Everything You Need to Know About Retiring In Colombia

Learn more about retiring in Colombia, the steps you need to take, the associated costs, and the visa options that are available to you.

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Have you ever dreamt of retiring in a tropical paradise with a low cost of living, breathtaking landscapes, and world-class healthcare? Colombia may be the perfect destination for you. In recent years, this South American gem has gained recognition as one of the best places for a Colombia retirement, offering an unmatched combination of affordability, quality of life, and adventure.

Ready to embark on your Colombian retirement journey? Read on to discover everything you need to know about Colombia retirement, from visa options and healthcare to the best cities and regions to call your new home.

Short Summary

  • Colombia is a prime retirement destination with affordable cost of living and unique attractions.
  • Retirees can obtain Pension or Investment Visas for long-term financial security, excellent healthcare options, and safe environment.
  • With careful planning you can enjoy the vibrant culture of Colombia while having a successful retirement experience.

Colombia Retirement Overview

There’s more to Colombia than meets the eye, with the Colombian government actively promoting the country as a go-to retirement destination for foreign retirees. With a minimum wage of just over $250 per month, it’s no wonder that retirees can live comfortably on a budget of $1200 to $2000 per month. The cost of living is significantly lower than in many Western countries, allowing you to enjoy an affordable life without sacrificing quality.

Retirees, including expat retirees, have diverse cities and regions to choose from, each with unique attractions and lifestyle options. Some popular retirement destinations include:

  • Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with cities like Santa Marta offering beautiful beaches and a relaxed lifestyle
  • The coffee triangle, is known for its stunning landscapes and coffee plantations, and temperate climate.
  • Medellin, a vibrant city with the nickname "City of Eternal Spring" and a thriving ex-pat community

Public transportation in Colombia is affordable and efficient, making it easy for retirees to explore the country’s many national parks and picturesque landscapes.

Visa Options for Retiring in Colombia

Regarding retiring in Colombia, there are two main visa options to consider: the Pension Visa and the Investment Visa. Depending on your financial situation and preferences, one of these visas may be more suitable for your Colombia retirement visa plans.

Let’s take a closer look at each option.

Pension Visa

The Pension Visa is ideal for retirees with a stable monthly pension income. If you have a monthly income of at least three times the minimum salary in Colombia (around $850), you can enjoy the benefits of this visa, which allows you to live in Colombia for up to three years and can be easily renewed.

With this visa, you’ll have the opportunity to experience Colombia’s eternal spring, world-class healthcare, and vibrant culture, all while utilizing our efficient visa service.

Investment Visa

For those who prefer to secure their retirement through investments, the Investment Visa is an excellent option. This visa allows retirees to live in Colombia for up to three years if they invest in real estate or a local business. Through a Real Estate Investment, retirees can obtain a Migrant Visa after investing about $85-95,000 USD, depending on exchange rates.

The benefit of an investment visa is that it allow you to earn Colombian Income if you ever choose to continue to work.

By investing in Colombia, you’ll be able to enjoy the country’s incredible attractions and lifestyle while contributing to its economic growth.

Healthcare for Retirees in Colombia

One of the many reasons Colombia is an attractive retirement destination is its top-notch healthcare system. Ranked highly worldwide by the World Health Organization, both locals and expats can access affordable and high-quality medical care. As a retiree, you’ll choose between public and private health insurance options, ensuring you receive the best care possible.

The national public health plan, EPS (Entidades Promotoras de Salud), is available to any expat with a Cedula De Extranjeria, providing a great opportunity to access quality healthcare. Public health insurance in Colombia is also quite affordable, with costs as low as $75 per month. For those who prefer international coverage, there are insurance options available for around $150-200 per month.

With such comprehensive and affordable healthcare options, retirees can rest easy knowing they’re well cared for in Colombia.

Cost of Living and Lifestyle in Colombia

The cost of living in Colombia is significantly lower than in many Western countries, allowing retirees to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle on a modest budget. Expenses vary depending on location and personal preferences, but you can expect to spend between $900 and $2000 per month for all living expenses. Moving to Colombia could be a great financial decision. You could potentially reduce your living expenses by 70% compared to a medium-cost city in the US.

Renting an apartment in Colombia is quite reasonable, with rents available between $500 and $2,000 per month depending on the location and preference. Fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, and freshly caught fish are both very inexpensive and plentiful, with prices between 50% to 60% of what you’d pay in the U.S. Embracing the local markets and cuisine not only saves you money but also enriches your retirement experience in this beautiful country.

Best Cities and Regions to Retire in Colombia

From bustling cities to tranquil coastal towns, Colombia offers a variety of cities and regions for retirees to choose from. Medellin, known as the city of eternal spring, boasts a vibrant atmosphere and innovative spirit, making it a popular choice among retirees. Bogota, the capital, offers chic neighborhoods like Zona Rosa and Chapinero, with trendy shopping, dining, and nightlife in its city center.

For those seeking a more tropical vibe, tropical Caribbean coastal cities like Cartagena and Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast provide stunning natural beauty, white sand beaches, and captivating national parks. Cali, the salsa dancing capital, invites retirees to dance the night away in its lively clubs and enjoy the city’s eternal summer climate. All these destinations make South America, especially Latin America, an attractive option for travelers.

With so many distinct cities and regions to explore, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your retirement dreams in Colombia.

