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What are the five most desirable cities in Colombia?...

 
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leretif9



Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 142

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:15 pm    Post subject: What are the five most desirable cities in Colombia?... Reply with quote

...And your responses may be as wholly subjective as you like. Please include your take on the ESL gig situation.
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jkazz7



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on what interests you....

I'm in Medellin and I think it's great - the weather, transport, people, activities, gyms, etc....

I was in Bogota for only a week; it's a beautiful place surrounded by mountains, but it's a bit cooler and rainier there. I wouldn't want to live there because it rains more....

Beyond this, you'll need to give some thought to the types of things that you like....my top 5 would be different from yours....
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9626
Location: Guadalajara

PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only visited Bogota - regret not taking the time to tour about but hope to next year.

Coming from Mexico City, I enjoyed Bogota a lot more than I expected. I found the people to be friendly and ever quick to strike up a conversation. The weather was odd with sun, rain, sun, rain every few minutes, but I like that sort of thing.

Didn't like the food all that much but I wasn't expecting much nor did I starve.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cali would be up there for partying and having fun. Bogota is quite boring in comparison.. and wouldn't be in my top five.
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PittsburghSound



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Colombia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. MedellĂ­n - Best overall city in Colombia, but ESL jobs aren't plentiful relative to the number of people looking.
2. Cali - Parties, gorgeous women, and not too many native English speakers there. Brush up on your salsa.
3. Bucaramanga (my city) - I can count on one hand the number of foreigners I've met here in 6 months, but it's a small city without many job opportunities. Lovely weather and people.
4. Bogotá - The capital. Expensive. The weather is a turnoff for most, but finding a job would be as easy as getting out of bed this morning I'd imagine.
5. Cartagena - Expensive, but if you want a beach city in Colombia where you can find a job, this will probably be it. This is like Colombia's version of Las Vegas.

Honorable Mention: Santa Marta. Almost nothing in terms of jobs, but Parque Tayrona is one of the must-see attractions in Colombia.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been living in and around Bogota for 3 years. I have taken frequent trips around the country including many to Medellin. Medellin is the superior city and I would recommend any foreigner to try that city first. The climate is better, food is better, transportation is far superior (no contest) and there are more things to do in and around the city. You will likely get paid less than in Bogota but cost of living is much lower. Oh, and the people are just, well, better and more cultured. I have gotten to know a lot of Colombians (hell I even married one from Bogota) and once you get to know a rolo well, most will tell you, Paisas are the kindest/best people in Colombia. My wife admits it.

1. Medellin
2. Manizales
3.
4.
5.
6. Cartagena
7. Bucaramanga
8.
9.
10.
11. Bogota

I do that not because those numbers (between 3 and 5 and 8 to 10) are blanks but to demonstrate that Medellin and Manizales are just much better cities. I mean, unless you like cold people shoving as they get on and off the Transmilenio as you also cope with constant rain, than by all means, have at it!
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jimpellow



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 854

PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTravel32 wrote:
I have been living in and around Bogota for 3 years. I have taken frequent trips around the country including many to Medellin. Medellin is the superior city and I would recommend any foreigner to try that city first. The climate is better, food is better, transportation is far superior (no contest) and there are more things to do in and around the city. You will likely get paid less than in Bogota but cost of living is much lower. Oh, and the people are just, well, better and more cultured. I have gotten to know a lot of Colombians (hell I even married one from Bogota) and once you get to know a rolo well, most will tell you, Paisas are the kindest/best people in Colombia. My wife admits it.

1. Medellin
2. Manizales
3.
4.
5.
6. Cartagena
7. Bucaramanga
8.
9.
10.
11. Bogota

I do that not because those numbers (between 3 and 5 and 8 to 10) are blanks but to demonstrate that Medellin and Manizales are just much better cities. I mean, unless you like cold people shoving as they get on and off the Transmilenio as you also cope with constant rain, than by all means, have at it!


This was very timely for me. I came back to Colombia last month for another six month stint while continuing my online ESL work. Went back to Medellin but felt bored after a month, so have just headed south to Pereira. Booked a room for a week while I get a feel for the city. Certainly not too many foreigners for a city of its size as it seems fairly blase besides the rumored gringo loving lovely ladies. The alternative destination has been nearby Manizales. I am likely to head there this weekend as the consensus is that the infrastructure is sufficient for online teaching and comments such as yours. Thanks!Smile
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Manizales is a nice little gem in Colombia IMO often overlooked because of Bogota, Cali, Bucaramanga, Santa Marta, Cartagena and even Armenia/Pereira (which to be fair, for those last two, I did just drive through but I did not see anything that really caught my eye).

