Colombia

/Colombia

Best places to retire cheap in 2018

Where’s the best place to retire cheap in 2018? Here’s my definite list for the year!

Here you go, in order:

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Tranquil beaches, and a very diverse culture is why it’s #7 on this years list. You’ll find everything from Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies residing here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are all great though. Regardless if you like yoga or all you can drink night clubs, there’s a place in the city for you. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll definitely visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is that it’s an airport hub and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country, it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is like most of South America, people don’t really speak English. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere. Recently it got GRAB, but cars are still relatively rare.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Saigon, Vietnam: Saigon is a great place to retire cheap, because of the combination of great food and culture. LINK In detail review of Saigon

FOOD! Banh Mi is my go to food in Vietnam. Even if I never retire in Saigon, I’ll need to fly back at least once a year to eat some Banh Mi.

The costs here are great:

  • Coffee 17,600 Dong ($1 CDN
  • I’ve tried to give up smoking, but it’s been hard so I’ll usually have a smoke with my morning coffee. Cigarettes are 25,500 Dong ($1.50 CDN) a pack.
  • Gym 260,000 Dong ($15 CDN) a month.
  • Vietnamese Sub, AKA Banh Mi, AKA delicious 15,000 Dong ($1 CDN). The funny thing about Banh Mi’s is that there are several stands all around my apartment. All of the Banh Mi’s are slightly different but they are all uniformly 15,000 Dong!
  • My apartment was 4.4 million Dong ($250 CDN ) a month. This included high speed internet (43 Mbps), a maid once a week, power, water etc. (Shared with 2 other people).
  • A bowl of Pho 40,000 Dong ($2 CDN)

Why did it not rate higher on my best countries to retire cheap list? Heat mainly, and the fact that GRAB is really bad there. Also the visa situation kind of sucks. You have to do paperwork ahead of time to get your Visa, and Visa runs are necessary every 3 months.

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place to visit. Especially if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a reason. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Siem Reap, Cambodia: The city of temples! It’s got all the charm of Vietnam, and it has 50 cent beers! Food will cost more than Vietnam, but it balances itself out with cheaper beer/cigarettes. In Siem Reap you’ll find a great combination of international food, and $3 lunches. This is the only place where I found imported liquor cheaper than it is back home in Canada! That’s right if you’ve travelled around you know the price of international booze is always more expensive. In Siem Reap, Jack Daniels is actually 40% cheaper than it is at home in Canada. The only caveat to this is wine. Wine is double the price for no known reason.

Siem Reap is small enough to walk around, but if you get sick of walking there’s an abundance of Tuk Tuks. Safe, and with great English, this is a great place to retire cheap. Visa on arrival is no problem, and it’s super easy to get 6 month extensions. The only reason it didn’t make the top spot on my list? Hot! It’s hot, hot hot! If you like hot weather this place should actually move itself up to number one.

LINK TO SIEM REAP MONTHLY REVIEW

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. Cuenca contains all the beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. I’ve found this is a sleepy town, but it is big enough to have malls, movie theaters and gyms.

I love the fact that you can pretty much walk everywhere here. A lot of expats lose weight just because of the constant walking.

You’ll wake up go for a walk to the market, get some fresh eggs and vegetables all for a $1 CDN. Big beers are $1.75 CDN, and meals out are roughy $2.50.

There is a wide assortment of culture to be found here, but it’s not really a party place. Cuenca isn’t a place you want to go for a vacation. There’s really not much to do here. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes it an easy place to make friends.

Why is it rated so highly then? Just the fact that while it’s a sleepy town it is also peaceful and easy to get to know.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see change? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing like that exists in Cuenca. But when you can get a cab they are friendly and cheap.

Cuenca wins 2018 with its perfect spring like weather though out the year, great people and good sized population. Cuenca was #1 in 2017, and I am keeping it here for 2018.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

I hope this list has been useful to you. It was a lot of fun to make! It’s been a big year for me in 2018 and I love travel blogging. Thank you so much for your support! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap in, just message me!

Best places to retire cheap in 20182019-01-24T22:53:55+00:00

Top 9 Best Places to Retire Cheap in 2017

What’s the top 9 places to retire in $2017?

After sleeping in jungles, party hostels, haunted houses and in airplane terminals around the world, I’ve come up with TOP NINE list of where to retire cheap.

