What Airports are the best and the worst? How to get from point a to point b. Travel tips.

Getting to Cambodia: Step by Step guide

Siem Reap, Cambodia is one of my most favorite places in the world to retire cheap.

How do you get there? And what steps do you need to take?

Are there tips?

You bet.

1. Book your flight. When booking your flight try to avoid flying into America. Or if you’re American, try to avoid any stops in a different American city.

The main reason for this is because, each time you stop in America, even when transiting, you have to go through their security again.

Yup. You wind up going back out with the people who haven’t already been screened. And screened again.

This is going to take up a lot of extra time and hassle.

2. Pack light. I know you might be retiring forever and bringing everything with you. Remember you’re going to Asia, they make a lot of stuff here. And have pretty much everything you’re going to need.

Right now I travel with a carry on, and a small backpack for gear.

3.Choice of airlines is up to you. But I really like Singapore Air. During the flight, it’s unlimited booze, snacks and meals. Also the flight attendants are really nice. Believe me, I’m cheap as balls but, if I have a flight that’s similar in cost, or even more expensive I’ll choose Singapore Air vs Air Canada or any American company. This trip I voluntarily chose a 13 hour stopover in Singapore, because it’s airport is one of the nicest in the world

Sunflower Garden in Changi Airpor

After getting onto the plane, you’ll want to have a pen. They’ll give you several customs forms to fill out.

When you land, you’ll need to pass these forms to the customs agent, and then head to the Visa on Arrival area (for Canadians). The Visa on Arrival cost was $35 USD (have crisp bills, no crumpling, tears, or wear).

Then head to passport control. Be warned Cambodians are super nice, But customs are kinda rude.

After you get through that, (it should take about 30 minutes.) head outside for a taxi/tuk tuk. If you’re smart you’ve already downloaded the Pass App. Pass is the Cambodian Uber. If not, a tuk tuk into town should cost you abut $5 (USD). If you’ve made some friends on the airplane ride, you guys can always share one. As long as they live near pub street, you’re also going to be close. (I’m assuming you’ve also booked near Pub Street.

And that’s it! You’re in Cambodia! Enjoy

1 Hour after the plane lands, I’m in a pool with a 50 cent beer in hand

Getting to Cambodia: Step by Step guide2020-03-13T04:45:48+00:00

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.

I love taking the buses here in South America. They are awesome. They are either lie down 180 degree seats, or semi lie down at 140 degree seats. Super comfortable.

And if you’re retiring cheap, then you have a ton of time on your hands and not that much money.

When I looked into heading to Chile, I thought of definitely using the bus.

Till I looked at the price!

The price was the same for the bus as the plane!

And the plane was 4 hours versus 24 hours by bus.

Ok. Plane it is.

After a quick flight on Viva Air (which was surprising good….) I was in Santiago,

There they have various options on how to get to downtown. Metered cab, Tourist taxi, buses, shared shuttles.

But, I wasn’t going to Santiago downtown. I wanted to head to the nearby town of Valparaíso.

Surprising there is a bus that leaves DIRECTLY from the airport to this town. No need to go into Santiago proper at all! Hurray!

Here’s how to get there.

1. Collect your luggage. The Santiago airport is reallllllly reallllly big, it’ll take you a while to get from the plane to the luggage. Also you’re going to have to go through customs, and security.

2. After collecting your luggage. Head to exit 6. This is called Salida 6.

3. Go to the Turbus office, it’s right there at exit 6.

4. Buy your ticket. It costs so little, that I thought they didn’t understand me.

6000 pesos is the equivalent of about $12 Canadian. They take credit card, and yes that includes American Express.

5. After getting your ticket, head outside. There are all these different areas for different types of transportation. Turbus has it’s own spot. Look for the sign.

6. Get on the bus, and enjoy an awesome ride to Valparaíso …. it’s about 2 hours and the highways are smooth and not bumpy

Hope this helps you on your goal to finding the best country to retire cheap. Stay on this blog to see if Valparaiso, Chile makes the list!

How to get from Lima, Peru to Valparaíso, Chile.2019-06-28T15:54:23+00:00

Getting from Cuenca to Mancora by bus

If you’re looking for the best places to retire cheap, that means you are going to be hopping from country to country.

