MedellínColombia. It has over 2 million people and is the capital of the department of Antioquia. It's set in a valley running south to north and just a one-hour flight from Bogotá.
Let's just get it out of the way up front: throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Medellín was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world for its size, and had a highly disproportional homicide and kidnapping rate. It was the home of the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the so-called Medellín Cartel, who virtually took over the city during that time. Since his demise in the mid-1990s, the cartel was disbanded and the city rebounded tremendously. In 1991 there were 6,500 murders in the city, by 2009 the murder rate decreased to 2,900. In 2016, there were a total of 534 homicides reported in Medellín.
Despite these relatively recent developments, it's safe to say that the city is better off today than 20 years ago. Paisas, the residents of this region, are proud of their city's progress, and are ready to move forward with vigor.
Medellín is a vast city built north to south in the Aburrá valley and surrounded on either side by majestic mountain ranges. The wealthier classes live in the well-protected hillside neighborhood of El Poblado, and the more traditional suburban neighborhoods, Laureles and Envigado. This is far removed from the action and commotion which are found in the city's center. There are the busy markets and a thriving street life that make up much of the city's charm. The city is home to a half-dozen universities, accounting for a vibrant cultural and nightlife scene fueled by thousands of young adults from all over the country. Medellín is also Colombia's largest industrial center, and home to factories making everything from designer clothing to Toyota SUVs. The city's northern hills are flooded with rural refugees from the ongoing civil war and their ingenuity in making a living is impressive. People sell anything from crayons to guinea pigs to garden earth in the bars in order to make a living.
As a relatively new city, the architecture has a decidedly modernist appeal, which goes hand in hand with the progressiveness of its residents. Medellín also has the first (and only) Metro system in Colombia. For international travelers, Medellín is perhaps most famous for the Botero Museum, whose namesake is one of the most famous modern artists alive today. It is also known for its perfect climate with its nickname "city of the eternal spring".
Medellín is surrounded by 8 smaller towns and together they form the Area Metropolitana with almost 3.5 million people. These other towns are: Bello, Itaguí, Sabaneta, La Estrella, Caldas, Copacabana, Girardota and Barbosa. The neighboring town of Envigado does not belong to this administrative association even though it is closer than many of the mentioned above. Medellín is a true conglomerate of towns and you will find it difficult to tell the borders between these municipalities.
Located east of Medellín is the valley of Rionegro which is larger and higher in the mountains. This area holds some of the most important factories, recreational grounds and suburbs of the city, as well as the International Airport.
The weather in Medellín is quite mild it well deserves its common motto of 'City of eternal spring'. Average daily temperatures are 22°C (71°F), range from 15 to 30 °C (60º-85°F). Humidity is comfortable in the 50%-70% range. Due to its proximity with the equator there is little variation with the seasons. Due to the high altitude and moderate overcast skies Medellín stays cool, with an occasional couple hours of strong sun light.
As Medellín is located in a tropical country, the absence of air conditioners in Medellín often takes foreign visitors by surprise. Air conditioning is used in downtown areas. Fresh air comes from the mountains surrounding Medellín on all sides, and provides Medellín with the perfect climate. At night time the temperature is usually in the 10-15°C (50-60°F) range, and depends mostly on if its raining or not. The majority of restaurants are in open air environment, without walls, because of the perfect climate.
Spanish is the official language in Colombia. Few locals are bilingual, and when so it is usually English as the second language. You will find many signs written both in Spanish and in English, especially in the more tourist areas.
Disadvantaged youths in the city have assembled a wealth of new expressions that have fascinated scholars and artists. Many local movies like La Vendedora de Rosas depict this urban language called Parlache in its own idiom. Dialectologists have assembled a dictionary (Diccionario de Parlache ISBN 9589766498 by Luz Stella Castañeda Naranjo and José Ignacio Henao Salazar, Mar 2006).
José María Córdova International AirportInternational non-stop flights are available from Caracas, Lima, Panamá, Quito, Curaçao, San José (Costa Rica), Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New York City and Madrid with easy connections to Buenos Aires, Santiago, São Paulo, Rio and other places.
Airlines serving this airport are: American Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, LATAM, Spirit Airlines, Insel Air, Satena. VivaColombia is a low-cost airline with a hub at this airport.
Domestic flights have frequent service to Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, San Andrés Islas, Santa Marta and Pereira. There are taxis that can take you down to the city. a taxi from Rionegro's International Airport to the city is a set price to Medellin at COP$60,000, taking around 45 minutes (Sep 2015).
Combuses run buses (COP$9500, one hour) to downtown Medellín dropping you behind the Nutibara hotel, near the Parque Barrio metro station. Taking the bus/metro/walking combination from the airport may seem attractive from a price point, however depending on where you are going in the city, it can be up to 2 hours to your destination, in addition to having to buy another metro or bus ticket. Parties of 2 or more can easily just get a cab instead for not much more expensive.
Olaya HerreraA small local airport for regional and domestic travel, with non-stop flights to 23 destinations. Airlines: LATAM, Aerolínea de Antioquia -ADA-, Satena, EasyFly. Also charter flights from Searca.
Medellín has two bus terminals (North and South) managed by the same company and share a single website. Both terminals have mid-size shopping malls in the premises. For a complete list of the cities check the webpage.
- The is much larger and part of a mall complex and are connected with the Caribe Metro Station and the rail system (Although passenger rail transport in Colombia is quite limited). It serves cities North and East of Medellín (Cartagena, Santa Marta and Bogotá included).
- Bogotá: 9hr30min - COP$60,000 -75,000 with Bolivariano, Arauca, Coonorte, Rápido Tolima and Magdalena (September 2016)
Guatape: 2hr - COP$13,000 with Sotrasanvicente and Sotrapeñol (March 2016)
- Cali: 8hr - COP$50,000 - 68,000 with Empresa Arauca, Expreso Brasilia, Expreso Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Flota Magdalena, Expresos Trejos
- Manizales: 5hr - COP$42,000
- Pereira: 5hr - COP$42,000 - $60,000
There are four roads leading to Medellín from all cardinal points. From Bogota you can take Autopista Medellín and head west 7–9 hours with beautiful scenery. From Pereira, Cali and the south take road 25 towards Medellín. If coming from the Atlantic coast (Cartagena, Barranquillia) take route 25 south to Medellín (approx. 11 hours). There is no road connecting Panamá with Colombia.
