I mentioned in my last post that I will explore the possibility of taking our work with us somewhere in Latin America to prove to ourselves that it is possible to become location independent as travel agents.
The city that we, or I rather, were setting my sights on was either Mexico or Colombia – proximity to Canada and no significant time difference being major factors considered.
When I started my research, I was originally searching for the presence of any Filipino community in both countries, in any city, because by knowing a fellow overseas Filipino worker living like a local in a target destination, will make the adaptability easier because you don’t have to rush into learning the local language because a kababayan can somehow be a source of assistance.
And also, another reason I was looking for a fellow Pinoy is because, if ever I find setting a remote office in Latin America feasible, I would like to hire a local who can speak Filipino. That way, I don’t have to worry about visa requirements and other stuff to make working in the country legal. All I have to concern myself with is training the person.
Anyway, my search for a Pinoy community is fruitless. But this does not discourage me from continuing with my objective of setting-up a remote office while snowbirding in either Mexico or Colombia.
I don’t want to wait and dilly dally much longer, so I decided to just choose where to locate. And this are the steps I took:
1) I already have in mind some places I wanted to locate in and this were Cancun in Mexico or Medellin in Colombia.
I was already researching those two places for quite a while, so I pretty much have an idea what to expect. But of course it’s different when you actually set foot in a place so, I have to plan where to go first.
2) The second step I did was to find out where the airfare was cheaper between the two cities. From Toronto, in the lean days of January, the airfare going to Cancun is about $400 while to Medellin it is around $800.
That is based on 90 days of stay for both. I made the airfare search in November and during that period, there was a straight flight to Cancun from Toronto with Air Canada, but I did not decide to buy it immediately, so when the time came for me to purchase, that straight flight is much more expensive already. Lesson learned. On this particular issue, Cancun is the clear winner.
3) Next, I searched for and compared some bed and breakfast or homestays places in both cities – price wise.
Why I chose to stay in a bed and breakfast accommodation instead of hostels where most backpacking travelers frequent? Mainly because I like the element of being in a local’s house, where immersing in the culture and language of the country is a big part of the adventure.
More specially so because I’d like to learn and practice Spanish, a language most Filipinos are familiar with but was forgotten because it was taken for granted by the Philippine government and removed from the school curriculum completely.
Another factor that made me lean towards a bed and breakfast is the fact that most who stay in hostels are very young travelers. They party a lot in their dormitories or rooms that you might be sharing with them. They usually go back to their own beds all drunk and noisy, which may rouse me from sleep – and I didn’t want that. Because when my sleep was interrupted, I will have a very hard time going back to rest.
I guess the point here is that, I’m not a hostel age anymore. LOL.
Anyway, when I compared accommodation in both cities, I found that the price is the same for both, about $30/night, but there are more bed and breakfast accommodation choices in Cancun than Medellin. So, I also chose Cancun there.
Sources: http://www.bedandbreakfast.com, http://www.bedandbreakfastworld.com. Don’t use Trip Advisor on your search. The website have too many annoying pop-ups that will only slow your computer down.
Cost of food and other necessities and summary
It is difficult to compare the cost of food in both cities if you are not actually there yourself. That’s what I think.
So, I totally skipped this part and just decided to take note of my everyday expenses when I’m actually present in either of those cities.
In summary, I decided to go to Cancun to explore over Medellin, mainly because using the airfare and accommodation factors, I think I will be able to save on expenses in Cancun, considering the cost of airfare.
I am intending to stay in Cancun for two weeks for this exploratory objective. If I find the city satisfactory to my objective, I might skip going to Medellin altogether. Meanwhile, let me get ready for my next adventure and will post the result of my research here.
Tell me what you think.