MEDELLIN - ANTIOQUIA, COLOMBIA
  
 MEDELLIN          ANTIOQUIA

 
Medellin - Colombia
Cost Of Living

Because of increased real estate activity as reported by Medellin real estate companies, we receive numerous requests from people not familiar with the current Cost-of-Living in Medellin, Colombia. This information is particularly important to people living on fixed incomes such as retirees from the states, Canada or countries in the E.U., who can no longer afford medical, drug, taxes and insurance costs which rise faster than their pensions or Social Security COLA. In the states, there are many who are weighing the pros and cons of selling their currently high valued homes, and retiring to Medellin, and the good life! For many, Medellin living costs enter into this decision.

When you compare costs, don't forget to add airline ticket costs back home to visit family and friends. Once they see you, and learn firsthand about your personal safety, lifestyle, the "bargain prices of real estate, and low cost-of-living, we think you will discover that they visit you, more than you visit them!


Medellin, Cost-of-Living

as compared with prices in Florida, and some E.U. countries:

Housing - costs on a per square foot basis are 50-60% LESS.

Medical/Dental/Optical - costs are about 60% LESS.

Nursing Homes - cost about 70% LESS.

Utilities - costs are SLIGHTLY LESS if you live in a "Strata 5 or 6 area", and about half as much, if you live in a Strata 3 area.

Propery Taxes - are 50-70% LESS.

Transportation - The VERY LOW COSTS and frequent schedules of public transportation, such as buses (.50 cents) and taxis, all of which are metered, means there is no real need to go to the expense and hassle of having a private car. Once they find a couple of favorite taxi drivers, many residents contact the driver directly, by his cell phone, and use them exclusively for their in-city, and even out of city, transportation needs.

Clothing/shoes/accessories - COST LESS. Colombia companies, many of which are located in Medellin, manufacture a wide range of stylish, and well made clothes, shoes and leather accessories.

Furniture - Colombia produces good quality furniture at about 50% LESS.

Appliances - Imported brands are about 10 -20% MORE. Colombia manufactured brands are about 10 - 15% LESS.

Dinning out/nightly entertainment - costs 50 - 60% LESS.

Insurance Costs/Health/Auto/Fire - costs about 50% LESS. Insurance use is not as prevalent as it is in the states. Construction is primarily concrete and steel. Medellin, in modern times has not experienced: hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, or hale storms. There is a brief “rainy season”, but even thunder storms are not that frequent. Fewer Colombian's smoke, per thousand adult population, than you will find in North America or Europe. Sorry, but we have never seen a "good report", regarding safety records of Colombia drivers-another good reason to use public transportation!


Medellin Food Basket Prices

The prices recorded for the Food Basket, were made by a u.s. citizen who has, when ever possible, chosen name brands (which are highlighted in yellow) that you may be familiar with. Naturally, some of these products are higher priced because they are imported, but many others are made by subsidiaries of u.s. companies located here in Colombia, or other nearby countries, and actually cost less than the same brands offered in the states!

There are many quality food markets in Medellin. Click here for a photo tour of one of the major supermarkets. Small price variations exist within different stores of the same chain, depending on the economy, or "strata" of the neighborhood where the store is located. For this comparison, prices were gathered from the most upscale store which stocks a higher number of foreign made products. This store is located in Strata 6, which is the governments(1-6) rating as the most affluent neighborhood. Weekly food costs for Medellin natives who live in strata 6, can be as little as half of what I (the spoiled Gringo) spend. They (or their maids) prepare their healthy meals mostly from “scratch”, where I, as many Gringo's do, buy the prepared, (less healthy) quicker to eat food. Note: at my age (66), I am enjoying Medellin. Social Security is my primary income, but I'm still able to buy, and eat, what I darn well please-thank you!


The following prices were recorded in Cartagena on July 10, 2004, and in general average about 15% HIGHER than you will find in Medellin. Return soon and we will have actual Medellin prices for comparison. Prices from Publix, Florida's largest supermarket chain, were recorded on July 31, 2004, & appear in BOLD type. Prices per "unit" are calculated when package size or content weights differ from country to country. Total Cartagena Price (in u.s. dollars) of buying one each, of the Basket below = $173.01.

Total Florida Price (in u.s. dollars) of buying one each, of the Basket below = $237.47. Based on the generally accepted belief that Medellin food prices are about 15% LESS than Cartagena prices, the same food basket if purchased in Medellin would be about $147. u.s. which is about 38% LESS than Florida prices using the below food basket as an example.

Peso v.s.dollar prices, at the time of the survey,
were converted at P2.700 = $1. u.s.

(Peso prices, converted into u.s. dollars) v.s. u.s. prices appear in turquoise.)

