In dollars.......please.

Posted on December 5, 2008

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Thank you...I was curious about that.......

Posted on December 5, 2008

What occupation? Minimum wage is $461.500 and does not include
things like transportation, pension, uniforms, if applicable, severance pay, etc., etc. Minimum wage will rise in 2009

Posted on December 5, 2008

Ok...let me put this a different way...could one live on $800 to $1000 a month there?

Posted on December 5, 2008

Yes, but not like a prince of the realm

Posted on December 5, 2008

There are MANY MANY FAMILIES who scrape by on the MINIMUM 460mil

Posted on December 5, 2008

Thanks....For it seems that I could possibly make that salary when I am there....that plus my pension, and I think that I would be fine.....between a job and my pension I would have around $3500. That should get me by.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I've mentioned this before. When I was in Medellín for over 2 months, we spent a total of $2000 dollars and here's the reasons why:

1. We own our own apartment.
2. We only took the bus or metro unless a cab was absolutely necessary.

That's pretty much it because we bought groceries for 5 people every week at Carrefour and ?xito, went out to eat all the time, took several trips to small towns including a 3 week stay in Tuluá, etc. I also bought tons of gifts to bring back and even bought Christmas gifts for the few people I didn't have a gift for. So I guess what marks the difference is owning your own place but if you don't renting one is not that expensive depending on where you decide to live.

Again, this was all done in Medellín.

Posted on December 5, 2008

My wife and I live on about $1000 a month. Sure we'd like more, but it's comfortable enough. Her parent's live off a couple of dollars a day and are happy. I gave them $20 once and her mother was happy but her father said that money for nothing does nothing good for a person.

Posted on December 5, 2008

My wife and I live in Cali on maybe $800/mo. We do fine, plus have to pay some bills back home...

Posted on December 5, 2008

Don't forget to include the exchange rate. We send and receive money and the fluctuations and inflation take a big toll. 1650 to 2350 is big.

Posted on December 5, 2008

One of my brothers-in-law, small town in Valle del Cauca, wife and two kids, earns c.$1,000,000COL a month. He's considered to be doing reasonably well.

Posted on December 5, 2008

My husband's cousing works for Avianca and makes $1.8mil a month in Bogotá and they think that's very, very good.

Posted on December 5, 2008

mono just curious is getting into the aviation industry in Colombia as hard as I'd imagine it would be? Not necessarily for a foreigner, and also do they get the same kind of flight benefits the airlines hand out in NA I'm wondering cuz they don't really need to "lure" employees in a market like Colombia.

Posted on December 5, 2008

And as a note there are a LOT of Colombians living on a LOT LESS than the minimum monthly. I stay with some of them when visiting. Now it is not a life style to be envied admittedly; but, they seem just as happy if not more so than some well to do friends I have her in the U.S.


Posted on December 5, 2008

The minimum is 461.500 plus 55000 on transportation, but you also get prima (461.500) cesantias, (461500) interest to your cesantias, which is a 12% and vacations (15 days and of course Sundays and holidays are not included) meaning that in a year you get and extra 2.5 extra in your salary.

So if you are thinking in coming and work that is real minimum is about 615.000 colombian pesos, and you have insurance and Caja de compensacion.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I know the minimum wage is 450.000 or so, but I would wager the AVERAGE monthly income is less than this in Colombia as a whole. My guess would be a third to half the minimum.

I lived off of roughly $800 usd a month in Villavo. I was fairly frugal, and didn't have cable TV, AC, hot water, etc. But I ate like a king, went out almost every night, paid for two people everywhere, and had the best time of my life. $3500 a month? I could live like a king off of that in Colombia ... outside of large cities. That's my income here in the States, and I feel like I am pretty well off.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Holy crap. She could make more money selling candy on the bus.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I think she was bullshitting you Tom. She'd be turning tricks long before that, even if she were a total troglodyte selling it for "cinco lucas con culo".

If you make minimum salary in Colombia, they are supposed to give prestaciones which includes transportation subsidy, primas, health insurance, and pension, so Gator your info is a little off. Once you make two minimums, you can legally be required to pay for part of health and pension out of your salary. At three minimum salaries you can be required to pay for all of health and pension.

Here in Bogota, the median salary is about 1.2 million a month. Professionals generally make 2 million and up. Unskilled people generally make the minimum, and people who are skilled but not professionals generally make around two minimums. There are people making less than the minimum, and it's not uncommon, but not especially common either.

My best guess would be that the average salary country-wide would be around 600-800k a month.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I think she was shooting for indirect payment all along. I'd even bet on it.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Example: cousins in Porfia, outside of Villavo. VERY typical of the average Colombian. Work hours 70 per week. Weekly pay: 100.000 pesos - maybe. They are considered gainfully employed compared to others.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I would be interested to hear what the average college educated professional makes in either Medellin or Bogota. 4 year or Masters (or equivalent) degree.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Hey rhydewithdis, dont know what the average makes, but my novia has a masters in spanish/english, she is working for a private school and makes 1 million a month, cash.
She also is a lawyer, but says she makes more money as a teacher and she likes to teach better, too.

Posted on December 5, 2008

rhydewithdis, if they're lucky to be employed they can make any where from 1.5 - 2 million. Again, that's only if they're lucky to find employment in the career of their choice. If they move to Bogotá, they'll make a bit more, but cost of living is also more expensive in the fridge.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Colombia ain't cheap. Food and clothing, for example, are waaaaay more than in the U.S. Sure if you live like a local (at home with your mom cooking and shared housing expenses) you can skate by on very little, but if you're single and just take a girl out for an El Coral burger that could run you 40,000 pesos. Entrance to some clubs the same. Overall, I find prices to be only about a 1/3 less than L.A.

You want 2k a month to live comfortably. 3k a month to do whatever you want whenevr you want. 4k and you're pimping.