Here you go, in order:

#9 Cali, Colombia: Ranked ninth, Cali is a city in Colombia which I never want to go back to. While safer than Medellin, it’s also boring as hell. Seriously, unless you want to learn how to Salsa dance there is NO reason to go to this city. Give it a skip. It’s not a bad city. It’s just not good. It does have Uber though, which is a nice little bonus when you’re sick of fighting with local taxi bandits. Biggest con besides being boringest place in South America? They don’t speak English here. Great food though!

LINK TO Cali One Month Summary

#8 Cebu, Philipines: Beautiful forts, old architecture, mountains and beaches…..what’s not to love about Cebu? Also Cebu speaks English. They have great food, a mix of traditional and western can be found here no problems. The biggest problem with Cebu and why it only ranked #8 on this years list? Heat. It’s hottttttt, hot, hot here. Also spotty wifi, and roosters. Why are roosters a big con? They still have cock fighting here. So you are going to hear roosters all the time. One of the best things about Cebu though? The beaches, this will rank high for you if you love beaches!

Cebu Summary

#7 Bali, Indonesia: Beautiful beaches, and a very diverse culture. From Australian backpackers, to yoga pant wearing hippies reside here. I’ve been all around the world and this is one of the most diverse places I have found in the way of culture. The people of Bali, are also quite of mix. You’ll be able to get fresh fruit shakes for $1 CDN and big beers are $3. The biggest problem with Bali, is that it’s full of bugs. I don’t think I saw one traveller that was not covered in bug bites. I’d vacation here, but I don’t think I’d like to retire here. But I love the banana pancakes on the beach…..so good and definitely worth going for!

LINK: One Month Bali Review

#6 Quito, Ecuador: Quito is one of the cities you’ll visit in Ecuador. The reason you’ll visit is airports, and it’s close to the Amazon. Would I retire there? Yes, but it’s not as good as it’s sister city Cuenca. While Quito has several things going for it like Uber and more buses going to different parts of the country , it’s not quite perfect. Giant hills make walking around difficult, and while I’d recommend coming here, (It’s still in the top 10 in the world.) It’s neighbor Cuenca is just better for retirees. Another problem with Quito is that it doesn’t speak English like most of South America. Great healthcare in Ecuador though keeps Quito in the mix! Also as a bonus if you’re staying in Quito, go check out the Blue Door Housing…fantastic place to stay.

LINK: One month in Quito

#5 Chiang Mai, Thailand: Founded in 1296, this northern town in Thailand is a quiet place compared to Bangkok. The old town here is amazing, picturesque with temples and a feeling of peace. It doesn’t feel like a big tourist trap like Bangkok does. Saying that there are some reasons it’s ranked #5. No transit. The city has no good bus/transit/taxi. You’ll be taking Jeepneys everywhere.

LINK: Great things about retiring in Chiang Mai

#4 Bangkok, Thailand: The land of smiles, lives up to it’s name. I love the transit here, as long as your near the train line, you can get almost everywhere. And there are tons of cabs if you want them. Great medical, a hustler culture and fantastic food are some reasons I keep going back to Bangkok. Why isn’t it #1? It used to be my #1. But there are some reasons that it isn’t. Safety. It definitely isn’t the safest on my list. Heat is also something to consider. It’s 30 something here all the time. I do not miss having to take a shower every time I stepped outside. Still I love Bangkok, and will definitely be back. If only for the custom suits!

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Link to Bangkok vs Medellin Side by Side Review

#3 Medellin, Colombia: Ranked #3 this is my #1 to place if I were just to judge it by it’s vibrancy and culture. I loved Medellin as soon as I stepped off the plane. The sounds, the sights (the women are beautiful) and the fact that everyone seems pretty darn nice is why I fell in love with Medellin. Medellin is somewhere you definitely want to visit at least once in your life. Saying that it only ranked #3 for a a few reasons. It’s lively culture also includes, drugs, thieves and assaults. Every person I knew had either been mugged, robbed or pickpocketed (or personally knew somebody who had been). I personally had somebody try to pickpocket me, and my roommate was robbed at knife point. The safety factor drops this amazing city in Colombia to #3.

LINK: Medellin is dangerous!

#2 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Ranked as my #1 most boring place in the world last year, I still love the city. It’s sleepy but there’s a lot going for it. If you love developed cities, with malls this is the place for you. The problem with it being a heavily Muslim country is that sin is expensive here. Beer, smokes and anything non Muslim is more expensive. A beer is $3 CDN in store. Which compared to the $1 in Thailand is kind of crazy. Why I love this boring place though, is that has a great Chinatown. The Chinatown balances out the bland genericness of the malls. I also love the transit. You can zip around anywhere by train, no problem. The signs are all in English, and everybody speaks it. Gym are a bit expensive, compared to other cities I’ve been to. One big bonus, no extreme poverty. Most of the cities in South East Asia, have rampant poverty and homeless people. Not in KL.