FRUITS / VEGETABLES
Pineapple, large....P2.400 ($.89) $4.95
Green apples, per #....P3.200 ($1.19) $1.49
Red apples, per #......P2.150 ($.80) $1.49
Pears, per #.....2.400 ($.89) $1.49
Lettuce head-per #.....P825 ($.31) $1.29
Cabbage head-per #....P925 ($.34) $.45
Oranges-per #...P1.345 ($.50) $1.79
Bananas-per #....P320 ($.12) $.49
Potatoes-per #...P495 ($.18) $.50
French fries frozen 1000gm...P4.960 ($1.84) $2.74
Carrots-per #......P1.450 ($.54) $.79
String beans-per #......P1.375 ($.51) $.99
Beans with bacon 580gm medium can......P3.200 ($1.19) $1.08

DAIRY PRODUCTS
Milk 1000ml plastic bag......P1.000 ($.37) $1.39
Margarine 500gm......P4.450 ($1.65) $1.54
Cheese-mozzarella 25 slices-450gm.....P5.450 $2.02) $5.02
Ice cream 1 ltr...P12.240 ($4.53) $1.60
Yogurt, (strawberry, blackberry, or peach) 1000gm bag....P2.750 ($1.02) $2.55

STAPLES
Eggs, dozen-large....P3.590 ($1.33) $1.09
Quaker Oats 700gm.....P5.250 ($1.94) $2.80
Rice, 1000gm bag.....P1.860 ($.69) $1.07
Popping corn 1000gm bag.....P2.010 ($.74) $1.19
Planters Cocktail peanuts 12oz can.....P4.150 ($1.54) $2.69
Sugar- 1kg....P1500 ($.56) $1.19

DRINKS
Orange juice-Country Hill 1000ml plastic bag.....P2.750 ($1.02) $2.39
Coca Cola 2.5ltr plastic bottle.....P2.910 ($1.08) $1.40
Coffee-export grade 500gm......P3.740 ($1.39) $2.92
Coffee-Nescafe Tradicion 170gm.....P6.510 ($2.41) $7.12
Water bottled 5 ltr.....P2.340 ($.87) $.85
Motts Apple juice 32oz jar....P9.800 ($3.63) $1.15
Beer - national Agula brand 300ml......P1.190 ($.44) $.63
Beer Miller High Life 32 oz......P6.930 ($2.57) $1.86
Wine Apple Table wine 750ml......P6.290 ($2.33) $3/99
Johnnie Walker Blue Label 750ml......P45.7560 ($16.95) $23.99
Gordon's Dry Gin 750ml.....P44.220 ($16.38) $11.99
J&B Scotch 750ml......P44.200 ($16.37) $23.99

MEAT, FISH, POULTRY
Hamburger, lean-per#....P5.250 ($1.94) $2.29
Fillets, beef tenderloin - 4pk/ 3”X1” bacon wrapped ....P12.000 ($4.44) $6.99
Pork chops – per #.....P4.450 ($1.65) $3.99
Chicken breasts – per #....3.350 ($1.24) $2.59
Chicken Porchi brand, lunch meat 450gm......P3.750 ($1.39) $2.17
Chicken nuggets frozen 30 count......P11.190 ($4.14) $4.79
Shrimp tails frozen medium 250gms.....P9.165 ($3.39) $5.25
Tuna fish Van Camps 6.5oz. can.....P2.350 ($.87) $.65

MISC.
Nesquick chocolate, powder 1000gm.......P10.990 ($4.07) $4.25
Aunt Jemima syrup 12 oz......P6700 ($2.48) $2.19
Pillsbury Chocolate Cake mix 18.25 oz......P6.560 ($2.43) $1.79
Royal Gelatin 85gm box......P890 ($.33) $.48
Scott tilet paper double tissue 12 rolls......P17.300 ($6.41) $8.49
Scott kitchen paper towels 2pk.....P3.690 ($1.37) $1.65
cigarettes Marlboro, Kool, Lucky Strike, etc. 10pk ctn...P28.310 ($10.49) $26.49
spaghetti 9 oz.....P1.350 ($.50) $.54
Mustard Kraft 9 oz squeeze.......P4.580 ($1.70) $.99
Heinz Ketchup 20 oz.....P5.590 ($2.07) $1.73
Bread, loaf-four grain, brown sliced 380 grams.....P2.120 ($1.65) $2.19
Crackers, Soda 275 gm......P1.710 ($.63) $.74
Oreo chocolate cookies 48 count.....P3.500 ($1.30) $3.79
Kellogg's Corn Flakes 500gm.........P7.000 ($2.59) $3.19
Kellogg's All-Bran cereal 300gm.....P5.400 ($2.00) $2.55
Purina Dog Chow 2Kg bag.....P9.880 ($3.63) $2.90
Clorox bleach 1 gal......P7.020 ($2.60) $2.60
Laundry powder soap 3kg bag.....P11.050 ($4.09) $8.27
Woolite Pre Spray-large......P11.650 ($4.31) $5.29
Palmolive hand soap 3 pk.......P4.560 ($1.69) $1.50
Colgate toothpaste 3pk 14gm ea......P6.750 ($2.50) $1.49
Gillette Foamy shaving aerosol reg. can .....P10.760 ($3.98) $1.69

 

: 2004 Food Cost Comparison 
Medellin Food Basket Prices

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Insurance Costs/Health/Auto/Fire - costs about 50% LESS. Insurance use is not as prevalent as it is in the states. Construction is primarily concrete and steel. Medellin, in modern times has not experienced: hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, or hale storms. There is a brief "rainy season", but even thunder storms are not that frequent. Fewer Colombian's smoke, per thousand adult population, than you will find in North America or Europe. Sorry, but we have never seen a "good report", regarding safety records of Colombia drivers-another good reason to use public transportation!

