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CARTAGENA COST-OF-LIVING AND FOOD BASKET PRICES

Because of increased real estate activity, we receive numerous requests relating to living costs in Cartagena. This information is particularly important to people living on fixed incomes such as retirees who can no longer afford medical, drug, taxes and insurance costs which raise faster than their pensions or Social Security COLA. Many are weighing the pros and cons of selling their currently high valued homes, and retiring to Cartagena. For many, Cartagena living costs enter into this decision.

When you compare costs, don’t forget to add airline ticket costs back home to visit family and friends. Once they see you in person, and learn firsthand about your personal safety, lifestyle and low Cartagena living costs, we’re sure that they will visit you-more than you visit them!

The U.S. State Department lies through omission,(there is no other word for it!) regarding personal safety, when they include safe Cartagena along with the Colombia mountains areas far to the south. For an honest appraisal, that does not harm the people of Cartagena, or their economy, look at this quote from the current Canada Government Travel Report:

“Cartagena tourist resort areas have the highest level of security in Colombia. Criminal activity and violence directed at tourists is low, and comparable to other Caribbean destinations.”

CARTAGENA COST-OF-LIVING
as compared with prices in North America and some EU countries:

Housing - costs per square foot basis are 50-60% LESS.

Medical/Dental/Optical - costs are about 60% LESS.

Nursing Homes - cost about 70% LESS.

Burial or Cremation - costs are about 70% LESS.

Utility - costs are about the same.

Transportation - The very low costs and frequent schedules of public transportation, such as buses (.25 cents) and taxis ($1-2), means there is no need to go to the expense of having a private car. Once they find a favorite taxi driver or two, many residents use them exclusively for their transportation needs.

Clothing/shoes/accessories - cost less. Colombia companies manufacture a wide range of stylish, and well made shoes and leather accessories.

Dinning out/nightly entertainment - costs 50% LESS. CLICK FOR ACTUAL MENU’S AND CURRENT PRICES.

Insurance Costs/health/auto/fire - costs about 50% LESS. Insurance use is not prevalent. Construction is basically concrete and steel. Cartagena has not experienced violent: hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, or hale storms. There is a brief “rainy season”, but even thunder storms are not that frequent.


CARTAGENA FOOD BASKET PRICES

The prices recorded for the Food Basket, and the contents of this article were made by a U.S. citizen who, for the past 3 years, has lived and worked in Cartagena. When ever possible I have chosen name brands (which are highlighted in yellow) that you may be familiar with. Naturally, some of these products are higher priced because they are imported, but many are made by subsidiaries of U.S. companies located here in Colombia, or other nearby countries.

There are three major national food chains with stores in Cartagena. Small price variations exist within different stores of the same chain, depending on the economy of the neighborhood where the store is located. For this article, prices were gathered from the most upscale chain which stocks a higher number of foreign made products. This store is also located in economic Zone 6, which is the governments(1-6) rating as the most affluent neighborhoods. Native Cartageneros weekly food costs, from what I’ve been told, are about half to one third of what I (the spoiled Gringo) spend. They prepare their healthy meals mostly from “scratch”, where I, as most Gringo’s do, buy the prepared, quicker to eat food. Note: at my age (65), I am enjoying my life, and I buy, and eat what I like!

Peso Dollar prices converted at P2.700 = U.S.$ prices appear in turquoise.
Prices in Cartagena were recorded on July 10, 2004
Prices from Publix, Florida’s largest supermarket chain, recorded on July 31, 2004, & appear in BOLD type.
Prices per "unit" are calculated when package size or content weights differ from country to country.
Total Cartagena Price (in U.S. Dollars) of buying one each of the Basket below = $173.01
Total Florida Price (in U.S. Dollars) of buying one each of the Basket below = $237.47

The Cartagena Basket costs 37% LESS than the Florida Basket

FRUITS/VEGETABLES
Pineapple, large....P2.400 ($.89) $4.95
Green apples, per #....P3.200 ($1.19) $1.49
Red apples, per #......P2.150 ($.80) $1.49
Pears, per #.....2.400 ($.89) $1.49
Lettuce head-per #.....P825 ($.31) $1.29
Cabbage head-per #....P925 ($.34) $.45
Oranges-per #...P1.345 ($.50) $1.79
Bananas-per #....P320 ($.12) $.49
Potatoes-per #...P495 ($.18) $.50
French fries frozen 1000gm...P4.960 ($1.84) $2.74
Carrots-per #......P1.450 ($.54) $.79
String beans-per #......P1.375 ($.51) $.99
Beans with bacon 580gm medium can......P3.200 ($1.19) $1.08