I know many people earn next to nothing, but chances are you won't be rolling entirely with that crowd and to think you can enjoy life on anything close to what a local can get by on, is misleading. Professionals in Colombia may earn 25-33% of what their U.S. counterparts earn, but I know many professionals in Bogota who earn 2-3K a month on up to 45k a month (TV Novela star), and they spend their money. Going out with them, and sharing bills, etc, which is common, means spending $$ too.

Just a heads up. Here's some stats:

Posted on December 5, 2008

it's a very difficult variable to quantify.

you can live as cheap or as expensive as you want to here.

i am budgeting 2k dollars per month for everything for the year here (including a trip to the us to visit my parents and any other trip i want to take) -- at 2,300 to the dollar if i am not traveling i honestly can't imagine spending half that in a month, but i know there are situations that will come up where i'd need it. i know i could live here for way less, but i really don't want to... usually i really don't spend close to that on average, but i like to take a few trips per year and that
$ adds up fast like other people have added, it depends entirely on your personal preferences..

Posted on December 5, 2008

Entrance to the clubs? How many clubs even have a cover charge here? And if they do it's usually 3000 or 5000 pesos! That's REAL clubs where people who aren't in the top economic 2% of the population go!

dbldareu you are making my point exactly. You obviously have never poked your nose out of the Zona Rosa, and somehow that gives you knowledge of prices in the whole damn country!

You can get hamburgers that kick the shit out of El Corral's burgers for 4000 or 5000 pesos, if you BOTHER to look. El Corral is for rich people who want to throw their money away, and foreigners who don't know any better yet. I used to think El Corral was great until I really started living here and making pesos. Now you wouldn't catch me dead in there!

Why don't you guys try talking to some actual Colombians instead of expats and find out how they live?

Posted on December 5, 2008

El Corral IS great, it just happens to be pretty damn expensive.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I've never had a better burger in Colombia than El Corral.

Posted on December 5, 2008

It's a great burger, assuming we are talking about the Coralissima, it's just priced 3x higher than it needs to be, and is HARDLY a good indicator of what people pay for hamburgers here, which is what people are implying here.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Listen, I'm the first one to admit that I have some Gringo tastes, and that I pay for them. I'm totally down for going to the hole in the wall places as well -- my favorite place to eat in Medellin was Mondongos..

I was just pointing out that if you want to drink decent vodka or scotch when you're out in Colombia, you'll pay for it. Like high quality fish, meat or poultry? You'll pay more than in the U.S. Non Colombian name brand clothing? Double or triple what you'll pay in the States. How about sushi or a good Italian dinner once a week? Month? U.S. prices. Ever have friends that want to go to B Lounge, Oz or Mangos? That's 150k without blinking if you drink. Oh right, you have only local friends who dont' go to such places. How about the big Vallenato concert I went to during the Feria? Went with all middle class locals. Advance tickets were 60,000 pesos, 120,000 at the door. 5 gringos in the joint. Plenty of Colombians spend money. Plenty.

Sure, sure, you can never eat a spicy tuna roll, buy fattier meats and poorer brands, only go to bars and restaurants with low covers and cheap drinks, skip out every time there is an event or gathering at a happening spot, tell the girl you're seeing that you guys have to cab over to el centro for a burger cause the Coralissima is too expensive, never step into a place where they have the frozen drinks that the paisas love so much, and be COMPLETELY happy. I get it. I also think it defeats part of the joy of Medellin -- being able to live carefree and well for less.

I don't claim to be an expert on Colombian prices. My point is simply that for those who don't want to give everything up, who want to have a little bit of a higher level fun lifestyle, and go out to some chic spots as well as the hole in the wall places, you are going to spend FAR MORE than many of the people on this site would lead you to believe. The life you'd live in Medellin on $1000 a month would be really spartan. Dating -- a challenge if you're a guy.

Don't kill the messenger!!

Posted on December 5, 2008

I live in Bogota which is more expensive than Medellin. My monthly expenses are slightly more than a million, and 570k of that is the mortgage.

My friend Rocinante who posts on here also lives in Colombia, in Medellin. His expenses run around 1.2 million a month, he has a few luxuries I deem unncessesary, like medicina prepagada and cable TV, but he rents.

Both of us consider our lifestyle a big time upgrade from the lives we were living in NYC. I really don't know what I've given up from there, but I certainly wasn't in the habit of plonking down $50 covers and paying $15 drinks in clubs when I was there, so why would I do it here?

You can pick girls up without having to have lots of money NO PROBLEM here, that is, provided that you are 100% fluent in Spanish and have a deep understanding and appreciation of Colombian customs and culture. I'm sure the median salary in Medellin is not $1000USD or even $500USD a month. I'm sure there are lots of guys getting laid all the time making that or less. I'm DAMN sure there are here in Bogota.

I buy almost all my groceries at the local plaza de mercado, there is one 15 minutes walk from my place. It's dirt cheap. I can eat for a whole week off of 30.000 or 35.000 pesos if I want to. And you will find a whole new definiton of quality and freshness for food there, a level of quality that is completely IMPOSSIBLE to find in the US ANYWHERE no matter how big your wallet is.

As for brands, you can either buy your clothes in el centro here super cheap or if it's something more formal, you can get it tailor made for 1/10th what it would cost in the US. Who is moron enough to buy brand name clothes when you can get something custom made for less than half the price?

I personally don't know why anyone would want to try to come down here and live an American lifestyle like that, if you really want to shop at overpriced supermarkets with substandard food, pay stupid prices for brand name clothes that don't fit you, and blow your money in ripoff joints like Mangos or Andres Carne de Res, why not just stay in the US and not have to put up with crime, difficult transportation, learning a different culture and language etc.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Excellent points La Huella. 'Chic' clubs and designer clothes? Why?

But I'd like to add one caveat. you write:

"You can pick girls up without having to have lots of money NO PROBLEM here, that is, provided that you are 100% fluent in Spanish and have a deep understanding and appreciation of Colombian customs and culture."

