in the area for 4 years, I have brought over 400 volunteers to do service work in the region. You can visit our website for our foundation at MINGA HOUSE DOT ORG

I recommend Angie's Guest House, super inexpensive, downtown allowing you to see the city and she is a great local guide.  Contact me in WhatsApp and I can inform and connect you with everyone and everything  +57-323-505-5710

Also, if you would consider a teaching position, I have the contract to bring 460 teachers to Colombia in July.

If it helps: landlords can rent to anyone, including a passport holder on a tourst visa (I have rented under that confition). As far as I know the law does not extend to requiring an owner to rent to a foreigner who only has a passport.

But the (bizarre) laws change regularly!

However, landlords are cautious about renting to anyone who does not have a credit history or a co-signer.  Often, a landlord reeuires a co-signer (someone liable in the event the renter fails in his obligation). 

The way around this is 1) getting to know the landlord and developing trust and 2) paying 3, 6 or 12 months in advance. I have rented from suspcious landlords who ended up loving me.

If you reside in Colombia on a tourist visa it is still posdible to rent if you find the right landlord.

Obviously best if one has residency and a cedula de extranjeria but a landlord will still be cautious if you do not have credit history or a co-signer.

The issue is that many landloards have been burned and the law is (too) favorable to the tenant. Unfortunately there is a good deal of abuse and a lack of good faith trust.

You are highly unlikely to rent an apartment on the basis of a tourist visa.

Almost all activities in Colombia revolve around your cedula.

A tourist visa can only last 180 days and most renters are looking for annual contracts.

Also you wont find a reasonable furnished place for 600 mil in Manizales or any other city in Colombia

At least any place I would be living in.

Maybe estrato 3 or lower , utilities not included and lousy furniture inconvenient location.

And even with a cedula , the landlords are going to ask for at least one fiador or several.months rent. Assuming you can rent directly from.the land lord and not through an agency, in which case the requirements get even more 2 fiadores or 1 fiador and a 6 month CDT (really ridiculous).

The other option is a AirNB type place, which rent out month per month, in which case your cost to quality ratio goes way up.

I  dont know how many of these type (Air nb type monthly rental) of apartments are available in Manizales, but I am looking in Bucaramanga and your very basic furnished  studio in estrato 3 starts at 1.2 million minimum.that incmudes utilities, internet and basic TV cable package.

I rented a very comfortable furnished apartment in estrato 5 in Manizales just a few years ago for $550,000 all inclusive.

The owner was very happy as I left it after 2 years just as I had found it, whereas it costs him to clear up after local renters.

I find that hard to believe based on my experience

Could be just blind luck with a depserate owner

Look at this site … -manizales

The ones under a miloin are obviously unfurnshed

and who knows whether utilities, administration etc. is included

You could also look here.  There's at least one apartment that's amoblado, for 650,000 COP/month, plus many listings are by the owners: … iendo/301/

I rented an unfurnished  2 bedroom unit in a modern gated community in Santa Rosa (Quindio) just outside of Pereira for $700,000 COL, no guarantor. Cost me 3M to furnish including appliances.

Hey LyleBright

I've rented nice apartments on my travels on just a tourist visa. It's up to the landlord. I'm retired and living in Armenia for now. Let me know if you want to meet over coffee and practice your English next time you are in town?  jajajajaja

There is no way I would ever rent anywhere unless it was month to month. What if you find out the rental facility is unacceptable when you move in? Previously undiscovered barking dogs, nosy unreasonable landlord, nosy or noisy neighbors? Unacceptable conditions you did not spot in the beginning?

I was a landlord in Canada. This works both ways. No way I would give a new tenant a long term contract. Takes a month or two to check em out. Intelligent parties do not tie themselves into long term leases until they get to know each other. This topic is universal.

There is a ton of places to rent here in Armenia. Empty. From my experience those some of landlords that want long term contracts will back off into month to month by increasing the security deposit. And that is pretty low anyways.

Paper contracts do not carry much weight. In the end the most important thing is that the landlord and tenant get along. Foreigners don't have much of a chance finding a guarantor in Colombia. Even without a guarantor the foreigner on a long term lease can leave the country pretty and vacate the the contract. What's the landlord gonna do? And contracts on paper do not protect much from dishonesty.

Here's the way to do it if you are a landlord and you want to take the gamble.  Make a lease for 1 month (or 2) for starters. This protects both parties. At the end of the lease both the landlord and tenant has a choice what to do next. Either one can choose to part company legally or they can choose to continue the renting based on their 1 or 2 month experiences. They are free to form any new contract they wish.

Just saying........

quechimba wrote:

Look at this site … -manizales

The ones under a miloin are obviously unfurnshed

and who knows whether utilities, administration etc. is included

That site shows only agency listings which are the most expensive and hard to negotiate by far. When I was there, I walked around for a few days, saw signs in the windows, knocked on doors, talked to landlords and offered large security deposits. I received many invitations to rent.

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