Are you happy in Colombia?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Colombia? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Colombia happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

I've seen those surveys before and Colombia was towards to top of the list of Happiest People.

And I would agree. When you walk around Colombia, you see lots of happy folks. They hold hand with their wives and kids and smile and eat icecream and sit in the park and laugh. But they have a different attitude about happiness I think. Gringos tend to think happiness has everything to do with having a Mercedes and a big house. And I think we're flawed that way. If you have the attitude that that stuff doesn't matter at all, then it's easier to just enjoy life.

The exceptions seem to be Bogota (bland, tired faces on the bus). And Sogamoso (Such a nice looking medium-sized city, but the people seemed miserable).

I did meet many happy people in Bogota, but just walking around it seemed like everyone was just trying to make it through the day like in a large US city. Work, eat sleep, work, rinse, repeat...

You are stereotyping gringos. I know many content with less. Like me. I've lived in many places in USA and I'm very happy in the country of Rio Negro with the climate, clean refreshing air to breathe, clean water, abundant food, good people, beautiful scenery. I find Colombians happy go lucky. I'd think the people who won the happiness scale would be very cold in those northern climates but they are very progressive.

Well the last question was one based on stereotypes.

"Are the locals in Colombia happy? How can you tell? Please share your experiences."

So, I shared MY experiences. I stereotyped Colombians in general, Bogotenos, and people from Sogomoso. As a libertarian, I don't like putting people into groups. Because if you say, "Germans aren't funny people," inevitably you'll meet a German later the same day that's hilarious. I'm from Mississippi, and I UNDERSTAND being stereotyped. I don't like it either. Fat, stupid, hate gays, love Jesus, pickup truck... None of those things apply to me.

But I think there's a time for it. And the original post asked, "Are the locals in Colombia happy?" And I answered the question best I could and tried to compare their happiness to Gringo life from my own experiences. There's a reason Gringos work more hours and take less vacations ON AVERAGE than other nations. We (meaning many of us) tend to pay a lot of bills on things we don't need like big houses, new cars, jetskis, a membership at the Lodge, home movie theaters, etc. The Colombians tend to spend money on weekend trips and fun things to see and do. I feel safe in saying that, even though, as you said, it's a huge generalization of millions of people.

Colombians have more holidays than the US and they are more educated than most of the children. They do go to school more which can contribute to their happiness factor. It would be interesting to study their brain compared to a US brain. I think Colombians have been oppressed over the last 50 years which perhaps has contributed to their creative expression, party mode and contentment right in their own surrounding. Now they can relax and not fear kidnapping, death. They can travel, explore and have fun. Their economy has improved.
    I'm enjoying living here in a socialist progressive country more than capitalistic US and lying narcisstic Trump. (He's not able to admit to his actions) So happy far away from him!!  Religion and the conservative dinosaurs(as I call them)try to control n oppress things in the US.  I have more rights here. FREEDOM!! Here you don't have to get married to have rights. Simply have lived together for 2 years. Amazing!! Health care is very reasonable!!! Unlike the US. I think the food is healthier. The cattle is pasture fed so I'm sure beef has less chemicals. Food has less preservatives. There are many more fruits and vegetables available hopefully with less chemicals and healthier soils. The soils here in Rio Negro are black and incredibly rich.
   The birds here are plentiful and exotic singing beautifully. I'm finding beautiful orchids growing in the grass and the bushes at 6k feet. The commercial flowers are plentiful and beautiful so I can have bouquets of fresh flowers!
    It did take me awhile to get used to the chaos on the roads here with the motorcycles jetting around you on both sides!! Which is illegal on the right but u never see them getting a ticket. people passing you anywhere and coming at you in your lane illegally in the US. Crazy aggressive drivers. Colombians have patience in long lines at grocery stores. Not on the roads!!
   Sorry this post was not so quick.

Happy People 😳😳😳 yes many people are happy who have food shelter not children being sexually abused or know who there father is ..... But that is not Colombia
Two children are sexually abused every hour in Colombia
Colombia is a sex tourists country
65 % of the country lives in extreme Poverty

Educating in a public school is 45-50 kids in a classroom no one learns they jump around all day because the one teacher can not teach or control so many kids
more that 70% come from homes with no father or parents that are alcoholics or use drugs

Pimps , are selling children and  Drugs  openly ..  Child exploitation for sex is Epidemic
Foreign men come to Colombia to buy young poor girls that have been victims of abuse only to abuse them more ..
Most Colombia people are Hungry every day , live in shacks , abused by they fathers . Eat to much fried food . Drink to much alcohol, lie deceive can not be trusted  ..