It's even simpler than that. I have a good friend who's lived in Latin America for years, on the same kind of budget as yourself and Rocinante. Even in the early days, when his Spanish was barely functional, he had no problem whatsoever getting himself attractive Latina girlfriends.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I'm very happy here. I eat the freshest best food, I can get my clothes and even my shoes tailor made for me dirt cheap. Hell, I could get some guys in Restrepo to copy any design of any sneaker I want, and tailor it to my messed up feet for 60.000 pesos! I had a pair of loafers made a couple years ago that cost 48.000 and still look brand new, plus they are the nicest most comfortable thing I have ever put on my feet. $200 for a pair of crap shoes that don't fit properly, why?

I can go out and listen to some real good bands and great cuenteria for cheap. The parks and public spaces here are real nice, there are plenty of great CHEAP things to do just out of town on a Sunday or whenever,.

If I want quick sex I can pay from 20.000 to 40.000 pesos, including the room and the condom. I don't even have to be clever or funny if I don't want to, I don't have to invite the girl back to my place where she might mess the place up or steal something etc. I can also do things the hard way and pick up a girl if I want to and take her to a hotel, ironically it will actually cost a bit MORE. :P

I can ride a bicycle here and almost totally avoid traffic by using the ciclovias. I can eat out here for only slightly more than the cost of cooking my own food in some circumstances.

Not to mention I have medical insurance for about 5% of what similar coverage would cost me in the USA. Actually maybe even 2-3% considering the way things are going.

I just don't get what I'm supposed to be missing here. The burgers I pay 4000 pesos for taste just as good as the ones at El Corral, sometimes better. The places I go to are much more fun than the ones in the Zona Rosa and 93 areas, they are SAFER (YES, SAFER!!!) more convenient, have more interesting and fun people in them, and all at 10-15% of the price! I'm not scrimping on anything in my life, I'm just simply not overpaying.

It should be added that any girl that really cares that much about going to El Corral, or designer clothes or "happening spots" (ripoff joints) any of that bullshit, well, nuff said :P

Posted on December 5, 2008

I lived in Bogota for three months this year and three months last year. I lived in Rosales. It was an American/international lifestyle, for sure. The people, Colombians included, who live around Rosales, Chapinero Alto, Andino, Parque 92, Usaquen, tend to live that same lifestyle. If you want to live in those areas, or hang out in thos areas, have friends in those areas -- the most popular areas by far, for a reason some believe -- you will likely live that lifestyle to a degree, too. That lifestyle costs way more than a million pesos a month. It costs more than 2 million pesos a month.

The idea for many isn't to live an American lifestyle in Colombia. But a better lifestyle, which for many is a mixture of both the best of America and Colombia. Burritos and sushi one day, sancoche and arepas the next. Salsa dive bar in Candelaria on Wednesday. Friday, going all night with a bottle of Absolut at Cha Cha. You think I'm missing the Colombian experience. I think you're limited to half of it.

Disagree with a lot of what La Huella said -- especially the part about comparing quality and freshness of food (Ever hear of Whole Foods anyone? I mean...please) -- but have to respect anyone that can live happily on 35000 pesos a week. I was spending 140,000 a week on groceries easy.

Sure I was shopping at a Carulla or a Pomona. Was also pretty much the only gringo in there most days. Many locals seem to think there's a reason for paying more there, too.

Anyway, the point is, if you want to live like many professional Colombians do, you're gonna spend far more than many on this site would lead to believe. Far more...

Posted on December 5, 2008

It's not about missing the Colombian experience per se. I don't care what town I'm in, I'm not about to spend many times more money than necessary for a bottle of booze, hang with pretentious people, and generally have not so great a time for big money. I've been to all those places, hell, I just got finished playing Eje bar last night.

Whole Foods is absolute junk to me. Overpriced junk at that. If you actually think Whole Foods is decent, you've obviously never even set foot in a plaza anywhere in Colombia and seen what REAL fruits and veggies are like. And your idea of "many locals" is the richest 2% of the population, which is fine if it floats your boat, but it's NOT the typical shit here. The other 98% of Colombians think Carulla and Pomona are overpriced and shit quality. In this case I tend to side with the majority based on my own experience.

I really DONT want to live, hang or have friends in those areas. You're absolutely right, if you want to live in the neighborhoods the richest 2% of Bogota, which means the richest less than 1% of all Colombia, live in, then yes 2 million a month or even 4 million a month doesn't cut it. I just don't see what's the draw. Rosales and Chapinero Alto are at least nice and because they are uphill they are somewhat removed from the pollution and such. But Retiro and Chicó and all that shit has the city's worst pollution, worst traffic AND the highest incidences of robbery. I really try and avoid ALL of those areas like the plague, I think they are god-awful and so are most of the people in them. I also avoided Soho and Tribeca and the Upper East Side as much as I could while in NYC. I go to those areas when somebody pays me to go there, otherwise I stick with middle class neighborhoods which is where I feel I belong.

I'd love for someone to explain to me what's the big deal about Cha Cha and Gotica and all these other places. I have a nice pair of speakers at home and a real big collection of mp3s. I already have better friends here than anybody I'm going to meet at those places. There is no live music, no cuentaria, there's lots of drugs if that's your thing but there's lots of drugs in every goddamn park in Bogota after 6pm! Likewise, you might get laid but you can get laid by a girl better looking than you could pull in those places in any of the hundreds of whiskerias for 50.000 TOPS, and there's no uncertainty. And quite frankly, if you DO want to show how macho you are by picking a girl up without having to pay for it (directly), there are much better places than nightclubs to do that.

