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What Expats Need to Learn About Life in Colombia

Tips for Expats in Colombia

Expats in Colombia face a unique set of challenges and opportunities that are vastly different from what they might be used to. 

Navigating safety concerns, grasping the local economy beyond dollar comparisons, and learning Spanish are essential.

These aspects make living in Colombia both rewarding and complex.

These three tips offer a starting point for expats looking to make the most out of their time in Colombia. 

Navigating safety concerns and understanding the local economy are crucial for expats in Colombia. 

Learning Spanish is also important, making the experience both rewarding and complex.

Whether you’re considering moving to Colombia or are already there, these insights can help you adjust more smoothly and enjoy a richer experience.

1.Understand Crime

  • Security in Colombia, especially in Medellín, significantly differs from other places.
  • Laws are not rigorously enforced, and the police have limited power and respect.
  • Short sentences and a lack of consequences contribute to a high crime rate.


  • Maintain a high level of awareness and avoid irresponsible behavior.
  • Practice security measures, such as taking care of personal belongings and avoiding unfamiliar places.

2. Don’t think Dollars

  • Understanding local prices prevents surprises and unnecessary expenses for expatriates.
  • Thinking in dollars can lead to misunderstandings about true local affordability.
  • Research and understand price variations in different neighborhoods.
  • Avoid thinking in dollars and consider the local perception of affordability.

3. Learn Spanish

  • The ability to speak Spanish is essential for a complete experience in Colombia.
  • An intermediate level is sufficient for effective and respectful communication.


  • Learning Spanish facilitates meaningful connections and saves money in everyday situations.
  • Provides a deeper understanding of the culture and eases integration into Colombian society.
In conclusion, expats in Colombia can truly enjoy their adventure by following these tips.
By staying aware of safety, thinking in the local currency instead of dollars, and learning Spanish, you’ll blend in better and experience the real Colombia. 
Remember, living in a new country has its challenges but also offers incredible rewards. 
Keep these tips in mind, and you’re sure to have a great time as an expat in Colombia. 
Stay curious, open-minded, and ready to embrace all the experiences that come your way!

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