Safety and Security for Expats in Colombia

While Colombia’s safety has vastly improved in recent years, expats should still exercise caution and be aware of potential risks, especially in certain areas and situations. Major cities such as Bogota and Medellin have seen a remarkable improvement in crime rates, but it’s essential to stay vigilant and take preventive measures to reduce crime.

However, as most expats will tell you, Colombia feels is no more dangerous than cities in other Western Countries.

To ensure a safe and enjoyable retirement experience in Colombia, it’s crucial to:

  • Stay informed about local safety concerns
  • Connect with fellow expats and the local community for advice and support
  • Take appropriate precautions and be mindful of your surroundings

By following these steps, you can confidently embrace all Colombia offers.

Language and Cultural Integration

One of the keys to a successful retirement in Colombia is embracing the local language and culture. While only 3-4% of the population speaks English, learning Spanish can significantly impact your ability to connect with locals and truly immerse yourself in Colombian life.

Here are some reasons why learning Spanish can enrich your retirement experience.

  • It allows you to communicate with locals and build meaningful relationships.
  • It opens up opportunities to participate in local activities and events.
  • It helps you navigate daily life, such as shopping, dining, and transportation.
  • It enhances your understanding and appreciation of Colombian history and traditions.

Spanish is rated as an “easy” language by the US State Department, so why not give it a try and enrich your retirement experience?

Beyond language skills, it’s essential to embrace local customs and traditions to better integrate into Colombian society. Attend local events, try new foods, and learn about the country’s rich history to build a network of friends and connections. This cultural immersion will not only enhance your retirement experience, but also help you feel more at home in your new surroundings.

Taxes and Financial Considerations

Retirees living in Colombia may be subject to local taxes on their worldwide income, depending on their residency status. If you stay in Colombia for 183 days or more over a rolling 12-month period, you can become a tax resident of the country. This means it’s essential to understand your tax obligations and strategies when retiring in Colombia.

However, for citizens of most western countries, this means filing taxes in both your home country and Colombia and only paying taxes in your home country.

To navigate the complexities of Colombian taxes, it’s highly recommended to consult a tax professional who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation. By staying informed and proactive about your tax obligations, you can ensure a smooth and financially sound retirement in Colombia.

Bringing Family Members and Dependents

If you’re planning to retire in a foreign country like Colombia with your family, it’s possible to bring your family members and dependents under certain visa options. However, keep in mind that they may not be allowed to work in the country.

It’s important to research and understand the requirements for bringing dependents to Colombia, including submitting specific documents and obtaining the necessary visas. By planning ahead and being prepared, you can ensure a smooth transition for your entire family.

Tips for a Successful Retirement in Colombia

A successful and enjoyable retirement in Colombia starts with thorough research and planning. Here are some steps to help you get started.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the various visa options available for retirees in Colombia.
  2. Research healthcare plans and costs to ensure you have adequate coverage.
  3. Determine your living costs, including housing, transportation, and daily expenses, to create a realistic budget for your retirement.
  4. Reach out to fellow expats and local communities for advice and support as you navigate your new life in Colombia.

By following these steps and doing your due diligence, you can have a smooth transition and a fulfilling retirement in Colombia.

Make the most of your retirement in Colombia, your new home country, by:

  • Exploring the country’s incredible natural attractions
  • Immersing yourself in the local culture
  • Embracing the warmth and hospitality of the Colombian people

By staying open-minded, proactive, and flexible in your approach, you’ll be well on your way to creating a fulfilling retirement experience in this beautiful country.


In conclusion, retiring in Colombia offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an affordable, adventurous, and fulfilling lifestyle. With its diverse range of cities and regions, world-class healthcare system, and low cost of living, Colombia is an increasingly popular destination for retirees seeking a fresh start.

By carefully considering your visa options, healthcare plans, and tax obligations, and embracing the local language and culture, you can ensure a smooth transition and an unforgettable retirement experience in Colombia. So why not take the leap and make Colombia your retirement paradise?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Colombia a good place to retire?

Retiring in Colombia is a great idea, as it is safe and stable, the locals are friendly, and the cost of living is much lower than in the US. Additionally, there are ample options to purchase a home and consider visa and immigration laws.

How much money do you need to retire in Colombia?

Retiring in Colombia can be done with a comfortable budget of around $1,500 to $2,000 per month for a couple.

This budget can cover rent, food, transportation, and entertainment. It can also provide for a few luxuries, such as occasional trips to the beach or a night out at a nice restaurant.

Can a US citizen live in Colombia?

Yes, US citizens can live in Colombia; they get a 90-days visa on arrival with an option to extend another 90 days. To stay longer than six months or become a full-time resident, you need to apply for a Migrant Visa (M).

The Migrant Visa is a long-term visa that allows you to stay in Colombia for up to two years. It can be renewed for an additional two years, and after that, you can apply for permanent residency.

What are the main visa options for retiring in Colombia?

Retiring in Colombia is an attractive option, with two main visa options available: the Pension Visa and the Investment Visa, depending on your financial situation and preferences.

How much does it cost to live comfortably in Colombia?

Retirees can live comfortably in Colombia for an average of $1,450 per month.

This amount covers basic living expenses such as rent, food, and utilities. It also allows for some leisure activities and travel. With a low cost of living and a high quality of life.

Daniela Cordoba
Founder and Lead Attorney

Daniela Cordoba is a lawyer specializing in immigration and commercial law. Daniela Cordoba has helped individuals and businesses live and operate in Colombia for over a decade. She also has training in compliance with the respective accreditations to serve as Compliance Officer.

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