As you know Cuenca, Ecuador is my number one place in 2018 to retire cheap.

If you’re looking for options though, Peru is somewhere to explore.

How are you going to get there?

You can either fly, which I personally find crazy expensive or take the bus like a native.

Here’s a step by step guide to taking the bus. And if you want to watch a video version of this you can check it out on my YouTube link here.

1. You’re going to need to get a taxi to Terminal Terrestre. If you’ve been living in Centro then this cab ride should cost under $3 USD.

2.Be careful when you get there, Terminal Terrestre is terribly unsafe. This is the only place where I’ve had one of my bags stolen. While they have guards there, homeless people hover like vultures waiting for you to not see them.

I got my bag stolen when a homeless person came up asking for change, I said no and then looked away. When I looked away. they grabbed my backpack off the ground and ran.

Lesson learned. Keep eye contact until you see them leave.

3. Go to the Azuay office and buy a ticket. They don’t take credit cards. Why? I don’t know.

4. The Azuay buses are super comfy, and I highly recommend them.

5.Terminal Terrestre itself is awful. There’s no wifi, you have to pay for bathrooms (which are gross) and even pay to use the terminal (10 cents to leave).

6.After getting on the Azuay buy to Mancora it’s a several hour bus ride

7. Then you’re going to stop at immigration. The immigration is cool. The exit and entrance are in the same building.

8.After standing in line to get your exit from Ecuador stamp you get back into line to get your entry to Peru stamp.

9.There is no cost to get a Peru visa, and you can get one for 6 months as a Canadian.

10.Then it’s back onto your bus. Be careful. Your bus is not where you were dropped off.

11.Because so many buses come through, you’re going to have to walk for a few blocks to the designated bus area. If you get lost just ask a security guard for AZUAY!

12. After landing in Mancora, the buses will dump you off roadside. There will be a swarm of Tuk Tuk drivers fighting for your business.

13. You should have Sols by this point, because USD is no longer used once you cross the border.

14. A Tuk Tuk to Loki (where I stayed) should be under 3 Sols. The guys will all quote 5 Sols. Don’t just take their quote.

I hope this blog helps you on your next border crossing to Peru, and don’t forget if you like what I write to share this blog!

Getting from Cuenca to Mancora by bus2019-01-08T05:38:46+00:00

Getting to Phomn Penh from Saigon

Retiring cheap in Vietnam means you are going to be going to Cambodia. Why? Visa runs. The typical visa you’re going to get in Vietnam will be the 3 month tourist visa. This means every 3 months, off you go somewhere else. For most people it means taking the bus to Cambodia ($20 CDN)

You might not go all the way to Phomn Penh, but if you are here’s the scoop.

First you’ll buy a bus ticket from Giant Ibis. This company ACTUALLY has a website where you can actually buy your ticket.

This might not seem like a big deal to you if you’ve never left North America. But believe me it is.

Showing up at the bus station (it’s in Bui Vien District 1) you might not actually see it. I was expecting a big terminal with buses. I actually refused to get out of my GRAB until he told me 100 times that, “yes, this is Giant Ibis”.

The little office is tucked inside. So look for the Panda Travel sign.

There are no buses around. They just pull up when it’s time to go.

Before you board, they are going to want to see your passport and if you don’t have a Cambodian Visa, you’ll pay for one here ($35 USD). It’s important to note that the price is in USD.

From this point on, you will no longer need your Vietnemase Dong (hehehhehe).

Cambodia works on Riels, and USD. There’s a currency exchange place right next door though.

I don’t know how badly I got ripped off. I just needed some greenbacks.

Getting on the bus was simple with the arranged seats

The bus itself is comfortable, think Economy plus on an airplane. It’s got wifi, electrical plugs for your gear, and reclining seats. BRING A JACKET! The Aircon on the bus is cold. Almost every girl ran to the storage area at the first stop to get a jacket. At this point you should hang out near that area of the bus to make sure, nobody “accidentally” goes into your bags).

You’ll also get a water, pastry and wet wipe.

The bus trip was from 830 am to 430pm.

There are NO bathrooms on the bus. They do make stops every few hours though.

The first stop is at a mediocre restaurant. Don’t eat there. The food is overpriced and not so good.

They do have nice bathrooms though.