- Trains are scarce and unreliable in Colombia. It is not possible to arrive in Medellín by boat.
Most of the city of Medellín is built on a grid system. Carreras (streets) are abbreviated as Cr, Cra, K, kra or Crs and run parallel to the river from south to north.
The calles (also streets) cross the Carreras and run from East to West. Calles are abbreviated as C, Cll or Cl.
Avenidas, abbreviated as Av, are usually larger and main streets. The numerical system for the Avenidas is used but some have names that are more commonly used such as Avenida el Poblado or Avenida Oriental.
There are a few streets called Transversales which usually refer to wide Carreras atop the mountains in El Poblado neighborhood. The most famous are transversal Intermedia, Inferior and Superior. Along Laureles neighborhood you can also find Diagonales and Circulares.
Each address consists of a series of numbers, for example: Calle 50 # 65 - 8 which indicates that the building is on street 50 (Calle 50) 8 meters ahead from the intersection with street 65 (Carrera 65).
The centre point of the city, Parque de Berrio, is at the crossroads of Calle 50 and Carrera 50.
Metro and Metroplus
Monday through Saturday from 4:30AM to 11PM
Sundays and holidays from 5AM to 10PM
Frequency Peak hours: trains every 5 min, non-peak every 7 min.
Fare : single ride COP$2,550 (2019 fare, includes Metrocable transfers)
The touristic Metrocable line L to Parque Arví costs COP$6,000 non-resident, from 9AM to 6PM
Tarjeta Cívica is a reloadable payment card. Although it is mainly for residents of Medellín, if you're using MetroPlus/Integrado bus to train transfer, or staying in Medellin for weeks or more, it may be worth getting one. Its reduced fare is 2,255 COP (2019), and allows transfers to Tranvía, MetroPlus bus (Free) and Integrado buses (few hundred pesos more). Anyone can get one for free with the Passport, but you need to visit and line up at one of three service points at SanAntonio, Niquia, or Envigado station. With little luck, you may find mobile service point at other stations.
Traveling through the city is easy and quick, with the two-lineMetro system, you can go to anywhere in the city with The Metroplús (Bus extension to the Metro), Tranvía (Tram system) and the four-line Metrocable, a sky train or cable car that has revolutionized transport in the city. Trains run from 5PM to 11PM on workdays and from 7AM to 10PM on Sundays and holidays. Single tickets are COP$2,550, transfers between the Metro trains and cables are free, but you need to pay additional fare to transfer to MetroPlus bus and Tranvía tram.
The Metroplus system consists of long articulated buses powered with natural gas for a more environmentally friendly option. They run on exclusive roads and enclosed stations. Only with "Tarjeta Civica" transfer to the Metro is free.
See the transit map where the Metroplus is the thin green line Bus linea 1. There is also Bus linea 2 but this line do not run on exclusive lane in downtown area and need "Tarjeta Civica" for payment.
Taxis and buses
There is also the TuriBus, a modern bus that goes around the city showing its parks, attractive neighborhoods, and historical parts; it only costs COP$15,000. While they do not guarantee this, many times their guides also speak English and are happy to translate for you.
If you want to go around downtown or neighborhoods near the downtown area without using Taxis, try using the Circular Coonatra. There are various routes, marked on the front and back of the busses. These cost about COP$1,400 and require exact change.
Outdoor escalators: This unusual system allows underserved indwellers to climb up the mountains in the way to their homes, the escalators go up equivalent of a 28-story building. Rides are free . They are in the west of the city - San Javier area - which can be a rough neighborhood. It is not in walking distance of the San Javier metro station, which is the nearest.
Similar examples were only for tourist purposes, they are found in Bilbao near Portugalete, in the way down to the Vizcaya Bridge, and Monjuic Hill in Barcelona, Spain.
Car rental: Renting a car in Medellín, Colombia can enhance your visit, so it's definitely worth considering. Take a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia, Santa Helena, El Peñol or Llano Grande in Rionegro. Driving from Medellín allows for spectacular views as you climb up and out of the city into the surrounding mountains that lead to your day trip destination. Cars can be rented in town or at the airport.
Scooter or motorbike rentals: Since the steep hills of Medellín stops many tourists from biking, an appealing alternative is to rent a scooter or motorbike/motorcycle. There are two motorcycle rental agencies in Medellin: Colombia Moto Adventures has a selection of ADV motorcycles and scooters for adventure travelers and Medellin Scooter Rentals.
Biking: Biking is not easy in the city since many neighborhoods are in the hills. There is a small bike-route in the Laureles and Estadio areas. There are few areas designed to park bikes. On nights and weekends some major avenues are closed for the popular Ciclovía when you can safely ride a bike in the company of many other people exercising.
Walking is safe in some areas, not so in other parts of town. Read the stay safe section for advice.
- Pueblito Paisa is a reconstruction of a typical but tiny Antioquia village. It's located on top of el Cerro Nutibara and has a pleasant view over the city. It's within walking distance from the metrostation "Industriales," but as the walk to the top requires hiking uphill for a while, visitors might find that a taxi ride is a smart choice.
- Los Alumbrados, the Christmas lights decorating Medellín, make it the most beautiful Latin American city for the holidays. The lights stay put from the beginning of December to mid January. The most impressive parts are centered around the Rio Medellín at the 'puente de Guayaquil' and downtown. Large statues made of lights can be found throughout the city.
- The Metropolitan Cathedral, which holds the record as one of the buildings in the world with the most bricks - over 1.1 million - along the Bolivar Park in the city heart. Cra 48 calle 56. Metro station Prado.
- The Junin pedestrian street is a cobbledstone street in downtown area from Colteger building to Bolivar's park shows the history of city with Astor tea salon and Versalles salon.
Museums and the arts
address: Cra 52 #52-43A collection of contemporary art including many pieces, paintings and sculptures of Fernando Botero, one of the most important sculptors in the world. The Plaza Botero holds several large sculptures just in front of the museum and is free of charge.
phone: +57 4 219 5180address: Calle 67 N° 53-108Represents the merge of six collections: Visual Arts, Natural Science, University History, Galileo Interactive Room, Human Being and Anthropology. The attraction for foreigners is the Anthropology Collection which has the largest number in the Colombia of pre-Columbian ceramic pieces, with near 20,000 objects. It's in Bloque 15 of the University's main campus.