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RECENT (2004-2007) CHANGES IN
 FOOD COST COMPARISONS

 

 It's been more than tthree years since our last detailed Food Cost Comparison (SEE BELOW) was completed.   At that time, the study of mostly brand name foods showed that Colombia enjoyed lower over-all food costs.

 

Now, principally because of the Currency Rate of Exchange between the Peso, and the beaten up Dollar, popular name brand food prices are currently more expensive in Colombia.

 

Obviously if foreigners can adapt to eating foods that are popular (and generally healthier) in Colombia, the price comparison will continue to show lower prices in Colombia!

 

CONCLUSION:   While over-all living costs in Colombia continue to be less than in North America or the E.U., we who live in Colombia, can no longer brag this is true when it comes to many popular food items .

 

Irregardless of the Exchange Rate, we believe this trend of higher food prices in Colombia will continue.  Here's why:

 

The increased popularity of stateside food super stores such as Wal-Mart, and outlet warehouses such as: Sam´s, BJ´s, Costco, etc. offer low prices as well as products that are available in money saving larger packages, and containers.   Many times the cost of the empty package is more than the cost of the product contained within the package! Additionally, more products are being offered as "store brands" that are sold at a discount of 10% or more, to the name brand items stocked on the same shelves!   Store brands are usually manufactured, packaged and distributed by the major brand companies, so the quality is high and usually equal to the name brands.

 

In developing countries, the perception remains that items offered in small packages are: "más economico".   Major supermarkets display the cost per gram, ml, etc. price, but few shoppers understand or know how to use this vital cost saving price-per-unit information. The majors in Colombia do offer store brand products, however most shoppers automatically continue to relate higher prices with high quality.  Many people are culturally slow to change, and hesitant to experiment in purchasing a "cheaper" no brand, or store brand product that may not be "accepted" by mama!

 

These perceptions may not be prevalent among the wealthy, or those more educated.   The change toward more informed shoppers, who make decisions resulting in savings coupled with minimal trips to the store, will continue to advance, but at a slow pace.  The less educated maids and cooks employed by the middle and upper-class are those who usually do the shopping!  Many poor (60 + % of the population in Colombia) do not have refrigerators, or if they do, they are small, requiring more trips to the neighbourhood store where the shoppers continue the cycle of purchasing products that are más economico!

 

Education is the answer; however millions of poor children in Colombia cannot attend costly school!   Before the next Presidential elections, we pray there is a recognized and positive change in the form of increased and improved options for the poor.   Life is all about economics.

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2004 Food Cost Comparison
Medellin Food Basket Prices

The prices recorded for the Food Basket, were made by a u.s. citizen who has, when ever possible, chosen name brands (which are highlighted in yellow) that you may be familiar with. Naturally, some of these products are higher priced because they are imported, but many others are made by subsidiaries of u.s. companies located here in Colombia, or other nearby countries, and actually cost less than the same brands offered in the states!

There are many quality food markets in Medellin. Click here for a photo tour of one of the major supermarkets . Small price variations exist within different stores of the same chain, depending on the economy, or "strata" of the neighborhood where the store is located. For this comparison, prices were gathered from the most upscale store which stocks a higher number of foreign made products. This store is located in Strata 6, which is the governments(1-6) rating as the most affluent neighborhood. Weekly food costs for Medellin natives who live in strata 6, can be as little as half of what I (the spoiled Gringo) spend. They (or their maids) prepare their healthy meals mostly from "scratch", where I, as many Gringo's do, buy the prepared, (less healthy) quicker to eat food. Note: at my age (66), I am enjoying Medellin. Social Security is my primary income, but I'm still able to buy, and eat, what I darn well please-thank you!

The following prices were recorded in Cartagena on July 10, 2004, and in general average about 15% HIGHER than you will find in Medellin. Return soon and we will have actual Medellin prices for comparison. Prices from Publix, Florida's largest supermarket chain, were recorded on July 31, 2004, & appear in BOLD type. Prices per "unit" are calculated when package size or content weights differ from country to country. Total Cartagena Price (in u.s. dollars) of buying one each, of the Basket below = $173.01.

Total Florida Price (in u.s. dollars) of buying one each, of the Basket below = $237.47. Based on the generally accepted belief that Medellin food prices are about 15% LESS than Cartagena prices , the same food basket if purchased in Medellin would be about $147. u.s. which is about 38% LESS than Florida prices using the below food basket as an example.


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