Going through customs is a breeze. The bus driver takes your passport, does all paperwork and then gives it all to the customs guys. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BUS DRIVER. (He’s going to go the area you need to go, but isn’t going to wait for you.)

You’ll first get your Vietnam exit stamp then drive for a bit to the Cambodian border.

When you get to the border stops, you’ll get bombarded by money changers. If you do decide to use a money changer, find out the exchange rate and then use your own calculator to figure out the amount you should get.

(I’ve heard they like to give an ok exchange rate, then short change you on the actual money given.)

There’s another stop where you’re going to be able to get decent fried chicken and food at a little cart. I recommend eating here.

Arriving at the Giant Ibis station in Phomn Penh means dealing with Tuk Tuks.

The English speaking level here is actually pretty good. (I’m rating it 8//10….like the Philippines) If you’re going to an out of the way place to stay, it’s handy to have the phone number. The tuk tuk drivers will call them for you for directions.

I didn’t see any cabs. In the two days I’ve been here, I’ve seen zero cabs. There is Grab and PassApp in Cambodia.

How much is a Tuk Tuk? My place was 23 minutes away from the Giant Ibis terminal. So, they quoted $20 USD.

From my experience in Bangkok, I know that Tuk Tuks are the greediest bastards you’ll ever see. After several minutes of haggling I settled on $12 USD.

Normally I would NEVER take a tuk tuk from a bus/train/plane station. You know it’s going to severely over priced.

But when I arrived the rain was so heavy and torrential that cars were up to mid rim. Literally calf deep water.

In that type of weather, I’ll pay a little more. (My ride back by the way was $7 USD negotiated with a random tuk tuk near where I was staying).

I hope this helps you on your way to find the best place to retire cheap. If you want more articles this is the place to go. LINKS TO ALL ARTICLES

Getting to Phomn Penh from Saigon2018-08-08T09:20:43+00:00

Grab Taxi Scam to watch out for

We all know that taking taxi’s in general are for suckers. (I’m not saying all taxi cab drivers are thieves who will try and pump the meter, but unfortunately more often than not they are. )

Uber, Grab, Lyft and other ride sharing services all grew to existence out of the need for reliable cheap transport.

I’ve used them ride sharing services all over the world, and love them.

That’s why I was super disappointed to hear that UBER has pulled out of South East Asia.

This leaves pretty much GRAB as the only game in

This article is actually about a GRAB scam that you’ll see at the airport.

Imagine you’re just getting off of the plane, probably pretty tired, and just wanting to get to your hotel.

You, being the savvy reader of BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com already know, not to just take a taxi.

And that booking a ride sharing service is the way to go.

This usually means, going and getting wifi, or a data card for your phone. (A bit of a pain, and you know it’s going to be expensive at the airport.)

Lo, and behold, there are a dozen uniformed GRAB drivers waiting at the airport, ready to go!

“Perfect!” you think. No need to buy a phone card yet.

They approach you, and ask if you want a GRAB. You know that GRAB is the ride sharing service in South East Asia, and were going to use them anyway, so this is perfect!

They show you the app on their phone and you punch in the address. The price comes up. And that’s the rate you get.

Here’s where the scam comes in. These are REAL GRAB drivers. The APP is fake. They have a lookalike App that they show you on THEIR phone.

It mimics the real GRAB app, but instead of giving you the real price, it charges 3 times the rate. (Like a calculator that gives the wrong info).

You being brand new and having no idea how much it should really cost fall for the doctored price and another sucker is born.

How to avoid this scam? Just make sure you always use the app on YOUR phone and don’t just let a waiting driver flag you down.

Hope this travel tip helps you on your search for the best countries to retire cheap in. PS…Right now I’m loving Saigon! Scams suck, but Saigon is amazing!

Want another article, or want to find out more? LINK TO MY ARTICLES it’s on the bottom of the page.

Grab Taxi Scam to watch out for2018-06-05T23:09:55+00:00

Taking the bus from Quito to Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca, Ecuador is ranked #1 on many sites as the best place to retire cheap. After exploring Quito, Ecuador for the month LINK TO ONE MOTH IN QUITO I  decided to head to Cuenca, Ecuador.

The first step is getting to the bus station. Terminal South in Quito is the one you’re going to want to head to. If you’re staying in old town like I was it’s less than $5 to get there via Cabify LINK CABS IN QUITO.

