live and work in Colombia

Top 5 Places for Expats to Live and Work in Colombia

Check out Where To Work & Live in Colombia as a Global Citizen

Colombia has turned out to be a favorite for innumerable expats seeking a decent quality of life at low costs. Most of its cities are welcoming enough with adequate social activities, comfortable climate, and much more. If you are more comfortable in a cooler climate, the coastal cities with all the heat and humidity may not be too attractive for you. That being said, there’s several places expats that can live and work in Colombia.

Ideally, you should do the necessary research and visit these cities in advance before finalizing on one. Once you start living in a Colombian city on rent, you will get to know if that place is suitable for you and your family. You can then think about buying a property if your budget permits. If you are seriously planning to move to Colombia for an expatriate or retired life, here is a list of top 5 cities that are worth considering.


Once notorious for being an unsafe city, Medellin has eventually become a dream place for expats and retirees from all parts of the globe. Popularly called the city of eternal spring, this city is blessed with an abundance of fresh mountain air and gentle sunshine. The sweet perfume of eucalyptus can be felt in the breeze that sweeps across the city. The cool nights are usually accompanied by soft rain.

During your stay in this beautiful city, you will love to go on long walks in the lush forests. You can enjoy fresh vegetables, preservative-free meat, and dairy products that are easily available in the local markets. Medellin is also home to many bars where the staff can speak in English. Overall, this city is beautiful, warm, and friendly enough to make your stay pleasant and exciting.

Here are three quick reasons to move to Medellin as an expat or global nomad

  • Affordable Living: Medellin offers a low cost of living for foreigners, making it attractive for expats on a budget.
  • Pleasant Climate: Most will find the city’s mild, spring-like climate year-round is a major draw for those seeking comfortable weather.
  • Cultural Richness: Medellin is rich in culture, with vibrant festivals, art, and a warm, welcoming local population, making it an engaging place for expats.

Santa Marta

Beautifully sited on the Caribbean coast, this sizeable Colombian city is believed to be the country’s best-kept secret. Stay in this lovely expat destination for a week or two to see if you can make it your second home. Apart from the gorgeous beaches, Santa Marta has the world’s highest coastal mountain range. It is a haven for retired expats looking for a peaceful abode. If you can adjust to the heat and humidity of this city, you can enjoy almost everything that a coastal expat destination can offer. You can rent an apartment along the beaches or take up a sweet little condo, and that too at an affordable price.

Live and Work in Colombia


Barranquilla is a port city located in northern Colombia, and it is trendy for hosting a carnival. The weather here is generally pleasant and very breezy. The nightlife is impressive as it has numerous restaurants serving mouth-watering local cuisines. The city’s infrastructure, transportation, and healthcare are quite good to welcome numerous expats every year. This bustling city can be a wonderful option for expats who are fine with its year-long hot and humid conditions. As an expat, you will find good accommodation options within the city. Most of the apartments have air-conditioning, which means that you won’t have to worry about the sweltering heat of the summer months.

Live and Work in Colombia

Just in case you plan to move to Barranquilla, here are three reasons to move there as an expat:

  • Beach & Caribbean Charm: Barranquilla boasts a beautiful coastline with stunning beaches, providing a relaxed and picturesque lifestyle.
  • Amazing Food & Culture: Known for its lively festivals, especially Carnival, Barranquilla offers a vibrant cultural scene featuring music, dance, and local traditions.
  • Economic Opportunities for Expats: The city’s growing economy and strategic location make it a hub for business and trade, providing job opportunities for global nomads and some great internet access as well.


You will love to spend expatriate days in Bogotá because the temperature is always around 18 degrees. This city also has a rainy season, so it is not a dry climate that you will have to deal with all year long. Being a safe location, Bogota boasts exciting nightlife and numerous shopping outlets. Bogota offers a perfect blend of modern and traditional lifestyles.

This means that people from all walks of life live harmoniously. The local community is visitor-friendly, so you won’t feel lost or lonely when you arrive here for a lengthy stay. You may even be lucky to find a neighbor who may teach you a little Spanish and help you settle into the new environment. You may find the local people to be much nicer and friendlier than many North American cities.

Live and Work in Colombia

Bogota is a great city and is much safer than you may think, especially since the 1990s and 80s! Here are four reasons you should consider being a global nomad there:

  • Diverse Culture & Nightlife: Bogotá is a melting pot of cultures and offers a rich tapestry of arts, music, and cuisine, making it an exciting place for cultural exploration. You haven’t experienced nightlight until you have gone to Bogota.
  • Excellent Healthcare: The city is home to some of Colombia’s top universities and excellent healthcare facilities, ensuring access to quality services, assuming you have expat health coverage. One such medical facility in Bogota is Fundación Santa Fe De Bogota, a leading university hospital in Bogotá, Colombia and can provide highly complex clinical services across multiple specialties.
  • Job Opportunities: As the country’s capital and economic center, Bogotá provides various job opportunities across various industries. Note that you should be able to speak Spanish.
  • Amazing Scenery: Surrounded by mountains, Bogotá offers breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor activities, perfect for nature enthusiasts. It is Colombia’s sprawling, high-altitude capital.


Located in the foothills of the Andes, Pereira is a city with just over 500,000 residents. Pereira is evolving as a major trade and commerce hub due to its strategic location. Cali, Bogota, and Medellin sit in the middle of the Golden Triangle. There are plenty of things to see and do in Pereira. The cost of living is comparatively much lower than in Bogota, so you can easily live a comfortable life here with a decent income. It is a small city, but the transportation facilities are also commendable.

The city is known for its pleasant climate, known as the “Eternal Spring,” which provides year-round comfort. Pereira’s proximity to lush coffee plantations and the stunning landscapes of the Coffee Triangle  – so a great destination for expat coffee lovers.

Bonus City – Cartagena

Cartagena is a beautiful fortress from the colonial period. This historic city’s Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage site. Cartagena is the crown jewel of Colombian tourism, making it one of the most expensive locations, including where Romancing the Stone was filmed. Compared to other larger cities in Colombia, Cartagena has a tasteful selection of restaurants, less traffic, and less pollution. If you enjoy the coastal beach life and a warmer climate, this is the city for you!

Before you live and work in Colombia

Many people have an outdated perception of Colombia because of its dark past. It has finally evolved as a vibrant country, thriving, and welcoming for global expats. The country’s biodiversity makes it a prized destination for digital nomads and expats. The cost of living in various Colombian cities may vary, but you can definitely find some locations that are very inexpensive.

It depends on the lifestyle you would want to follow when moving to one of the fabulous cities mentioned above. Remember that expatriates residing in Colombia should purchase international health insurance when living there or within 45 days of moving to this beautiful country. It really is vital that expats get global health insurance when moving to Colombia, preferably before you move there. Note that individual expat coverage is subject to medical underwriting and you may or may not be able to secure coverage depending on your health history.