To do a weekend right in the big cities of the States, you’re probably gonna break your bank.

Think New York, LA, Chicago, Miami, Vegas… If you want luxury, you best bet you gotta be some kind of high roller.

Fortunately, there’s a few other places around the world where you can get all the first world luxury but at developing countries prices.

From my years of traveling, there’s two places that stand out to me in regard to cost of living: The city of Medellin, Colombia, and the exotic Thailand.

In this post I’ll compare the cost of living in New York and Medellin for a weekend away in these cities done the right way.

So, let’s start with…

Flights New York To Medellin

Flights:

The cost of a roundtrip to Medellin might surprise you… A roundtrip from my home of Chicago could be $500. But I have seen round trips from New York to Medellin for as low as $300.

That’s one of the reasons why Medellin is a good choice over Thailand… Roundtrip flights to Thailand are expensive, not to mention the long ass flight to the other side of the world.

The main site I use to book flights is Expedia. (Check out our post on Expedia if you want more info on how to use it or what it is).

Be sure to be signed up to E-Bates before booking anything incase you will be eligible for cash back. Expedia is one of the sites you can get cash back on so it’s worth creating a free E-Bates account. 

Accommodation:

My 6 month leased penthouse apartment in the exclusive neighborhood of San Lucas, Medellin is 5,000 square feet, has 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a maids bedroom and bathroom, open floor plan, sauna, a massive rooftop, and it’s all furnished.

You know how much I pay for all of that?

$3,400USD per month.

Then on top of that my power and internet bill is about $400 per month.

So that’s about a total of $3,800 a month.

If you were in New York, you would be looking at $30,000 a month just for the rent alone!

And I haven’t even gotten to the best part… A full-time maid who works Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, who cooks and cleans, and looks after all of us so well. I pay her about $300 a month which is much more than the minimum wage here for service workers.

In New York, for a maid that cooks and cleans 6 days a week, you’ll look at paying around $3,000 per month… Not $300.

You can easily find a modern, luxury apartment in Medellin for the weekend by using Airbnb (check out this post for more info on Airbnb) and it would cost you from $60 a night in the best neighbourhood.

For something similar in New York, you can expect to pay upwards of $400 per night.

If you would rather stay in a hotel for the weekend, Medellin has quite a few to choose from and you’ll be looking at spending $40- $100 for mid range, and then $100-$200 for luxury.

You can easily get a luxury hotel for under $100 using Hotwire (see below.)

To get the best deals on a hotel, use Hotwire. Hotels don’t like to advertise their prices that low, so Hotwire hides their identity until your booking is complete. (Check out our post on Hotwire here).

You can use E-Bates with Hotwire as well to make your booking even cheaper. With Hotwire and E-Bates, you can see your accommodation prices cut in half.

Activities:

Here’s a few of the activities I talked about in the Medellin cost of living video:

Mahalo:

Not only does this restaurant have one of the best views in Medellin, it also has some wicked activities to choose from. There’s a skate ramp and dirt biking… But my favorite by far is paintballing.

For 55,000 pesos ($20USD) per person we got to play some warm up group games, got all our gear, two rounds of paintball games, and then a late lunch to finish off. That’s not bad!

If you wanna go paintballing in New York, you’re looking at at least $40 just for the game itself.

Mahalo Website: http://mahaloactionsports.com/

Fly Colombia Medellin Helicopter

Helicopter:

For our 20 minute helicopter ride over Medellin with Fly Colombia, it cost about 220,000 pesos per person ($75USD)…. And that included cake before the flight!

Let’s compare that with New York…

For a 15 minute helicopter ride over Manhattan, expect to pay at least $200 for the flight and then an extra $30 for the heliport fee

Fly Colombia Website: http://www.flycolombia.com.co/

Barber Shops:

As you saw in the video, when I’m in Medellin I always go to SWAG to get myself looking right. For 15,000 pesos ($4.89USD) I got my usual shave and hair cut.

Whenever I get that same thing done in Chicago, it costs me $20-$25… And then in New York it’s $35!

Medellin’s got your back when it comes to looking good for less.

ATV/ Trails/ Mountain Bikes:

One thing I love to do is ATVing and doing some adventure trails.

For our ATV tour we used Medellin Adventure Trails, and for a 1 hour 30 min ATV tour, it came to 145,000 pesos ($50USD) per person, which is pretty decent.

In New York, for the same time frame, expect to pay about $110.

Medellin Adventure Trails Website: http://medellinadventuretrails.com/

Massages:

As you would have seen in the video, a full hour massage with Melissa was 90,000 pesos ($30USD)… And this was a house call! I know they’re not South East Asia prices, but remember Medellin is a developed city.

To get the same in New York, be prepared to pay $120.

If you’re wanting to get a massage when in Medellin, here is Melissa’s email: melissaechavarria@gmail.com

Flyboard Medellin Guatape

Flyboarding:

This was hands down one of my favorite things to do. It’s not in Medellin, it’s in Guatape which is about a 2 hour drive from Medellin City or a 45 minute helicopter ride.