LINK: Retire in Kuala Lumpur

#1 Cuenca, Ecuador: Oh Cuenca, I love you. The beautiful architecture you would find in Quito, but not filled with giant hills. The safety of Kuala Lumpur but with more culture, and the best gyms I’ve found anywhere while traveling, are all big reasons why Cuenca.

Big beers are $1.25 CDN, food is $2.50 a meal, and there is a wide assortment of culture to be found here. Like my #2 city Kuala Lumpur, Cuenca isn’t the city you want to visit for a vacation. It’s a place you’ll want to go to retire. A strong expat community also makes the fact that most people don’t speak English here, a bit better.

The only thing about Cuenca that I’d love to see? It needs a better cab system. In Quito there was Cabify and Uber. Nothing exists like that in Cuenca. Maybe better plumbing too. Ecuador is a country where you have to throw used toilet paper in the garbage not the toilet.

LINK: One month in Cuenca

It’s been a big year for me in 2017 and I love this travel blogging, thank you so much for your support of it! If you have any questions about which countries to retire cheap the best way is to message me on facebook. Happy 2017 everybody!

And if you want more? Head to LINK: Best Countries to Retire Cheap

Be

Top 9 Best Places to Retire Cheap in 20172018-01-21T21:00:23+00:00

Exploring Cuenca

Oh Cuenca. How I love how sleepy you are. Everything is closed on Sunday’s here. Well almost everything. Still you don’t come to Cuenca for the excitement.

I found on my exploration today a bakery that was open for 15 cents a fresh bun, 


and a restaurant called Picantes de Leo. It’s a seafood themed restaurant where you can get a crab and bowl of soup for $3.50. Yes that’s a whole crab (albeit a small one, like blue crab sized).

  • Cervice $3.50
  • American breakfast $4.50
  • Almuerzo $4
  • Vino Hervido (mulled hot wine) $4
  • Chaulafan (Ecuadorian style stir fried rice) $7.50

I’ve included my walking map too! 
What’s also a neat bonus? I got my boots shined for $1. Yup. 

Love it! 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!) 

 

Exploring Cuenca2017-08-13T20:03:34+00:00

Meet new friends quick with language exchanges!

One thing I learned in South America that there are things called language exchanges. They’re great for meeting a whole bunch of new people quickly. Travelling the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap can be lonely at times. You see all these great sites, but it’s usually by yourself. It’s nice to meet new friends.  You might be researching if you’re ready to go to a new country

LINK Checklist for retiring cheap in a new country,

and language exchanges are a great way to meet new people who have similar views and questions as you.

When I was in Medellin, Colombia I discovered the magic of language exchanges. Basically, you show up, and there are a whole bunch of people working on their language skills. I’m desperately looking to learn Spanish, so it was perfect. I’ve seen language exchanges all over South America some are good, and some not so good.

Usually there’s no cover or charge, and I’ve seen them held in bars and restaurants. The best part is that you have all these people who want to practice their English skills as well.

I love these events, and got a chance to talk to one of the people who take the time to organize these events.

James Varriale is an affable man, with a great smile who spent some time, answering my questions.


WHY DO YOU ORGANIZE THESE EVENTS?

“I host Language Exchange and “Cultural Fusion” events in Medellin mainly because it’s a lot of fun and it keeps me busy — which is an important consideration when you’re retired. In addition, I’ve met bright and curious people from around the world so its a good way to stay connected to new ideas and to other ways of thinking. I’ve been hosting events for the past two and half years and I guess the hardest part is coming up with new venues when, for one reason or another, I decide to make some changes in order to keep things fresh. “Medellin ENGLISH – SPANISH Events” (the name of my group) now has over 14,000 members across a variety of social media platforms with Facebook being the most populated group. I’m always looking for new event ideas which both interest me and what I suspect will interest others as well.”

If you’re in Medellin, here’s a link to the event.  Language exchange in Medellin

I hope this article helps you get out there and meet new people. Searching the world for the best countries to retire cheap, means diving into the culture unless you want to be come a hermit in your new home. It reminds me of this guy, who just spent all his time at home in his new country, and being lonely. Hot pussy & Cold Beer

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!)

