As you may know if you read this blog, I am not a fan of traveling place after place after place, staying in hostels and spending my time on buses.
I much prefer to travel slowly, and soak in a place. Really to set up a base and take satellite trips here and there.
So far this year, I have principally been in Colombia, and Medellin in particular.
When I first arrived, Medellin had me under its spell. So it’s no surprise that I returned and found myself an apartment.
I’d like to give you a video tour of it right now:
Notice I carry a suitcase and not a massive backpack!
A few extra questions people have asked:
How much does it cost to live in Medellin?
Well, it depends on your lifestyle and what you want, but I gave a breakdown of my costs here.
How is the internet in Medellin?
Though I don’t have any specific upload / download statistics, I thought the internet was generally pretty good. In my apartment, I could watch YouTube videos instantaneously. I also could sometimes watch live streaming TV (sometimes not). Skype video calls had no problems. If you are a day trader, or need micro-second real-time streaming, you might have some hiccups.
NOTE: In each place that I have lived, occasionally in the middle of the day or night, the internet would just stop working. It didn’t happen very often, just once in awhile. When this happens it is very frustrating, but rarely stayed off for more than little bit (20-30 minutes).
So overall, the internet is high-speed and works well.
What’s the visa situation for a traveler in Medellin?
When you arrive you get either 30 or 60 days (most likely 60) for a tourist visa. When this allotment is about to expire, you have to make a trip to the DAS building. (DAS is the security administration in charge of visas.) You can request an extension of 30 days by paying a fee to DAS through a bank and bringing in the receipt, some passport sized photos of yourself, and your passport to their office. They do the rest.
From there, you can extend your tourist visa up to a maximum of 180 days in a calendar year. Once Jan 1st arrives, your days refresh. So potentially, you could stay there from July-December, and then January-June with no interruption if you plan it right.
If you want to stay longer you can secure a work visa, volunteer visa, or student visa. To secure a work visa, you need a sponsoring company and will need to be outside the country to come back in on that visa (you can’t change visa types while inside Colombia.) The best way to accomplish this is to come here on a tourist visa, find a job, then leave the country and come back. The company might sponsor this trip out-and-back.
NOTE: If you quit the job that got you the work visa, the company might alert DAS… which then might cancel your work visa!
To get a volunteer visa, it is essentially the same process– you need a sponsoring organization, but you don’t have to leave the country.
To get a student visa you don’t have to leave the country either, but you have to be enrolled in classes. Some travelers do this to stay longer in Medellin, but the extra cost to enroll in classes can be pricey.
Where is the best place to live in Medellin? And where was your place?
Are you kidding me? I’m not giving you all my secrets.
No, for real, there are a ton of awesome places to live in Medellin — a metro area of nearly 4 million people — and it all depends on what you want. You can find good spots in a bunch of different areas around the city.
Any other questions about living in Medellin? Ask them in the comments!