Colombia has come no laws protecting children or woman from abuse or child neglect laws and if they do there is no enforcement because the country is one of the most corrupt on the planet ..

Fact not uninformed opinion

Hungry people are not Happy people

People that do not have health care are not Happy people

People that are exploited for sex are not Happy people

People that do not have the needs of life are not Happy people

People that have a job and must work 50 hours every week = 200 hours for 235.00 USD


Feed a hungry child today an you will make that child Happy so we will know as a fact that one child in Colombia is happy ✌️✌✌✌

Well, that's a pretty dour assessment of the country, and I disagree. Many Colombians have problems getting by on minimum wage, sure. But they seem to make the best of it as far as being happy. And as I said in an earlier post, that's a generalization.

But when I walk around, I SEE happy people. Maybe their life isn't a rose garden, but they seem to make do with what they have.

And when I'm in Colombia, I just walk around grinning from ear to ear because it IS a very beautiful, happy place. I feel very welcome and wanted. The people are kind and nice to me (normally).

Frank tell us alittle bit about yourself? Where are u living getting these details? How long have u been here? Where r u from?I'm afraid those awful details about poverty n young girls is everywhere. Even the US. That's why education is so important and helping those less fortunate.

I left the U.K to come to Colombia about 5 years ago. So far I can say that I have not been homesick at all. The people generally here are very happy and there are far less restrictions here than in the U.K!

I have so far lived for 18 months in Villa de Leyva and the rest of the time near Subachoque in Cundinamarca. Here I have made good friends far easier than in West Sussex.

I am a christian and have also found a very alive church,  Assembleas de Dios, in Subachoque.

Our medical service is with Cafe Salud as it is now called, with whom I have had various exams and who paid for my treatment for a heart attack with a very good clinic and a fantastic surgeon who fitted a stent. Over two years later, I have had no further problems.

So to sum up, all in all, I am very happy to stay here in Colombia.

Best regards to all reading this.

Peter Stiles

I will guess that the gringos writing on this post all live in at least medium sized to large cities, where people generally have jobs and schools and decent if not nice cars. They are not describing the country as a whole, just the more successful side of life in Colombia - where we gringos tend to live.

Frank simply presented the "other side of the coin". It does indeed exist here.

Yes the exploitation of children is in every country yes and in a country with law Enforcement the Pigs go to jail

Not is not the case in Colombia.. Coruption is in every country and in a country with law enforcement the coruption and the people go to jail .. Not the case in Colombia

I am From the USA  looking for Pigs from the US that come  Colombia to buy drugs and explote girls for sex

So I work undercover and when I find a Pimp or a person from the USA )and there are many )
the USA has extradition agreement with the Colombia Government so Hand Cuffs go on the Pig a bag over there head and off to a US jail

As for  the sad victims they will continue to be victims

Where are all these Pervert  child abusers Pigs , Pimps , !!!!

where ever you see foreign men walking the parks or drinking in bars that is where and who they are

Medellin is according to the UN is a sex tourists city ..

So please do not close your eyes or your heart to what you know and see

If you want to see a happy person then cook some  Rice n Beans fill up 20 4/4  foam containers  and go to the real Medellin were most of the hungry people live and give food to the many hungry children you will see if you open your eyes and heart

Thank you for asking

As for the other persons  comment all I can say is if we catch you trying to solicit a young girl

Who Ever you are ....

So glad to hear u r doing what u r doing Frank!!It would be great to go after the dead beat dads too. We need more people like u!! There are many dead beat dads everywhere.(on your first post) For some reason they think they don't have to be responsible for their children. No conscience!!we need powerful women in powerful places to make laws against men. Or will men make those laws? Then $$ to go after them. Would that change their behavior? If their driver liscense was taken away? What would?

I don't know if we can solve the worlds problems when the population keeps growing!!!