Casa Museo Fernando GonzálezWas local writer also known as The Philosopher from somewhere else or Otraparte which gives name to the home. A good opportunity to see an old traditional home with gardens, personal belongings and know more about his legacy. M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa Su 9AM-5PM. Cra 43A # 27A Sur - 11 Avenida Fernando González (in the nearby town of Envigado), phone +57 4 276 1415 or 335 2501. The closest Metro station is Envigado then take a cab or bus, the walk is almost 2 km mostly uphill.
phone: +57 4 233 2633Shows artwork by this local artist. M-Sa 9AM - 5PM. Sundays and Holidays 10AM - 4PM. Not near the Metro, closest stations are Prado or Hospital.
Museo Interactivo EPMA 'please touch museum', great for kids. Tu-F 8AM- 5:30PM, Sa Su 11AM-5:30PM. Closed Mondays (or Tuesdays after a holiday Monday). Cra 57 # 42-139, located on Parque de los Piés Descalzos and next door to the Plaza Mayor convention center. Phone +57 4 380 6950. Metro station Alpujarra or Cisneros.
phone: +57 4 421 6259A large display of everyday use articles crafted by natives from all over the country. Tools, textiles, bijouterie, pottery, little boats, small tents. Cra 81, No. 52B-120. The museum is off the beaten path, closest Metro station is Floresta but the walk is over 1 km.
- The Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM) has now 2 sites. The original is a small building near Suramericana and Carlos E. Restrepo neighborhoods, hosting the traditional exhibits. The new space in Ciudad del Río is a large and old industrial warehouse. Great café and restaurant in the premises. Opened in October 2009 near Metrostation Industriales. Original site: Carlos E. Restrepo, Carrera 44 Nº 19A-100. Phone +57 4 444 2622. Ciudad del Río, Carrera 64B Nº 51 - 64, Ph +57 4 230 2622
- During the 1980s a local law mandated every new building to invest 5% of the budget in a work of art displayed to the public, usually a sculpture. The legacy is around 300 monuments and sculptures scattered throughout the city and the nickname of City of Sculptures. There are 3 places with a higher concentration of sculptures: the above mentioned Plaza Botero, El Cerro Nutibara close to Pueblito Paisa and the gardens at Suramericana (Headquarters for the largest insurance company in the country).
- After the wave of violence in the 1980s and 90s there was a resurgence in the field of education and the construction of modern libraries in poor neighborhoods became a top priority. A few of them are masterpieces of architecture and a couple of them are easy to visit: Biblioteca España is atop the mountain and looks like giant black rocks hanging in the hills: Go to Metrostation Acevedo then take Metrocable to Santo Domingo station. Another library is close to Metrostation San Javier.
- The Parque de la bailarina I.C.R.C. (Ballerina's I.C.R.C. Park) Carrera 43 E between 7 and 9 street. Is a park located in El Poblado. You can find art that is made by artistic an cultural corporation Alas de mariposa since 2008, every month.
Parque de los DeseosThe near Antioquia's University, has an Indian context, beautifully emmarqued with the planetarium, and large display of science experiments. You can find free open air movies and discussions with film directors Saturdays at 7PM. Metro station Universidad.
Plaza de CisnerosThe is in the heart of the city, it borders some beautiful buildings from the 1920s, the EPM library, and a sector that was full of drugs and poverty many years ago, but is now a place to visit and have a great time. Metro station Alpujarra.
- Also visit the Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot park) for a Zen experience in the heart of town. Outdoor cafés, cultural activities. Metro station: Alpujarra or Cisneros.
- Plazuela de San Ignacio depicts Colonial and Republican style buildings. This little plaza witnessed in 1803 the birthplace of the largest university in town. The main lecture hall or Paraninfo de la Universidad de Antioquia is still in use and available for public view, even though the University moved 45 years ago to a big campus 2 km. north. Cra 44 at calle 48. Metro station: Parque Berrío. Walk uphill 6 block east.
- Parque Berrío is in the heart of town at the crossroads of Carrera 50 and Calle 50. Has the buildings of the Stock Exchange, Bank of the Republic, La Candelaria Church and the busiest metro station. It has the unofficial meetingplace for the locals -right at the sculpture of the 'Fat Woman' or 'La Gorda de Botero'. Connects directly to Plaza Botero and Plazuela Nutibara. Metro station Parque Berrío.
- The Parque del Periodista (journalist park) is a small square right in the center of the city. It is where the 'bohemian' and 'alternative' people meet. The bars play music varying from reggae and old salsa to alternative rock. You will find most of the people hanging outdoors instead of inside the bars. Metro station Parque Berrío.
- Parque San Antonio is a large, newer development right downtown. Hosts a handcraft bazaar and an infamous sculpture of a fat dove, bombed by criminals a couple of decades ago during the hard times of violence. By request of the artist the piece of art has not been repaired. Metro station San Antonio.
- The Parque de Boston is an attractive area that leads down to the main promenade La Playa where people can be found gathering at night to see street acts.
phone: +57 4 444-5500address: Calle 73 # 51 -298Mid-size gardens with a vast collection of orchids and many tropical flowers, plants and trees and a beautiful lake. Unfortunately no information is provided on the plants except for their name - thus, bring a smartphone for lookup up information on wikipedia if you are botanically curious. The covered area for display of flowers is an architectural marvel. The annual orchid exhibit every August is world class. Closed for one or two days each month for private events - check their website. Also has a purportedly good restaurant.
address: Ave GuayabalAround 1,000 animals are displayed here.
- Parque Juanes de la Paz is of limited touristic attraction since it has mostly sport courts and is in an under served neighborhood. With the help of the world famous singer work began in 2006 on a recreational park for the rehabilitation of the handicapped. The 68,000 m² facility cost was around COP$11 billion, financed in part by the government of Medellín, it was completed in 2008. . Metrostation Tricentenario.
- The new Arví park in the eastern slopes of the valley, close to a beautiful dam. This park (free entrance) promotes ecotourism with well marked trails for hikers and mountain bikes, a picnic area, and a butterfly dome (COP$5,000). To get to the park you can take the Metrocable L line (COP$5,550, 20 min) which takes you over the tree tops into the park. Or take the Santa Elena bus (COP$3,000) from Cra 42 & Calle 50 close to Parque Berrío.