Which brings us back to the point I'm trying to make, I just don't think somebody here in Bogota making their 1.2 million or so a month is really missing out on anything. I really don't.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I agree a little with both la huella and dbldareu. I live here in medellin on a combined income with my wife of about 1,500.000 pesos a month. And we are surviving just fine on that. But we are living month to month, hardly ever go out, and can´t take vacations. Well, we can afford short little overnighters to nearby towns every once in a long while but not a real going to the coast or something.

I still haven´t figured out how to eat like a king on 35k pesos a week. I´m spending more like 50k and definitely not eating like a king. Healthy maybe, but nothing tasty. Just the other day I recieved a gift of meat and cheese. It was so delicious and what a difference in taste compared to the crap we always seem to eat. My wife told me we can eat this all the time but it´s going to cost us a lot more then what we are paying now. And our food comes from the mayorista indirectly. My wife gets it from her father´s store and pays him what he pays for it. So, I don´t know. But I would love to be able to reduce the grocery bill a little....just don´t know how yet.

Posted on December 5, 2008

La huella we must have different tastes when it comes to hamburgers. I also never go to el corral because it´s rediculously expensive. I´ve had plenty of 4000 peso hamburgers from the street but they don´t come close to el corral burgers. They are pretty good but generally the meat is very thin and they usually come with more potatoe chips than actual burger. Some of them seem to be potatoe chip sandwiches with a slice of hamburger. Maybe bogota is just better for food.

I also don´t think bogota is more expensive than medellin. Taxis seem cheaper in bogota. According to what you pay for food, food is also cheaper in bogota. Maybe rent is a little more in bogota but I doubt it´s that much more.

Posted on December 5, 2008

There are a lot of street hamburgers like that, and also a lot that are like biting into heaven. Caveat emptor.

Posted on December 5, 2008

If your defenses are down DEFINITELY avoid street food, but that's not just in Colombia, I'd say the same wherever you are in the world.

I don't think hamburgers in restaurants would be much of a problem, BUT hamburger meat is the cheapest nastiest meat from the cow, no matter what, so keep that in mind. I wouldn't worry about chemicals per se, but, HELL YEAH I'd worry about sanitation and contamination if I were you.

When I say Colombian food is of a high quality, that certainly doesn't mean that everybody washes their hands after doing a No. 2!! :P

CG I totally agree with you. I just don't like the vibe in those neighborhoods, I'm often there because of work, and sometimes even to visit the odd friend, but it is what it is.

Posted on December 5, 2008

For the record, I like to mix it up. I do like getting dressed to the nines and hitting some pretentious places every now and again, because the hottest girls also tend to hang out there, but I'm just as comfortable in T shirt and jeans throwing back a cheap beer in a dive bar in a dicey part of town.

I get where La Huella is coming from. I just want to point out that Huella's an extreme side of the spectrum. Huella's living happily in Bogota on 4-500 dollars a month. I think most Gringos that read that and think they are going to do the same are in for a big surprise. I spent many years suffering as an artist in L.A. and know how to live on nothing. You can rent a nice room in L.A. and be frugal and get by nicely on $1500 a month. It's also not a life most could lead. Gringos be forwarned. If you're a little yuppy like me, have at least 2k a month to really enjoy Colombia or you will miss out on many things.

Now, to ramble on, cause I'm drinking my absolut ruby red which I can't get in Colombia, La Huella wonders what the attraction of Cha Cha in Bogota is.

Um...women. It is the best place in the city to pick up hot women. The club is extremely grunge, kick back, everyone welcome vibe. The opposite of snobby or pretentious. I've been there literally over 50 times. I know. Thing is...super models, actresses, prepagos, beautiful young girls, also go there just to have a good time. Not to be seen. And that is a place where everyone is approachable and you can meet them with ease. Stories i can tell from Cha Cha. Stories everyone tells about Cha Cha. It isn't always great -- but when it is, there is no place like it anywhere. It's nothing like uptight Alma.

Anyway, Cha Cha is gonna be 15-40,000 to enter. A beer is 15000. A bottle of vodka 80-100K. And friggin' worth it if you catch it on the right night...

No matter how you slice it it is one of the best places in Bogota. Not the only place. But a soilid hit for fun and women whether you like techno or not. Under the Huella lifestyle plan you can never go there. One night is half your month's living expenses. I consider that a loss...Not ever being able to go somewhere, unpretentious, but cool, where maybe all your friends are going one night, and some of the hottest most apporachable women in town.

Huella also has a great aversion for anyone and anything in the upper scale places I mentioned. Sorry, I think that's ridiculous. Sure, there are pretentious places and people around Andino. There are also like 100 bars, where most of the best looking women hang out. By ruling out that whole part of town you are absolutely missing out on some cool spots with great eye candy. Small, hole in the wall spots, where everyone is cool, and no one will give you any attitude.

I think having blanket hatred for whole areas of town and people who hang out or live there is absolutely missing out -- on a lot. It's no different than someone who is too scared to ever leave those places. The real "Colombia" is not just cheap dive bars. Not by a long shot. Don't fool yourself.

Curious, do you think Invitro is pretentious? On a Tuesday...grunge indie film night...A bottle of whiskey or vodka is 100K up. In a normal, low brow spot...

Point is many popular, not pretentious places still cost money. Under the La Huella lifesteyle plan be prepared to sacrifice and live in a happy, but contained, bubble, and miss out on plenty of things..

Whole Foods -- Crap? Okay, this is just ridiculous. I live in California which produces about ten times the fruit and vegetables of all of Colombia. It not only has the most massive production in the world, but the most advanced technology, developed infrastructure, and sophisticated and rich consumers willing to pay the best for the best. I know some of the biggest fruit and produce brokers. I know some of the biggest cattle ranchers in Uruguay and Argentina. I know fish wholesalers. I've talked to all these people about their business. They speak with awe about Whole Foods. It's the Holy Grail. They only accept the best of the best. Their standards are exacting. Their customers willing to pay any price for the highest quality. I realize you are from New York and some stuff might have to travel cross country to get to you, but here in L.A., all of the best in the world is two hours away, and it's delivered fresh daily.

