A medium-sized college town located in the coffee region of Colombia. Aside from Pereira, Manizales may be one of Colombia’s most overlooked and underrated cities. It is affordable, friendly and very conveniently located in the middle of Bogota, Medellin and Cali (by bus: 6 hrs to Bogota, 5 hrs to Cali and 4 hrs to Medellin).
DATING IN MANIZALES
You’ll get checked out almost as much as you would in Pereira, but the girls in Manizales seem to be a bit more conservative in comparison. Dating in Manizales is certainly doable because many students don’t live with their parents, but If you want to make the most of this place, you have to stay for awhile and be seen out and about by the locals. This will raise your social cred immensely. Remember, it’s a small city so people get bored easily. If you’re the new kid in town, you can hook up with girls in Manizales.
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WOMEN IN MANIZALES
Manizales is unique in the sense that it is probably the whitest city in Colombia (at least, in my experience). I found women here to look more Spanish than Colombian. Overall, women in Manizales are hot – there are a lot of pretty faces. However, not a lot of curves going on. If you like the coke-bottle look, go to just about any other major city in Colombia (except Bogota). I don’t mind the girls of Manizales, but I imagine most readers will have come to Colombia the bodacious bodies of Cali, or the flawless faces of Medellin.
LEARNING SPANISH IN MANIZALES
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RENT AN APARTMENT IN MANIZALES
$400.00 should do it. You pay even less for an apartment or house in Manizales if you split with students.
NIGHTLIFE IN MANIZALES
The nightlife in Manizales is good, but only from Thursday-Sunday; like many cities in Colombia, bars are dead during the week. Don’t bother with anything that’s outside the El Cable district if you are staying only for a short while. In El Cable there are a variety of bars and discos to choose from that are within walking distance. Meeting people in bars and clubs in Manizales is easier than in other Colombian cities if you are college-age, don’t act like a twat and have a little bit of Spanish language skills. The latter is important because seriously few people here speak English. I’d suggest going to Juan Sebastien Bar to try and connect with a few people before heading to a disco.
I recommend: Simon Dice. A big-enough disco to mingle in. Located in El Cable. A good area to get a taste of nightlife in Manizales.
IS MANIZALES SAFE?
Reasonably safe. Muggings are not entirely uncommon though. If you’re white-skinned, you won’t stand out too much because a lot of the people here are too (they don’t get much sun), but if you look rich you might be made a target.
COST OF LIVING IN MANIZALES
The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.
*Figures are listed in USD
You’ll need a minimum of $681 USD/month to live in Manizales, Colombia
You could probably teach some English here. I’d focus on “business English” since many students will probably want to move to Bogota or Medellin to work after graduation
Like Pereira, another “hidden gem” of Colombia. The nightlife is respectable, the city is clean, safe and a good size and your exotic value will be high. Also, the girls in Manizales are hot enough to keep you pleased. Unfortunately, unless you are going to school or building an online business, you will get bored here pretty quick. On the other hand, if you work from a computer or want to learn Spanish in Colombia and prefer a small-town vibe, Manizales is an ideal city.
OVERALL RATING: 7.75/10
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