Colombia offers a wide range of real estate opportunities for both lifestyle buyers and investors. From affordable Caribbean coastal property in Santa Marta, to the historic treasure and tourist mecca of walled Cartagena, Colombia has plenty of options. Enjoy eternal Spring in the Andes with property in cosmopolitan Bogota, hailed as a paradigm of “urban reinvention,” or take advantage of excellent rental opportunities with an apartment or condo in Medellin. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
I just got back from my third trip to Colombia, and I’ve learned an important lesson about the country: It offers environments that will appeal to pretty much any taste, from urban enclaves to quiet beach towns… from highland retreats to steamy tropics.
I knew Colombia had a lot to offer International Living subscribers. Critical things—like low cost of living, inexpensive properties and a colorful and diverse culture. But what I realized this time—as I traveled to three new regions—was that I was seeing areas that were yet again different from anything I’d seen in Colombia previously. Now, I can’t think of a single segment of the IL membership concerned with climate, culture and lifestyle that couldn’t find their niche in Colombia.
Colombia can offer you a sophisticated, modern urban scene or a cabin in a remote section of desert…a colonial walled city by the sea, or a sleepy Caribbean beachside town…spring-like weather high in the Andes, steamy tropics or the “perfect” weather in between…North American enclaves or indigenous outposts. Unless you’ve got your heart set on snow, you’re almost certain to find your ideal spot in Colombia.
Here are a few of my favorite living options and price points.
Bogotá sits in an Andean valley at 8,450 feet above sea level (2,600 meters), with temperatures near 70° F during the day and in the 60s at night. Recently labeled “a role model of urban reinvention” by The New York Times, Bogotá offers the expat trendy sidewalk cafés; fine dining; green, well-manicured parks; and a number of upscale living options.
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While scouting the area I found a 1,200-square-foot apartment in the Chapinero sector for $64,000. In the exclusive Rosales district, a 1,400-square-foot apartment in a new, exclusive condo building was selling for $171,000.
Both Popayán and Medellín offer the “world’s best weather”; that is, they’re at an altitude of 5,000 feet and near the equator. So you enjoy days in the low 80s and nights in the high 60s all year. But aside from climate, these two cities are very different.
Popayán is a small, authentically restored colonial city, with narrow streets dividing clean neighborhoods of bright white Spanish-style buildings. Medellín, on the other hand, blends its Spanish-style architecture downtown with gleaming new condos in the hills, surrounded by tall, green trees and offering expansive city views. Rental returns in Medellín average an impressive 12%, and my personal favorite condo property (with its own private courtyard) is for sale for $90,000.
If you’re after year-round tropical weather and warm seas, Colombia’s Caribbean has another polar-opposite city pair that you’ll enjoy. Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with narrow cobblestoned streets, iron balconies and impeccably restored Spanish colonial architecture. One of the world’s few remaining walled cities, its excellent tourist infrastructure draws visitors every day of the year.
Santa Marta, on the other hand, is a laidback Caribbean town that blends an energetic Latino bustle with a beach offering swaying palms, calm waters and lazy days on fine-white sand. Unlike nearby Cartagena’s humid weather, Santa Marta enjoys a dry heat, thanks to a prevailing offshore desert breeze.
What’s more, Santa Marta may be Colombia’s best investment in the near term, with older three-bedroom apartments starting at $55,000, and a 12th-floor beachfront condo selling for $125,000.
So whether you’re an investor, a second-home buyer, a retiree…or someone who just wants to try a new country, you’re sure to find a climate and setting in Colombia that’s just right for you.
Travel in Colombia: Dramatic and Diverse
Our twin-engine turboprop banked slightly and continued to descend into a deep Andean gorge. A tiny stream wound its way across the valley floor thousands of feet below…yet the jagged peaks beside us extended above our aircraft, thousands of feet into the dark blue sky. Carved into the side of the mountain was the airport’s runway, with sheer drop-offs at both ends and one side offering a 2,000-foot drop to pilots who misjudged their position by more than a few meters. The photo-op was so good that I didn’t take my eyes away from the window long enough to pick up the camera.
The most exciting aspect of scouting Colombia is the chance to see it as a traveler. The Pacific, the Caribbean, the Andes and the jungle all blend together—both culturally and geographically—to create one of the most dramatic and diverse travel experiences in the hemisphere.
And the best part is that Colombia’s excellent infrastructure allows you to travel easily and efficiently from one attraction or region to the next. You can whisk along its modern highway system by car, take a comfortable first-class bus or get there quickly in a sleek, modern aircraft. And all the while you’ll feel like a pioneer…with few North Americans on the road with you.
But that won’t last long. Colombia was named as one of The New York Times’ “31 places to go in 2010,” so the “pioneers” had better get moving…the mainstream traveler will be close behind.
This article has been republished from International Living.