What Is The Cost Of Living In Bogota?
With the dollar exchange in Colombia today, the cost of living in Bogota and Colombia, in general, has never been better for expats earning in a foreign currency. The cost of living in Bogota is not representative of the cost of living in Colombia as a whole as capitals are always more expensive.
So if you find Bogota cheap, imagine the rest of the country. The U.S Dollar is at an all time high, and sadly, the Colombian Peso has been one of the most devalued currencies in the world. The U.S Dollar exchange in Colombia as of today, January 13, 2016, is $3,250 Colombian Pesos to $1 USD.
So if you are coming to live in this country on an expat salary, your standard of living in Bogota practically reaches Royalty Status! And if you came here to earn Colombian Pesos, then don’t plan on traveling outside the country anytime soon :$
Below, I detail the costs of living in Bogota in Colombian Pesos (COP) and approximately how much you’ll spend in a month for 2 people.
Cost of Rent in Bogota
Your biggest cost will almost always be your rent. Expats usually prefer to live anywhere between Calle 55 and Calle 116 above the Autopista, which means between the neighborhoods of Chapinero and Usaquen.
Depending on how chic your neighborhood is, a standard 50 meters squared unfurnished one bedroom apartment with living room and 1-2 bathrooms can easily cost between 1.5 million COP- 3 million COP/month including maintenance fee.
A 2 bedroom 100 meters squared unfurnished flat is between 2 million COP – 5 million COP/month including maintenance fee.
The price depends on the estrato you live in. Unfortunately, the higher the estrato, the bigger the bill. I am currently living in estrato 4 and it comes out to this:
Internet, Tv and Phone: $120,000/month
Cellphone: I have a pay-as-you-go plan, or prepago, as I couldn’t be bothered to get a contract. Plus, people hardly call each other and mostly use WhatsApp. With this, I spend about $10,000-$15,00o a month. However, Internet plans start at $25,000. Most people pay an average of $50,000-$60,000/month.
Veggies and meat are not expensive if you’re not buying in Carulla. If you buy in your local fruit/vegetable/meat store such a Fruvar and Frutiver, it will cost you a fraction of what it costs you back in your home country. For two people who eat meat 2-3 times a week, I never spend more than $70,000. For everything else that is not fruit, vegetables and meat, I might spend another $70,000 (maybe every other week). That’s about $420,000/month spent on groceries for 2.
Eating out in Bogota
- If you eat the lunch menu of the day in restaurants this can cost anywhere between $6,000-$17,000 per person (pp). It includes a soup, main dish, drink and small sweet or salad.
- Restaurants Chains cost around $30,000-$40,000 pp (including tax, tip, a main dish, a drink and a dessert to share).
- Hip restaurants with a glass of alcohol cost between $50,000 to $80,000 pp.
- Cocktails are anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000.
Cost of Transportation in Bogota
Taxi or Uber transportation can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000 depending on your distance (except if you’re going to the airports which in that case usually costs about $25,000). Traveling about 40 streets will cost me around $6,000, and 80 streets around $10,000 with Uber (See why I refuse to downgrade from Uber to Taxis)
Buses cost $1,500 and the Transmilenio $1,800 for a one-way ticket anywhere in the city.
Other Expenses in Bogota
- A movie in the most popular movie theater (CineColombia) costs $9,000 pp.
- Shopping: Your favorite brands are most likely to be more expensive here than back home. I would say anywhere from about +15-150% more expensive depending on the product (Electronics, home decoration, clothes, and anything imported)
- Cleaning Lady: I have an ethical issue with this, but you can pay between $8,000-$15,000/hour for cleaning.
Total Cost of Living in Bogota
2 phone contracts: Between $20,000-$120,000
Transportation: If you take a taxi/Uber about 5 times a week: $40,000/week or $160,000/month
Eating out: If you eat out about twice a week for 2: $200,000/week or $800,000/month
Other: $300,000 random stuff and impulse purchases.
TOTAL for 2: $3,400,000 – $6,980,000 a month
That’s about $1,000 USD – $2,150 USD a month for two considering the U.S Dollar exchange rate right now. This does not consider health insurance, the furniture you will have to buy to furnish your place and if you decide to have a little human join in on the adventure (I hear diapers are expensive).