What It Costs to Live in Medellin, Colombia

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Because everyone knows my obsession with Europe, I’m sure you’ve probably wondered how the hell I set my sights on Medellin, Colombia, aka the city of eternal spring. To be honest, I didn’t want to be in Europe during the late fall/winter months and needed warm weather. Somehow, and all while figuring out the logistics of Paris, Colombia crossed my mind. I immediately went to my travel groups to get help in deciding if I should live in Cartagena and take a trip to Medellin, or vice versa. Everyone said that Medellin is the best place to live in and that I should just spend a week or so in Cartagena. So, the first thing I needed to look at was what it actually costs to live in Medellin.

Well, here I am in sunny and warm (but rainy depending on the day and time) Medellin and living my best life. I’ve had people tell me I’m “ballin” and “must be rich” when they found out I’m actually living here, if even for a month. My only response to that is PLEASE OH PLEASE TELL MY BANK ACCOUNTS THAT. I don’t think they’d agree.

Living abroad, in most cases and depending on the city, is way cheaper than what I would spend in my hometown, Washington, DC, or NYC, which was home for the last 3 years. I’m not decked out in a luxury high rise with a housekeeper and cook. I’m in South America for Christ’s sake! And more importantly, this isn’t a vacation at a 5 star resort…is that a thing? 5 star resorts? Anywho…it’s life.

Keep in mind that these are my personal costs and not the standard. In fact, you can find everything even cheaper. So here’s what it costs to live in Medellin, Colombia:

Currency: Colombian Peso

1 USD = 3,001 COP at the time of publishing this post


17,500 AA miles BWI -> MDE

Airbnb$323 (26 nights)

Uber Rides: 

From the Airport to my neighborhood, Laureles – 54,027 COP ($17)

10 mins away to other areas – 7,347 COP ($2.44, quoted higher minutes prior)

Metro: 1 ride 2,300 COP ($0.76)

My first meal out: Chef Burger

Burger with side – 18,900 COP ($6.29)

Beer – 4,500 COP ($1.50)

Second Meal Out: Beef Shawarma & Beer – 19,000 COP ($6.33)

Coffee Shop: Starbucks

Grande Iced Black Tea – 5,000 COP ($1.66)

Grocery Run: Exito (chain store that’s more expensive than local tiendas)

Red Wine – 9,990 ($3.32)

Yogurt – I got 3 ranging from 1,880 ($0.62)-2,720 COP ($0.90)

Bag of Rice – 3,460 COP ($1.15)

Box of Tea Bags – 4,870 COP ($1.62)

Liter of Water – 870 COP ($0.28)

about 350grams of Beef – 7,290 COP ($2.42)

Local Beer – 2,160 COP ($0.71)

Hopefully you get an idea of what everything costs and keep in mind that I essentially spent $17 in total during my first grocery store run for snacks and ingredients for a meal that would last me, personally, for 4 meals with still plenty of rice left over. However, I’ve hit the point where I don’t feel like cooking or have  a taste for anything in particular, so I’ll be spending about $6+ eating out for maybe 1 or 2 meals per day.

I can’t imagine spending more than $500 on eating out for a full month and if I decide to go grocery shopping again, that will drastically decrease that number. In additional to my $323 rent for the month, that means that it costs less than $1000 to live comfortably in Medellin for one month with plenty to spare for activities and splurging.

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    1. Hey alison! You’re asking the wrong person as you know I walk EVERYWHERE no matter where I am on earth. So yes, it’s very walkable. If I was back in NY or home in DC…I wouldn’t be able to answer the entertainment question either as I’m a homebody and Netflix/YouTube is life. It depends on what humans are into. Live music? Dancing? Nightlife? It’s all around here. I’ve also walked downtown several times but for the non walkers it’s a short uber ride away. Maybe a couple dollars depending on the time of day

  1. This is amazing! I’m going to take a year off in 2019 and I’ve been looking for places to traverse. I loved Cartagena and could fancy myself living there but I’ve never been to Medellin.

    Do you speak Spanish?

    1. I thought I’d be in Cartagena but everyone recommended spending more time in Medellin.

      I don’t speak any other languages but I’m not really having issues even though few people speak English. I feel like I’ll be fluent by the time I leave ? My Cancun Spanish is much better than my Colombian Spanish

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