Is the cost of living in Medellin cheap or expensive?
If you’re thinking of visiting Medellin as a potential digital nomad destination…
…one of the main questions you have to ask is “what’s it going to cost me to live in Medellin for 1 month?”
Here’s the thing: a lot of people think because it’s Colombia – it’s automatically going to be cheap to live there. While that is true in some cases, it wasn’t true for quite a few instances.
That’s why it’s so important to get a clearer picture of what your accommodation, food and expenses, in general, are going to cost.
And you’re here researching because you want to know the exact cost of living in Medellin right? We spent nearly 4 months as digital nomads in Medellin and we want to share our honest costs to give you a *realistic* idea.
In this blog post, we are going to share a detailed breakdown of all our expenses – rent, eating out, coworking, gym, activities, tours, coffee and so much more! If you’ve ever thought of visiting Medellin, keep scrolling to see what it could cost you to stay for a month.
Why Should Digital Nomads Go To Medellin, Colombia?
Medellin has gone through a huge transformation over the last 2 decades. This city went from being one of the most dangerous cities in the world to being dubbed the “Silicon Valley” of Latin America.
The Colombian people have worked to wipe away their dark past and move forward to a brighter future. I remember always feeling inspired by the spirit and perseverance of this country and its people.
Medellin has since become a top digital nomad hotspot not only in South America but in the entire world. The City of Eternal Spring offers digital nomads so much including:
⚡️ Fast, reliable wifi speed: In our digital nomad statistics blog, you’ll see that the thing most digital nomads are worried about is…the wifi! You don’t have to worry one bit about the wifi in Medellin. Our speed tests ranged from 20 Mbps to 462 Mbps.
👯♀️ Thriving digital nomad community: It’s true that Medellin is always circulating as a top digital nomad hotspot. Digital nomads flock to this city and that means you won’t have trouble finding like-minded friends. The community already exists and it’s growing every day!
💰 Affordable cost of living: It’s very cost-effective to live in Medellin. People can save or splurge depending on their lifestyle choices. It’s very cheap in some areas and can get pretty expensive in others but overall, the cost of living in Medellin is affordable for digital nomads.
🌳 An urban jungle: The city is the literal definition of an ‘urban jungle’. There are tall skyscrapers all around the city but there’s no shortage of trees and greenery along the streets! It’s one of the largest cities we’ve visited and it never felt like it was huge.
🎉 High quality of life: If you want to have a great work-life balance, it’s pretty easy to do that in Medellin. Daily life is comfortable, day trips from Medellin are easy to do and life can be pretty simple.
🤩 You won’t get bored: There are so many things to do in Medellin – it’s hard to not have a weekend full of activities. There’s also some cool day trips from Medellin which are well worth it!
☀️ Perfect spring weather: It’s called the City of Eternal Spring because it’s usually a nice 25 deg, sunny day. We left close to the rainy season which meant we got rainy afternoons too! If you don’t want a humid climate, Medellin is pretty great.
Medellin is a bustling city with a vibrant community. We only see huge growth come from this wonderful city! Medellin is a true staple on the digital nomad route for good reason – you have to visit at least once!
Quick Price Facts For The Cost Of Living In Medellin
Want some quick price facts to help you get an idea of the costs? Here are some quick numbers you can look at:
- 🏠 1 Bedroom Apartment in a Nice Area: $700 USD per month
- 💰 Cost of Living For a Local: $350 USD per month
- 🍽 Nice Restaurant Meals: $12-23 USD
- 🌮 Street food: $2-4 USD
- 🍺 Local beer: $1.30 USD
- ☕️ Coffee: $1.70 USD
These are just general prices that we have experienced during our time in Medellin. These can vary based on several factors!
QUICK OVERVIEW – How Much Did We Spend In Medellin For 1 Month?
As digital nomads, we like to slow travel from place to place. We spend at least a month in each location which is very different from your average traveler. Staying a month allows us to settle into our apartment, build a routine and actually get some work done.
These costs and expenses will be on a monthly basis to reflect the slow travel / digital nomad lifestyle! As we are a digital nomad couple, the costs you see are always a total for 2 people – not as solo digital nomads.
Here’s a quick overview of our cost of living in Medellin for a month as a couple:
Accommodation – $803
Groceries – $316
Dining Out – $333
Transport – $64
Phone Plan – $20
Activities & Entertainment – $124
Gym Membership – $136
TOTAL: $1,796 USD
In case you didn’t know, Medellin has become really popular in recent years. This means the rental prices have significantly increased – gone are the days of renting an apartment for $400 USD. This total cost of living in Medellin better reflects what the prices are like currently.
Remember: This is our PERSONAL expenses. You can always spend less and you can always spend more! This is what we spent on what we think was a pretty balanced budget between fun and savings.
You’ll understand our cost of living in Medellin much more in the detailed breakdown below and why we spent what we did.
Cost of Living in Medellin– Detailed Breakdown
What’s the real cost of living in Medellin? You might be wondering:
- How much is rent going to cost?
- What do weekly groceries bills look like?