Meet new friends quick with language exchanges!2018-06-20T19:13:19+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

Cali. One Month Summary.

What about Cali, Colombia? Is it the best country to retire cheap? How is the food? What’s to do? What does it cost? Can you live here for $1000 a month?

  1. Cali’s the Salsa capital of the world. You can learn to dance everywhere. There’s more dance schools in Cali than Starbucks in Vancouver.
  2. Seriously. Rule #1 is go to Cali to learn how to dance.
  3. Rule #2. Don’t go otherwise.
  4. Medellin is better than Cali in everyway, except for the dance aspect.
  5. Rule #3. When I say dance I mean Latin Dance. Medellin is better in every other form of dance than Cali. If you like electronic, Medellin, funk, Medellin, Goth, Medellin, 80’s? Medellin. People looked at me like I was “Muy loco” if I told them I didn’t like Latin music. They’d immediately ask “You don’t like music at all?”. For them Latin music is the whole sum of music. If Shakira isn’t singing it, and you can’t dance with a partner to a 8 beat count, it’s not “real music”
  6. Gyms. Cali doesn’t have the free park gyms like Medellin. If they do, it’s very rare and I didn’t spot any. It does have the cheap iron gyms (72 000 COP) $35 a month, and the fancy ones (150000 COP) $70 CDN. 
  7. Uber! It has Uber. So Yay!
  8. Cost. It’s about the cost of Medellin (read my one month summary).
  9. One cool thing I did see that I don’t believe exists in Medellin is couriered Medical drugs. You can call a doctor on the phone, and then have them write a prescription, and get a motorbike to courier it over. It’s cheap too!
  10. According to some people, Colombian guys and girls are hottest from Cali!

So, again. Go to Cali, if you LOVE Latin music. And want to dance Salsa Calena (a special style vs Salsa Cubana). Otherwise skip this city. Ranked by BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com as the second most unappealing and boring city in the world. #1 is still Kuala Lumpur. 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!) 

Cali. One Month Summary.2017-06-23T17:59:51+00:00

Can you live in Salento for $1000 a month? 

Salento is a little tourist town beside Armenia in Colombia. Can you live here for $1000 Canadian a month? 

The answer is yes. There are a ton of hostels here and a supermarket for food.

Costs of a bed in a hostel were $10 (20000 COP) a night. You can get a cute single room cabana for $20 (40000 COP) a night.

The supermarket has relatively the same prices as Cali, and Medellin. No extra “screw you” mark ups. Beers are $1 each (2000 COP)

Salento is small. You’ll be able to explore the whole city in a day. In many ways it reminds me of Banff in Canada. Picturesque with lots of nature.

The problem is that it is very isolated. The nearest town is Armenia and you have to take a jeep for an hour to get there. 

The wifi is spotty here, and there are no gyms. So…

I’d recommend visiting Salento for a week, but definitely don’t recommend retiring here. 

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!) 

Can you live in Salento for $1000 a month? 2017-06-19T21:53:56+00:00

Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT

Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT

Bangkok the land of smiles vs Medellin the city of eternal spring. Both of these are very similar. Both are “unsafe”, “dangerous” & “legendary”.

When I tell my friends back home in Canada, about Bangkok, all they think about is Ladyboys, and ping pong shows. If I say Medellin? Coke.

Rating 1: Partying & Drugs

Bangkok is much more of a place to grab a beer, and watch crazy stuff, then Medellin. Medellin is Salsa dancing plus 80’s partying. Cocaine vs beer. Obviously Bangkok has tons of drugs, but it’s not near as prevalent as Medellin. In Medellin, you can buy coke for $10 a gram, and it’s as easy to get as Chiclets. Also the cops don’t care. Bangkok is a no drug city. Just don’t do it. You will be busted, and thrown in a Thai prison. There you’ll meet ladyboys.

How do I score this?

Winner: Medellin. You can go to an after hours bar, a salsa club, an 80’s metal club all in one night. Bangkok, is much more of a stripclub/disco feel. Bangkok I always felt like a spectactor and part of the audience, in Medellin you’re doing shots of aguardiente and dancing to a-Ha’s “take me on”.


Rating 2: Danger

Bangkok you might get pickpocketed, but it is nothing compared to Medellin. Even in the safest parts of Medellin, you have a chance of being violently mugged. Every person I’ve talked to has been either robbed, pick pocketed or known somebody who has. Sad but true.

