It is important to know that residences in Colombia are divided into six strata (estratos); from estrato 1 (very poor-quality housing in low-class areas) to estrato 6 (luxury residences in upscale neighborhoods).
The strata are a combination of the properties of the residence and the socio-economic level of the area, and are used for purposes such as tax and utilities, as most utilities have a higher unit value for the higher strata than for the lower ones. It is important to know the estrato of the place you wish to rent, as prices and other expenses differ widely across strata.
A second step to finding a home is to research thoroughly the neighborhoods and areas of the city and to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each. You can always search on the internet, and inquire on websites and forums, but the best strategy is to visit the areas yourself and get opinions from people living there.
Questions to ask yourself before beginning the search:
Flat sharing is a good way to save money and avoid some of the administrative hurdles of renting out an entire property as a foreigner, while allowing you to meet locals and be immersed in the Colombian culture.
Generally flat shares are more flexible than full leases with regards to the term of the lease, termination and other clauses. Rent will almost always include utilities and in some cases even three meals a day.
However, sharing an apartment in Colombia sometimes comes with clauses that can surprise foreigners, such as restrictions on visits, charges for overnight visitors, limited usage of common areas or curfews. Be sure you are aware of the rules of the house and have met your fellow flat mates before committing to any lease.
Flatshares in Bogota can be found through Compartoapto.
Hostels offer tours of the city, notice boards with offers of all kinds and can also be a good way to establish your initial network of contacts in your first days in Bogota. They can also be helpful temporary residence when you first arrive in the city before finding somewhere more permanent.
There is a plethora of hostels in Bogota, especially in the Candelaria historical center and the Chapinero area. Hostels generally offer beds in a dormitory, but private rooms with shared bathrooms may be available as well. Many are located in old colonial houses which have been refurbished for modern use, so the comfort level is average.
Prices are generally between $10-20 USD per night, and breakfast is usually not included.
Looking for cheap accommodation in Bogotá isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
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