Getting to the bus station, you’ll have a lot of companies to choose from. 

They all cost the same. $15 USD for one way. So since they all cost the same, the buses should all be the same level of quality and comfort right? Wrong.

Some of the buses have tons of leg room, like flying business class, with almost lay flaT recline. Other buses, you’ll be in the equivalent of economy in Air Canada (aka the worst).

Why wouldn’t everybody take the best buses? Well, depending on time and schedule you might have to take the donkey bus.

When I got to the bus station to buy my ticket at 10pm for the night bus the bus tickets for all of the good buses were sold out.

The good bus lines

  • Float imbabura
  • Sucre Express

With no choice, and a heavy heart I headed to the donkey bus line.

That’s when another

Not only was I going to be spending 9 hours on the donkey bus….

…tickets were all sold out!

According to my travel companion, Alejandro this is really really really rare. In all the times he has done the trip (over a dozen) he has never seen it so busy when it wasn’t a national holiday.

There isn’t information booths, but with a huge line of people still wanting tickets, one of the companies told us, if they could wake up some drivers they’d get us a bus. Maybe.

At this point I was stuck. Do I take a taxi back to the Blue Door Quito LINK TO BLUE DOOR REVIEW and come back in 4 hours for the first morning bus? Or maybe I could find a cab to take me? I thought maybe if I got a few people, Alejandro and I wouldn’t be paying too much more. Wrong again. The cab wanted $200 USD. That option being way too much, I settled in for maybe getting a bus.

The cool thing about travelling with somebody is that it does allow you to take a nap on the floor of a dirty bus station in Quito without worrying about your stuff. So, I grabbed some beers and some chips $10USD (2 big bags of chips and 2 beers) and we hung out till 330am in the morning.

At that point after a mini floor nap, one of the bus companies had rounded up a bus. It was a Patria bus (aka El Burro Autobus).

Cramped and squished with my bag (always take your valuables bag and put it on your lap) I pulled down my sleep mask and headphones. This is super important because, the bus plays a movie on a flat screen tv in Spanish, so if you want to sleep, be prepared.

About 7 hours in, we stopped at a little roadside diner near Alausi for breakfast. There you can get fried chicken, curried goat or curried beef. Usually about $3.

I chose to eat a protein bar.

A few hours later, I arrived in Cuenca. Total cost $25.15 USD ($15 bus ticket, $10 snacks, 15 cents to use the bathroom in the bus terminal).

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Taking the bus from Quito to Cuenca, Ecuador2018-11-16T21:04:26+00:00

Retiring Cheap? Becoming a Digital Nomad? 10 Tip Checklist

Retiring cheap and living your life in a foreign country was my goal a year ago. I sold all my stuff, said goodbye to my friends and family and started my journey. Was it scary? Yes. Was it amazing. Yes. I began my quest to find the best countries to retire cheap over 365 days ago, and while I haven’t found the best place yet, I’ve definitely narrowed it down. Are you ready to retire cheap? What about not retiring but giving up your life in Canada, and become a digital nomad? Here’s the checklist I wish I had before I had left.