We used Flyboard Medellin and it cost 90,000 pesos ($30USD) per person for 15 mins. That’s not bad at all when you compare it with New York’s $100!

Flyboard Medellin Website: http://www.flyboardmedellin.com/

Gyms:

When it comes to working out, the gyms in Medellin are probably the only things that have similar pricing to the big cities of the U.S. BUT expect top class gym equipment and facilities. Colombia knows how to do gyms right.

Body Tech is the one I go to and it’s got 3 stories, a juice bar, top class equipment, and some damn good looking people! Body Tech is everywhere around Medellin, it’s hard to go a day without passing one by, so there will probably be one close to you especially if you’re staying in Poblado area.

The monthly membership rate here is 220,000 pesos ($75USD)… But if you’re just here for a couple of days, they actually do a free 5 day trial. Just take in your passport to get registered.

Body Tech Website: https://www.bodytech.com.co/

Nightlife:

I remember that NYC 1 Oak table ‘deal’…. $1,500 for a table with 2 bottles. Like what!? I love me some luxury but even I admit that’s a little unbelievable.

In Medellin you can be at the best club/bar and get a table with 2 premium bottles for 600,000-800,000 pesos ($200-$280).

If you don’t even want to do premium bottles you don’t need to… If you want any bottle they’ll sell it to you, no big deal. Get something worth $30 if you want!

It’s easy to go out and have a good night in Medellin with only $20-$30 in your pocket.

Medellin Food

Food:

You’ll definitely notice that eating out in Medellin is much cheaper than eating out in NYC and you’ll still have all the variety for whatever you’re craving.

One of the restaurants in the video was La Mayoria. You can actually make this quite the experience as it’s not just a restaurant but also an animal farm with a dope view…. Because why not eat lunch while surrounded by horses and llamas? The food here is top notch… And for a table of 10 of us all having drinks, starters, and a main lunch, the bill came to about 500,000 pesos (which is about $175USD).

There is no way you will be paying that in New York… You would be looking at $100 per head for this calibre of place.

If you’re looking for cheaper, casual food in Medellin, don’t sweat, there’s heaps to choose from. Wings, pizza, burgers, rice and beans, burritos, chicken etc… You can find a good meal from $4.

La Mayoria Website: http://lamayoria.com/sitio/

Transport:

Getting around Medellin is cheap and easy when using Uber and Taxis. There’s also a metro train and public buses you can take but if you’re here for a luxury weekend, you’ll probably be taking an Uber everywhere.

For a 15 minute Uber ride, it will cost about $2-$3, which is cheap as chips! So you want to make sure you download the app before getting to Medellin.

The taxis in Medellin are nicely priced too being just a couple dollars more expensive than an Uber.

A 15 minute Uber ride in New York will be 6 x this price and a cab will be even more.

So there you have it folks!

I think we can all agree that you can get more bang for your buck here in Medellin, Colombia. I actually plan on buying a house here that’s how much I love it.

Keep an eye out for more videos dropping soon- we will drop them over on our PassportHeavy Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/passportheavy)

31 Comments

  1. Awesome videos of Medellin. I’m an experienced motorcycle rider. Rather than taking uber around. I like the freedom to travel where I want and when I want to explore. Do you have a scooter company recommendation? Also, are the roads safe to ride in? I’ve been to Bangkok Thailand and Vietnam. Those are definitely not conditions I want to be riding in, especially when it’s an unfamiliar location. Are the roads paved upkeeping pretty good or are there a ton of potholes everywhere? Do people follow traffic laws or is it like Bangkok where they turn a 3 lane road into 5 lanes and ride on sidewalks too? Do people follow the lights and stay within their lanes?

    • We didn’t got any bikes in Medellin. Traffic there is pretty strict and love to fine people also there are speed cameras everywhere. So yeah if you’re gonna get one you’ll have to be very careful.

  2. Bobby Long

    My Dear beloved brother it does my heart well to see a young Blackman living and enjoying life … It would appear as though we have been in Medellin at the same junctures.. Would love to hangout with the team …

  3. I love your video and the movement you guys have been making. It has motivated me to finally leave and go on the other side instead of simply the Caribbean islands and Mexico. I am planning to head to Medellin and was wondering a few quick questions from off your video. How is 12/22 – 12/31 timeframe being there….the weather? Is it a good time to travel for things to do?
    What is the exact name of the penthouse you stayed and if not available what is similar you are aware of?
    This would be extremely helpful and if you happen to be out there during the same time let me know…..we can get a drink or something.

    • Hey there! We’re really happy to know you enjoy our content.

      There is no better time than December to go to Medellin. Locals love to party hard during these dates and the Christmas lights are simply beautiful. Medellin is the City of Eternal Spring so weather won’t be higher than 27C or lower than 18C

      The penthouse is not available anymore but you can find really good places if you look in Poblado and Envigado areas on Airbnb.

