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Positive & Negative side of Colombia!

I will try to say both the positive and the negative.
Positive:
1. people can be friendly

2. there are pretty sights

3. it is not as expensive as America

4. the weather can be better than America

5. there are fun things to do

Negatives:
1. depending on where you are, if you do not know Spanish - do not come

2. if you are wanting to work but do not have a Colombian National I.D. Card - do not come

3. if you are wanting to rent a place with no Colombian National I.D. Card - do not come

4. if you are not wanting to marry a Colombian person for the National I.D. Card - do not come

5. if you are tired of getting "double charged" or paying the "foreigner price" of things - do not come

walka19walka64 :

if you are wanting to work but do not have a Colombian National I.D. Card - do not come....

if you are wanting to rent a place with no Colombian National I.D. Card - do not come.

My research shows it’s not difficult to get the ID card.

A temporary visa (aka TP visa) entitles you to obtain the ID card, known as a cédula. There are a lot of different TP’s available.  For a list of the easy requirements to obtain the ID card, visit www.medellinliving.com/cedula .... The only tricky requirement I see is that you need to get a blood test -- and how hard is that, really?  The other requirements are a breeze.

What’s this business about “depending on where you are, if you do not know Spanish - do not come” ?  That needs more explanation, Walka Walka.

cccmedia

A trickier aspect of an Expat moving to Colombia is subjecting oneself to COL taxing your world-wide income.

Such taxing used to be assessed starting in Year 5, but it’s been reported in multiple places on the Internet that the four-year waiver was eliminated in 2013.  So your exposure to Colombian taxation begins the first year that you spend more than 182 days in the country.

What if you receive income in the U.S. that is not taxable in the U.S. ?  Would it possibly be taxable by Colombia ?  I can’t find such information on the Internet .. although there is information that Colombia is re-doing its Expat taxation statutes, so the answer is uncertain for coming years anyway.

cccmedia

:D

NOT True, I do not speak Spanish, my wife is Colombian and I have no problema.

I agree that not knowing the spanish language is a negative.  My wife is also Colombian and we get along just fine. 

My wife has began to notice the Gringo pricing.  When she does, she finds another business for services.

rsmith1742 :

I do not speak Spanish, my wife is Colombian and I have no problema.

‘Fess up, Smitty.  Everybody has problemas.

Sorry to disappoint you but my Seniorita solve each and every challenge and never let them become a problem.  This retired Marine only see s opportunity while others ponder problems...

Wishing you the best !

Semper Fidelis

Randy

rsmith1742 :

my Seniorita solve each and every challenge and never let them become a problem.  This retired Marine only sees opportunity while others ponder problems...
Semper Fidelis
Randy

Author-lecturer Robert Fritz convincingly taught -- in Advanced DMA -- that every problem is an opportunity.

So both sides appear to be correctly focused, based on Marine Randy’s post.

cccmedia

If you enjoy cheese, then you're going to have a hard time in Colombia. Actually, if you enjoy food, then Colombia ain't your spot.

But I still love the place.

What is the blood test for?

It's true that the quality of good food is lacking in Colombia.  We tend to eat most of our metals at home since we find the quanity of food served in restaurants is small and the pricing is too high in pricing.                                 

On the plus side, the medical treatment is sufficient and low cost.  I needed to use the medical service recently and they came to our apartment.  Try getting that in the U.S. for only $30.00/month in insurance.

Texas Bred :

It's true that the quality of good food is lacking in Colombia.  We tend to eat most of our metals at home since we find the quanity of food served in restaurants is small and the pricing is too high in pricing.

It's difficult to even cook a great meal at home. They just don't carry high quality products. I have never even once seen basil, and I made it a mission to find basil just because. Even if I didn't want basil, I'd go look at the spices to see. Never have it.

I ate at a Korean restaurant in Villa de Leyva and it was okay. Nothing superb like I expect from Korean food. But I left them a great review on tripadvisor because I know it's got to be super difficult to recreate Korean food with Colombian ingredients. I spent HALF a day looking for shrimp in Villa de Leyva. I kept going store to store to store and no shrimp. Finally I asked a policeman and he pointed me to a butchershop that had some little frozen bags of shrimp.

I guess I'm spoiled by the options we have in the States. I went to a Mexican restaurant in Bogota a couple of times that was fine, but not great. But I think they were doing the best they could with what they had. There's no Monterrey Jack in Bogota.

If you want great food in Colombia, I'd advise to eat at a Peruvian restaurant. They know their stuff as far as cooking. Good food, but expensive compared to other options.