I am happier in Colimbia than in my home country of South Africa. However the main and maybe only reason is that it us far easier fir me to find work here than in SA.
However, I feel that there are many other countries that can make me much "happier"/content, and so at the moment I am in the process of looking for work in those countries.

Frank r u keeping up with how pot is becoming legal everywhere? Medicinally It's curing cancer, seizures, PTSD, helps with pain, MS, etc. Colorado made $450 million in 2015 in taxes for schools. This could be the answer for Colombia for their schools, children, poor people. What do u say Frank?

Also Frank a 22 year old man impregnated a 15 year old in my neighborhood. I thought omg how awful! Looked it up on line and found 14 to be the age. You say 18. Perhaps it's different in each area?

Frank is working undercover. Secret agent man! Secret AGENT man!

Hi everyone,

Some posts have been removed from this topic. If you want to talk to a particular member, please use your private message to contact this person.

The initial topic here is "Are you happy in Colombia".

Thank you.

To much fried food and booze has caused most Colombia people to be Mentally Deficient

"Every new broom sweeps good"

Most not all people in Colombia it's all about the $$$$$$$$$$ your Money

Peter, I envy you getting to live in Villa de Leyva. I spent 10 days there this year and should have stayed longer. I was very happy in that great town.

I hiked out to the ostrich farm and the fossil museum. I stayed at a great hostel which is new called Buda Hostel which sits on a hill overlooking the city. The owners are young and have a campfire every night. Beautiful views of the mountains.

There's a bar right on the main square where my date and I had beers and they played classic rock music all night. That square is something else.

And I found the people to be very cheerful and welcoming in Villa de Leyva. The weather is great, too. I love it. You picked a fine spot to settle.


Wow... seems Frank has cast a large cloud over this topic...  I guess you could find negativity in every topic, but geeeez.... lol  Frank, try clocking out of secret agent mode every once in a while and live a little...

Feeding Hungry children is living with open eyes ..
Facts & Truth is living enlightened not a Narcissist living in the dark does not change suffering
As for you comment " I should start to live "

what do you mean  when you say I should start to live ?
! Live in a bar .. Eating BBQ WINGS .. Pimping , Hunting for young Colombia Girls that have been victims of abuse all there live only to be abused by  Pig Men  that come to Colombia    Is that the living you call "Live
Sorry never

Amazingly, some gringo pig men just come visit Colombia because we like to drink Colombian beer, see the mountains, and go hiking. I've never once done anything to ruin your country. I've never once violated any of your laws. If anyone is throwing trash into your streets and molesting kids, it's Colombians.

The trash posts from this anti-American guy are getting tiresome and are derailing otherwise nice threads.

On this I agree with Brandon.

A self-appointed vigilante who extra-legally puts bags over the heads of those he considers "pig men" and supposedly delivers them up for justice .. and who claims the government and its alleged "gangster friends" are supposedly taking "all the money" falls into the following category....


Frank stuff :

Too much fried food and booze has caused most Colombia people to be Mentally Deficient....

Unsubstantiated horseradish!  Posting unverified opinion such as this calls into question every assertion this poster has made on this thread.


Thank you so much for your kind words of Truth

Frank ✌️✌

Well said.  I too live in Rionegro and find it a pleasant place to live

I plan a visit to Colombia (Bogota) soon (still undecided) and I can answer the question afterwards but researching about Colombia and it appears though some areas in Bogota are relatively safe (Zone T, Parque 93) and I plan to stay in those area but other areas are very unsafe. Even in these supposedly safe areas I was advised not to walk alone at night!!!! Or not to flag a taxi on street (always call for one) or never get lots of cash from bank machine. Or always watch my drinks.

Yes partying and meeting nice people and walking in park are all happy activities but the most important is that if I don't feel safe to walk outside my home or do usual activities then I can be hardly happy no matter how green the park is or how beautiful the person I am with is or how fun the activity I am involved is. Health and safety is the most important factor in being happy. Also I am not happy if a few kilometers down the road people are hungry or muggers walking around or as one said children are being abused.

