Manizales is an up and coming expat destination which is attracting a more environmentally friendly, cultured and conscientious expat. It’s a great place for families with several private and semi-private schools within easy access range of the areas we recommend. Recently it was ranked as the top city in Colombia for university study.
Important Terms to Know
Especially if you are new to Manizales, or you are a “do-it-yourself’er,” you will need to understand the lingo. Here are the basic terms you need for renting a house or apartment in Manizales.
Fiador – Very few foreign residents are ever going to have this. It is basically a co-signer who owns property who can lose said property if you fail to pay rent. If they ask for a fiador, hang up the phone and keep looking.
Arriendo/Renta – “Rent” You will see these signs hanging out in windows all over the city. Look for signs which DO NOT have real estate companies on them. The handwritten ones are a sure sign of potential success. Real estate companies almost always require Fiadors. You don’t need that negativity in your life.
Habitacion – If you see a sign that says “Arrienda” followed by “Habitacion,” it doesn’t mean you get your own habitat with a swing and a pond. Instead it means that you will only get a bedroom.
Que costo tiene?/Cuanto es por mes? – Pick the one you like best, and then practice it, so you can ask them the cost. Try not to sound like a gringo as your sweet foreign accent is music to their dollar hungry ears.
Cual es el tamano? – Apartments start around a tight squeeze of 50 square meters (metros cuadrados), and run all the way up over 200 square meters. Older apartments are bigger, newer apartments are smaller. It’s a trade-off.
Alcoba/Cuarto/Piso/Habitacion – In case you thought Spanish was easy, several words exist for the word “Bedroom.” Fortunately only one word exists for the word “bathroom” and it is “baño.” Happy meditations are on your horizon!
Cocina Integral – I used to think it meant “wholesome kitchen” until I discovered it means you might get an oven and a relatively modern American style kitchen. The old-skool Colombian kitchens involve concrete or tile counters, a curtain hiding the shelves below, and either a cook-top hooked to a gas tank or a separate stove/oven thingy hooked to a gas tank. Dishwashers are strange modern-ish gadgets which don’t exist.
Aseo – means cleaning. So if someone says “Estoy haciendo el aseo,” it means they are frantically and obsessively cleaning their house. They tend to use a range of toxic chemicals which are banned in most countries including one nasty in particular called “Varsol,” which causes dementia, respiratory problems and even death. You will know it by the varnish smell.
Administracion – This is an additional cost per month which is common in condo communities and apartment buildings. It covers the groundskeeping costs and the salary of your doorman, or “cellador,” or a full-fledged security guard “guardia,” who carries an old revolver which is probably better used as a hammer in case of problems. Be nice to these people, they can make your life heaven or hell in the blink of an eye. At christmas time give them a 20,000 note or a bottle of aguardiente or rum as insurance.
Bodega – Especially the older apartment buildings, often come with a storage room (bodega), for all the extra crap you brought with you. They are usually located in the deepest darkest part of your building or parking garage.
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The Cost of Rent in Manizales
The cost of rent varies according to the strata and location. The lower the strata, the lower the rent. Most gringos will try to get strata 4, 5 or 6. In our concept, Manizales is probably the only city where you can safely live in a strata 3 neighborhood. Anything below that – is NOT for you.
Palermo (Strata 6)
You can find big old houses for about 1,500,000 range per month (~$500 USD) in this sector. Apartment buildings range from old and outdated/remodels to new constructions with smaller spaces for $300+ USD per month.
La Rambla (Strata 5)
Again medium to big, old houses for 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 ($300-500 USD) per month – some great investor potential awaits here. You can also find small studio apartments in the garages of these houses or single bedrooms available. This is close to the Catholic University and the University of Caldas, so more student accommodations.
Milan (Strata 5/6)
A one to two bedroom apartment can cost you 650,000 – 800,000+ ($200+ USD) in an older building in the Zona G, where all the best restaurants are to be found! Cravings galore reside here. This is a nice area with mountain views and colder weather/winds. A newer building will rent for about 900,000+ (~$300 USD). Mostly apartments, very few houses.
Zona Rosa/Av. Santander (Strata 6)
Edificio Cervantes and Edificio Castillo probably has some of the best views and placement in the city. nice Apartments there tend to rent for 2,000,000+ COP ($650 USD) per month. Facilities include parking, bodega, large living spaces, great views. You are paying for location.
El Triangulo (Strata 5)
An older apartment building area along Av. Santander, El triangulo is halfway between el Cable (zona rosa) and el Centro (downtown). This area ranges from strata 4 to 5. There is great access to grocery stores, cafe’s, transportation etc. This area starts around 500,000 COP ($175 USD) per month.
La Francia (Strata 5/6)
For people who crave green spaces and want to be closer to el Centro/Plaza de Toros, this area might be for you. It has great views of the western corridor of the Coffee Axis. Nearby is a famous weekend tourism destination known for it’s great views, places to wander with children and tons of food/drink/ice-cream options in the Chipre neighborhood.
Apartment prices start at 700,000 – 1,000,000 COP ($225 – $350 USD) and up per month. Houses in this sector start at 1,800,000 COP ($600 USD) per month.
La Florida (Villamaria/Strata 4/5)
The number one most popular areas for snobby gringos, La Florida is in a nice area with ample green spaces, cookie cutter suburban houses and the best and most expensive school in the city (Granadino). If you love the condo life and a warmer climate without the extra cost of strata 6 utilities then this area is for you. Starting at 1,900,000 COP (~$650 USD) per month.
Alto Suiza (Strata 4/5)
Apartments and houses in this area start in the 700,000 COP ($225 USD) range and work upward. You can find smaller and cheaper places, but they will be older outdated buildings. Benefit – the large houses which are not as expensive as Palermo but not that far away either. Easy to get to Milan (Zona G) and Cable Plaza (Zona Rosa).
For a more extensive report PLUS guarantor (Fiador) work-arounds, click here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/manizales-rent-27443541
Finding a place to rent can be one of the biggest headaches of life abroad. I hope we were able to help you cut through the fog. Feel free to contact us with any questions or needs regarding our recommended neighborhoods. We will try to help you find some clarity about the Cost of Rent in Manizales and speed you on your way to finding your perfect lifestyle abroad.
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