  1. Do you have the money? It costs me $1000 a month to live. That’s a pretty spartan lifestyle. My life consists of working out, playing on the internet, and going out for fun once in a while. I’m not living like a king, but it’s comfortable. My daily budget is $5 a day for foood $10 a day for fun and putting away $250 a month for emergencies/sundries (all my prices are in Canadian dollars because this is a Canadian blog). You can read my monthly summaries for exact costs per month per country. For example buying a chicken drumstick/thigh in Medellin, Colombia is $1. Massages are $6 an hour in Bangkok, and sun tanning on a beach in Bali is free.
  2. Do you have the mindset? It can get very lonely if you’re by yourself. If you like uproot yourself away from your community you’ll miss your friends and family. Facebook messenger and Whatsapp are super handy to have. But you’ll still be super far away. And going to the local Boston Pizza for a beer and Perogy pizza just doesn’t happe
  3. Are you ok with change? You’re not going on a vacation. You’re going to be dealing with horrible internet, bad customer service and strange cultural customs. For example 5 minutes in Colombia, is anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes. Most of your friends and family will think you live on a beach sipping fruity drinks. That’s not the reality of it. You’re not buying thirst and souvenirs. You’re spending you’re life in this very foreign country.
  4. Can you shake it off? You’re going to make mistakes. Can you cope if you lose your passport? My friend lost his passport in Hong Kong, and it was a whole separate story. If your world explodes right now when Netflix doesn’t have as much content as in the United States, you are not ready.
  5. Can you work overseas? You might think it’s no problem, but payment, time zones and internet are the 3 headed hydra that you’ll have to slay. I’m lucky in that my clients understand that sometimes I’ll be in an internet dead zone for 2 days because all of the internet has gone down for the city. Seriously. It just goes Kablooey…..
  6. Love. Will you be retiring with your partner? Or is it just you? Yes those girls in Cebu will tell you they love you, but chances are they really just love your huge bank account.
  7. How are your language skills? English is the international travellers language, but depending where you go, you might need to learn a whole new language. South America speaks Spanish, and I’m struggling daily. Duolingo is my best friend, but I have to take Spanish classes. Will you want to do that? 
  8. Are you a strange size? If you’re large or obese in Canada, you’ll be gigantic in the rest of the world. Think “Biggest Loser” gigantic. Clothes won’t fit, and you will hate the tiny little jeep things which are the local transport in Thailand.
  9. Safety. Unless you live in the ghetto right now, like East Hastings in Vancouver, or Millwoods in Edmonton you may not be ready to watch out for your safety. In Colombia, every 5th traveller I have met has been mugged, or pickpocketed.
  10. Do you only eat Canadian food? A can of Campbell’s mushroom soup is $5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Are you going to be ok eating what the locals eat? Food is delicious around the world. It just might not be your cup of tea (like literally my ex-gf went nuts because she couldn’t get her favorite cut of tea in China.)

Don’t despair though! Finding the best country to retire cheap is amazing. You’ll lose weight, spend less time stressed and open up parts of your mind that you never thought possible. I don’t regret my choices at all!  I miss my friends, but I fly back to Canada once a year. 

I miss my memory foam pillows and 5.1 Surround sound movie theater, but I can deal with it. I sometimes have a huge craving for fully loaded nachos and a Moosehead beer, but Arepa todos “garbage burgers”, are something you can only get in Colombia. I hope you follow your desires too. Travel the world as a digital nomad or retire early, don’t those 10 things stop you. 

Retiring in the best countries to live cheap can be pretty great, but just make sure you are ready (that’s why I wrote the guide). If you have any questions feel free to message me! I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. I spend a year religiously looking for information before I made the big plunge, and I hope BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com helps your goals!

Go to the website for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Retiring Cheap? Becoming a Digital Nomad? 10 Tip Checklist2017-06-26T21:32:47+00:00

Get from Salento to Quito

If you’re heading from Salento, Colombia to Quito, Ecuador there are a couple of ways to get there. Here’s my step by step guide.

Step 1. Get to Pereira. The bus leaves from Salento 4 times a day. The bus from Pereira leaves at 5pm. It was under 10000 COP ($5) to get to Pereira. The chicken bus is not too cold. 

Then go to the Bolivariano bus ticket station and buy a ticket. Remember this bus is cold. Bring a blanket. Or wear all your clothes. I’m from Edmonton, Alberta so I can tell you I know cold. I wore 2 tank tops, 2 shirts, 2 pair of socks, a jacket, a vest and two pairs of pants AND used my towel as a blanket. The ticket is $920000 ($46 CDN). I had two huge 30kg bags with no extra charge. The ride is 14 hours. You will stop for food at a little roadside dinner. There you can get food for 2000-4000 COP ($2-$4 CDN). The bus ride is comfortable, but remember while they say they have wifi, it didn’t work. Preload all your entertainment. Safety tip. Never leave the bag that has all your valuables alone. Don’t store it in the overhead bin and fall asleep.

After arriving in Ipiales you’ll follow the crowd to a Collectivo (white mini bus) and pay the drive 4000 COP. The words you are looking for are Rumicha, la frontera. I don’t speak any Spanish (well according to Duolingo I’m 4% fluent) but had no problems.

As they drop you off, head to Migracian Colombia to get your exit stamp. This is to your left. If you see a sign that says Ecuador you’re going the wrong way.