Parrilladas are a specialty in Colombia.  That’s barbecued meat.

Here in Quindío, a favorite place is Leño y Carbon restaurant, which may be part of a chain.  This one is in the food court of Portal del Quindío Mall.

The St. Louis pork ribs platter is out of this world.  Price:  33 lucas.  That’s $11 US for you novatos.  Figure on taking half the meal home with you -- the portions are that generous.  Or share with a friend. :)

The platter comes with potatoes, plátano, the infamous arepa and a small salad.

I order it jugoso  -- known in the USA as ‘rare’.

They also make a great fish platter with tasty seafood-sauce -- trucha y mariscos.  It’s a dollar less expensive than the ribs.

cccmedia in La Zona Cafetera

I had several people tell me not to come if i didnt speak spanish. But after my divorce where my ex got every thing and both my kids in college so i rarely saw them i said screw it, took early retirement, threw as many clothes possible in my backpack and came anyway. Ive been here 9 months. Got my cedula, insurance (sura/comfama) drivers licence, etc. But it is hard not knowing spanish. Where i live san antonio which is a barrio of rionegro theres a few gringos and some colombians who speak english but every office ive been to forget it. I take a spanish class actually private lessons but i barely have a grasp of the language. Its freaking hard not to mention they speak 500 miles an hour.
Another issue is safety. If somebody sticks a gun in your face go aheadand give them your freaking cell phone. They will shoot you. That said ive never had an issue. But i would not move to medellin if you dont know spanish.  Yeah you can get a nice apt cheap but not worth it if you cant walk the streets at night...to me anyway.

Wait i should have added i dont regret coming here. I love it. If youre a rightwinger youll prob get along with the gringos here. Very few leftys like me. One more issue though hard to get stuff done here unless you go to medellin about 3 times if you move to antiochia anyway.

Some of these problems are fixable.

Don’t know Spanish?  Your teacher talks “500 miles an hour"?

Get a new teacher.  Or watch Netflix with Spanish subtítulos and pause video to look up unfamiliar words and phrases.

Can’t walk the streets at night in your neighborhood?

Change to a better neighborhood.

Unless you made the mistake of buying your place before living in the target area for at least one year.

cccmedia in La Zona Cafetera

No bro my teacher is great but since i retired i got lazy...rarely study. Where i live i can walk the streets anytime. But yeah i agrèe its all fixable.

I applaud you, Ray, :top:  for ignoring the posted advice to stay away from Colombia if you don’t speak Spanish.

IMO that’s weak advice -- too weak to base a Colombia decision on. :cool:

Now you love it here.  More power to ya’. :)

cccmedia in La Zona

While speaking Spanish is a plus, it's not a show stopper to living in Colombia.  My gringo friend here in Rionegro uses his google translater on his cell phone when he goes places.  I regret that I don't know Spanish well because I would love to talk with my wife's family freely without my wife having to translate for me.

I was able to obtain my motorcycle license without needing to speak the language.  It's easy to understand the road signs, but I've noticed many Colombians rarely obey the speed limits anyways. 

Spices for cooking can be found in Jumbo and PriceMart.  But as I mentioned, I tend to stay away from the restaurants because the quality of food is poor and expensive based on the portion size.  Plus I am not a fan of eating a potato and arepa with my meals.

I agree that Medellin would be a difficult place to live for those whom speak little Spanish.  I recommend San Antonio outside of Rionegro, if for nothing else, it's a lot cooler in climate and less traffic.   Plus La Ceja and Carmen are only a short drive away to view the beautiful countryside.

Medical is inexpensive here in Colombia.  I've needed medical attention on my shoulder due to a torn ligament.  So far, with Doctor visits and MRI I have spent less than $250.00 USD and that's based on a $30.00 a month insurance plan.

Moderated by Julien 4 months ago
Reason : please keep that kind of flaming comment for you

Thanks çcc..and ive leaned a lot from ur posts.

In my opinion, I don't think Colombia is a very welcoming place for retirees (I am not referring to people/ climate), I am referring to the rules. Another way of saying it, Colombia is not retiree friendly for people with options (retiree that can afford to live almost anywhere).

- Opting out to become a tax resident. One would come for 180 days at a time (the snowbird option).

- Even with the above option, the 6 months visa is not even guaranteed.

- Assuming you have a six-month visa, renting becomes an issue. Most places only rent on a one-year lease, mostly unfurnished, and require formal documents available to the native and permanent resident.