You wanna know why there is no fish in Argentina even though they have a 3000 mile coastline? Because Argentines can't afford to spend on fish what American and Japanese will pay for it. The top Argentine and Uruguayan beef? On the first flight out of the country...That's why the goverment has set up controls. To try and stop it.

You think Colombia is different? You think in Colombia the farmers are so community minded that they sell their best stuff to a plaza market rather than Carrefour where they can get 5 times as much for their goods? Well, alrighty then...

I'll tell you this much. TImlove Colombia, but the quality and variety of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish in Colombia is a joke compared to the U.S. Anyone who says otherwise is feeding you propoganda. There is no wild pacific salmon or fresh Ahi Ahi at your local mercado. Want fresh turkey if it's not around Christmas? Good luck. How about swiss Chard or heirloom tomotoes, or just something really crazy and exotic -- like a lemon.

Whole foods would be a dream come true for Colombia. Colombia simply does not have the the desire, infrastructure, technology, market, to produce and distribute the top quality and variety of foods the U.S. lords over.

Oh, enough for a night. I'm drinking. Sure I'll touch on some other points later in the interest of trying to present the half of the missing picture...

Posted on December 5, 2008

Just wanna add cause i know I'm gonna nailed by the bfruit firneds...I know Colombia has many amazing fruits which do not even exist in the U.S. and they are awesome. I'm with ya. I wanna name my first kid Lulo. Some of the fruit is great, cheap and high quality. But OVERALL the quality and variety of most foods is severely lacking -- mangoes excluded.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Yeah, I'm buzzed...meant to write fruit fiends...

Posted on December 5, 2008

Under my plan, I get in for free because I know people, and people buy me drinks, or if I buy anything in those clubs, it's 1/2 or 1/4 of Caldas. I don't get why anyone would want to order imported liquor here.

You and I also have a real different idea of beautiful women, as far as I'm concerned the lower the estrato the more beautiful the women are. Not to mention like I said why bother to pick up a woman in a regular club when you can get the same thing for 50.000 and UNDER in a decent whiskeria?

As for food, I think California agriculture sucks ass. I think exactly the opposite, there is TOO much tech involved in US agriculture. I prefer things a little closer to nature. That soil in California is worse and worse every year. Mother Nature never ment for all that shit to grow there, and we are starting to pay the price for all that artificial irrigation, and I think it reflects in the quality of the food.

Posted on December 5, 2008

el corral would be out of business overnight if burger king came to town and charged the same price they charge in the states, maybe even a premium. that place is the biggest waste, especially if you are a gringo.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I don't think burger king is all that. I just can't tell the difference between bk and el corral

Posted on December 5, 2008

La Huella -- Don't get me wrong. I think your plan is awesome if you can do it and enjoy it. I just think it's highly misleading because most expats won't wanna/enjoy living that way...

Now...Under you plan, I'm sure you can get in for free. But then what? You gotta mooch drinks off your friends or simply enjoy one local crappy beer? That would be a sacrifice for many. And talk about being a gringo and missing the Colombian experience. Colombians drink. Seriously. The women double. They drink more scotch than the scots in Scotland. And in this great community that you are proud to be a part of -- the men buy. All the men buy. They buy bottles to share. With girls. With friends. With their girlffriends. So you are either never drinking, or constantly mooching, which is a sacrifice. Would totally suck not being able to go into a club and buy a botle of scotch or vodka or rum or even aguadiente and share it with a couple of cute girls or your pals.

A bottle of medellin rum with a coke mixer is gonna run you 40-50,000 pesos at most places anywhere in the city. Hell, that's 10 days of groceries for you under your plan. Not doing that is DEFINITELY missing out on the real Colombia.

How about a couple of hot dogs at the mini mart on Septima and 59th at 4 AM? Not exactly a pretentious place. But good dogs. That's 13000 pesos for two dogs. Two days groceries under your budget. Most expats who are following your advice would be in a for big surprise...

You gotta pay to play. No matter where you live.

Women: I guarantee ya we don't have different taste. I love them all. But attractive is attractive. Bogota is not like Medellin where there are beautiful girls everywhere in every barrio. Bogota is highly segregated and classist, and there is definitely a far higher concentration of beauties in the better neighborhoods. Most of the hotties have their roots in Medellin, Cali, or the Coast. The local indigenous girls who live in the poorer hoods ain't up to par. And the hot girls from those areas? Where do you think they are hanging with their friends on a saturday night? A dive bar in el centro?

No...they are having drinks with me and my friends at the places you think are full of pretentious people. Yeah, I know, you meet them every day walking around your hood. Not buying it. The good hang out spots are all the places you hate. That's where they are. Not walking around downtown. You can go for days without seeing any talent there.

Lastly, California agriculture is the envy of the world. It's why the asparagus in Bogota looks like it has a bad case of sickle cell anemia and ours is friggin' Lou Ferigno. not only bigger. Better. Fresher. Cheaper. But ORGANIC. You think your local farmer gives a shit about dumping a barrel of pesticides on his lechuga so that he can sell it for 3 pesos more in your market. There are no regulatory bodies. No oversight. It's carcinogenic shit up the ying yang to keep all the tropical bugs away. What California technology and money buys is the ability to have better without that.

Anyway, you're happy. I'm happy. But for those gringos out there thinking of spending time in Colombia. trust me. Bring at least a little coin or it can suck.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Once Fatburger hits town, it's all over...

Posted on December 5, 2008

Especially for the newcomer gringo until they learn how to budget down here. I would plan on 1-2k dollars a month for at least the first 6 months, maybe even the first year.

Posted on December 5, 2008

You guys need to visit an In-N-Out burger joint before you comment on burgers.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I'm very partial to 5 guys burgers, they are all over virginia but expanding their east coast footprint rapidly in recent years. I've heard good things abou in-n-out. aren't they a texas or california brand or something?

