The Wanderings of the Lanes.
Transitioning from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to Medellin, Colombia
by Pat and Lynn Lane
While originally thinking we would retire in Florida in our quest to avoid cold weather, we came to Puerto Vallarta Mexico in 1992 simply by chance and really liked it. Both of us had done some work in Mexico and spoke limited Spanish so it was easy to get comfortable, especially with lots of English spoken in Vallarta. Our PV is winter utopia right on the Pacific beach. This comfort level led us on a quest for a summer home overseas that offered comfortable weather and a culture similar to Puerto Vallarta.
We initially settled in San Miguel de Allende Mexico for its high summer temperatures in the low eighties and low to moderate humidity due to its location in the high mountain desert of central Mexico. It is in the center of Mexico’s Spanish Colonial period so it has great architecture, history and culture. The revolution against Spain began 15 miles from our front door with the flag for that revolution plucked from a small church a mile from us. It’s a wonderful city but small, especially by Mexican standards, which leads to inconsistent infrastructure. The Internet is somewhat unreliable at our house, electricity can drop and spike. Direct TV was dropped when their satellites were repositioned to support high definition TV leaving us with only Canadian Shaw Direct and Mexican Sky options. The nearest full service airport is a minimum 75 minute drive in the very, very early and dark morning hours for U.S. bound flights. Being a UNESCO World Heritage site limited convenient modern shopping options as well. We had to have a car. Advanced health care required travel to other cities. We simply needed more and better infrastructure in our life style, as we do extensive U. S. university volunteer work. We also wanted better airport access and to be able to use public transportation.
Since San Miguel provided lots of what we wanted, our goal was to fill in the gaps at a high elevation city providing summer weather similar to San Miguel, first class infrastructure and easy airport access. We also wanted a community that we could enjoy and an affordable home within easy access of the things we need for daily living. We wanted advanced health care. We found Medellin Colombia.
It is a very modern, large and growing city offering great infrastructure, good air access, even better public transportation, plus the summer weather we wanted and we read recently that five of the top 35 medical facilities in Latin America are in Medellin. The people are even more friendly and helpful than Mexicans, though limited English is spoken. That is coming though as residents realize that better English will lead to a better economy and more opportunity for them. We found a very affordable loft condominium within easy walking distance of the Colombian equivalent of a Super Target in the most demanded neighborhood in town. It offers easy, flat walking to the most popular food and entertainment area in the upscale section of Medellin and to the Golden Mile, the leading commercial area. There is direct air service to Miami so no flights through Bogota are needed. Our loft cost less than our house in San Miguel though offering only 65% of the square footage. We saw it as very reasonably priced.
So check into the City of Eternal Spring as it is dubbed and stay for more than the summer months if you want. The weather is about the same year round due to its proximity to the equator. No daylight savings time here. Just bring your functional Spanish and build upon it among the most friendly and helpful people anywhere.