Retiree moving to Medellin in May. Any advice?

I’m from Nashville, Tennessee. Retired jazz guitarist. For the past several years I had a private investigation agency specializing in murder defense, missing persons and wayward husbands.

Three months ago I spent two weeks in Medellin. My globe-trotting son, having visited Medellin,  told me that I would love the place. He was right. Now I’m in the process of getting rid of everything I own, planning to move there in May. I plan to spend a week there in April to make whatever arrangements I can. Among other things, I would like to rent long-term a furnished one-bedroom apartment in Laureles/Estadio. I don’t need swimming pool, gym, etc., but wifi and hot water would be nice. I have no one to sign for me but I can pay a few months in advance. Any advice from anyone about anything would be greatly appreciated. I’ve never been down this road before so I’m completely ignorant about issues I’m not even aware of yet.

Thanks for taking the time to offer your input.

Bob Burford :

I’m from Nashville, Tennessee. Retired jazz guitarist....

Any advice from anyone about anything would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Bob,

Welcome to the Colombia forums of ...

The more specific you can be about your interests and concerns, the more information you are likely to generate on this forum that can be useful to you.

cccmedia in Depto. de Nariño

You might wanna postpone your trip or adjust your destination objective somewhat.....I suggest you read todays colombiareports article on renewed violence in sounds like the gang warfare is on the rise again after the arrest of one of the ex paramilitary be extradited to the U.S.  Bodies all over the place right now.......

Thank you, dumluk, it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the next five months.

Where are you seeing these reports in Medellin?

vegasnights :

Where are you seeing these reports in Medellin?

Dear Vegas,

He already identified Colombia Reports as the source:

The current lead-article at the site -- "Deadly Violence In Colombia Has Barely Dropped..." -- examines the rationale for the ongoing violence in La República in the peace-transition era.

   -- cccmedia in Depto. de Nariño

Yes,I read that but hardly a valid reason to tell someone not to visit Medellin, It is not open season on Gringos.

Here in ultra-Christian church-on-every-corner Nashville, we've had over 100 homicides this year. And it is not attributable to gang violence. Our population is about one-sixth of metro-Medellin. Do the math. Like any other city I've ever been in, if you want to get into trouble, there are areas that will readily accommodate you.

In my read of the reports, the troubles in Medellin are in areas in which I have absolutely no interest. I expect the locals are still walking around the streets of Laureles without much concern with what's happening in other parts of the city.

vegasnights :

I read that (Colombia Reports) but hardly a valid reason to tell someone not to visit Medellin, It is not open season on Gringos.

I appreciate your calm response to the "bodies all over the place" post, Vegas.

The "bodies all over" comment was overly broad and misleading.

Visitors and Expats new to Medellín need to avoid dicey areas, especially after dark, and stay around Poblado, Laureles and other known Expat-friendly neighborhoods/sectors.

If a new arrival can't do that -- or that sort of strategy doesn't seem feasible -- one should probably write off Medellín and most big cities in Colombia.

cccmedia in Depto. de Nariño

For starters, I dont live in Medellin, never even been there even tho Ive visited Colombia 5 times....Im not a big city guy at all....Not my cup of tea....not even Medellin reputed to be the nicest city in L.A.  So I only know what I read and what my friends who DO live in Medellin tell me. And one who I have known on the forums for years, who is married to a Colombiana and has adopted her children has clued me in.....For example, his 18 yr old daughter was beaten up and robbed of her expensive cell phone in a bar in Laureles about a week ago.......Not long before that, his wifes sister who was working in a bar/restaurante was the victim of a stray bullet fired by some loco who went off and started shooting up the place when he couldnt get what he wanted........He tells me that approx 5 members of his wifes family have been murdered over the years, most of them involved in that part not so surprising.........And the incidence of escopalamina has increased hugely.........He told me that a number of his friends and acquaintences have been victims of scopalamine.......It even happens here cuz the Colombian hookers and sicarios have brought it here to Panama and Costa Rica........You really have to face the reality of the lack of basic security in Medellin and all Colombian cities........If Im gonna live in Colombia it would be in the country somewhere well outside of the big cities.......maybe outside of Armenia or Pereira in some nice, friendly, little town in the eje cafetero..........or the beaches the other side of Tayrona close to Santa Marta......Buritaca, or Palomino..........Medellin below Poblado is polluted....the air quality is not acceptable........and the traffic is by all accounts worse than Panama City..........So one would have to be a hard core city type person to find it bearable..........

I have been travelling back and forth to Colombia for 17 years, I have lived in Medellin for 2 1/2 years.  Visited many cities in the Country. My ex wife is Colombiana and was born in Bucaramanga but her and her family grew up in Barranquilla.  Barranquilla has changed a lot over the years.

In June 2000 I escaped from being almost kidnapped in Barranquilla near the Hotel El Prado ,
Cra. 54 #70-10, by 2 armed men on a motorcycle with pistols and one man in a jeep with a sub machine gun. I was stuck in Barranquilla for 45 days without a Passport or any id. Luckily the Consulate helped me obtain proof from my former Police dept. in the United States who I was , but it was let's say a "fun" experience.

I am going to the 2018 Carnivale in February which will be nice since it has been 17 years since I went to the Carnivale. I am considering moving to Cali or Bogota , just to experience longer term a different city.

I have had the pleasure to travel and live or visit in Barranquilla, Medellin,Bogota, Cartagena, Cucuta, Cali, Pereira, Llanogrande, Santa Marta and Manizales.

In 17 years the incident in Barranquilla has been my only violent incident . But it is a case of being street smart and not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Colombia is an amazing Country, with the culture,music and the nice people. It is hard to stay away :)

I never claim to be an expert about Colombia but I think I have quite a bit of experience in the Country.

Wow! An interesting story.....and completely credible considering that its Colombia were talkin about......Ive had a few myself in Costa R. and right here in Panama.......And in my 5 trips thru Colombia, meeting people of all stripes, drinking beers with paracos in Turbo and in Minks (?) Up above St. Marta, Ive never had a serious issue....Always been treated very well...... Did have a close encounter with a few black mal criados walkin over the pedestrian bridge in the park in central Cali yrs ago towards the Sexta, but headed em off t the pass....Saw em comin, and they knew I saw em.........And I agree....Colombia is a great and beautiful country with enormous potential and diversity... My only question is Why didnt you stay in Manizales? Hahaha...........Its probably all around all things considered the nicest place in the country.............

I agree and was going to add, Manizales is a great smaller city in the mountains, very beautiful. Could be a future longer term visit there:)


I like Medellin. It's a great city in the world. It's likely you can walk around the rest of your life and no one will ever hassle you. It's also likely that someone will rob you.

So I like the suggestions that you go to some smaller place. There are super places in Colombia that are more safe than the big places. The coffee region is spectacular. Go see it. You will love it. And there are medium sized cities that will offer you everything you want without the threat of violence. Huge malls, movie theatres, restaurants and shops galore, and safety.

But if you're an investigator and you are determined to live in Medellin, look up attorney Alan Gongora. Attorneys always need investigators and you can earn a bit of cash. He's a cool guy. A gringo. I don't know that he needs anyone, but ask him.

Best of luck, Bob.

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