- Parque El Salado is in a beautiful natural setting on the mountain overlooking Envigado. There are good paths for walking. The main attraction is a short canopy tour/zip line with about five stops. (The complete is longer but the additional length is reserved for members). Take the Metro to Envigado and then take the connecting bus that goes to Parque El Salado. The bus ride is worth the trip as it winds its way through neighborhoods up the mountain with some great views along the way.
- Ferrocarril de Antioquia - Old train station is a fine building at the corner of City Hall and the Governor's Hall. Has a small exhibit area with free admission. Cra 52 # 43-31. Metro station Alpujarra.
- EPM building also called the Intelligent building for its computerized self-control. An icon of contemporary architecture. Cra. 58 calle 42. Metro station Alpujarra.
- Edificio Coltejer has been the symbol of the city for over 40 years, shaped as a threading needle for this textile company. Calle 52 cra 47 (Crossroads of La Playa Ave and Junín). Metro station Parque Berrio.
- Prado neighborhood - formerly it was the wealthy neighbourhood of the city so many huge houses were built there. It still has some of these beautiful old houses, though it should be visited with caution as it's near the center of the city. Metro station Prado.
- El Poblado neighborhood - this upscale part of town is built in steep hills and has many modern buildings which complement the nearby Andes forest. Most of the trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants of Medellín are located in this neighborhood. Safe to walk around at any time. Recommended. Take metro to Poblado station and walk East on Calle 10 for approximately 1 km.
- West of the Medellín river are the middle-class neighborhoods of Laureles, Estadio and Suramericana which are modern. Carrera 70 in Suramericana is where many of the best Salsa clubs are, and represent an excellent way to take a break from the trendiness of Zona Rosa and see some real Colombian dancing. The line B of the Metro runs along 'Estadio' near all major stadiums and sport facilities.
If you only have a day
In the morning take the metro to a downtown station, visit some churches - most are open early in the morning -, then head to the park outside Museo de Antioquia to see the sculptures, enter the museum at 10AM and visit until lunchtime.
Have lunch either at the museum's restaurant or cafe, or take the metro to Metrostation Universidad, enter Jardin Botanico (Botanical Gardens) and eat there. Rest a little while strolling the gardens, then go across the street to Parque Explora or Parque de los Deseos. Before sunset take the metro to Acevedo station, hop on the Metrocable for spectacular views in the way up, and a city of lights upon your return. Take the metro back to any station near El Poblado, go shopping and then for dinner and a bar afterwards.
MetrocablesThere are two cable car extensions of the Metro: For the line K take the a metro train to Acevedo station and from there take the Metrocable up to Santo Domingo for a nice view over the city. The cablecar is included in your metroticket. Go during the day and walk around to see what working-class people live like. The area at the top sees tourists so there are little stands set up and people selling empanadas and other things. You can stop at a little bar and have a beer. Don't stray too far or off the beaten path in this neighborhood, though. For those so inclined, there are young people that give tours waiting at the top wearing t-shirts that said "guia" (guide). Also recommended is taking the metrocable located at San Javier up to La Aurora (J line). Although there is nothing special to see or do at the top of the cable car route, the trip itself is longer and more interesting than the cable car that goes to Santo Domingo.
- Stroll along lively Carabobo street, Carrera 52 in the heart of downtown, recently converted to pedestrian-only. Safer during daytime. Metro stations Parque Berrio, San Antonio or Alpujarra. Along the street see Plaza Botero (read under Museums) and also:
- Turibus is a good option to get a general overview of the city. You can take it to many of the main tourist attractions for COP$17,000. The tour lasts four hours and allows 20–30 minutes per stop for sight-seeing and photos. Turibus departs from the south side of Parque Poblado at 9AM and 1PM. You must return to the same bus after each stop, it is not a hop-on/hop-off service. Spanish is the only advertised language, however many times at least one guide speaks English and is happy to translate .
phone: +57 4445642address: Estadero el Voladero km 6 via San FelixAn excellent paragliding company that will take you flying over Medellin where you will be able so see the aburra valley from the sky. Experience some beautiful scenery such as the waterfalls around the launch point. Easy paragliding Medellin will take you flying farther if you wish to explore the nearby towns of San Jeronimo and Santafe de Antioquia. All while flying like a bird. If your family is in for a long vacation you can also learn to fly in Medellín. To get there get the bus to San Pedro de los milagros from north terminal at Caribe metro station. Ask for el Voladero.
- Medellín has a very active cultural life. There are four major theatres in town: Metropolitan Theatre, Pablo Tobon Uribe, Teatro de la Universidad de Medellín and Teatro EAFIT (page not updated since 2014). They offer a variety of Music concerts, Opera, Theater, Ballet and other events with international and local performers.
- There are several good quality contemporary and classic theater companies, such as Matacandelas, Hora 25, Pequeño Teatro, Oficina Central de los Sueños and Teatro Popular de Medellín. There is an annual Theater Festival held in the last week of August, organized by Medellín en Escena
- The city sits to classical music orchestras: Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín and Orquesta de EAFIT.
- The annual opera program is held in September, organized by Prolírica de Antioquia.
- Go to the movies: most movies are projected in their original language with Spanish subtitles. For independent flicks try the Centro Colombo-Americano with downtown and El Poblado locations.
Cine Colombia, Royal Films or Cinemark . Price is around COP$10,000.
- The Arepa: Medellín's English Magazine is a resource guide while in the city. They also have a weekly radio show talking about the events in the city.
Medellín sports various "unidades deportivas" - "sport units", which are essentially parks with sport facilities: Soccer, basketball, swimming, archery ranges etc. Admission is free for most parts (pools might ask a small fee), but they are popular destinations for locals as early as 6am and thus might require some waiting time until a facility is available. As a historical side note: These places were created to get potential criminals off the streets and the people of Medellín welcomed them very much.
- Watch a soccer game at one of the two teams based in Medellín, Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín. Attending a home game at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium is recommended for any football - soccer fans, or those wanting to experience the famed South American passion for futbol! Games generally take place on Wednesdays and either Saturday or Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the stadium. Metro station Estadio.
- The neighboring town of Envigado also has a professional soccer team . Metro station Envigado.
- The neighboring town of Itagüí also has a professional soccer team .
- The Juvenile Soccer World Cup was held in Colombia during July - August 2011 (Also called Under-20 by FIFA) with Medellín as one of its venues.
- Try the new skateboarding track at Parque Ciudad del Rio. Opened July 2009, this colorful bowl-like ramps allow lots of fun for skaters and spectators. Metro station: Industriales.
