As Medellin continues to attract an increasing number of international residents, I’ve observed a captivating phenomenon: individuals aged 35 and above are choosing to relocate to the city following divorce. What’s intriguing is that many of them seem to be flourishing and embracing life with enthusiasm. While Medellin is renowned for its abundance of beautiful women, I’d argue that there’s much more to discover. Divorce and separation are often tumultuous experiences. However, Medellin offers the promise of a fresh start for those in need. With its welcoming culture, year-round sunshine, and elevated quality of life, it presents an enticing opportunity for a new beginning.
A New Start
Divorce and separation often entail challenging experiences, prompting many to seek solace away from places tied to painful memories. Thus, relocating to an entirely new country marks a victory right from the outset. Medellin, with its array of attractions, offers an ideal setting for those pursuing a fresh beginning. Firstly, its perennially pleasant weather stands out as a major draw. Bid farewell to winter blues and embrace the perpetual springtime of the City of Eternal Spring! Spring symbolizes rejuvenation and a new beginning, aligning perfectly with our theme today. Despite occasional tropical showers, sunshine is a constant companion in Medellin, making it a favoured destination among expatriates and individuals navigating life post-divorce.
More than the climate though, is diving into a vastly new world and culture. One that bears enough similarity to other Western countries to feel ‘homely’ but is vastly unlike anything you’d experience in North America or Europe. Navigating through new streets, a new language, new faces, new music, and a new way of life. It takes at least 6 months to begin getting your head around it all, and yet, time flies when you’re having fun. I lived next to a divorced man in his late 50s who had come to Medellin back in 2016. He told me that the first 6 months of his time in Medellin were the fastest passing months of his life!
The experience of this particular individual conforms to the good advice of “keeping busy” after a painful breakup or divorce. We all know that having too much time to ruminate is not healthy. By contrast, if you come to a place like Medellin, you’ll be too busy taking it all in; how to move, where to go, what to do, and so on.
Quality of Life
We all know that Colombia doesn’t have the same kind of GDP as a place like Canada, the US or anywhere in Europe. The irony though, is that the quality of life, for most people that I have asked over the years, is far higher in Medellin than it was back home. That’s not necessarily because they were ‘poor’. Let me give you an example. According to Numbeo, to maintain the same standard of living as $7,400 in Miami, FL, you would need approximately $2,271.4 in Medellin. You simply get more for your money – and divorced or not, that makes anyone feel better.
Increasingly, people are recognising Medellin’s wealth of amenities and indulgences, rivaling even cosmopolitan hubs like Miami or London, and often surpassing them due to the increase in purchasing power that you receive, instantly upon arrival.
So, what sets Medellin apart as an enticing destination for divorcees or those undergoing separation? It means unlocking a realm of possibilities, from everyday comforts to opulent luxuries, from forging new social connections to reentering the dating scene. For many, the prospect of hiring weekly cleaners or personal chefs becomes a tangible reality, a luxury perhaps unattainable back in their hometowns. With greater purchasing power, time becomes more abundant for pursuing personal passions and investing in one’s well-being.
Recreation and the Outdoors
Engaging with nature is inherently beneficial for both physical and mental health, a fact underscored by medical experts, particularly for those navigating challenging times like divorce. Fortunately, Medellin finds itself nestled amidst one of the most biodiverse and breathtaking regions on the planet. If immersing oneself in nature uplifts the spirits, then doing so in Medellin is akin to hitting the jackpot!
The city is enveloped by picturesque mountains ripe for exploration. Yet, you need not venture far to experience the outdoors. In Medellin, walking is the norm, and even a leisurely walk to the corner store exposes you to verdant, tree-lined avenues. Medellin prioritises green spaces, making them a ubiquitous feature of city life. Consequently, the air resonates with the melodies of singing birds. I contend that this perpetual connection with nature profoundly enhances one’s daily well-being.
I might sound overly zealous, but after much chit-chatter with other expats, I know that I’m not alone in the way that I feel uplifted by the beautiful nature of the city.
Beyond nature, however, Medellin is brimming with recreational activities. If you’re into any type of sport, you’re likely to find it in the city. Estadio is home to an impressive array of sporting facilities but there are many other centres open to the public. Swimming, gymnastics, outdoor gyms, indoor gyms, tennis, basketball, table tennis, snooker. It’s here in abundance which is ideal for your average divorcee looking for some downtime.
My two favourite sporting facilities in the city are free to the public. They are:
Give Yourself Some Needed TLC
Learning the Language & Personal Growth
Let’s not forget that in Medellin, the locals speak Spanish. Now, don’t take that as a threat but rather an opportunity. There are enough language exchanges that you could do one for each day of the week. I love partaking and have met many separated women and men who enjoy the social aspect of these exchanges. It’s a great way to meet others with a mutual interest in learning Spanish, or perhaps somebody looking to learn English. I’ve seen it time and time again; this is a great way to ignite a good relationship.