Winner: Hands down Bangkok wins for safety. If you keep to the good parts of town, you’ll be fine. If you go deep into the underbelly? Still safer than Medellin

Rating 3: English

Bangkok beats Medellin here. South East Asia, has given into the idea that, while there are a million Asian languages, English is the international tourist language. In Medellin, the South American idea that Spanish is universally spoken is the dominant thought.

Winner: Bangkok. You might only be able to order food or squabble with a taxi in Bangkok, but in Medellin, they do not speak English, even in the super touristy areas.

 

Rating 4: Weather

Bangkok is hot, humid and when it rains torrential. Medellin is about 20 degrees. They call it the city of eternal spring for a reason. It actually reminds me of Vancouver, Canada in terms of weather. (But with less hipsters).

Winner: Medellin. You can wear long pants and shirts  here, without feeling like you’re going to die of heatstroke.

 

Rating 5: Food

Ok. I love food. Love it. If you love pad Thai, and love getting it fresh from a cart for a $1 you’re going to love Bangkok. However did you know there are tons of styles of Empanadas? And Medelllin has them all. Colombian food vs Thai food can be a matter of palate, but all in all Bangkok has less variety of International cuisine than Medellin. In Thailand you’ll find more forms of Asian food though.

Winner: Medellin. Even though Thailand has more Asian cuisine, sometimes I want a burger. And in Medellin you’ll be able to get a taco, pizza or empanada’s all in a 3 block radius.

 

Rating 6: Cost

Bangkok has Sukumvhit, while Medellin has Poblado. Both are the expat heavy areas. If you live in the tourist/expat areas, you’ll find Bangkok cheaper. If you get out into the regular parts of town you’ll find Medellin is cheaper. Also there isn’t much haggling in Medellin. Maybe 20% vs the 600% you might have to haggle down in Bangkok

Winner: Tie

 

Rating 7: Shopping

For a place with so many people, Medellin has inferior shopping. Seriously, they don’t really understand the shopping/haggling mindset. Bangkok will suck every dollar out of your pocket with fake Beats by Dre and Chang tank tops.

Winner: Bangkok.  Millions of Indian tailors. Chatuchak. Terminal 21. So much to buy, from Ferrarris to fake converse.

 

Rating 8:  Health

Bangkok, you can buy medicine directly from the pharmacy. Medellin, you can have a motorbike courier bring it to you! Medical tourism is huge in Bangkok , and Medellin is the king of plastic surgery. I got my teeth cleaned and whitened for $150 CDN in Medellin.

Winner: Tie

 

Rating 9: Gyms

Bangkok has gyms, but Medellin seems to have a gym every other block. From crossfit, to iron gyms, to free outdoor gyms, Medellin has it all.

Winner: Medellin. Latin culture values physical fitness and looks much more than Asian cultures.

 

Rating 10: Internet

This is super important. Both have strong internet. Neither is horrible. Either way you’ll be in a place where you have internet. Till you don’t. Natural disasters, weather and such make it hard to rely on it sometimes.

Winner: Tie.

The Total out of 10? Medellin 5 , Bangkok 3 , with 2 ties. Is Medellin the best place in world to retire cheap? I still love Bangkok, but I’ll definitely be back to explore Medellin more. 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!)

Bangkok vs Medellin: Head to Head SHOOTOUT2017-07-25T07:59:28+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.)

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  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

How much is a Dentist in Colombia?

Me and my pearly whites have been travelling the world for a while, looking for the best country to retire cheap. The other day, I realized they weren’t that white anymore. Hmmmn….that’s not good. Time for a cleaning and whitening.
In Cali, Colombia a teeth cleaning and whitening was 500,000 COP ($250 CDN). (I went to several clinics for price checks and they all seemed pretty similar.)

This included

  • Cleaning
  • Scaling
  • Polishing
  • UV whitening/bleaching
  • Take home tray

What this didn’t include

  • X-rays
  • Dental examine (the dentist only does the whitening not the cleaning)

My dental clinic also didn’t speak English. (So, make sure you know that “Dolores” means pain!) The whole thing was pretty great. I showed up at 2pm for my 2pm appointment and actually had the cleaning begin at 2pm. For those of you who are used to waiting in a crowded appointment room, this is a super nice surprise.

They took Mastercard, and I was totally happy with my teeth cleaning and whitening. So, if you’re worried about getting a cleaning in Colombia? Don’t be.

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!)

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How much is a Dentist in Colombia?2018-06-29T06:38:02+00:00

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