Fairs, shows & exhibits
- Visit the city during the first days of August for the local festival "Feria de las flores" (Flowers festival). There are all kind of events during one week including the "Desfile de Silleteros" (Parade of flower carriers).
- The new freshwater Aquarium inside the Parque Explora opened in December 2008 and depicts a great variety of river and freshwater wildlife, abundant in Colombia. It is probably one of the largest aquariums in Latin America and certainly one of few specialized in freshwater fauna. Metro station Universidad.
Planetario Municipalphone: +57 4 5168300Digital equipment. See the outer space at the Planetarium for COP$12,000. Cra 52 # 71 - 112 at Parque de los Deseos. Metro station Universidad.
- Medellín has one of the most important Poetry Festivals in the World. Every year, usually in July, poets from all around the world (including Nobel Prizes) come to this amazing event.
Full moon nightDo a visit to an old Cemetery (Cementerio de San Pedro) where former presidents and beautiful sculpted graveyards are found. Metro stations Hospital or Universidad.
- The Convention Center Plaza Mayor is the main site for big events including the fashion and textile industry related annual shows Colombiamoda (July) and ColombiaTex (January) .
- The Fourth International Tango Festival will convene with world renown artists. Free admission to all events. Every year in June.
- Tangovia is a monthly street fair in the neighborhood of Manrique, with great tango performers (singers, groups, dancers and more). Calle 45 x Carrera 73.
Medellín houses many important universities and learning institutes. Almost 100% of the courses are in Spanish.
- Universidad de Antioquia with over 200 years is the largest and more important academic institution in town and the second one in the whole country. Its old campus downtown has beautiful republican architecture while the newer campus (1960s) is a great example of modern architecture.
- Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana has 2 main campuses. Careers that are strong: Medicine, architecture, liberal arts and engineering.
- EAFIT emphasis on business, information technology and engineering.
- Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia.
- CES a health sciences university.
- Universidad Nacional de Colombia has 2 campuses, good education in engineering.
At a variety of second language schools:
- Total Spanish Colombia is a full immersion Spanish language school that teaches Spanish through fun interactive lessons to ensure that classes are both interesting and effective. Group, private 1 on 1 and specialist Spanish classes are available at their refurbished (as of April 2017) school in Parque Lleras. Maximum 6 students per class. They also offer students free wifi, drinks, conversation clubs, language exchanges and cultural activities.
- Español para Extranjeros Offers individually tailored lessons for beginners to advanced students, either one-on-one or in groups. Lists prices and contact details on their website, and comes highly recommended.
- Medellín Spanish School Like most of the schools in town, this one offers the best flexibility and quality at a price that does not aim to rip off the "rich foreigner".
- Learn Spanish with the Language Institute Medellín, +57 316 4039 305. They offer cheap courses with great accommodations!
After Buenos Aires, Medellín is the best place to learn how to tango.
- Che Tango Dancing school. Address: Calle 32 E # 80 A - 57, Barrio Laureles - Nogal. Phone: +57 4 412 8326 Mobile: +57 3 14 890 4557 email: email@example.com]
phone: +57 4 266 1860address: Cra. 43 B # 11 -12A dance academy with good turnout.
Learn Colombian cooking
- This culinary school has occasional courses on Colombian Cuisine. INSARC Cra 40 A # 11B - 15. El Poblado, Lalinde. Phone: +57 4 4444 850.
- La Colegiatura is a small college with full degrees in culinary sciences and also shorter courses in basic and Colombian cooking.
It is not legal to work in Colombia without a proper working visa. Visas can be obtained by employers on your behalf.
There is a significant market for English and other language teachers, and most hostels accept foreign workers without checking their visa status.
As of April 2016 visitors from most western countries are allowed to travel in 90 days without applying for visa. For working visas, have a look at the official site about the topic.
Colombia is famous for its coffee and Medellín is only a few hours from the coffee growing centers of Colombia. You can find coffee flavors of everything you can imagine, from ice-cream to arequipe (sweetened milk). The ‘Starbucks’ coffee culture is growing, with the most prominent brand being Juan Valdez coffee shops. The Juan Valdez chain is owned by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, and sells a variety of Colombian coffees.
Aguardiente Antioqueño: Schnaps with a special flavor, much like black licorice.
Ron Medellín: The local rum. The quality of this rum was elevated to the highest standards during 2009 and the 8 and 12-year bottles are great presents.
Despite the claim of being the textile capital of Colombia, Medellín is not a shopper’s paradise for clothes for North American tourists, but prices can be attractive to visitors from other latitudes. The main malls sell a limited variety of clothes, (especially men’s clothes), at only slightly discounted prices from the US, although there are always bargains to be found if you look hard enough. The style of clothes for women in Medellín is very revealing and sexy, so it perhaps more suited for gift buying than shopping for yourself. When planning your shopping for clothes bear in mind that the local weather is very mild, so the options for winter and summer clothes are limited. Near Parque Lleras you can find via Primavera, a little zone full of local young designer's shops with unique garments that you will surely won't see anywhere else.
- On the first Saturday of the month there is the Mercado de San Alejo, an open market right on Parque de Bolívar, hours: 8AM a 6PM A large variety of local handcrafts sold primarily by the artisans themselves. Right in the middle of Parque Lleras from Thursday to Sunday you may as well find some handcraft being sold.
- Centro Artesanal mi viejo Pueblo. Cr 49 # 53-30. Phone +57 4 513 7563
phone: +57 4 3211010address: Cra. 25A # 1A Sur - 45 / Loma El Tesoro con Transversal SuperiorA large shopping mall located in an unusual location: in very steep mountain overriding a creek. Many upscale stores, technology shops and good restaurants. El Tesoro is bilingual; they have an Information Center where tourists can get any information in English, every day from 2PM to 9:30PM. Furthermore, it is possible to access this service calling 321 10 10 ext 111-112. And just for tourists to go shopping without any problem, the mall made a brochure with all the terms and expressions they need, in English and Spanish. Ask for it at the information desks.
Oviedo centro comercialphone: +57 4 311 6116address: Av El Poblado Cr 43 A # 6 S 15Large shopping area with nearby hotels and restaurants.
phone: +57 4 262 0105address: Calle 33 No 43 16The first shopping mall built in Colombia over 30 years ago is still a nice place to stroll, eat and of course shop. You will find good prices for top notch merchandise.
