Colombia is a diverse, beautiful, and culturally rich country in South America, and is a very popular destination for digital nomads. I was fortunate enough to spend several weeks there last summer (2022) with my son, and I can’t say enough about the experience we had. The warmth of the locals, the vibrant atmosphere, and the beautiful landscapes made our stay memorable and enjoyable. Based on my that experience, I’ve put together this guide to provide essential information for fellow digital nomads planning a trip to Colombia, so you and your family can make the most out of your time in this incredible country.
Average expenses per month (in USD):
- Accommodation: $300-$800
Finding suitable accommodation in Colombia is relatively easy, with options ranging from budget-friendly hostels and shared apartments to more upscale private apartments and Airbnb rentals. The cost varies depending on the city, neighborhood, and type of accommodation. For instance, Medellín and Bogotá tend to be more expensive than smaller cities like Cali or Barranquilla. Regardless of your budget, you can find comfortable lodging options that cater to your needs.
- Food: $200-$400
The cost of food in Colombia is quite affordable, and you can choose from a variety of options depending on your preferences. Eating at local markets and street food stalls will significantly reduce your food expenses, while dining at mid-range to upscale restaurants will naturally be more costly. Colombian cuisine is diverse and delicious, offering a great opportunity for digital nomads to explore new flavors and dishes.
- Transportation: $50-$100
Transportation costs in Colombia are generally low, with a range of affordable options such as buses, taxis, and ridesharing services like Uber. Public transportation systems, particularly in larger cities like Bogotá and Medellín, are efficient and inexpensive. Keep in mind that fares will vary depending on the distance and mode of transportation.
- Entertainment: $100-$300
Entertainment expenses will vary depending on your interests and lifestyle. Colombia offers a plethora of activities, from cultural experiences like visiting museums and attending live music events, to outdoor adventures like hiking and exploring national parks. Generally, entertainment costs are lower in Colombia than in many Western countries, so you can enjoy a wide range of experiences without breaking the bank.
- Utilities & Internet: $50-$100
Utility costs in Colombia, which include electricity, water, and gas, are relatively low, particularly when compared to Western countries. Internet costs are also affordable, and most urban areas offer reliable and fast connections. However, the quality and speed of the internet may vary depending on the location, with more rural areas potentially having slower or less stable connections.
- Healthcare: $50-$150
Healthcare costs in Colombia can range depending on the type of care needed and whether you have travel insurance. Many digital nomads opt for private clinics, where costs may be higher, but the quality of care is generally better. Routine check-ups and basic medical services are affordable, while more specialized treatments or procedures may be more expensive. It’s essential to have travel insurance to cover any potential medical expenses.
- Office/Coworking space cost: $100-$300
Coworking spaces are increasingly popular in Colombia’s urban areas and can be found at various price points, depending on the facilities and location. Cities like Medellín and Bogotá have a growing number of coworking spaces that cater to digital nomads, offering flexible plans, high-speed internet, and networking opportunities. Prices will vary depending on the coworking space and the type of membership plan you choose.
- Total: $850-$2,150
(Note: These are approximate figures and may vary based on personal preferences and location within Colombia.)
While most digital nomads bring their remote work with them, there are also some local job opportunities in Colombia, particularly in industries like teaching English, IT, and tourism. The country has a growing startup scene, especially in Medellín and Bogotá, which could offer networking and collaboration opportunities for digital nomads with specific skill sets.
Colombia can be competitive for foreigners due to language barriers, local competition, and the need for work visas. Additionally, the startup ecosystem is growing, and not yet as mature as those in some other digital nomad hotspots, which can limit the available opportunities. However, for digital nomads with in-demand skills, such as web development, graphic design, photography, or digital marketing, there is potential to find freelance or short-term work with local companies.
Medellin Guru highlights the job market in Medellín, easily the most popular city for digital nomads, and where my son I spent most of our time there. While there are job opportunities for foreigners, particularly in teaching English and working for multinational companies, it can be challenging to secure a position without relevant experience, connections, or Spanish language skills.
Colombia’s culture makes it relatively easy for foreigners to meet new people and explore the local dating scene. The welcoming nature of Colombians, combined with their interest in learning about other cultures, can create a favorable environment for forming new relationships. Just remember to be respectful and open-minded, and you’ll find that Colombian people are very hospitable.
Dating Beyond Borders views the dating culture in Colombia warm and open. They highlight the importance of socializing and networking in Colombian culture, which can lead to more opportunities to meet potential partners. Additionally, it notes that Colombians are generally very approachable and receptive to meeting new people, making it easier for foreigners to connect with locals.
However, it’s essential to be aware of cultural differences and expectations when dating in Colombia. For example, Colombians may place a higher emphasis on family values and traditional gender roles, which might be different from what some digital nomads are accustomed to. By understanding and respecting these cultural nuances, digital nomads can better navigate the dating scene and build meaningful connections with locals.
Ease of Entry and Exit
Visa-free travel for many nationalities (90 days, extendable to 180 days) simplifies the process of entering and exiting the country, making Colombia a breeze for digital nomads looking for an accessible destination. In fact, other than an insane Customs line, my son and I got in and out with ease. Major airports in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena provide frequent flights to and from various destinations worldwide, ensuring that getting in and out of Colombia is as smooth as silk. Our flight in particular came in and out of Fort Lauderdale and Miami (to/from Dallas).
