Yes Colombia, and yes living good in Colombia. Colombia is a country that most people have excluded from their travel itineraries. That is because of all the bad rumors about the drugs and the violence associated with those drug cartels. Yes Colombia had the two largest criminal enterprises in our hemisphere. They were Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartels. But now they are gone. Pablo is dead and the bosses of the Cali Cartels are all in jail. There was also a problem with the FARC, a guerrilla group in Colombia, but that has improved markedly. In 2012 Colombia was rated number one for having the happiest citizens of all the countries of the world. There must be a reason for this happiness.
Colombia is a country that is extremely bio-diverse. Colombia has borders on two oceans, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Running from North to South through the country are the Andes Mountains where there are peaks as tall as 18,700 feet. To the southwest is the Amazon Rain Forest. Because of its different altitudes and its close proximity to the equator, Colombia has many different climates and growing seasons.
Colombia grows the best coffee in the world. The conditions for growing coffee are ideal with two growing seasons each year. There are also areas that are like spring every day, cities like Medellin. Colombia is a leading flower exporter in the world because of its ideal growing conditions. Colombia also has vast reserves in oil, emeralds, and gold. In any Colombian grocery store you can find an enormous variety of fruits and vegetables, all locally grown. The variety of the different fruits in Colombia is gigantic. And best of all Colombia has some of the friendliest people in all the world.
There are a vast variety of things to do while in Colombia. There are countless museums, river excursions, national parks, beaches, charming towns, bustling large cities, beautiful mountain terrain, and jungles to see and explore. There is also a variety of small to large cities that all have their own individuality and character. For example, there is Medellin the city of eternal spring, there is Cali with its ideal climate and its reputation for being the salsa capital of the world, and there is Cartagena the walled city on the Caribbean coast. Bogota is the capital of Colombia with a population of over ten million if you include its surrounding metropolitan areas, and it is the home for many international companies. Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean Sea that attracts people from all over the world because of its architecture and charm. Barranquilla is another city on the Caribbean Sea, and it hosts a carnaval that is very well known and popular. Popayan and Mompos are two smaller cities that are also charming cities with colonial architecture. There are countless places to see in Colombia, too many to mention in this short article.
Another very attractive aspect to living in Colombia is the reasonable cost of living. There are cities in Colombia that have a cost of living lower than anywhere in South America. One does not sacrifice much with this lower cost of living. In the larger cities there are modern and extensive mass transit systems. The homes are well constructed and dirt cheap, to rent and to buy. Food costs are very low and there is an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat. Bread is almost all made in local bakeries and is very inexpensive. Health insurance is very inexpensive and the Colombian health care system is very good. A couple in Colombia pays about $40 a month for health insurance. Furniture in Colombia is mostly handmade and costs about half of what one would pay for equivalent furniture in the United States.
Colombia has a very stable democracy and is growing annually at a rate of more than 5% a year. For an employer, the wage costs are a small fraction of what is paid in the United States. Colombia is a much more capitalistic society than the United States. The majority of the businesses in Colombia are small businesses. Also the entry into a business is inexpensive and has no red tape. One can rent a small business site for as little as $100 per month. Colombia is still a country where the brick and mortar stores dominate the market.
In short Colombia is a developed country that is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. One needs to visit Colombia to see for himself.