- Outlet Mayorca is directly connected to a Metro station and also has a movieplex. . Metro Itagui.
phone: +57 34 448 70 71address: Carrera 43 A 30 - 25Premium Plaza has more than 115,000 m², with 1,427 cells free parking, over 350 shops to choose from entertainment, shopping, large financial services five banks, cinemas in 35mm and 3D formats, gym, amusement park, two squares of meals, the largest casino in the city and synthetic soccer courts.
Monterreyaddress: Avenida 62 (Carrera 48) x Calle 102 blocks from Poblado metro station. This mall is the place to go for anything computer or cell phone related. Many small shops selling all manner of electronic equipment and accessories. There is also a 5-screen movie theatre in this mall as well as a salon offering excellent massages (store #126).
phone: +57 4 460 0737address: Cra 43 A # 7 sur - 170The mall opened May 2010. 5 levels of shopping, entertainment, and food.
- For leather goods for women visit Bon-Bonite with 10 locations in town. Features many handbags in leather and ethnic materials, as well as shoes and accessories. Available In most shopping malls.
- Underwear, for men and women, are plentiful and the variety is great. Women: Leonisa, Tania. Men: Unico, Punto Blanco, GEF. In all major shopping malls.
The local currency is the Colombian peso (COP$). It is strongly recommended to use the exact change on taxis, because the drivers rarely have the exact amount. US dollars and Euros are rarely used, except for tourist oriented stores.
Using credit and debit cards is frequent in Colombia but not prevalent as in developed countries.
ATM limits: ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign and domestic cards. You may only be able to get out COP$1.2 million per day, so plan to visit the ATM often or hunt around for a more relaxed limit. There are 5 major international banks with local offices, if by chance you hold a card of any of these banks your rates are usually lower (Citibank, HSBC, RBS, Santander and BBVA). The largest Colombian bank is Bancolombia with ATMs everywhere.
When withdrawing money from an ATM it is highly advisable to avoid any located on streets for safety purposes. It is recommended to withdraw from ATMs inside shopping centers. Be sure not to take a taxi straight after withdrawing, it is not unusual for people to be followed out and mugged soon after making a withdrawal. Keep an eye out to be sure you are not followed. If you plan to withdraw a significant amount of money, it is recommended to ask the police to escort you (at no cost).
Some examples are: sancocho de gallina (chicken soup), carne en polvo (ground beef), arepas de choclo (fresh corn tortillas), empanadas (meat-filled fried turnovers), ají (hot sauce), ajiaco (Bogota's chicken and potato soup), bandeja paisa, natilla, buñuelos (fried cheese puffs), hojuelas (fried puff squares), rice with coconut, Antioquian beans, sobrebarriga (flank steak) mantecada (bun made with lard), papas chorreadas, pandeyuca (yucca bread) and carne desmechada (shredded meat).
A typical breakfast in Medellín consists of baked corn arepas (Flat unsweetened corn pancake) topped with butter and fresh white cheese, coffee or hot chocolate.
One treat that will leave anyone stuffed is the "Tipico Antioqueño"; arepa con queso (small flatbreads with cheese on top), beans, chicken, rice, fried eggs, chicharron (salted and fried unsmoked bacon) and patacon (deep-fried plantain pancakes). Topping that off with a Colombian beer and a cup of "chocolatte" (pronounced the Spanish way - it's milky, sweet hot chocolate) makes for an excellent meal. An excellent place to eat typical food is Hatoviejo.
There is a large variety of restaurants all throughout Medellín, especially concentrated around the ‘Zona Rosa’ which is in Poblado between Parque Poblado and Parque Lleras. You can find a fine display of places with whatever food you desire, with good quality for comparatively cheap prices compared to the US, although there is a shortage of authentic Greek, Indian and Thai restaurants. Sushi is increasingly popular and may be found at the larger malls or supermarkets that are more "international."
Colombia also has an incredible variety of tasty fruits. A few of these are: guanábana, lulo, zapote, mamoncillo, uchuva, feijoa, granadilla, maracuyá, tomate de árbol, borojó, mamey and tamarindo. Ask for a "Salpicón": a mix of fruits marinaded on orange or watermelon juice.
Colombia is well known for its coffee, and Medellín is no exception. As with any large city, there are the usual chain restaurants, however the American "fast-food culture" has not made a huge splash in the country. Mc Donald's, Burger King, Domino's Pizza and Hooters can be found there.
HatoViejophone: +57 4 268 6811address: Calle 16 #28 - 60 Via Las PalmasGreat food for the last 30 years. Mostly meat, regional dishes. Decorated as an old farm. Also outdoor areas
Las Luisitasphone: +57 4 311 5615, +57 4 312 6064address: Carrera 37A No. 8A-50Simple and well-done Colombian meals in this tiny place with lots of character. Prices used to be modest, now expensive.
La Provinciaphone: +57 4 311 9630address: Calle 4 sur # 43 A - 179Really good food, well prepared and well served. Closed Sundays.
Al Patiophone: +57 4 2666 060address: Carrera 38 # 19 - 2- 65Restaurant and bar. Overlooks town, great outdoors.
phone: +57 4 311 2537address: Carrera 43 D # 10 -30Short and exquisite menu.
phone: +57 4 311 8221, +57 4 311 8221 (Mobile)address: Cra. 33 # 7 - 55Nicely prepared meals with option of 1 to 4 dishes in the Chef's Menu. Nouvelle Cuisine at its best. A short menu with the options changing every 2 months.
phone: +57 4 266 1440address: Calle 11a # 43b- 41By appointment only. Seafood and steaks.
Bijaophone: +57 4 311 6294address: Cra. 37 A # 8-66
El Cielophone: +57 4 268 3002address: Cra 40 No. 10A - 22Molecular cooking is a complex science, here you can sit down and enjoy it. Ignorance is bliss.
Anita'sphone: +57 4 310 1770address: Calle 4 sur No. 43-A 97Modern cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Eggs any style, bacon or French toast. Sandwiches (ciabatta or baguette), salads (Caesar, tuna, Thai or Italian), delicious coffee and fruit juices.
Milagrosphone: +57 4 311 4216address: Cra. 48 # 10 - 45 local 149Authentic Mexican food. Basic wine list.
phone: +57 4 311 5927address: Cra 43 B # 8-52Nice lunch menu for under COP$10,000. Try the meat in a Bailey's sauce.