Posted on December 5, 2008

I don't know about Texas, but all over calif.

Posted on December 5, 2008

They are exclusively California, and they are pretty damn good, and reasonably cheap too. I'll still take Colombian beef any day, I just think it's healthier and tastes better.

Maybe it's just because I really don't like drinking much anymore, also for me I play music for a living so from Wednesday on just about every week I'm in bars and clubs every night. I do NOT like to drink while I'm working anymore than you'd see someone with an office job bringing a bottle of booze into their cubicle. But even when I go out not on a gig, I get invited for drinks by everybody.

When we do go out just my wife and I, it's usually either to Restrepo or the 1 de Mayo area, or to some neighborhood bar in some totally regular neighborhood, not an entertainment district. We don't fuck with downtown or Chapinero or Candelaria or ZR or 93 or any of the typical spots. Trust me, the more out of the way you go in Bogota, you can find some real awesome spots to hang out in. Typically we pay about 20-30k for a bottle of Caldas or Nectar, generally the former if it's my choice, the latter if it's hers. We take the bus there, and a taxi back.

You may deny it dbldareu but it seems to me that you have never

-been in a real plaza de mercado here
-been in any of these "indigenous" neighborhoods
-been in any of the 1000 whiskerias and SEEN what 50k pesos gets you in comparison to the girls you are trying to lift out of the clubs.
-even been anywhere in the city south of downtown or west of NQS.

FYI, most of the poorer neighborhoods in Bogota are FILLED with Paisas Vallunos and Costeños. Only 20% of Bogotá residents were born here, and the lower the estrato the MORE likely they are to be from elsewhere. And if you ONCE went to a plaza de mercado, you'd see what I'm talking about. Yeah, the produce in Carulla is crap. That's an entirely different story.

And today I ate a decent hamburger for a whopping 2500 pesos over at Carnitas on Cra 15 in between 82 and 83. One of the best kept secrets in the area. Also there is a stand at 46th and 8th in Chapinero that sells hamburgers and chorizos at night. The burgers are 4000 and they are HUGE, and the chorizos are also big and delicious and go for a whopping 2000, the best part is they are not fried, they are grilled.

This time when I really moved here and got in the trenches and started making pesos, all my friends came out of the woodwork and showed me all the cheap shit and all the ways to save money. It was a real eye opener.

I agree most North American yuppies wouldn't want to live like I do, but as far as I'm concerned they really have no business down here, and shouldn't even bother coming in the first place.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I think any kind of beef just tastes better to you if you are used to it, regardless of where it comes from our how it is raised, but i agree huella, to me colombian beef tastes better because it is what i grew up with, but it is also way healthier since it is grass/range fed, it is a lot leaner and carries none of the hormones that US beef cattle are shot full off to raise their weight, not to mention that they are kept in feed lots that don't allow them to move more that a few inches in any direction so they don't lose any weight to 'exercise".

Posted on December 5, 2008

I'm not at all used to the taste of the beef here, but I still like it better.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Don't claim to be an expert, La Huella, but I've been around the city a bit which Is why I have my own opinions. You're right, I do need to explore way more. But not a suggested activity in Bogota until you really know where you're going and you have the right crew to go along. I've been to some places, I'm told, I never should have gone...

My point in all of this wasn't to say you're wrong -- though we disagree about most things. Your opinion is valid. my point is that you're a counterculture, married musician, who is a not a big drinker or partier, has insider hook ups, and very, very simple tastes. It's a great way to be. It's also an extreme part of the spectrum. Most people coming down to visit or stay in Colombia for a stretch wouldn't be able to do what you, and probably wouldn't like it half as much as you do. So was just giving a shout out.

$500 a month to most foreigners living in Colombia would be like living in the Foreign Legion.

As for certain types of people not belonging in Colombia -- I don't have your anger or share your point of view. Not one who thinks being poor makes you more authentic or cool, or being rich makes you a pretentious asshole. Don't forget, Colombia is all about show and style. Your telenovela watching neighbors are more obsessed with it than the rich. The Parque 92's and Andinos exist because that is Colombian to the core. It's a see and bee seen culture. Whiskeria 49 is not more Colombian than Cha Cha, or even Salto de Angel. It doesn't have more soul. Shame if people missed out on some cool stuff cause they believed everything worth doing in town was 30,000 pesos a night or less.

Not by a long shot.

Anyway, we agree to disagree.

Posted on December 5, 2008

49 is also extremely overpriced, although I will tell you this, Colombians go in and get deals the foreigners won't get. The menu is for the marranos, people like you and me. Locals frequently pay 50k or 60k TOTAL when they go to la 49 believe it or not.

That's just an example of what I'm talking about.... it's real easy to pay several times more for the exact same thing here, and sometimes even the locals get soaked without realizing it. I'm very fortunate to have married Queen Codo so between the two of us we're always watching out for the best deal, and our pesos go REAL far on a good day.

Johnny2008 hits it right on the money with his review about the fish dinner he ate. It's so easy to get ripped off here for 80 or 100k for dinner, and it's SO easy to eat something delicious for 10k and under.

My saying certain types of people don't belong in Colombia isn't anger. I personally don't care one way or another, it's just simply stating that if that's where somebody is on the spectrum there are LOTS better cities that fit the bill more so than anywhere in Latin America... I'd say Miami tops the list for that sort of thing you are talking about, and while there is still crime there, it's WAY less dangerous than anywhere in Colombia.

The real advantage here is the fact that it's just as easy or easier to exist without a car as with one, and in general it's really easy to stretch your money here.

