Getting to know you

Good afternoon all, my name is Thomas and my wife’s name is Geralyn.   We are affectionately known as tom and Geri!  I am a retiree from the trades and my wife is an RN. We are interested in learning about several cities in Columbia in the hopes that we may find our paradise. The beach city of Cartagena has sparked a real fire of interest. We are looking forward to meeting new friends and enjoying our golden years. We hope that Columbia is the place!  We have been entertaining Medellin and Santa Marta also. We are hoping to get truthful feedback outlining the pros and cons from our new friends in the expat communities of Columbia.  We are hoping for insight as to what rentals are available. We prefer a modern  open concept apartment with 1-2 bedrooms and 1.5-2 bathrooms and a full kitchen within walking distance to beach, mercado, and restaurants. A great ocean view would only add to our perfect place.  We look forward to making new friendships and learning from those who experience the Colombian life on a daily basis. Chao!!!

Hi Tom and welcome to you both from another Newbie, I can't help you on the accommodation front, as I am a countryside dweller, but one word of advice before coming here, please learn how to spell the country, Colombians can get quite prickly, and rightly so, when people mispell Colombia.

PhilCo58 :

Colombians can get quite prickly, and rightly so, when people mispell Colombia.

Another word commonly spelled incorrectly is misspell.  It has two of the letter s.

Thank you Phil for reaching out and welcoming us.  I apologize for the miss spelling but I am going to have to blame AutoCorrect. My childhood was spent living on Columbia Street which is located on the lower Eastside of Manhattan in NYC.  I still reference my old neighborhood quite often and didn’t catch the error as I use the speech option on my phone often because there is not enough time in a day for me to type as I have “fat finger syndrome “😁. I will be more diligent in the future before hitting the send button.  Thanks for the heads up.
Part of the mystique of Colombia is the rich culture and the warm welcoming attitude that the Colombian people exhibit that I’ve heard so much about and am looking forward to experiencing it first hand!!!  What brought you to Colombia?  Why Cartagena in particular?   Expat feedback has been so helpful.  Their honest and truthful input has been priceless in helping us determine where we want to live. Looking forward to many rewarding conversations !!!

cccmedia Thanks for the correction!

Tom, I like the idea of dictating your posts, I suffer with the same 'fat finger' syndrome! I am not in Cartagena, I am outside Copacabana, near Medellin.

I am here because my wife and her family are from Medellin and Bello, which are just a stones throw away. It worked out well, I like the climate, T-shirts year round, and only wear a jacket when it rains.

Hi Phil,  Medellín is also a consideration.  Again the feedback is so positive that we are going to spend some time there also.  My wife Geri is a beach/water person henceforth Cartagena although a pool will surfice. We are open to experiencing both and will take it from there. You mentioned Copacabana.  Can you tell me a little about where you live?   How close is it to Medellín?  Do you know of any rentals in the Medellín  area that you can recommend?  A great opportunity came up in Manta Ecuador with a reasonable rental which is literally 1 block from everything that has peaked our interest.  Now the decision on where to go first. We have been contemplating both and still have not decided.  Medellín and Manta are definitely places we want to experience.  Expat feedback has been very helpful in us determining where we would like to settle down permanently.  The negative feedback has been there but the overall messages are positive. The t-shirt weather is definitely a plus.  In closing I want you to know that you have been communicating with a real live Tom & Geri. We are not famous like the cartoon characters but we are definitely just as funny and oh so adventurous!
Thanks again Phil for the feedback!!  Peace and serenity be with you and your family!!!!!!

Hi Tom, I personally don't know the north coast, but my Wife suggests you look at Santa Marta rather than Cartagena, cleaner, healthier, and cheaper.

Copacabana is only about 20-30 minutes from Medellin, the pain in the backside is that unless we take the back roads, the only option is to use the Toll Road which is 2500COP in each direction,  the funding goes to Bello, the next town, even though their residents are not affected by the Toll, this is a bone of contention here and the other towns on our side of the Booth. I live up on the mountain ten minutes beyond Copacabana, so it takes me 30-40 minutes to Medellin, longer during rush hour.

Copacabana the town, needs some TLC, as do many of the towns and villages here, we are unlucky enough to have had one corrupt Mayor after another, they enter the position with nothing and within a couple of years they have a property portfolio and garage of vehicles to rival many rich folk, and in the mean time, nothing is done to improve the town, also their family and friends are given the best jobs in the Town Hall. Why is this allowed to happen? unfortunately when it comes around to elections, they buy votes, with free meals, weekends away, healthcare bills paid, etc,  but after they are voted in nothing happens, because there is no money, it is all syphoned off.

Colombian friends here say I should just accept and live with it, but it's not in my nature to do so, so I keep sticking my head above the parapet and having a dig, one of these days I may well receive a visit...

However the ordinary folk in town and here abouts, are really friendly, fincas in the countryside, nearly all which have pools, are very reasonable compared with in the city, because they are mainly on lower stratas, I am on strata 2, but many of the Expats in the Medellin area, insist on living in El Poblado, or Envigado,  these are 5 and 6, on my pension, I couldn't live there and have a good lifestyle, here I have no worries, my utility bills and local taxes are so much cheaper.

I can't really recommend any company for rentals or sales, it is so long since I bought my property, people come and go in that business, Fincaraiz is one site that has been around for a long time, and will give you a good guide on prices.

If you are going to look outside the major cities, I would recommend renting, then spend a week just driving around the local villages, to get a feel for where you might like to settle, then ask in a local Bar or Cafe for the local man who knows all, they will put you in touch, and this man will take you out for the day, or however many it takes, and show you available properties many of which are not on websites, and will be cheaper.

Before you go out with him or her, find out what their sales policy is, because their commission may just be paid by the seller, it may be split between the seller and buyer, and if he is a rogue it will be paid by the buyer. Make sure any money is only handed over after everything is signed and sealed at the Notary, there is usually a time limit entered into the documentation for paying, but if you pay direct to the Vendor before it is signed and sealed, there is a chance you wont see your money or your property again.

I believe that you can buy property before you get a cedula, by using only your passport, but you will need a Colombian Bank Account, so your funds are ready to use, many people here don't want to wait until you can transfer funds, so it is better to have them here.

Saying that, it depends on how you intend to transfer your funds, if it is for the sole purpose of buying property, and you may want to sell and take the funds out of the country again, then you will need to transfer the funds using a form 4, this registers the funds to a specific property with the Bank of Colombia, and it is easy to remove those funds out of the country again. However if you have no intention of leaving, then like me you can use a form 5, which allowed me to import the funds from the sale of my property outside Colombia, and use them for general purchases including a property, but you will be taxed when or if you decided to leave, for me it is easier, because my wife  as a Colombian could export the funds, as long as my name wasn't involved.

Hope this helps!

WOW, what great information!!!!!  So informative and straightforward.  It is a pleasure to communicate with a person with pride, morals and integrity.  You like I have trouble standing by watching corruption and mismanagement happening without trying to do something about it. My wife is a more laidback go with the flow type whereas I don’t mind speaking up for what is right and trying to effect change of some sort. Eventually this blind eye concept will only make matters worse and could destroy a region/town. Part of “our” relocation  philosophy is to calm my search in speaking out about right and wrong.  My philosophy is, it may not effect you now but it could in the future with catastrophic results. As a visitor you may not care but as a resident you eventually will. Again an honor to make your acquaintance and for the opportunity to communicate with you.  You seem like a person that we would like to befriend.
Maybe one day we can get together and relax with a beverage or over lunch when we get to the area. The best to you!!!!

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