Bonuaraddress: Carrera 44 Nº 19A-100Great outdoors. Easy free parking
phone: +57 4 311 6079address: Car. 36 No. 10-49Watch NFL, college football, NBA, baseball, soccer and more international sports. Please call to see if we can get your game. Menu: Black bean nachos, chicken wings, burgers and sandwiches (grilled chicken, tuna salad). Multiple plasma/LCD/wide screen TVs.
phone: +57 4 444 0934address: Carrera 35 # 8a-3Lunch, bakery, salad bar, cooking classes. Vegetarian.
phone: +57 4 302 4218address: Calle 27 Sur, 43A - 61, EnvigadoNext door to the museum. Open-air and open-minded café.
Laureles, Suramericana, Estadio
Vitto'sphone: +57 4 411 7247address: Calle 33 # 74 B - 310Well done Italian food, home-made pasta. Great sauces.
Zen Weiphone: +57 4 412 8613address: Calle 33 # 74B-240Vegetarian buffet for lunch
phone: +57 4 413 8566address: Cra. 73 # circular 2 - 41Mainly Lebanese dishes in this unpretentious restaurant. Good food.
Hari Omphone: +57 4 3017931514address: Carrera 66 B, Diagonal 4-7Some vegetarian Indian dishes.
Salud Panphone: +57 4 411 6935address: Circular 4 # 70-78Bakery, vegetarian, seeds, nuts, also gluten free food
El Arbol de la Vidaphone: +57 4 230 2522address: Carrera 64 C # 48-188Well served vegan dishes, low in salt - hey, the use of salt shaker is free.
Versallesphone: +57 4 511 9147address: Carrera 49 # 53-39Restaurant along carrera Junin downtown has basic Argentinean fare at reasonable prices.
Moliphone: +57 4 231 5675address: Calle 54 # 47 - 105, local 132Downtown location.
phone: +57 4 233 2373address: Calle 73 # 51 D-14Reservations recommended. Nice restaurant located in the middle of the Botanical Gardens. The menu offers a combination of local food, some organic choices and all plates are well presented. Outside the restaurant there is a little garden with herbs and aromatic plants..
Restaurante Vegetarianophone: +57 4 583 8386address: Carrera 51 D # 67-30Daily menu, burgers.
Agua Claraphone: +57 4 231 6642address: Carrera 49 No. 52-141, 2nd floorRegional food.
Lenteja Espressphone: +57 4 239 5230address: Calle 53 # 42-17Vegetarian burgers (Chickpeas and lentils), Mexican vegan, lasagnas. Also features a Poblado location at Carrera 35 # 8A-75
Oriente - eastern suburbs
phone: +57 4 542 0011address: Partidas para El RetiroAt 40 km east of Medellín, great local food, old fashioned and homemade.
Multiple locations & online - delivery
- J y C Delicias offers typical arepas with a variety of toppings, good for lunch or dinner. A few locations: in Laureles neighborhood Carrera 76 # 33 A-62, phone +57 4 250 4861. In El Poblado Calle 4 Sur # 43 A-8, phone +57 4 312 6656, and El Tesoro Shopping mall. .
phone: +57 4 411 3434address: Carrera 70 # circular 3 - 43A famous and traditional local restaurant with tow locations in town, and one additional in Miami for the homesick. Offers a local soup made up with tripe. If not adventurous you can go for regular beans and other delicacies. Additional location in El Poblado Calle 10 # 38 -38, phone +57 4 312 2346.
phone: +57 4 511 9002address: Junín: Carrera 49 # 52-84Traditional cakes, pastries and desserts. Tea house. Metrostation Parque Berrio.
phone: +57 4 325 6600 ext 107address: Parque el PobladoGreat desserts, pastries and the locally famous 'Pastel de Gloria' filled with guava paste and arequipe. Also downtown at Ave. La Playa Carrera 45 # 50-64. Many locations throughout town.
phone: +57 4 448 4836address: VirtualMeat, fish, soups, rices. Nice trays, still hot when the meal arrives to your home/hotel. You can also order via Microsoft Messenger.
- Aguardiente - A popular alcoholic beverage in Colombia with sweet and licorice-flavored, made-up of sugarcane. The local brand is Aguardiente Antioqueño and it is usually drank straight followed by an ounce of water or slices of mango.
- Ron - Rum is also popular with locals. The domestic brand is Ron Medellín Añejo aged either 3, 8, 12 or 30 years, typically served mixed with Club Soda, Coca-Cola or lemon juice .
- Cerveza - Beer is available almost anywhere, the one most enjoyed by people is Pilsen, a light golden in color, German Pilsener or Lager of beer. Also admired by locals and foreigners is Club Colombia a finer premium beer, made-up of 100% malt . Other popular national beers include Aguila and Costena. A small company brews beer locally: Tres Cordilleras makes Wheat, American Pale and Amber Ales. Bogota Brewing Company operates a restaurant in the Poblado neighborhood with good craft beer at uncompetitive prices. Their bottled beers are available at bars and restaurants throughout the city.
- Refajo - A kind of cocktail made by mixing beer and the local soft drink Colombiana. It is refreshing and a little sweet.
- Cocteles - Due to the great variety of tropical fruits and its juices your imagination will be boundless when creating Cocktails in Medellín. Start with Lulo juice with vodka, or try the many recipes with passion fruit (Spanish: Maracuyá).
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the main days to party in Medellín; the rest of the week the mainstream nightlife isn't really exciting. Bars close at 2AM, but you will find plenty of clubs that close at 4AM, and if you need to stay up later just look for the techno or electronica clubs.
BabylonBest known for its Thursday night all you can drink, COP$35,000 to enter. Located in Las Palmas. It's popular with gringos and 'gringo hunters'.
El BlueA popular place with cross-over music (a mix of rock and local music). It's popular with gringos and 'gringo hunters'. Thursday is the night to go.
CircusA new venue with great views over Medellín. Very popular with the beautiful, in-crowd and normally plays cross-over music.
address: Calle 10, #52-87The name translates as "hovel," which can only be thought of as a tearm of endearment for this salsa club. It's actually very nice inside, with decor somewhere between arabesque and neon plus chandeliers. There is a fair amount of room to dance, including a space on the wonderful courtyard patio/garden in the back. Sundays are the best nights, when all sorts of great salseros and salseras converge in this part of town for the party.
