One of the biggest challenges when moving to a new country is finding a place to live. I, for one, felt completely lost when I was looking for a place to live (which is precisely how I ended up living with eight roommates in Bogotá).
But I learned quickly! Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you find a great place when moving to Colombia!
What type of place are you looking for?
If you’re moving to Colombia, there are a few different living options to choose from.
One of the best and cheapest options is to rent a room in an apartment or house. Prices will vary depending on the city and area.
In Bogotá, you can expect to pay between $300,000-$700,000 COP per month ($100-$240 USD). In Cali, you can find rooms between $200,000- $500,000 COP ($70-$170 USD). I haven’t rented rooms in other parts of Colombia, but most places seem to have similar prices to Cali. The exception would be Cartagena, which is one of the more expensive cities.
Another option is an apartaestudio, which is a studio apartment. They’re very common here and a great option if you’re planning to stay in Colombia for longer than a few months. Prices vary, so make sure you ask around and see what there is to get an idea. I’ve seen them range from $400,000 COP (unfurnished) to over $1,000,000 COP ($140-$340 USD).
If you’re looking for a place to live with some friends or want to rent out rooms, an entire, multi-bedroom apartment can also be a great option. Prices vary, so be sure to ask around.
Lastly, if you’re just planning on moving to Colombia temporarily, take advantage of Airbnb! During my first month in Bogotá, I used it and had a fantastic experience.
My host was super helpful and always happy to answer any questions I had. It was also a fantastic price for the area of the city it was in and the size of the apartment!
If you decide to use Airbnb and want to stay for many months, don’t be afraid to send a message and negotiate prices. You don’t know if you don’t ask.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished
Once you’ve decided what type of place you want, you’ll want to decide if you should go the furnished or unfurnished route.
What’s better? Is it worth paying the extra money for a furnished place?
It depends. If you’re moving to Colombia for less than a year, a furnished place is the better option.That way, you don’t need to worry about spending money on furniture only to return it a few months later. When you leave, you’ll only need to pack up your stuff and go.
Also, utilities are generally included when you rent a furnished room or apartment. So you simply pay one flat rate per month and don’t have to worry about any extra charges.
If you plan to stay in Colombia for more than one year, unfurnished might be the way to go. You’ll have to buy furniture, but it’ll be cheaper in the long run.
On AirBnb, you can try and negotiate if you plan on renting long-term. It never hurts to ask. You can also try to negotiate with people renting bedrooms or apartments. If the price is higher than you wanted to pay or higher than you think is fair, propose a different rate.
It’s super common to barter in Colombia and people are more flexible than you think. Some people won’t budge, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Location and Safety
It’s super important that you go and see an apartment before you rent it or pay any money. Make sure that you feel safe in the area. Ask about the neighborhood or search online.
Make sure that the apartment seems safe. If you’re staying in a shared apartment with people you don’t know, ask if your bedroom has its own lock. If you need to walk home alone after work, make sure the street isn’t deserted and that there’s some activity going on. If it’s a quiet street, take an Uber or make arrangements to walk home in a group.
Solitary streets at night are dangerous in Colombian cities (and arguably most cities worldwide).
La Candelaria in Bogotá might seem like a cool, cultural place to be (and it is!), but is it really such a great place to live? Probably not.
Maybe you really like a place in Cali, but it’s on a quiet street away from main roads. If you take Uber everywhere, it’s not much of an issue. However, if you need to walk alone after dark (especially if you’re a female walking alone), it’s a good idea to consider other options.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but just keep in mind that safety should be a major factor when searching for a place to live in Colombia. As a single female who has lived in Bogotá and is now living in Cali, I can say that feeling safe on your walk home makes a huge difference.
There are tons of resources available when moving to Colombia and searching for a place to live! If you’re already in Colombia, the best option is to simply walk around and look for “arriendo” signs. If you see a place you like, give the number a call! (or have a friend do it if you don’t speak Spanish).
For Bogotá and Cali, these first three options are the best. The pages are active and there are a lot of options to choose from.
Bogotá Short-Term Rentals (Bogotá)
CompartoApto (All cities)
Airbnb (All cities)
FincaRaiz (All cities)
OLX (All cities)
Articles from other bloggers:
Me! If you find yourself in Cali or Bogotá, always feel free to send me a message. I might know of a place that’s available or where to point you.
Questions to ask
When moving to Colombia and renting a new place, there are certain questions you should always ask—just to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Here is a basic list, but feel free to add your own questions as well:
Are the utilities included? Los servicios son incluidos?
In my experience, utilities are usually included, but always ask to make sure!
Is there wifi? Hay wifi?
There usually is, but it might not be included in the rent.
Is there a washing machine? Hay lavadora?
In Bogotá, both of my apartments had a washing machine. However, in Cali neither of my apartments did and I have to go elsewhere to wash my clothes.
Is there housekeeping? Hay aseo?
In some parts of Colombia, this is super common and often included in the rent. It was included in my rent in Bogotá, but in Cali I find it to be a little less common.
Do you require a security deposit? Se requiere un deposito?
Usually, a security deposit is either the equivalent of a month’s rent or around $100.000 COP.
Can I have people over? Se permite visitantes?
This is super important to ask because some shared apartments have strict rules when it comes to guests!
What are the rules of the apartment? Que son las reglas?
You should ask this just to make sure there aren’t any stupid rules (and yes, many people have them). I once viewed an apartment and when I asked about using the kitchen was told I could only use it in the morning and that there was no space in the fridge for my stuff.
Is there hot water? Hay agua caliente?
If you feel like you can’t live without hot water, definitely ask this! It’s not common in hotter cities like Cali or Cartagena.
What other advice do you have about moving to Colombia?