  4. Much respect to your guys movement. I am a travel agent/consultant from Harlem NYC. You guys just showed me a new aspect to the travel world. I’ve been thinking for a while about traveling the world and living off my online business. But I was a bit hesitant, but seeing you guys doing it just showed me that it’s possible #salute. If you ever back in NYC let’s build talk some travel

  5. SoulByrd Meshela

    Thanks for the Video Sir. I want to travel overseas. My gifts are in the area of Sales and Marketing, Music (Vocalist) and Punlicensed Speaking. Can you direct me to the right countries for me to relocate as a Female Afro-American ?

  6. Hey, Jubril just want to be the first to say that it real good to see more brothas coming outside of the box to experience and the world for what it really is… But anyway I seen a couple of your videos before but my father have watch you for the longest since back in “2011”. We really appreciate this video of Colombia
    By you brotha. Made plans to leave the USA for My B-Day I`ll be 23 this year its been a long,long,long time.

    So once again Salute to you bro and the squad from a “Chi-guy” p.s I`m from the Windy City too.

  7. Some of your readers, a “Gringo” friend of mine, sent me the link to this article, very well written I must say, and it made my day to read once such positive comments about the “City of Eternal Spring” which is my new residence since 3 years and in which I haven’t missed once my +15 years of life in the “Big Apple”. I came to visit Medellin during the Winter of 2013, that was really freezing my bones, for some break; I had never been in South America in my life and didn’t know anybody here, but thankfully I could manage with Spanish… Well, after a couple of weeks here, I started to fall in love with the city and its so welcoming, well educated “Paisa”, and to dream how nice it would be to live here at least part of the year… As what you say, in comparison to the U.S., life is about 3 times cheaper for almost everything basic and of great quality … I am now enjoying my life here full time; and contrary to what commented someone else about being bored, I can never be bored here. Medellin has good and cheap transportation to everywhere and if your income is in dollars or Euro, in comparison to New York for example, you can live like the riches in other countries, especially nowadays. I have with my new Colombian partner a small rental business and I can very well live off that, and as we live in the same building of my “VRBO” apartment, I meet now people who come from the States mostly and I can help them pursuing the same kind of dream I just realized in the “City of eternal Spring” 🙂

  8. Ty Sarmiento

    All power to you! I love Medellin as well, but there is no way I could make what I make in the states living there, especially working remotely. For now I must make do with a two week trip every 4 to 6 months. Also, regardless of how big your place is, $3,400 is $3,400!! You must be clearing a lot to afford that. Also, why don’t you just buy in Medellin? Real Estate has been going up for 8+ years there. In the U.S. that would cover a $1.2M 30-yr mortgage these days…. not sure what it would be in Medellin. Then again I’m more future oriented ha ha. Good luck and God Bless

  9. Daniel hoyos

    Hi There,
    I am owner of a new restaurant bar in Provenza and I will love you come and visit. It is call Borneo @borneo_provenza

  10. I have questions I’m 63 retired in Costa Rica I done lots of research on Medellin
    Lots of condos, I have two dogs like my kids, can’t live in a condo. Hardly could find homes available

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  12. Jubril thanks for the inspiration you have been fueling my drive to build a remote business since we met 3 years ago in NY. Thank YOU!

    I’m Going to Medellin from 11/16 – 11/20 just for a visit. If anyone else here is going to be there HIT ME UP!!!

    Also @passportheavy what camera do you guys use????

  13. Lamont Ragland

    Man! You put everything together well and on point. I’m looking forward to saving and experiencing what Columbia has to offer. Keep putting the “Great” and positive information out.

  14. I just got back from Medellin on the 25th of September; while its true the media paints Medellin as dangerous I felt completely safe. The majority of the women are extremely beautiful so much so the women in USA are terrible looking. While no place is perfect I did find a few faults with Medellin, the Airbnb I stayed in was poorly constructed and I felt like a good quake could topple the 24 story building. The cab drivers acted like they did not know how to get back to the apartment jacking my cab ride bill so I stayed telling them to turn here, turn there. The Uber drivers seemed to know the city much better. Parque Lleras was ok not great, it was ok as a night time adventure but during the day its empty. Also plenty of Trannies and drug users in Parque Lleras.

    There seemed not much to do in Medellin, I did the walking tour of El Centro, hiked up to Pargue arvi and did the Pablo Escobar Tour but ended up at Santefe mall looking at women. Its possible it was the company I was with, he was stuck on stupid and chased some girl he met on Colombiancupid all over the city and wanted to stay at the apartment all day. Would I go back to Medellin? I’m 100% sure I would not go back, not because I felt scared or it was to expensive, it just seemed boring.

  15. John Sharesh

    Hi,

    My name is John and I’m currently in Medellin. I’m wondering where you went for the haircut and shape-up? Could you let me know where the shop is located?

    Best,

    John

  16. Thank you for the enlightenment. I’m a born and raised New Yorker who’s mother is from Medellin, Colombia. I’ve been back and forth to Medellin so many times and I LOVE IT! I’ve been trying to get my husband of 13 yrs to go but like everyone else he believes the negativity. Hopefully with your video he will come to his senses and would want to go in the next yr or 2 and just like you he’ll fall in love and will want to purchase a home. Thanks know you so much!!!

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