Like many that come here, you’ll probably seek out a good place to learn Spanish formally. Doing so puts you in a state of personal growth and is therefore a great way to leave behind any negative emotions of the past.
When it comes to places to learn Spanish, you are spoilt for choice. OLSA International is an academy that I have personally inspected and can recommend. Another great option is Colombia Spanish School (based on its excellent feedback). These are great places to meet people from similar walks of life/shared experiences.
What else is Colombia known for? Salsa, of course! Classes are inexpensive, or in some cases, free altogether! They’re a great way to boost confidence and keep your mind situated within the present moment – ideal for those looking to avoid overthinking. You’ll also almost definitely meet others at these classes or events. Below are some popular choices:
Whether it’s learning a new language, learning to dance, or discovering a new hobby, these are all examples of personal development which are important in helping individuals to forward-focus and thrive in new circumstances.
A Buzzing Culture
You’ll soon realise that life in Medellin is best lived outside. The excellent climate and outgoing nature of Paisas means that the streets are alive and buzzing. For this reason, it is very difficult to feel lonely. This doesn’t just apply to divorced people or separated individuals. I conducted a mini survey whereby I asked 10 of my friends how lonely they felt in Medellin. All but 1 told me they feel less lonely here than they did back in their country of origin. Considering this is a foreign country for us, that’s remarkable.
Colombians live in a collectivist society and family values are highly placed. What Colombians may lack in material wealth they make up for in social connections. It’s something you’ll observe no matter where you go. If you are respectful to the locals, you will be rewarded in a way that is unique to this part of the world. It’s not uncommon to be invited to family functions like dinner or even trips to a finca in the countryside. I’ve travelled extensively and I’d assert that Paisas are the friendliest people I’ve met.
Medellín’s friendly people provide a supportive community for divorcees, offering understanding, companionship, and a sense of belonging during challenging times.
Fortunately, things have changed since I first arrived. There is now a significant international community that calls Medellin home. Everything from retirees to the digital nomad. From retirees to digital nomads, connecting with fellow expats has become more accessible, primarily through various social media platforms. I recommend checking out “GringoPaisas,” a helpful Facebook group that serves as a great starting point. Once there, you can easily discover more specialized groups tailored to your interests. Whether you’re into hiking or other specific activities, you’ll find dedicated communities, often organized through platforms like Whatsapp. The city’s high population density makes it easy to meet people and share experiences, creating a strong network of social support, especially valuable for those navigating life changes like divorce.
No matter your background, life struggles, or interests. You’ll be able to find others with whom to connect!
Of course, we were always going to bring up this facet of living in Medellin. Yes, Medellin is known for its density of attractive women (and men) out there. We’ve all heard the quote, “The best way to get over someone is to get someone else”. This may not apply to everybody but I’ve met a lot of divorcees who’ve reignited their love life in the Aburra Valley.
Now, we must impart some words of safety. Do not use dating applications. Please stay away from them. Not to stir needless fear but the US Embassy has recently warned against the use of dating apps in Medellin due to a spike of violent robberies.
This doesn’t mean you can’t find love out there. After all, there are plenty of good, honest people who are highly interested in getting to know foreigners. Foreigners and Paisas have a lot to exchange, including language and culture.
Here at Medellin Advisors, we’re all in agreement that the best way to meet a good person (safely) is to implement the recommendations mentioned above… Get involved in recreational activities, play sports, and involve yourself within the community. This way, you will meet people organically.
Such is the power of serendipity!
If you make friends and present yourself as a good person, you can also be introduced to ‘friends of friends’. In this kind of society, it’s all about putting yourself out there. Word-of-mouth rules the way!
Arriving in Medellin as a foreigner from a more economically robust country instantly grants you a privileged perspective. However, amidst the city’s undeniable charm, Colombia’s status as a developing nation is evident in various aspects.
Fortunately, there are numerous charitable opportunities in Medellin that extend beyond financial contributions. Engaging in volunteer work is a meaningful way to give back. One notable initiative is ‘Help Colombia,’ reaching out to the most underserved communities on the city’s outskirts. Volunteers play a vital role in activities like teaching English to the local youth. This not only allows you to contribute positively to the community but also provides a unique avenue for personal growth, social connection, and a sense of purpose—particularly valuable for those navigating life post-divorce.
Gone are the days when backpackers had the city to themselves. There is an ever-growing community of people coming here post-divorce to elevate their quality of life and move on from the ordeal of their past. I contend that Medellin has all the trappings of a place needed to fix a broken heart so that you can experience that youthful wonder and excitement again. Don’t take my word for it though, you can always come down for a trip. I’m confident you’ll want to stay.
Have any questions? Feel free to get in touch with the team at Medellin Advisors.