The big disadvantage is the crime rate. And let me repeat once again, there is NO ESCAPE from it here. This isn't the US or Canada where towns and cities have safe areas and no-go areas. It's ALL dangerous here. I saw one dude in the hospital who got shot 3 times in broad daylight by robbers one block away from where everybody on this freaking forum was saying was a "safe area" in Santa Barbara along la 7a. He got lucky, one bullet went right through his shoulder without doing any blood vessel damage, one grazed his face, and one snapped his finger in two. These guys didn't ask for money, threaten, nothing, they just shot first. I dunno how much of this story is true, but the gunshot wounds were there. So people who think they've found a "safe" neighborhood anywhere in Colombia are simply full of shit, and fooling themselves, and unfortunately sometimes others on here.

I just don't see why someone would want to risk that when you yourself have pointed out it's almost as expensive to live that sort of lifestyle here as it is in the US.

Having said all that, the next time I'm playing in the south, I cordially invite you to come. Don't be afraid, trust me, the risk of something happening to you is MUCH higher in the ZR and 93 areas. In the south, they have legions of private security dudes, and the police and army also have a very strong presence in those areas. I saw a street fight broken up in literally less than 2 seconds by the police down there, and they promptly hauled off the guy who threw the first punch. Especially if we play Restrepo, you will be amazed by how beautiful the women are in the clubs, trust me, I've been to both places, your image of this city will totally change if you get out of the little box you are in. It's not even about poor or rich, you'd be amazed at actually how much $$$ there really is down there.

Posted on December 5, 2008

There ARE good options for high end dining here, it's just that the cheap options are so good I'm not that tempted. That and my wife just doesn't give a crap about gourmet food means we only go out somewhere nice once in a blue moon. And it is really hit or miss. I usually only go out somewhere nice based on recommendations from other foodies, it's just too easy to piss your money away. The Brazilian rodizios are a real disappointment here too, for some reason. Somebody forgot to tell them how important the salad bar is!

Posted on December 5, 2008

Thanks for the offer, La Huella. Next time I'm in town be great to get the La Huella 20,000 peso bare knuckle barrio tour...

Bogota is not Miami. The people, soul and women are way different. You hate the upper scale places and people and so I can see how to you there's no point in coming to Bogota if that's your Bogota experience. I can assure you, there's plenty of reasons in those areas alone to come. And there's nothing like it in the States. Just ask all the gringos who are coming down now and hang there. There's a reason.

Love the regular barrio girls, and the rich girls as well. After spending nearly seven months in the city I can tell ya there's no way to compare the girls in the looks category in the poorer barrios of Bogota to the girls in the better areas and clubs. (Medellin is different)

It's social darwinism and social dynamics. The better looking barrio girls marry more upwardly mobile/professional prospects, move to better neighborhoods, and have better looking kids.

The ones who are not yet married also hang out in the hip spots of town just like anywhere else in the world. Not only that, but all the models, actresses, fashion industry people, etc, are all working and playing in the same areas.

L.A. San Francisco, and New York have better looking women than Detroit.

Women in Bogota, in general, are not very attractive. The top 5-10% aren't out wandering the dangerous streets. Be happy to see all the beauties you've found in the deep hood that don't hang out on the weekends where I go...I've travelled enough to see in my eyes that talent down there is sorely lacking.

That said, I love regular ordinary people (and girls). hell, in L.A. the average girl I date is a young working latina/mom. I get the attraction of the type. I date them in Bogota, too. Here's why hanging in the higher zones or priceier clubs is also necessary/ and very much worth the $$.

1) Small percentage of rich snobs. Most of the pretty and put together girls simply live at home and have a basic job and use their income to dress well in the Colombian way. There's zero attitude going on there, and I personally like a girl who takes care of herself and likes nice things -- enough to buy them for herself. Plenty of non plastic prepago wannabes.

2) Girls already speak English, have a visa, and are working professionals who aren't looking for someone to save them (as much), and aren't going to be the ones to drug you, or play as many games. Gringo isn't the same novelty to them.

3) These girls are more educated and worldy. And educated and worldy people are more interesting.

4) Most of these girls are just regular/ordinary sexy working professionals. But some ARE the super princesas. They are rich, beautiful, come from the best families. I know/have dated two girls like this. It's true -- they have their prejudices and opinions (some of them). But those attitudes aren't extended towards me. They treat me like a prince. Why? Because most of them dislike Colombian men -- the way they look, act, and treat them. Since everyone knows everyone in those circles and each others business, their dating pools are limited (if they don't want to acquire a reputation).

American to the rescue. I get the best of the best. All things being equal, why not date a stunning princesa who went to school at the Sorbonne, lived in Italy, speaks four languages, wants nothing from you but your company, treats you like a king, has powerful family connections in case some shit goes down, has family homes and fincas around the country for weekend getaways, is a barrio girl in bed, and has the money, visa, and desire to come and visit you when you return to the States?

As a percentage of population, there are few girls like this, but as a single attractive professional Gringo, my chances of meeting one and connecting are high. They are looking for me. Why not go to places where these girls, as well as every other type of girl, goes? I'm telling ya, I know girls like this with virtually unlimited means, and they are super sweet and nice. Spoiled, sure...but in a cute way. Nothing like spoiled L.A. girls. They are appreciative of what they have and are good and passionate people with generous hearts.

Thats' why $$ are necessary. That crowd stays in the bubble. And they have a damn great time in that bubble, believe me. In fact, they love their Colombian experience as much as you love yours. Wanna live in both worlds? It's 2-3K a month to play. Can't do that in Miami or L.A...

As for food, I'd love to see all these great food choices for 10K. Sure everyone would love to see some names of places, too...Ain't easy being a Marrano. I know I've been taken more than a few times...Getting smarter...slowly...

Posted on December 5, 2008

Some very interesting comments throughout this thread.

dbldareu you're very articulate and your experiences/observations match mine pretty much exactly.


Posted on December 5, 2008

I do know girls like that, I find them to be the exception more than the rule, but the reality is most of them are great catches and already taken, not that I personally care since in the strictest sense so am I :P .... I also dunno how down they are on Colombian men, most of them seem to do just fine with them.