- Can I eat out for every single meal?
- Is a coffee at a cafe cheap?
These are valid questions to think about before living in a foreign city for a month! The costs can play a big factor in where digital nomads spend their time and travel in.
We think our cost of living in Medellin was just the right amount. We didn’t constraint ourselves but we also did go out of our way to spend heaps of cash. We went out with friends whenever we wanted and took day trips like to Guatape from Medellin. We did do our best to find ‘cheap’ but comfortable apartments to live in. After living in Medellin for nearly 4 months, we think this is a great depiction of the affordability of Medellin.
Let’s dive deeper into each category in our cost of living in Medellin guide:
Accommodation Costs – $803 USD
I have to start off this section by stating that:
Rental prices have changed significantly over the years.
As a digital nomad only staying on a month-to-month basis, you won’t get an apartment for less than $650 USD (if you’re lucky). We were very surprised by the cost of rent in Medellin as it’s more than we had heard.
We spent hours on Airbnb and Facebook groups looking for great apartment deals. As we spent nearly 4 months in Medellin – I’ll share a quick summary of our rental prices for each month:
- Airbnb in Laureles: $650 USD
- Airbnb in Poblado: $900 USD
- Coliving in Laureles: $803 USD
As you can see, the rental prices depend on where you’re staying. It can cost anywhere between $650 USD – $1,200 USD. That’s right – people pay up to and sometimes more than $1,200 for an apartment in Medellin. I talked to my Colombian friend, Keren, she agreed that the prices aren’t what they once were and the rental prices are much higher than what people can afford there.
You will always pay a premium to live in the popular neighborhood of Poblado! Laureles was our favorite neighborhood and it was easier to find more affordable apartments in this area.
If you want the convenience of Airbnb, you will pay for it. You can do it much cheaper by scrolling through the listings on Facebook. We did consider it but there were a lot of posts of people being scammed that we just didn’t want to take the risk. The savings was only a couple hundred and it just wasn’t worth it! If you think you can spot the scammers, you can get the best deals and cheapest apartments by doing this though.
We always had fully furnished apartments which were great. If you book through Airbnb – you also don’t pay any utilities. For the last month, we stayed at Casa Santafe Coliving and it was the best value for money! It included a (small) coworking space, free tea/coffee and lots of lounge areas. We got this deal because we walked into their building and simply asked for availability. This was the end of January and they only had space in April so we grabbed it! If you want to see a tour of our apartment, check out our Instagram highlights!
If you want a good rental deal in Medellin, you’re going to have to work for it. Research, message and walk around the neighborhoods you want to live in – that’s the best way to go about it!
As for the cost of living in Medellin, we thought this was a reasonable price for the coliving space and amenities it offered us.
Grocery Costs – $316
The 2 best places to buy groceries in Medellin are Exito or Carulla. We always went to Carulla because we found the produce (fruits, vegetables) to be much better quality. It was also much closer to our apartment!
Exito is the cheaper option in general for things like bread, pantry and meats. Carulla cost just a smidge more but again everything felt like it was much higher quality.
Matthew and I usually shop for about a week’s worth of food. We ate at home most days of the week and I think we did pretty well with the grocery budget. We found it was just the right amount each week and a decent monthly budget.
Our grocery expense in Medellin is pretty comparable to our groceries expenses across Latin America.
Dining Out Costs – $333
Matthew and I made a decision NOT to spend all our money on eating out! We went a little crazy in Antigua (see our embarrassing cost of living costs here) and we had to take a step back to sort it out.
We ate out around 3-4 times per week. On average, a meal cost us around $35 USD for a pretty nice restaurant. Matthew noticed that the beers are SUPER cheap in Medellin – usually less than $3 USD even at a restaurant. While cocktails were an insane amount – between 30,000-40,000 COP ($7.20-$10 USD).
These are some of the best restaurants in Medellin that we tried:
- SMASH Avocaderia
You have to try a menu del dia while in Medellin – our favorite were Cafe Cliche and Uno Mas Uno! They have lunch deals that include a drink/juice, the main meal and a soup for a low cost. We loved them so much because the value for money is unbeatable. A menu del dia typically costs between 15,000 COP to 20,000 COP ($3.85-$5.20 USD).
Your dining out costs will depend on where you choose to eat. The nicer places obviously cost more but there are some really great cheap restaurants too.
Transport Costs – $64
There are 2 different modes of transport in Medellin:
- Public transport (mainly the metro)
- Uber (exists but it’s not widely accepted)
We always took Ubers around town because it’s just so convenient to get from point A to point B. It was also not that expensive to get around town (depending on traffic and weather).
An Uber ride for about 10 minutes costs $3 USD. We often went from Laureles to Poblado and this is normally what we spent. There was one time we watched a movie at a mall and it started raining heavily during rush hour and guess what… we couldn’t get an Uber for 1.5 hours! We finally got one in the end but we had to pay an obscene amount – $9 USD which is more than double what we normally paid.
You can also take the cable cars which is a fun thing to do but it doesn’t really take you anywhere.