Be careful of the gringo loving lovely ladies, man. Just as a heads up. I find a lot of them (not all) are kind of low class basic girls who will take you for a ride but you will end up worse in the end. It is much more worth it to find a classy higher class girl with a solid background because they are more legit, more cultured, etc. I met my wife on a cultural tour, for instance. Not to be classist, but I would highly recommend going for those estrato 5 and 6 girls who have been abroad but are down to earth just the same. A hard mix, but once you find a girl like that (like my wife) who also has typical Colombian family sensibilities, you have a partner for life and a dependable person. My wife and I always shudder when we see some of these foreign guys with just any old girl you can find in some language exchange event at the bars or something, but they need to make their own mistakes I suppose.

Any way, best wishes in Manizales or where ever you end up.
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jimpellow



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 854

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTravel32 wrote:
Manizales is a nice little gem in Colombia IMO often overlooked because of Bogota, Cali, Bucaramanga, Santa Marta, Cartagena and even Armenia/Pereira (which to be fair, for those last two, I did just drive through but I did not see anything that really caught my eye)..

Any way, best wishes in Manizales or where ever you end up.


Haha, thanks for the advice. I am a veteran of dealing with gringo lovers across the globe in the 14 countries I have lived, so you are preaching to the choir. Luckily hitting the half century mark has made me wiser and lower testosterone has made me think clearer, though I did get slightly shafted in the Philippines four years back.

The biggest issue I am sensing with a Colombian girl long term is their desire to stay close to family and build a little nest. Although I would much prefer to have a base in Colombia, I would want to take off with her to Malaysia or Lebanon or Armenia for six months. This seems very strange to them and thinking the family would not be too enthused either.

I am still in Pereira. Nothing special but not bad for say a retiree who wants good weather and a much lower cost of living than Medellin_Envigado which is my normal stop. Just met a Colombian today with near native ability who teaches at the college and privates. He says he does very well as it is off the beaten track for gringos for a city this size, but the wages per hour are what I would consider laughable compared to online options.

Off to Manizales Sunday, thanks for the best wishes.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah, not all girls will find it strange to take off after a few years, even for a few years. My wife loves her family like crazy but we are off to another country soon for two years! (We even toyed with Myanmar for a while and her parents supported it but cost of moving was way too much for us, like 18+ million pesos for the two of us).
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PittsburghSound



Joined: 27 Aug 2014
Posts: 96
Location: Colombia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So 10 months later and I am still in Bucaramanga. I have renewed my visa and have no plans on leaving any time soon. I love it here. I have also done more traveling since my last post in this thread. I am going to be as unbiased as I can be with my new ranking.

1. Manizales - Very nice people though a bit traditional and conservative compared to the rest of Colombia. But I imagine anyone who stays here long term would be able to make friends easily, provided that they are willing to learn Spanish. It doesn't take much.

Also this is a very young town with lots of universities. There aren't many jobs in the traditional sense, but I suppose someone would be able to make a great living with private lessons here. What sets Manizales apart for me is the climate. If you want a mild climate in Colombia, this is where you should go. The weather here could only be described as perfect, unless you can't handle a little rain from time to time.

Also you will find almost no other foreigners living in Manizales. For me that is a big plus. I'm the type that wants top dive in to my host country's culture and learn all that there is about it.

2. Bucaramanga - I have been here since April 2016. Like Manizales, the expat community is practically non-existent. In my 15 months, I have met a grand total of 11 foreigners living here full time. I know there are more, but... not that many more.

The weather is a bit more humid than Medellin, so it feels hotter, more tropical. Nights are wonderful for going out for a dance or just enjoying a beer with a friend on your balcony. Santander food is delicious and famous all over Colombia. The people are very proud of their flavors and recipes.

There are tons of modern shopping malls and lots of old-school pueblos nearby to visit. Something for everyone. If you like extreme sports, you can go kayaking, rafting, mountain climbing, and paragliding in San Gil. There is an emerging art scene in Santander, lots of new artists are coming out to reveal paintings, sculptures, and theater plays.

The only negative I see is for some people this city would be a bit boring, though the people are wonderfully engaging with foreigners due to how rare we are. I often have to turn down invitations because I already have so many at any given time. I have lots of private English students who pay very well and on time. This city wouldn't be right for everyone, but it is for me.

3. Medellin - I'm not going to write a lot about Medellin. It is one of the most famous and well-known cities in Latin America these days. My quick take is that it is a great city, though not the perfect paradise many paint it as. The pollution is absolutely awful at times, and many of the better areas (Parque Lleras/Poblado, Envigado, Laureles, et...) are getting overrun with foreigners. 10 years ago I think Medellin would have been my #1 by a mile, but now it has been shouted from the rooftops one too many times.

4 would be Pereira for the reasons already mentioned here. Gotta check it out if you're touring Colombia.

5 for me would be Cali. It is a bit more dangerous than the other cities, but if you want to party, it's as good as it gets. Brush up on your salsa, and I hope you like tan/dark skinned honeys. Quite hot but not enough to disturb sleep at night.
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