I've been living here for 10 years now, married with two daughters, and I can tell you, in spite of the draw backs, like motorcycles weaving in and out, I am very happy and relaxed living here.  We live in a small town, very near Rionegro, and find the cost of living to be incredibly low, health care fantastic, and the people largely friendly and helpful.  However, at first, it was a bit difficult, as I spoke almost no Spanish.  But, I learned and as a learned more and more Spanish, I found the locals to be very helpful to improve my skills.  So, friendly would be a good word to describe most of the people I have come into contact with but, patience is probably their greatest virtue.

BTW, I am so happy here, I have no interest in returning to the USA.  Not even to visit.  I don't miss anything about the US.

I am a little concerned about the new Tax Reform Law before Congress. It will impact expats in a not so happy way.

maren1 :

I am a little concerned about the new Tax Reform Law before Congress. It will impact expats in a not so happy way.

It will probably raise the tax rate on expats but also on everyone - it's going to impact the Colombian people even more.  Right now there's basically no income tax until one has an income of about $3.5M COP/month.  But the reforma tributaria will push that down to where people with incomes of only about $1.5M COP/month (only about $500 USD/month) will have to pay income tax.  That's only a little more than 2 minimum salaries.

Plus the IVA is going up I believe from 16% to 19% and other taxes are increasing.

I think the proposed changes will affect the Colombian economy in a negative way - all so the government can have more money to misspend on many ambitious projects that never get finished or take many years and many times more money than originally proposed and of course, on corruption.  Imposing more taxes has never made any economy better, nor has it ever resulted in the people becoming richer.

This link has a few articles in Spanish on many of the proposed changes to the tax laws: … 016-155080

maren1 :

I am a little concerned about the new Tax Reform Law before Congress. It will impact expats in a not so happy way.

Governments sure do tend to get greedy with money grabbing schemes. They figure if a bunch of Gringos are going to flood in, they may as well squeeze as much as they can from them.

Or those Gringos can go retire in Ecuador.

Colombian retirements income - no tax. Expat retirement income 33% tax
Expat non-Colombian worldwide income to be taxed.
Expat worldwide assets, 401K, real estate to be taxed.

I'm not sure how many retirees will want to work, save all their lives, then move to Colombia,  only to be taxed 33% on their monthly retirement income. Or, pay tax on assets accumulated over a lifetime of work

Amusing, Frank says "Fact not uninformed opinion", yet that seems to be all he posts.

To be clear, the 33% income tax rate is a marginal rate - reached only after a monthly income of 4100 UVT (Unidad de Valor Tributario), where 1 UVT = 29,753 COP for 2016.

So that's a monthly income of 10,165,608 COP which is about $3460 USD at today's exchange rate.  Every dollar of income above $3460 would be taxed for the year at a 33% rate for a tax resident, which is any expat who spends 183 days or more in Colombia in any 365 day period.

There are also marginal tax rates of 19% and 28%, reached at 1400 UVT (3,471,183 COP or about $1181 USD) and 1700 UVT (4,215,008 COP or about $1435 USD) monthly income, respectively.  These percents and the UVT amounts which trigger them are likely to be adjusted once the reforma tributaria is finalized so that the government can collect more in taxes from everyone.


OsageArcher, thank you for the information. However, you seem to be describing the tax situation in Colombia, mostly, as it is now. I am more concerned about the near future with the new Tax Reform.

No tax to Colombian retirement income. 33% taxation for expat Social Security income.  It doesn't seem that you have addressed this at all.

Perhaps you did not understand?  It is not correct to say "33% taxation for expat Social Security income".   I laid out how the income tax marginal rates apply now - you pay 33% only on every dollar above $3460 USD income.  This will likely change with the tax reform which is still under discussion and not yet the law of the land.

You say, "No tax to Colombian retirement income. 33% taxation for expat Social Security income.  It doesn't seem that you have addressed this at all."

I do not make the law - Colombia has determined that Colombian pensions are not taxed - but foreign pensions are.  There, I have addressed it.

My crystal ball is not working today so I cannot predict even the near future.  When the tax reform is actually made law we will know.  The only speculation I can make that is likely to be correct is that taxes will go up.

That's very unfair considering the money we get from Social Security was taxed when we earned it.  If Colombia wants to attract retirees to spend their money in Colombia and help their economy they need to correct this.  Otherwise the most I would do is maybe spend 180 days there each year, unless I decided that I liked Panama or some other country better in which case they would lose me entirely.

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