SIM Card & Pre-Paid Data Plan Costs – $16
Getting a SIM card in Colombia is a whole thing if you don’t know what you’re doing. We read up a lot before choosing the company and learning what needs to be done for it to be a fully registered SIM.
Want to know more details? Our SIM card in Colombia guide has all the information you need.
But let’s move on and talk about the costs of a SIM card and a monthly data plan. The best company for wide coverage is Tigo!
For unlimited calls, text and select social media platforms on the Tigo network, you’ll get:
- 10 days: 2.5 GB for $10,000 COP ($3 USD)
- 20 days: 7.5 GB for $20,000 COP ($5 USD)
- 30 days: 10 GB for $30,000 COP ($8 USD)
If you do the 30 days, you get the most value for money. The SIM card itself is free if you choose Tigo, otherwise, you’ll pay a small fee with Claro. We found we never ran out of data with 10 GB of surfing and unlimited socials (FB, Whatsapp, Twitter).
Activities & Entertainment Costs – $124
You won’t get bored in the City of Eternal Spring! From festivals to nightlife to hikes – there’s always something to do on the weekends.
Here are just some of the things we got up to:
- Free City Walking Tour – Tip at the end
- Fruit tour – $45
- Castle Museum – $10
- Medellin Day Trip to Guatape – $45
- Cinema – $11 ( Drinks and Popcorn + 10 USD)
For day trips, public transport is very cost-effective! We paid only $3.60 USD for a 1.5 hour bus ride to the quaint town of Santa Fe de Antioquia. We loved watching movies at the cinema and it’s very cheap in Medellin! You can pay for a premium/VIP movie experience at Viva Envigado for only $7.65 USD each.
We loved that you could do so much in Medellin without breaking the bank!
Gym Membership Cost – $136
The gym costs were a little higher than we usually pay – but that’s for a reason…
…We hired a personal trainer! It was 2-1 and he trained both of us 3 times per week. We paid a 10% surcharge to have a trainer that speaks English.
For personal training, this is crazy value for money. Matthew said it would cost at least $70 per session in Australia so we couldn’t resist trying out having a personal trainer.
Our trainer was Daniel and he was awesome! He took our measurements and created a tailored workout plan for each of us (Matthew and I had different goals).
We highly recommend Impetu Training in Laureles and Daniel as your personal trainer if you’re interested! Use this WhatsApp number to text them:
If you don’t want to do personal training, our friend Sander, regularly went to SmartFit which is a gym chain across South America. The equipment is good enough and there’s plenty of it! With a monthly membership, you also get access to their group classes such as yoga, Zumba and more.
It’s easy to find a location near you because they are practically everywhere. If I remember correctly, it was around $30 for the month which is very cheap for what you get!
*Optional: Coworking Costs – $258
Are you a digital nomad that loves coworking? So do we!
We took up coworking for most of our time as Medellin digital nomads. It gives us a place to work, have stable wifi and allows us to people like-minded people.
Here’s the coworking spaces we tried and the costs:
- Semilla Cafe Coworking; Monthly Unlimited: $500,000 COP ($128 USD) each
- Open Space; Daily Pass: $15,000 COP ($3.85 USD) each
This was a pretty competitive price compared to what we were used to paying. I think for Dojo Bali it’s something crazy like $250+ USD for a month which is a bit steep. If you compare it to that, this is way cheaper and affordable. However, you don’t get as much attention to community-building activities.
We highly recommend any of those two coworking spaces. Read more on our coworking in Medellin guide.
Cost To Get To Medellin– $200
This section is to give you an idea of how much it cost us to get to Medellin. It definitely varies based on several factors but this shows the extra costs we take on to travel full-time.
We paid nearly $200 USD to fly American Airlines from Miami to Medellin Airport. It was a direct flight and it only took 2 hours!
We have got our digital nomad luggage down pat and we have 1 suitcase each that weighs a little less than 23 kilos.
Was The Cost Of Living In Medellin Cheap Or Expensive?
The cost of living in Medellin is what you make it!
You can have a very cheap and cost-effective lifestyle but we found you could also lavish out and spend more than you think – pretty easily!
The rent is not as cheap as it used to be, that’s for sure! We heard ridiculously low prices like $300-$400 USD for a studio/1 bedroom apartment which are non-existent anymore. You can expect to pay more like $600 for a place in a more local neighborhood like Envigado or Sabaneta. If you want to stay in Laureles or Poblado, it’s going to cost more like $800-$1,100 USD per month.
Other than rent, all of your costs like groceries, activities, entertainment and dining out can all remain relatively low. We think we found a pretty good balance between spending and saving. I’d say our cost of living in Medellin is pretty average if you don’t want to restrict yourself but you also don’t want to splurge on every meal.
Is the cost of living in Medellin good for digital nomads? After nearly 4 months living in Medellin – yes it is! If you’re just starting your digital nomad journey – Medellin is one of the best digital nomad cities to do it and that’s partly because of the low cost of living!
Overall – it’s a digital nomad’s favorite for a reason and one of those is the affordable cost of living.