Not to mention I don't see why you can't just hang out with those smart intelligent girls for good company, and get the sex thing taken care of in the whiskerias. It's the best of both worlds, innit?

If you've never been to any clubs or bars in the south, then you don't really know how the women in them stack up, do you? You'll be surprised that's all I can say.

I've posted many of my food recommendations both here and on CBlog, unfortunately a lot of them got deleted on here. Most of them are in the 10k and under range.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Thanks, Terry. Happy to hear I'm not the only one!

Posted on December 5, 2008

La Huella, you're clearly a guy who has been around...I'll stick to my guns about the attraction of the uptown places and girls, however totally open to seeing Bogota the La Huella way.

Won't be giving up my Osaki Rainbow rolls or my Sipote double meat burritos with the kitchen sink for 17K, but love to find some cool down and dirty out of the way haunts where I won't be kidnapped or killed -- or if I am the beauty of the women was almost worth the trip...

I'll look for some of your insider recs around the site for my trip back in May.

Posted on December 5, 2008

As for the Whiskerias...I'm far from a prude and have played that game a time or two, but it ain't the same.

Rather make the good girls bad, than the bad girls worse. The good/bad girls are the best of both worlds..You're right. They do get married pretty quickly. But you can catch 'em at 24-26.

Right after the break up with the 3-5 year novio, They are usually aching for a little private adventure, before settling into permanent princesa mode with family and kids. Found those girls to far wilder and more passionate than anything you can pay for. I'd marry a girl like that. Why not keep those options open?

Posted on December 5, 2008

I do like blowing money on food, but it's just that here in Bogota there are a lot of mediocre expensive options, and anyways I find 1-2 times a month scratches my itch just fine.

Posted on December 5, 2008

dbldareu- I am with you.
johnny2008-I think the food in Bogota is fair at best. Certainly BA and Lima blow it away and are much cheaper.
Besides going out with LH would get old real quick with him trying to scam his next drink all the time. I'd rather go out with you guys and split the bottle. No worries

Posted on December 5, 2008

I have just the opposite problem. I really don't like drinking that much. After my second drink I just don't want anymore, and I'm consistently trying to argue mondatores out of force feeding me drinks.

Jesus, last night on my gig some guevon was drinking Cuervo Gold and kept trying to feed me shots of that swill. I like tequila, but REAL tequila. Cuervo Gold is good for cleaning drains!

You guys can get as plastered as you want. I'll be drinking tap water or fruit juice.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Well, I have to admit, I easily spent $150-$200 a week on alcohol while in town partying hard for three nights a week, so that would be about $900 of savings a month right there if i could get by on a local beer or two, let alone juice or water, when out. Problem is I love having a bottle of vodka or scotch wherever I go in play mode. Is it necessary? No..Did I overdo it? Sure. But that's also a part of the Colombian experience. At least for the first few months...

(And believe me, it makes meeting women much easier when you have a bottle and some space and the bartenders as pals)

Getting back to the original poster who was wondering if $3500 a month would be enough. I'll just give a personal comp. I spent $12,000 in three and a half months this year, and half of that time was when the peso was at 1700 or so. So while I was spending about $3500 a month, yours will go much farther.

I scored in rent in Bogota through a connection and had a furnished three bedroom super styling pad with private coutyard on the Zona G/Chap alto border for $500. Went for two weeks to Medellin, during the Feria, and admittedly was out of control and managed to blow about $3000, That was 13 days of mad overkill, so we'll discount it.

Therefore, more or less after rent, I was spending about $2500 a month in Bogota. For that $2500 a month I ate out at all the top (not necessarily best) restaurants all the time, drank top shelf liquor, treated my friends and dates plenty, spent at least 600K every weekend just partying, bought all the best items at the expensive supermarkets, shrimp, steak, etc, had a two hour spanish tutor come to my house every day. In short, whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, with whomever I wanted. Meetings at Harry's Bar on Wed. Dinner at Dar Papaya with Lulo Martinis. 70K sushi lunch? Why not. Off to Criterion without blinking. Lived like a prince of the city. Absolutely wasteful and gluttonous. And helluva great time...

Could have had about as good a time and spent $500 a month less if I toned it down a half notch, so figure $2000 plus rent to really enjoy Bogota without ever thinking about money as a single guy.

Trick is to get a really nice place for very little so you have more $$ to blow and a place to bring the party back to. Short term furnished housing is tough for Gringos. It's not Buenos Aires...

If you're looking at the long term move then you are set. You'll be doing more than well on what you've got. You actually won't know what to do with it all...especially if the peso goes to 2600-2700 next year as i believe it will.

Posted on December 5, 2008

How is Dar Papaya BTW? I've been dying to try that place out.

Posted on December 5, 2008

Dar Papaya is pretty good but kinda depends what you get. Their risotto de mar (picante) is one of my favorite things in Bogota. Tons of fresh seafood -- 25k. Their Lulo martinis are the best drink in the city period.

The taco app is the best deal there. A nice cup of shrimp, three tortillas and five excellent salsas for like 8k, i think

Posted on December 5, 2008


Just found a site called like a Pretty eye opening checking out job offerings for dozens of professions. Even in the medical, legal and finance fields, 2-2.5 million pesos a month is considered a good wage for an experienced worker in Bogota or Medellin.

Plenty of seious pro jobs in the 1-1.5 range. Qualified, degreed pros...

Makes you realize how lucky and rich you are compared to most everyone in the country when you come into town and are spending just a couple of grand a month...

Always helps to see it in hard numbers.

Posted on December 5, 2008

I also know lots of people making 3-7 million a month in pro jobs, but definitely 1.5 to 2.5 million is the norm for professionals here.

Of course if you're self employed the sky's the limit. And 2 million is more than enough to raise a family in Estrato 4 if you watch yourself.

Posted on December 5, 2008