Cost of Living in Bogota, Colombia – Zona T Edition
While the cost of living in Bogota, Colombia isn't dirt cheap, you can live here for a lot cheaper than in the United States. After being here for nearly two months, I have a decent idea about what things cost here.
Colombia's Most Expensive City
Bogota may be Colombia's most expensive city, especially for foreigners and tourists. You can get a lot more bang for your buck in other Colombian cities.
After visiting and/or living in all of Colombia's biggest cities, I have a little info on the costs all over. So here are Colombia's biggest cities ranked from most expensive to cheapest:
Bogota is far and away the most expensive place in Colombia outside Cartagena. And Cartagena only comes close because as a tourist, you'll be paying to live in the most expensive zones in the city.
One could argue that Medellin is more expensive than Barranquilla, but once you factor in apartment rentals – Medellin is much cheaper. There just aren't that many options to rent online in Barranquilla, as it's not a tourist city.
One reason the cost of living in Bogota, Colombia is so cheap involves the exchange that. Right now, your US dollars stretch really far in Colombia. Only a few years back, the dollar was exchanging around $1,800 Colombian pesos per dollar.
Now, you get anywhere from $2,700-3,200 Colombian pesos per dollar. As of writing, the US dollar is trading at one USD to 2879.25 Colombian pesos. With over 30% more value compared to years past, you get great bang for your buck here in Colombia.
When costs of living in Bogota is a concern, your apartment will often be your biggest expense. And the area where you live will largely determine how much you'll pay for a furnished pad.
P.S: All the prices quoted are all inclusive. Utilities, internet, cable, etc. are all included in the prices.
Most foreigners choose to live in certain neighborhoods in the city. Common areas include:
- Zona T
- Parque Virrey
- Parque 93
- La Candelaria
Zona T is the nicest area in the city. As such, you'll pay more to live here than anywhere else. If you want an apartment that's actually inside the Zona Rosa, you'll end up paying $1,000-2,000 a month for a one-bedroom.
There just aren't many apartment buildings in the small area, as it's filled with restaurants, bars, malls, and nightlife. However, there are many apartments next door to Zona T. In areas like Nogal, these places will run between $800-1,500 a month for a studio or one-bedroom.
Right next door to Zona T, you have a small neighborhood called Lago. There aren't many residential buildings here, but a little searching can find you cheap, furnished apartments around $550-1,000 USD here. Lago is within a 1-5 minute walk of all the amenities in Zona T.
Parque Virrey is one of the nicest areas of the city, as well. Fairly close to Zona T, you can find one or two-bedroom apartments in this area for around $950-1,800 a month depending on the proximity to the Zona Rosa.
Parque 93 is another nice area in the North of Bogota. Apartments here are a little cheaper than Zona T, but not by much. You'll find a lot of expats live around here, as it is safe and filled with bars, restaurants, and amenities. A furnished one-bedroom will run you $800-1,700 a month here.
Things start to get cheaper as you head South. Chapinero is the biggest neighborhood in Bogota and filled with a lot of things to do and amenities. Prices range wildly here, from $400 a month for a furnished studio in an average area to $1,200 a month for a penthouse-type place in a great part of Chapinero like Zona G.
I'd definitely recommend living as close to “7th street” or La Septima in Chapinero. This side of the neighborhood is safer and offers more amenities. You can find furnished studios and one-bedrooms around here for $550-800 a month.
La Candelaria is where most gringos stay while in Bogota. The majority of the cities hostels can be found in this area. This is also where a number of universities in Bogota can be found. As such, rent in La Candelaria is a bit cheaper. You can find furnished places for $350-750 a month here.
Do note that La Candelaria is fairly sketchy past 9 PM. I'd advise any and all who stay in this area to not walk alone at night.
I don't cook too often, but I've noticed that groceries just aren't that cheap in Colombia. I've found you can actually get better deals in the United States if you go to Costco.
I won't dive too deep into the cost of groceries here. Just don't expect to find amazing deals here, especially if you want to eat “Western” foods like salmon or greek yogurt.
Why don't I cook too often in Bogota? Because you can find full meals for $3-4 dollars in a number of restaurants here. In neighborhoods like Chapinero, Lago, and La Candelaria – you can find big breakfasts and lunches under $4.
Dinners can be found for $4-5 dollars – depending on where you are and what you want.
With cheap meals filled with chicken, rice, vegetables, and more – it's hard to justify spending 30 minutes to cook a meal that costs you $2.50-3. The cost of your time is just not worth it.
Now in Zona T (and Parque 93), the food becomes a little more expensive. You can find meals for $5-8 in some restaurants. However, there are also fancy spots here where you can expect to pay $12-25 per meal.
Drinking in Bogota can be cheap, or it can be pricey. This depends on what you want to drink and where you want to do it.
Obviously, you'll save a lot of money by going to dive bars in Chapinero over fancy clubs in Zona T. That should come as no surprise.
Here's a quick breakdown of nightlife costs in Zona T:
- Cover charge: $4-12 USD
- Beer: $2-5 USD
- Drink: $5-10 USD
- Bottle of wine: $20-50 USD
- Bottle of booze at club: $40-200 USD
In nearly every Colombian club, you'll be paying a cover charge. This can range from “10-50 mil Colombian pesos” depending on the spot and night.
If you go out on a date for a bottle of wine, you can expect to pay around $25-30 USD for a low priced red wine at a pub or restaurant.
Rum and vodka at decent clubs will typically run around $80-120 USD depending on the bottle and place.
A pint of craft beer at Bogota Beer Company will usually cost between $3-4 USD – depending on the location.
Cocktails at bars and clubs usually run around $5 USD.
If you somehow stumble on an apartment that doesn't have internet and you plan to stay in Bogota long term, you'll have a bit of an issue unless you have a Colombian cedula (an ID from Colombia).
Claro and ETB won't offer WiFi to individuals without a cedula. So you'll have to find a Colombian to help you out. Always start with your landlord.
Monthly WiFi starts at around $20 USD for six megabytes of speed from ETB.
My cost of living in Bogota, Colombia also includes a few other items. Colombians like to take great care of themselves, so you can find cheap haircuts, beard trims, manicures, pedicures, and massages here. Prices range from:
Haircuts: $3-12 USD
Beard Trim: $2-7 USD
Manicure: $3-7 USD
Pedicure: $5-10 USD
Massages: $8-35 USD
Maid service is also relatively cheap in Colombia. You can have your whole apartment cleaned, two meals cooked for you, your laundry done, and more for between $10-20 depending on the size of your place.
Cost of Living in Bogota, Colombia
The cost of living in Bogota, Colombia is fairly reasonable. You get a lot of value, especially if you have US dollars. Overall, I spend between $1,500-1,700 a month here. I go out a lot, live in a nice area, and don't limit my spending too much.
You could easily live on $1,200-1,300 a month in Chapinero or La Candelaria. There's no doubt about that. But overall, a budget of at least $1,500 is useful in Bogota.