After getting your stamp, exit and walk across the bridge to the Ecuador side. There you may or may not be searched by the police (this happened to me) and then go get your entry stamp to Ecuador. Canadians get a T3 stamp for 90 days no charge.

After that take a taxi to Tulcan. Don’t worry. As soon as you get out of the Ecuador stamp office, cab drivers will be yelling “Tulcan” at you. $3.50 USD (Did you notice I just changed to USD? Ecuador uses USD! Get your money BEFORE getting here).

The taxi drops you off right at the bus terminal, so no worries there. 

Buses will be yelling Quito. The ride was $6 USD. Then it’s another 5 hour ride.

All in all it was 27 hours for me to get from Salento to Quito. As a journey it was long. But kind of fun. 

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Get from Salento to Quito2017-06-23T18:45:23+00:00

How to get to Cali from Medellin by bus

Traveling from Medellin, to Cali I decided to take the bus not the plane. 80% of people who I told that declared “You are muy loco, crazy!” Flying from Medellin via one of the low cost carriers is really inexpensive, and taking the bus isn’t a huge cost savings. So why did I do it? As you know I’m travelling the world, looking for the best country to retire cheap. In the years that I’ve been doing, I’ve learned one thing. If you get a chance to take the bus/train, do it. 

Taking the bus took roughly 11 hours versus the hour or two it takes by plane. But as you know taking the plane isn’t just “taking the plane” anymore. Factor in the 3 hours it takes to get to the airport, get through customs and taxis all of a sudden it’s not a huge time savings.

Taking the bus cost 45 000 COP ($22 CDN) and it’s totally worth it. You get to see the beautiful countryside and the seats on the Bolivariano bus I took were full recline. It also had wifi, movies (all in Spanish…no subtitles) and were really polite. Compare that to a cramped no leg room plane, your choice. (I also was travelling with two 30kg suitcases, and carryon. The cost of taking the plane was roughly 200 000 ($100 CDN) after all the fees, taxis, etc.)


  1. Take an Uber to Terminal Sur. This should be roughly 8000 COP ($4 CDN) from anywhere in Medellin.
  2. Go to the ticketing booths. There are about 50 of them, all for different companies. Go Bolivariano, it’s awesome. 
  3. After buying your ticket, go the departures area. They won’t let you through until it’s close to your bus departure time. Buses leave 5 times a day. (I chose a bus that got me into town at 11pm.) 
  4. When the bus arrives, most people will rush on. Don’t worry about it. Seats are assigned when you buy the ticket.
  5. You’ll get luggage tags when you throw your checked in luggage under the bus. Under no condition should you put anything valuable in there. (I’ve heard of several horror stories from people who had their stuff stolen. Two girls from England wound up losing their 80 litre backpacks.) For security, they videotape everybody on the bus! 
  6. The bus is air conditioned. Think really cold movie theater air conditioned. 90% of people on the bus had a giant blanket with them. These are the fuzzy blanket things that you see being sold at super flea markets with pictures of cats or Elvis on them. Seriously bring a blanket. I was so cold that my Colombian seat mate, took pity on me and shared her blanket. 
  7. Halfway through the journey, they stopped at a little road side cafe. You can buy a chorizo, arepa and potato for 7000 COP ($3.50 CDN). If you get hungry about one or two times during the trip a vendor will get onto the bus and sell chips and snacks. It’s not frequent, so I would recommend bringing some powerbars.
  8. Enjoy the ride! I slept for bits, watched the countryside for other bits, and watched Netflix for other bits. (The free wifi isn’t great, download your shows.) There is an overhead rack for your carryon. For safeties sake, do not put your valuables up there and fall asleep. There’s plenty of space by your feet. 
  9. When you get to Cali, the bus stop has a queue of cabs waiting to take you to where you’re going. I was going to a popular hostel, so need to fumble around with a screenshot and map. That’s all! Enjoy the bus! It’s worth it.
How to get to Cali from Medellin by bus2017-05-28T21:20:49+00:00

Is Medellin, Colombia the best place to retire cheap? 1 month summary

I’ve been living in Medellin for over a month now so I can officially tell you it’s one of the best countries to retire cheap. After a year in South East Asia, I was a little hesitant to start this years tour of Central and South America. My biggest fears? I don’t speak Spanish, and I really hate salsa music.

