Is Bogota Getting More Expensive?
I started asking myself the question, “Is Bogota getting more expensive,” since my article on the cost of living in Bogota. I was totally shocked at my calculations and how high they turned out to be. Many people replied to my article telling me I was totally off. That life was much more expensive. Others told me that they spent much less. These comments let me know that I hit the spot, as I live in a middle-class neighborhood and spend thoughtfully.
After that post, that is when I realized that although Colombia is a developing country, I must say that it’s still effing expensive!
And somehow, even though it looks like the economy is going to plunge this year, the cost-of-living still seems to be surging. Apart from rent which has been affected by the economic downturn, everything else seems to be going up, while the average salary remains pretty crappy.
Let’s look at a few factors affecting the price of living in Bogota.
A plunging Colombian Peso.
Convert COP to USD and what do you get?! Nada! The Colombian peso is the most devalued currency in the world, having lost over 70% of its value against the U.S Dollar. With such a strong dollar, it is becoming impossible to leave the country without causing some severe damage to your credit cards.
But not only is leaving Colombia expensive, so is living IN Colombia. A strong dollar has jacked up the prices of all imported products. If you thought peanut butter was expensive before, it’s reached caviar status now! See a price difference in your foreign beauty products? pet food? clothes?
And why are oil prices the same in Colombia when 1. Colombia is an oil country 2. Prices are at an all-time low since 2003?! Hello people, wake up! Looks like your government is screwing you!
El Niño is sucking the land dry.
Although it’s hard not to enjoy the fact that Bogota has become tierra caliente due to the phenomenon of El Niño, it is having some severe effects on the rest of Colombia. Severe drought has caused poor growth in crops, famine and lack of clean water in many places. The most affected region has been la Guajira which has suffered from 7 infants fatalities in the past month and a half. It has directly affected all of us in the country at the time of doing our grocery. Vegetable prices have increased by up to x%.
Although it seems ridicule in comparison, El Niño has raised the price of vegetables by up to 200% making grocery shopping for all Colombians that much more expensive.
The Peace Process in Colombia.
How do you think the peace process will be financed? Yes, the U.S and the UN will foot part of the bill, but so will the citizens of Colombia. Do plan on an increase in taxes. Oh, Joy!
A Better Bogotá.
Everyone wants a better city but it comes at a price. Projects must have a way to be financed. Why do you think the Transmilenio fare was raised to $2,000? Although this might not seem like a big deal, I would expect to see the same pattern across the spectrum. I personally don’t mind paying to see results. However, Colombians are very wary as they are used to paying taxes and seeing the same shitty infrastructure and lack of security in their city.(Want to laugh? Read about the ridiculous comparison of the Transmilenio fare vs. New York’s public transportation to justify the recent price increase of the Transmilenio) <-This just goes to show how media is manipulated and controlled by the state.
So it seems like while the average Colombians earns the same miserable salary, Bogota is getting more expensive and the quality of life just seems to diminish. What are your thoughts on Colombia for the year to come? Do you think it has to get worse before it gets better?