About

On November 29, 2007, I left Virginia for a dream trip around the world.

After visiting 20 countries on five continents over 14 months, I found myself enamored with Medellín, Colombia in early 2009. So much so that I canceled my flight out of the city.

I began this blog to chronicle my experiences living in Medellín and traveling around Antioquia and Colombia. The publication has since expanded to include a team of writers.

In February 2013, I released the first edition of my all-original Medellín Travel Guide: Insider Advice from an American Expat in Colombia.

And in December 2014, I and a partner released the first version of our custom-built Medellín Guide iPhone app (download for free on iTunes).

Current Contributors:  Jeff (Managing Editor), Alan

Previous Contributors: Ryan H (Managing Editor, 2012-2015), NickLeah, Ioana, MelissaAndrewLisa, Ryan S, Jennifer, JessicaAnaMelodyKristinHolly,  Ximena

I hope the site will continue to serve as a useful resource for travelers curious about visiting this beautiful, vibrant, friendly, and increasingly safe country.

— Dave

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Comments

  1. Hey Dave,

    Your site has been a great source of information for me so far in my strides toward living in Medellin – the one piece of information I haven’t found anything about, however, is banking. I thought maybe mentioning this would serve both to give yall an idea of a topic to write about, and help me out if you can find any information/suggestions of what to do with money in Colombia. The main concern there being able to transfer money back to the states to family or to pay student loans, or viceversa from them to Colombia, etc. So far Bancocolombia is the only one I can find that has ties with the US and seems legit. Maybe you can help with more info?

    Thanks,

    • Hi Margarita,

      Thanks for your suggestion. One of the reasons you don’t see any info on banking is that it’s not something I’ve ever looked into myself.

      I can ask around and see if I can know anyone who can contribute an article on this topic.

    • All the banks in Colombia I have looked at have required a cedula de extranjeria (foreigner identification card) that you can’t get unless you have a visa (resident, work, business) so it looks like a tourist can’t open a bank account in Colombia. Banks will want to see your passport with visa and address details in addition to the cedula. Some banks will accept contraseñas (temp cedulas) due to delays in receiving cedula de extranjerias from the Ministry of Migración.

      Some banks may require you to have a personal reference from a Colombian resident and may also require a tenancy agreement for your home (rental contract). Banks will also want to know about the funds that will be going in and out of the account, so a copy of your contract of employment or paperwork on income that you receive from outside the country may be required. You will also need to have some money to deposit in the account in order for it to be opened (the minimum varies by bank) and there will typically also be a requirement to maintain a minimum balance. I also seem to recall that banks don’t like foreigners opening accounts with less than 6 months in Colombia.

      The largest banks in Colombia include Bancolombia, Banco de Bogota, Banco Davivienda, Citibank and Banco Popular.

      My understanding is that transferring funds to/from Colombia can be somewhat complex depending on the amount due to Colombia anti-money laundering regulations. I haven’t had to do this yet but I have heard from other expats it is fairly easy to transfer money using wire transfers but my understanding is you should try to keep the amount below USD$5000. The easy alternative is to use an ATM with the limit per withdrawal transaction at ATM machines in Colombia being 780,000 COP for Servibanca, 720,000 COP for Davivienda and 700,000 COP for Citibank.

      Colombia is still predominately a cash-based country with many Colombian citizens without a bank account or credit card. So pretty much everything you can pay for with cash including utility bills, airline tickets and hotels. You can rent an apartment without a cedula and utility bills (electric, gas, water) are tied to the address so you don’t need a cedula for that either. But my experience is that you can’t set up Internet/TV services in an apartment (i.e. Comcel, UNE) without a cedula. And you need to build a credit history and banking history in Colombia if you want to apply for a mortgage.

      • Jeff,
        You can transfer $7000 USD per calendar month without providing the Colombian bank any information. You can do this a number of times up to $28,000 USD in a calendar year. You will want to set up an automatic USD to COP before you transfer your money. Expect problems with your first transfer. You will likely have to go to the bank. Generally takes 24 hours to do an interbank transfer to a Colombia bank.

        If you want to transfer more than $7000 USD or in one go you will have to provide the Colombia bank with evidence of where the money came from.
        You should also arrange to speak to the head office to negotiate the currancy exchange rate for the USD to COP on your larger than $7000 transfer. For example your US bank statement etc…

  2. Gary Craig says:

    Hello Dave,, This is really off your usually area of posts. I was wondering if you knew of any groups in Medellin, that are focused on families? The mix of Colombian/American parents with children. An article about their views of neighborhoods, schools, parks and the aspects of raising children in Colombia. I think this would have great appeal to large set of readers.