Ecuador, on the other hand, is getting very friendly for snowbird retirees with the new 6-months tourist visa. Just my observation.

akabo :

I don't think Colombia is a very welcoming place for retirees.... I am referring to the rules....

Colombia is not retiree friendly for people with options (retiree that can afford to live almost anywhere).

- Opting out (from becoming) a tax resident. One would come for 180 days at a time (the snowbird option).

- Assuming you have a six-month visa, renting becomes an issue. Most places only rent on a one-year lease, mostly unfurnished, and require formal documents available to the native and permanent resident.

The tax situation can theoretically be onerous for Expats with certain types of income.

For others, especially those with a creative/knowledgeable COL accountant or attorney, it’s not a problem .. or not much of one. 

Last week I received a tax opinion which indicates I would not be taxed heavily if at all. 

I recommend that  someone truly interested in living in Colombia get a tax opinion from a professional in La República before throwing in the towel on 183-days-plus per year. 

The accountant’s opinion I received was gratis, based on my interest in having a law firm provide paid visa-service to me.  Now they’re getting my visa business .. and -- when the time comes to file for tax year 2017 -- they or the accountant they use will get my Colombia tax-filing business.

---

Your point about difficulties in doing a six-month rental are valid.  Of course, Colombia is not unique in lacking short-term rentals at a rent-level anywhere near as low as year-long unfurnished rentals.  Shorter-term rentals are available in some places, but not at $275 a month.

cccmedia in La Zona Cafeteria

akabo :

the 6 months visa is not even guaranteed.

Though this assertion is technically true, I think it’s completely off-base.

Colombia, as I can tell from my research, makes it incredibly easy and inexpensive for an Expat to get a 90-day tourist-stamp “visa” extended to 180 days total.

If you have knowledge of an Expat ever having been denied a 90-day extension, Akabo, I’d like to know about it.  That goes for other posters, as well.

cccmedia in La Zona

cccmedia :
akabo :

the 6 months visa is not even guaranteed.

Though this assertion is technically true, I think it’s completely off-base.

Colombia, as I can tell from my research, makes it incredibly easy and inexpensive for an Expat to get a 90-day tourist-stamp “visa” extended to 180 days total.

If you have knowledge of an Expat ever having been denied a 90-day extension, Akabo, I’d like to know about it.  That goes for other posters, as well.

cccmedia in La Zona

@cccmedia,

My comment is based on information gathered in this forum. This thread discussed this issue (http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=417575). As per post #2, you may or may not get the 90-day visa upon arrival. He even cited that some people get only 30-day visa.

akabo :

As per post #2, you may or may not get the 90-day visa upon arrival. He even cited that some people get only 30-day visa.

Last month (December 2016), when I got to the EC-COL border at Rumichaca (southwestern Colombia), I did not take it for granted that I would get the 90 days I wanted.

I told the COL border agent the purpose of my trip and specifically requested the full 90 days, which he cheerfully granted.

Although it’s certain that some Expats have received fewer than 90 days, I have not heard or read of a border agent refusing a request for 90 days in Colombia during the past two years.

On the linked thread that Akabo provided, a poster named Markcol stated in 2014 that some (unnamed) persons supposedly did not receive 90 days as requested.  I do not accept that this old and unverifiable third-party statement reflects current realities.

Naturally, if some traveler has already spent time in Colombia during a 365-day period, the border agent may be required to allow fewer than 90 additional days to accommodate the 180-day annual limit for “tourists."

cccmedia in La Zona Cafeteria

How about a 4 course lunch including a slice of watermelon or mixed sliced tropical fruit, a bowl of soup, a substantial main course, a fresh fruit juice and a small desert choice all for 10,500 pesos?  That's what you can get in a restaurant in Subachoque!

Peter Stiles :

How about a 4 course lunch ... all for 10,500 pesos?

We’re in favor of it. :top:

We note that Subachoque (population 16,000) is 28 miles from Bogotá in the Cundinamarca department.

  -- cccmedia in La Zona Cafeteria

Thats the one!  The 4 course lunch main dish is also very big. One word of advice steer clear of beef in lunches as it is usually tough. Chicken, fish or pork are the best.

Whenever possible, ask for carne jugosa.  Meaning the meat would be “tender” or “rare,” instead of the usual shoe-leather texture.

Overcooked meat is a real problem in Colombia and Ecuador, especially at the almuerzos and lower-priced tugurios.

I’d usually go with the fish if it’s available.  Might be digestible.

---------

Pez gordo = big shot (literally:  fat fish).

cccmedia in La Zona Cafetera

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