According to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, citizens from numerous countries, including the United States, Canada, and most European countries, can enter Colombia visa-free for short stays. This ease of entry makes Colombia attractive for digital nomads who want to avoid the hassle of applying for visas and dealing with paperwork before embarking on their journey. That was a big reason why we chose it as well.
It is essential, however, to be aware of the visa requirements and regulations specific to your nationality, as well as any potential changes in immigration policies that could affect your stay. By staying informed and adhering to the local rules, digital nomads can enjoy a hassle-free and enriching experience in Colombia.
It’s no mystery that Colombia has had a history of political unrest and violence, but the situation has improved significantly in recent years. In fact, from my time there it’s even a point of pride how low the crime rate is compared to the 1980s. The government has long been working towards establishing peace and stability, and as a result, the risk of political persecution for digital nomads is relatively low. However, it’s essential to stay informed about the current political climate and avoid engaging in any controversial or sensitive topics that could put you in harm’s way. In other words, it’s wise to tread lightly when discussing politics in Colombia.
According to the Global Peace Index 2022, Colombia has shown progress in reducing violence and political instability, ranking 144 out of 163 countries in overall peacefulness (USA is 129, for context). Although the country still faces challenges, such as ongoing conflict with armed groups and social inequality, the overall risk for digital nomads regarding political persecution is relatively low, as long as they stay cautious, informed, and in areas of the country that aren’t antagonistic.
It’s crucial to remain aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing or engaging in any potentially controversial political activities. As the old saying goes, “Better safe than sorry,” and exercising caution and common sense will help ensure a positive experience in Colombia.
The level of concern for political persecution in Colombia is low, thanks to the country’s ongoing efforts to establish peace and stability. Digital nomads can generally feel safe and secure while working and traveling in Colombia, as long as they stay informed, exercise caution, and avoid engaging in sensitive political discussions.
Colombia’s diverse and absolutely beautiful geography, which spans from the Andes mountains to the Caribbean coast, gives it a wide range of climates and weather conditions throughout the year. Because of its close location near the equator, Colombia does not experience significant temperature fluctuations across the four seasons. Instead, its climate varies primarily by altitude, making the country a veritable smorgasbord of weather patterns for digital nomads to explore.
For example, my son and I went horseback riding about an hour outside of Medellín and it was incredibly cool and without much humidity. However, in Medellín proper, it was super humid and sticky!
According to Colombia Travel, the country has various climate zones, including tropical rainforest, savanna, steppe, desert, and mountain climates. Here’s a brief overview of the weather in some of Colombia’s popular cities and regions:
- Bogotá: Situated at a high altitude, Bogotá experiences cool temperatures throughout the year, ranging from 9°C to 19°C (48°F to 66°F). The city has two rainy seasons, from April to May and October to November, with the rest of the year being relatively dry.
- Medellín: Known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Medellín enjoys a pleasant climate year-round, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). Rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year, although April, May, October, and November tend to be wetter.
- Cartagena: This coastal city has a hot and humid tropical climate, with temperatures typically between 24°C and 32°C (75°F to 90°F). The dry season runs from December to April, while the rainy season occurs from May to November.
- Cali: Cali experiences a tropical savanna climate, with warm temperatures ranging from 19°C to 30°C (66°F to 86°F). The city has a dry season from June to September and a wet season from October to May.
Colombia’s weather is diverse and offers digital nomads a variety of climates to choose from, depending on their preferences. From the eternal spring of Medellín to the coastal warmth of Cartagena, Colombia is a melting pot of weather conditions.
Colombia has made crazy-huge strides in improving its healthcare system in recent years, ranking 22nd out of 191 countries in the World Health Organization’s report on healthcare efficiency. The country has a mix of public and private healthcare providers, with many private clinics and hospitals offering high-quality medical services at affordable prices.
According to International Living, Colombia’s healthcare system offers quality medical services, modern facilities, and well-trained professionals, especially in major cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. However, medical facilities in rural areas may not be as advanced or easily accessible.
Digital nomads should research their health insurance options and consider purchasing a plan that covers medical treatments, hospitalizations, and emergency evacuations if needed. Prevention is better than cure, so being prepared for any potential health issues is crucial for a worry-free stay in Colombia.
Office/Coworking Space Cost
Coworking spaces have become more prevalent in Colombia, especially in major cities such as Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena. I’m pretty sure every other street that we walked down in Medellín had some form of coworking available. Granted, we were in Poblado, but still… These spaces a productive work environment, complete with high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and networking opportunities. While prices can vary depending on the city and the specific coworking space, the costs are generally moderate compared to those in other popular digital nomad destinations.
An article from Coworker highlights some of the top coworking spaces in Colombia and provides an idea of the costs involved. Prices can range from $100 to $300 per month for a dedicated desk, while day passes typically cost between $10 and $20. When my son and I were there, it was a total of $30 for my son and I to work + have a couple of lattes for the day. Not bad by American standards at all.
Digital nomads should research different coworking spaces to find one that best fits their needs, preferences, and budget. In addition to considering the cost, it’s essential to evaluate factors such as location, amenities, and the coworking community’s vibe.
From a fatherly perspective, I was able to share valuable life lessons with my son while we explored this beautiful country together, forging lasting memories and deepening our connection. Colombia’s warm and welcoming nature, combined with its stunning landscapes and rich history, make it an ideal destination for digital nomad families seeking adventure, learning, and a chance to broaden their horizons. By staying informed, prepared, and adaptable, parents and their children can make the most of their time in this captivating country, creating memories that will last a lifetime.