How Much Do Things Cost in Colombia?

It´s a welcome relief to be traveling in a place where the dollar buys a lot of pesos and nothing seems very expensive. Tonight we went to one of the coolest places in Medellin, Colombia, the Plaza de Posada and joined hundreds of Paisas watching a very important soccer match. It was Colombia vs. Uruguay and I am sad to report that the home town team lost 1-0. Trucks drove around the square with lit up billboards in the back, and the chicas were out looking their sharpest.

The bar offered three cocktails at once for 17,000 pesos, or about $10. They also offered two beers served at once for $3.50. So after a night of revelry, listening to the announcers say ´´goooooooaaaaallllll´ in that famous South American scream, our bill came to about $8 each including a big plate of nachos with meat and cheese we shared. Then we jumped into a cab that cost about $2.50 to take us about 20 blocks to our hotel.

I had a coffee in a tiny ramshackle cafe in the town of Nuqui, population 3500. It was 500 pesos or about 35 cents. Gas here is about 8000 pesos per liter or about $4.00 per gallon. If you hired a housekeeper to clean your house it would be about $12 per day in Medellin, or about $8 in the country.

But best of all is the fact that in the distant country, those places that aren´t connected to any roads, and are removed totally from the modern world of email, radio and newspapers, most people don´t need much money to live. There is fish like Yellowfin tuna, amberjack and red snapper, caught fresh from the Pacific, they grow rice and vegetables, and the chickens that scratch the earth all around provide eggs and meat. When somebody has food they share it, or barter between themselves. The plantains and bananas grow in the jungle, and they make their own strong booze. So even when there is no work, they get by, and nobody has insurance or car payments to worry about.