Colombia is quickly becoming a hot spot for digital nomads and remote workers. It’s easy to see why. Colombia’s sparkling Caribbean coastline, vibrant culture, and laid-back pace of life is a preferable alternative to sitting in a cubicle all day. This Latin American country is one of few countries that can claim to have it all. To the north, you have Caribbean islands and colorful cities. The bustling cities of Medellin and Bogota are lively hubs that make for great home bases for remote workers. Snow-capped peaks, lush valleys with towering palm trees, and the Amazon Rainforest make for excellent weekend getaways in between work weeks. It’s impossible to get bored in Colombia. The work-life balance here can be excellent, if you manage to resist the nonstop nightlife. I admittedly struggled with that.
But hey, if you have more resolve than I do, then Colombia is a dream destination for digital nomads and remote workers. Here are some of the best places in Colombia to work remotely.
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The City of Eternal Spring has exploded onto the scene as a top remote-work destination globally. Specifically, the neighborhood of El Poblado has drawn a digital nomad from far and wide. Boasting co-working spaces, affordable living options, and endless cafes and restaurants to hang out in, El Poblado is an excellent hub for working remotely. You’ll find travelers from all walks of life here. As a backpacker and a travel blogger, Medellin truly was paradise.
I had no shortage of work spots to choose from during the day. During my time in Medellin, I was posted with a traveling community of entrepreneurs and remote workers called Wifi Artists. We’d live together, working during the day and bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s easy to get into a good work flow when you’re surrounded by people on the same page as you. I was lucky to run into them during my time in Medellin. With upcoming destinations like Osaka, Cape Town, and Tbilisi, I’ll undoubtedly be joining them again. If you’d like to hop on a Wifi Artists trip, make sure to mention me (thepartyingtraveler) in your application for $100 off any program!
If you don’t mind staying in hostels while working remotely, Medellin also has a few amazing options. Selina is a big hub for digital nomads, and their co-working space is one of the best in the country. Viajero, Los Patios, and Masaya are a few other affordable options that offer luxury on a backpacker’s budget. Keep in mind that it might be difficult to stay away from the party, especially at Viajero. During the day, though, you’ll find plenty of travelers and digital nomads working in the hostel common areas and co-working spaces.
At night, I had no shortage of options to let loose and live a little (or a lot). Living in El Poblado, you have access to most of Medellin’s top bars and nightclubs. A few favorites of mine were Perro Negro, PKR Medellin, and Vintrash. There’s something to fit your taste no matter what vibe you’re looking for. Personally, I’m all about the hot and sweaty dancing ’til dawn vibe, so if you’re looking for a chill night out, maybe don’t take my recommendations.
Aside from El Poblado, the neighborhood of Envigado would make an excellent home base for remote workers. Laureles is another lively area that is popular among travelers. However, I’m not as familiar with these two neighborhoods as I am with El Poblado. These neighborhoods are much more local than El Poblado. Once you’ve got your feet set in El Poblado, you can consider making the move.
All in all, I’d consider Medellin to be the top destination for working remotely in Colombia, and also the top party destination in Colombia. Get you a city that does both, right? You’ll find it all here, with community being one of the most important aspects for me. You’ll meet travelers from everywhere. It felt nice being able to alternate between a digital nomad crowd or a backpacker crowd depending on what I wanted to do.
This coastal city has a perfect vibe to it. It’s a big enough city where you’ll have all the amenities that you’d need while working on the road. However, it’s still small enough that one can walk anywhere and feel safe after dark. It’s not as developed for digital nomadism as Colombia’s bigger cities, but you’ll be able to find your spots pretty easily. From cafes to hostels to co-working hubs, Santa Marta has a decent amount of options. Masaya Hostel, Viajero Hostel, and Flamingo Hostel and Coworking are some of my favorites if you’re looking for the balance between social and co-working. The tourist center of Santa Marta isn’t that big, but honestly, it might be better that way. If you’re traveling solo, it’s easy to meet people and dive into the community right away when it’s cozier.
While Santa Marta doesn’t have too many things to do, it’s a short distance away from Colombia’s best adventures. Tayrona National Park can’t be missed. A weekend spent camping here can be a great getaway from working in the city. Minca and Palomino are two other top Colombian destinations that aren’t too far from Santa Marta at all. And if you need beach vibes closer to the city, the small fishing village of Taganga is absolutely stunning.
Cartagena is the jewel of Colombia. Its colorful old town is one of the most picturesque colonial city centers you’ll ever see. And don’t get me started on the nightlife here.
Despite being a holiday hub, it’s actually very possible to get into a productivity flow while you’re in Cartagena. Aside from Old Town, the neighborhood of Getsemani is an excellent option for remote workers. Casa Zahri and Selina are good accommodation options for digital nomads in Getsemani. As a popular tourist destination, Cartagena is very developed. You’ll have no shortage of cafes and co-working spots to work from during the day. It’s too dang hot to be outside during the day anyway, so you won’t mind being comfortably nestled indoors behind your laptop until the sun sets.