DAIRY PRODUCTS
Milk 1000ml plastic bag......P1.000 ($.37) $1.39
Margarine 500gm......P4.450 ($1.65) $1.54
Cheese-mozzarella 25 slices-450gm.....P5.450 ($2.02) $5.02
Ice cream 1 ltr...P12.240 ($4.53) $1.60
Yogurt, (strawberry, blackberry, or peach) 1000gm bag....P2.750 ($1.02) $2.55

STAPLES
Eggs, dozen-large....P3.590 ($1.33) $1.09
Quaker Oats 700gm.....P5.250 ($1.94) $2.80
Rice, 1000gm bag.....P1.860 ($.69) $1.07
Popping corn 1000gm bag.....P2.010 ($.74) $1.19
Planters Cocktail peanuts 12oz can.....P4.150 ($1.54) $2.69
Sugar- 1kg....P1500 ($.56) $1.19

DRINKS
Orange juice-Country Hill 1000ml plastic bag.....P2.750 ($1.02) $2.39
Coca Cola 2.5ltr plastic bottle.....P2.910 ($1.08) $1.40
Coffee-export grade 500gm......P3.740 ($1.39) $2.92
Coffee-Nescafe Tradicion 170gm.....P6.510 ($2.41) $7.12
Water bottled 5 ltr.....P2.340 ($.87) $.85
Motts Apple juice 32oz jar....P9.800 ($3.63) $1.15
Beer - national Agula brand 300ml......P1.190 ($.44) $.63
Beer Miller High Life 32 oz......P6.930 ($2.57) $1.86
Wine Apple Table wine 750ml......P6.290 ($2.33) $3/99
Johnnie Walker Blue Label 750ml......P45.7560 ($16.95) $23.99
Gordon’s Dry Gin 750ml.....P44.220 ($16.38) $11.99
J&B Scotch 750ml......P44.200 ($16.37) $23.99

MEAT, FISH, POULTRY
Hamburger, lean-per#....P5.250 ($1.94) $2.29
Fillets, beef tenderloin - 4pk/ 3”X1” bacon wrapped ....P12.000 ($4.44) $6.99
Pork chops – per #.....P4.450 ($1.65) $3.99
Chicken breasts – per #....3.350 ($1.24) $2.59
Chicken Porchi brand, lunch meat 450gm......P3.750 ($1.39) $2.17
Chicken nuggets frozen 30 count......P11.190 ($4.14) $4.79
Shrimp tails frozen medium 250gms.....P9.165 ($3.39) $5.25
Tuna fish Van Camps 6.5oz. can.....P2.350 ($.87) $.65

MISC.
Nesquick chocolate, powder 1000gm.......P10.990 ($4.07) $4.25
Aunt Jemima syrup 12 oz......P6700 ($2.48) $2.19
Pillsbury Chocolate Cake mix 18.25 oz......P6.560 ($2.43) $1.79
Royal Gelatin 85gm box......P890 ($.33) $.48
Scott toilet paper double tissue 12 rolls......P17.300 ($6.41) $8.49
Scott kitchen paper towels 2pk.....P3.690 ($1.37) $1.65
cigarettes Marlboro, Kool, Lucky Strike, etc. 10pk ctn...P28.310 ($10.49) $26.49
spaghetti 9 oz.....P1.350 ($.50) $.54
Mustard Kraft 9 oz squeeze.......P4.580 ($1.70) $.99
Heinz Ketchup 20 oz.....P5.590 ($2.07) $1.73
Bread, loaf-four grain, brown sliced 380 grams.....P2.120 ($1.65) $2.19
Crackers, Soda 275 gm......P1.710 ($.63) $.74
Oreo chocolate cookies 48 count.....P3.500 ($1.30) $3.79
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 500gm.........P7.000 ($2.59) $3.19
Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal 300gm.....P5.400 ($2.00) $2.55
Purina Dog Chow 2Kg bag.....P9.880 ($3.63) $2.90
Clorox bleach 1 gal......P7.020 ($2.60) $2.60
Laundry powder soap 3kg bag.....P11.050 ($4.09) $8.27
Woolite Pre Spray-large......P11.650 ($4.31) $5.29
Palmolive hand soap 3 pk.......P4.560 ($1.69) $1.50
Colgate toothpaste 3pk 14gm ea......P6.750 ($2.50) $1.49
Gillette Foamy shaving aerosol reg. can .....P10.760 ($3.98) $1.69

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