Bogota - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Apartments, all within walking distance to the Canadian embassy. Typical housing size is 3-4 bedrooms, 2-3 full bathrooms. Commute time is a 10-20 minute walk to work. Both work and home are in a neighborhood called Usaquen. - Aug 2023

We are a family of five living in a large 5 bedroom apartment. We live in Chico and love the are for the plentiful parks, restaurants, and things to do. The commute to the USA embassy during normal times can be 30-45 minutes but since COVID it’s usually 15-20 minutes. - Feb 2021

Modern, spacious housing. Awful commute, though. It's a diagonal 10km across town and zero public transportation options exist per security rules. Commute time in cars range from 30-90 minutes depending on traffic. - Jul 2020

Most people live in apartments. There are some single family dwellings in Bogota, but those are rare. Apartments are good size, some have maid quarters. There is no central heating or cooling here, so people who live in apartments with lots of stone and tile complain about the cold. Neighborhoods for USG staff are primarily in Chico and Rosales. Chico is closer to shopping and restaurants and flatter. Rosales is in the hills and a bit cooler in temperature. It's closer to CNG (school). - Feb 2020

All embassy housing is in apartments. Apartments are all located in good neighborhoods, most of them an easy walk to shopping, parks and restaurants. Some of the apartments in Rosales are not as walkable due to the hills, but they tend to have amazing views. Buildings have a mix of amenities: some have pools, playgrounds, party rooms, and gyms, while others have fewer amenities. All of the buildings have doormen/security.

As far as I know, all have some parking but garages can be tight, and most seem to have some kind of storage room for residents although those storage rooms are sometimes small and damp. Most apartments include a small maids quarters that can also be used for storage if you do not have live-in household help. The housing is not far but commute times to the U.S. Embassy run 30-75 minutes depending on traffic and time of day. - Nov 2018

(this is about US Embassy housing) All housing is apartment living. From what I've seen, everyone has plenty of space. There are two main neighborhoods: Chico and Rosales. We're in Chico and I love it. I walk everywhere, to the grocery store, to malls, to park, to restaurants and cafes. I had heard that it was noisier, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. I don't hear traffic noise, just construction, but you can get that anywhere.

Rosales is also close to great restaurants and a grocery store, but it's hillier and you'll feel those walks much more than you'll feel it after walking around Chico. In both neighborhoods the amenities in the apartments can vary GREATLY. For instance, our building has no extras. Others can have play structures, pools, movie rooms, and community rooms. Some are even setup like complexes of towers, where the kids can run outside and to other buildings, without leaving your guarded gate. You may also have no American neighbors, few or many. It just depends. Most apartments will end up with a water leak or two each year, but the buildings feel safe and well-constructed. - Sep 2018

Apartments. No houses in the US Embassy community, but I know of some other expats who live in the far north in houses. The housing is beautiful; usually modern and very nice sizes. Everyone I know has space for a live-in nanny as well. Embassy families live in different zones and it's about 30-45 minutes to the embassy depending on traffic. We had a three bedroom apartment with a living room, family room, office, dining room, and two balconies. - Aug 2018

All apartments. Sizes vary depending on location and building age. Most expat housing is in the north of the city with commute times running closer to an hour. - May 2018

All apartment building. Typical commute time to the Embassy is about 30 minutes in the am and depending on the day 45-60+ minutes for the commute home in the evening. - Apr 2016

Nice apartments, no houses. You can live either up in the hills and get a relatively larger apartment with limited walkability, or down in the "planos" with slightly smaller apartments and excellent walkability to parks, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. - Aug 2015

Housing is very expensive. Almost all embassy personnel and private sector employees live in nice modern 2-3 bedroom apartments. Sizes vary. Most apartments come with small maid quarters and usually a small storage unit in the parking garage. Some apartment buildings have small gyms and playgrounds. Best places to live are near the popular areas of Parque 93 and Zona T. Commuting is difficult most of the year due to traffic and lax laws. It can take you 20 minutes without traffic or 90 minutes during a rainy rush hour. If you do not have a diplomatic plate, you may be restricted to drive only on certain days/hours. Public transportation is not allowed for U.S. Embassy personnel. There have been a few incidents of kidnappings, muggings, and murders in taxis. Try to always call a taxi by phone or through the app Tapsi or Uber. Taxis can be impossible to find during rush hour or when it's raining. Plan your outings accordingly to avoid being stranded. There are parking garages but drunk driving laws are so strict that it is better to take a taxi if you plan on having even one glass of wine. - Jun 2014

U.S. Embassy people live in what's called the Gringo Bubble - an area of about 30 blocks in the Chica/Rosales section. We all live in apartments that tend to be spacious and modern. However, ovens are much smaller than US ones, so cooking sheets, large baking pans, etc., may not fit in them. Power outages are not uncommon. Closet space is luxurious in most of the apartments. As stated above, they can be cold - so bring space heaters and quilts. Commute times are usually 30-60 minutes depending on rain and traffic. - May 2013