After the sun sets, anything goes in Cartagena. It’s probably the best place in Colombia if you’ve got the work hard, play hard mentality like I do. It is pretty pricy in Cartagena, but that’s to be expected from a tourist hotspot right on the Caribbean coast. Cartagena itself doesn’t really have the stunning beaches you’d crave from the Caribbean, so weekend getaways to the nearby islands are the way to go.
This might be one of my favorite city names to say. Bucaramanga. It just rolls off the tongue. Anyway, Bucaramanga is more than just a pretty name. It is quickly becoming one of Colombia’s best and wealthiest cities, boasting the highest GDP per capita in the country. Bucaramanga is beautiful, boasting over 160 parks and green areas. Bucaramanga makes it easy to escape into nature. I find that a little break in green spaces in between work sessions is much needed.
It isn’t a popular tourist destination yet, but it is easily one of Colombia’s most livable cities. Being a larger city, the infrastructure in Bucaramanga for working remotely is great. A weekend trip to nearby San Gil is a must if you’re looking for an escape from the city life. San Gil is often called the adventure capital of Colombia.
Villa de Leyva
The small town of Villa de Leyva won me over right away. Located in the state of Boyaca, this colonial city of all-white is one of the most beautiful places in the country. It also has a great, laid-back vibe for digital nomads. Villa de Leyva is perfect for chilling out after experiencing the craziness of Medellin and Bogota. It isn’t as straightforward to get to, but this budget-friendly destination is worth the journey. There are an abundance of things to do around the city and the state of Boyaca in general.
Villa de Leyva has a big cafe culture, so you won’t have any shortage of cute work spots. There’s also a newly-opened Selina in Villa de Leyva. Selinas are usually hit-or-miss for me, but the one in Villa de Leyva is amazing. You don’t need to pay extra to use the co-working space either, unlike most other Selina locations.
Manizales, Armenia, or Pereira
These three cities make up the brunt of Colombia’s famed Eje Cafetero region. Working remotely and cafe culture go hand in hand. What better place to post up than the stunning coffee region of Colombia? These three mid-sized cities are pretty close to each other, both geographically and figuratively speaking. It’s a matter of preference, but choosing any one of these three cities will provide a great work-life balance. And of course, all the nature and coffee that you could ask for.
There are a lot of small towns and national parks to visit a short distance away. As someone who works while they travel, this triangle of cities was a perfect home base. The smaller towns, like Filandia and Salento, are perfect for the adventurous traveler. However, Wi-Fi and cell signal were pretty unreliable once you got outside of the larger cities. If you need to work during the week, post up in Manizales, Pereira, or Armenia and then immerse yourself in the natural wonders like Valle de Cocora or Los Nevados National Park on the weekends.
Home to Shakira and the world’s second-largest Carnival celebration, you have Barranquilla. It is about halfway between Cartagena and Santa Marta, and I mean that both geographically and figuratively. It’s a lot more built up and developed than Santa Marta, but nowhere near as touristy as Cartagena. As Colombia’s fourth-largest city, you’ll find everything you need here as a digital nomad.
Plus, you’re right on the Caribbean coast. Like most big cities, the best beaches aren’t within the city itself, but a short drive away. There are a number of beach resort towns within an hour of Barranquilla, so you have plenty of options for weekend getaways. Barranquilla is a vibe. Bonus points if you’re around during Carnival, although you’ll probably not be getting any work done that week.
Most travelers will have a polarizing opinion on Colombia’s capital city. However, most travelers’ experience with Bogota means catching an international flight in and immediately bouncing within a day or two. While I’ll agree that it wasn’t my favorite city in Colombia, it can be a great city for remote workers. You’ll find neighborhoods of town populated mostly by university students. These neighborhoods, such as Chapinero, are usually safer, more affordable, and home to a number of trendy cafes and restaurants to choose from.
This sprawling city might seem overwhelming at first, but once you find your spots, Bogota will feel a lot smaller and cozier. You’ll find pockets of calm in the chaos and realize that hey, Bogota isn’t so bad after all.
If you’re interested in working remotely with a dedicated community of digital nomads, whether it’s in Latin America or all over the world, WiFi Artists is an excellent company to check out. I had the pleasure of joining them in Medellin, and loved the community aspect of the program, as well as its affordability and the variety of destinations offered. Whether you want to work from Latin American hotspots like Mexico City or Medellin, or other unique destinations like Tbilisi and Osaka, WiFi Artists is a great company for beginner and experienced nomads alike. Make sure to mention ThePartyingTraveler in your application and you can get $100 off of any program!
Oh, and before you go, make sure to have good travel insurance handy whenever you’re out adventuring. I use SafetyWing, which specializes in health and travel insurance for digital nomads, to keep me covered throughout my travels for as low as $45 a month.
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