Landing at the airport, I had a really pleasant surprise. They have airport buses that run you right into town for cheap 9000 COP ($4.50 CDN). Or you can take a taxi for $70 000 COP ($35 CDN). I took the cheap bus, called a collectivo…. and then took the taxi from the bus stop. Much much cheaper.

The first thing I can tell you is that cabs do not speak English. And they don’t seem to understand maps either. They do not however, try the “no meter” trick. They all seemed super honest. (I’ve had worse cab rides in Richmond, BC. Worst cab company in Canada). An average cab ride is about the same price as an Uber here. They also have a local app called Easy Taxi.

If the cabs are honest and the relative same price as an Uber, why Uber? With Uber, you can put the exact map pin in where you’re going. Remember the cab drivers here don’t speak English, and don’t know how to read a Google Map. If you’re going somewhere that really requires English speaking, you can pay 50% more and order an English speaking Uber.

My first night here, I went to the tourist area. Lleras park. It’s the place to be if you like partying. Bars, nightclubs, restaurants & hookers. It’s fun, and doesn’t shut down till about 4am. (I always like a little danger and chaos in my party zones). You can buy drugs, beers or tacos here. All super safe, as there is a very heavy police presence. I also liked the fact that there were locals that partied here too. It is more expensive than any other part of town though.

After a few nights in Poblada and Lleras Park, I wanted to find the “real” Medellin. Now, I’m completely different than most people here. I don’t want fancy restaurants and safety. I want street food, and a little hint of chaos. I love street food, and you’ll have a hard time finding it Lleras park. The local food is mostly rice, with beans , a protein, and an inedible hockey puck called an arepa. Delicious (except the arepa)!

68% of the people I’ve met here in Medellin, are Digital Nomads. Not a lot of fat tourists, or backpackers here. And out of those 68%, about 90% of them live in two areas. Poblado or Laureles. These are the two parts of town you’ll want to stay, if you want to hang out with your Digital Nomad peeps. It’s a great community here. Literally the best I’ve seen in the world.

Me? I found a haunted afterhours/bar party hotel to live in. It’s deep in the heart of Centro. And just like the downtown in Edmonton, Alberta, it’s full of crime, not the safest and crappy if you want to drive.  My room is 15000 COP ($7 CDN) a night. Living in Poblado a 1 bed room furnished apartment is roughly 1,200,000 COP ($600 CDN) a month. Poblano is expensive, but nice.

If you want food that costs half the price of Poblado, or to live in the heart of Medellin, Centro is the place to go.

Centro is dangerous. My roommate was mugged. But saying that, he was out in a park at 4am in the morning and kind of drunk. Here in Medellin you’ve got to stay hard and sharp.

Even though there’s crime, the people are all super nice, putting up with halting attempts at Spanish, and welcoming me to Medellin. I really am the only Chino (Chinese person) here. I get big smiles everywhere I go. And they seem like they do care that you’re having a good day.

My typical day is pretty great. I wake up, work on the blog a bit, and then head to the gym. There are gyms everywhere here. Free gyms made of concrete blocks in the park, old school 80’s iron gyms (where I work out) and high tech fancy gyms.

The most expensive gyms I’ve found were $140 000 COP ($70 CDN), my gym is $60 000 ($30 CDN).

After the gym, I’ll go grab a meal for about 6000 COP ($3 CDN) or a tasty meat pie for 1800 COP (90 cents CDN).

There are bars everywhere here in Centro, and barber shops. I don’t know why there are so many barber shops. But literally I counted 5 in a 3 block radius. Get a haircut here . It costs 10 000 COP ($5 CDN) but it’s one of the best haircuts I’ve ever gotten. They start with clippers, go to scissors, and then a razor! Worth it!

If you want to go grab a beer in a bar it’s about 8000 COP ($4 CDN), or you can buy them at the grocery shops for about 2000 COP ($1 CDN). Remember nobody really speaks English here, so if you are going out for a beer, you might feel a little shut out.

Me? I’ve spent a month in Medellin, Colombia, and I love it. I’m going on the rest of my tour, but I’ll be back!

I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!)

Is Medellin, Colombia the best place to retire cheap? 1 month summary2018-06-20T19:00:42+00:00

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