Pretty well everyone in Bogota lives in apartments, which can be quite beautiful. The commute time really depends. Distances that sometimes can take 10 minutes, can easily extend to over an hour depending on traffic. I walk to work. US Embassy staff get shuttled, as the Embassy is on the other side of the city. - Oct 2012

Everyone lives in apartments that range from older, but typically larger apartments with no amenities in the building, to very new complexes with generally smaller apartments but with gyms and other amenities onsite. Commute time ranges from 30 minutes up to an hour or more if raining. At this point, the embassy still offers shuttle service in the mornings and afternoons so you don't have to drive. - Jul 2012

Large spacious apartments, generally with good views. Hard for kids or pets. - Apr 2012

All official Americans live in apartments in the northern part of the city. Commute times can be up to an hour each way (more if it's raining or traffic is otherwise hectic) in a lightly armored vehicle. People complain about the commute fairly often. But the Embassy is having trouble finding housing in other parts of the city that would fit both security and size requirements. - Dec 2011

It is mainly apartment living. There are some houses the further north you go from the city. - Jul 2011

Rosales and El Chico, They are all aprtments, The housing department in the embassy is managed by a colombian lady who doesn't like her job, so you will be in a temporary housing and you will have to beg her on your knees to change you, but at list you will be there for more than one month, if you have babies and there are constructions beside the housingsays that is not a reason for ask for a change the noise the all day long, We have a new born and a construction about 6 ft from his crib, and we ask for an other apartment and they said construction is not a reason, I have a friend who can't park her car in her parking because is too small for her car, so she has to park her car in a public parking 3 bloks ahead from her apartment, She has 2 small kids and is raining all the time, They have make damages on her car, She asked for a change and They said no,I have an other friend who is pregnant and She will need an extra room for the new baby, She asked for a change 6 months ago, The autorized the change but the housing lady hasn't do anything, the baby is going to be there in one month and they don't have a room for him. - Nov 2010

Apartments. They are okay. Most are about a 35-to-45 minute commute from the embassy. - Sep 2010

Housing is adequate but poorly constructed with drafty windows. Because of the temperate weather, there are no air vents! Also no central air or heat, so the apartments are often uncomfortably cold. Space heaters are generally provided, but using them is a drag. Several folks have had to be moved because they lost hot water. - Aug 2010

Housing is fantastic - we love our apartment. All US Embassy housing is in the north of the city, about a thirty-minute drive from the embassy when traffic is good, but more than an hour when it's bad. Everyone is in apartments, even the DCM. - Aug 2010

All US Embassy employees live in apartments. Most tend to be very nice and spacious. The embassy housing is very close to lots of great restaurants and three malls. Currently, the US Embassy offers shuttle service to and from the embassy. The commute times average about 30 minutes. - Aug 2010

People working for the U.S. Embassy live in Rosales or el Chico. People with kids who go to the colegio nueva granada or to gran Bretania, live in Rosales, which is in the mountains, a beautiful place but cold. They have large modern apartments, each bedroom with bathroom. Some buildings have playgrounds, gyms, and even pools, but in rosales you definitely need a car. For single people or couples without kids (or with younger kids who go to preschool), el Chico is really nice. The apartments are big -- some of them ultra modern, but more noisy, and it has good parks. all of them are apartments. Temporary housing is something that you may have to deal with, and sometimes for months. - Jun 2010

Most of the houses have been torn down and replaced by brick facade very modern apartments, which are everywhere. No matter what you pay in rent (which is very high always - we pay $2,400 and another $400-$500 for administration (security guards, etc for the building), your apartment WILL have something that needs repairing and the rental agency will never get around to repairing it unless you refuse to pay until it is repaired. - Jan 2010

Pretty much all apartments for embassy employees. Some are older, but many are super-modern, and all are located in one of two great neighborhoods. - Sep 2009

Apartments that are about a 40-45 minute drive to the Embassy (on holidays and off, off hours the drive can be made in about 15 minutes). - Dec 2008

All apartment living, many people are not happy with the housing. The apartments are small or old or very noisy. Everyone has a white noise machine to help with sleeping, but it's hard not to hear the apartment noises (parties in other apartments, etc) and the buses and motorcycles are really loud. - Dec 2008

Nice houses, but many are in very poor condition and the landlords don't want to fix them up. And on arrival don't expect to be taken to your home, it is not going to be ready, almost for sure, ours was not and other people had the same problem, nobody is in a rush to get your home ready in time for you. Lots of problems with housing. " QUE PENA." - Nov 2008

Good, mainly apartments. - Nov 2008

Love, love, love the housing. It's all apartment living but the housing office really does try to give everyone ample space. Most single people come here to find themselves in 3 bedroom apartments, most families 3-5 bedrooms (including a maid's quarters). Most have studios, dining rooms, nice size kitchens (most of our ovens are terribly small though). . .and usually each bedroom has a bathroom. - May 2008

All apartments for embassy employees. The apartments range from large and really nice to small and just okay. It's luck of the draw. The plummeting dollar is making the process of finding and keeping nice housing even more difficult. - Apr 2008


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