Eslabon Prendidoaddress: Calle 53, #42-55 (Maracaibo street)Probably the most famous salsa club in the city, with live bands Tu Th (it's more or less closed the rest of the week). The name of the place plays with words: Hot -or Burning- Link instead of Missing Link. It's fairly small inside, but the dancing spills well into the street. There are tables inside, if you are looking to just watch, but they are claimed way before the party gets started. Its location downtown warrants some precaution.
MangosThe most famous of clubs here in Medellín and has a reputation of being visited by rich mafia-related Colombians but is also usually full of incredibly hot women (proceed with caution, some women are paid for). Also it is very very expensive at about $5 per beer and $25 for a small bottle of rum, Auto Pista Sur.
PalmaiaThe newest, biggest and arguably best club in Medellín and has a capacity of 3,000 people. Standard crossover music with a boxing ring for girl-fights!
RedOpposite El Blue, offers electronic music and local music.
Sabor Antillanoaddress: Calle 38 sur # carrera 43. EnvigadoA fun tiny place. Classic salsa with songs coming from vinyl.
Vivaaddress: Calle 51 # 73 - 100Large 2-story dance club with mostly gay clientele
There are a few districts for bars. Foreigners prefer Parque Lleras in El Poblado, safer, more upscale, nicer crowds. The middle class also mingle outside Museo de Arte Moderno, near Carlos E Restrepo neighborhood; and the so-called Urban Tribes meet at Parque del Periodista (downtown). Other areas with bars are: Carrera 70 near Estadio, Carretera Las Palmas and Avenida 33 in Laureles.
The area around Parque Lleras, (la Zona Rosa), has a concentration of restaurants, bars and is great for people watching. It is active on most nights and a must visit for those looking for Colombian nightlife. The major restaurants on the corner, El Rojo and Basilica are great for food, drinks and people watching. Occasionally they have live music or big screens when important football matches are played.
Parque Lleras is interesting any night of the week although admittedly Thursday, Friday and Saturday are far more lively. There are places, mostly electronic music venues open till 6 or 7AM outside of the city limits as the laws forbid any bar to remain open after 3PM. People however gather around Parque Poblado until dawn drinking, smoking and chating. You can buy cigarettes, alcohol and anything else you could wish for from the street vendors until the last man standing.
A more upmarket experience can be had at La Strada just south of Parque Lleras on Aviendo El Poblado. The centre features numerous bars, restaurants and clubs. La Strada has become the weekend destination for the more affluent of Medellín's residents. Expect to pay more for drinks and food than in la Zona Rosa, bars close at 1AM.
Just outside of Medellín, there are some venues in the neighboring towns of Sabaneta, Envigado and Itagui. Sabaneta has not yet caught on with foreigners, making it the place to go if avoiding gringos is your thing.
- Arte Vivo Mostly a local crowd. a great 1980s and 1990s live band (maybe the best in town) playing rock-pop greatest hits and local rock. Prices are affordable, with a nice upscale crowd, and beautiful women. Located in el Poblado across the Monterrey Shopping center (Calle 10 x Las Vegas).
- "El Alamo" The cheapest bar in Parque Lleras, free rum for girls. They show American football games if you need your fix.
- B-Lounge is an electronic disco with rich, beautiful women.
- La Kasa which are both good on Thursday nights as it's Ladies Night.
address: Cra 38Has been a classic for local crowds for over 30 years. Informal, beer, chat
- La Camerata has offered classic music to its costumers for over 25 years. Occasional live appearances. Calle 49 between carreras 64 y 65, near calle Colombia.
San Marcosphone: +57 4 265 3666Bar and video has mostly gay clientele, located near Unicentro shopping mall Calle 34 # 66B - 53, Barrio Conquistadores.
- Vinacure An incredibly trippy place - expensive to get in but definitely worth seeing once, entry is about US$4. The entire club is designed by a noted Colombian sculptor. Try to go when German, the owner, is about so you can check out The Naked Room, an interactive art exhibition that must be experienced (sometimes) naked. This is a very interesting, unusual and fun art-museum/bar. It's truly unique. To get there, take a taxi to the beginning of Caldas (carrera 50 No 100D Sur 07, Caldas). Or you can take a bus.
phone: +57 4 212 0968address: Carrera 45 # 76 - 50Since 1973, has been the meeting place for tango lovers. Live music, dance.
phone: +57 4 231 2658address: Cra. 51 Bolívar # 45 + 80A classic bar right downtown. All social classes mingle here with nice music and local drinks. Dance. Only half a block away from the main Metrostation San Antonio (Lines A and B).
phone: +57 4 288 8176address: Calle 77S # 46B-90 SabanetaThe whole place is a replica of a traditional 'paisa' town. The locals from the village will greet you and be your host, ask you to dance and party all together. Every midnight is new years' eve. Really fun.
Bolero Barphone: +57 4 234 039address: Cra. 67 B 51 A 98 Local 101Tangos, boleros.
Bermellónphone: +57 4 331 7963address: Calle 23 Sur # 42B-107 EnvigadoTango, et al.
El CentroMost of the inexpensive hotels in Medellín are in El Centro. Although the area is vibrant at day, going out at night is dangerous and should be avoided.
phone: +57 4 512 3232address: Carrera 54 #49-31An affordable and safe hotel in the center of town. All the basic amenities, including broadcast TV, hot water, lock boxes. Restaurant on site. Extremely friendly and helpful staff.
Hotel Lintonphone: +57 4 239 2647address: Carrera 45 #47-58All the basic amenities including cable TV, hot water, mini stereo system in rooms.
Hotel Ayacucho Realphone: +57 4 511 5904address: Calle 49 (Ayacucho) #48-15All the basic amenities including cable TV, hot water, mini stereo system in rooms.
Hotel San Joséphone: +57 4 512 0066address: Calle 49 #45-12, second floorProbably the cheapest decent hotel in town. Despite the price, it is clean and safe. Cable TV, hot water, laundry on site.
phone: +57 4 511 5111address: Calle 52A # 50 - 46 Plazuela NutibaraThe most traditional hotel in Medellín, now a tad rundown. Great architecture. Just across the street from Museo de Antioquia. Fax: +57 4 231 3713
Estadio and LaurelesThese are middle-class, safe and quiet neighborhoods just west of the river (west of downtown) with many bars, restaurants, shops and clubs along Carrera 70.
phone: +57 16371610address: Calle 47 #68A - 80, Medellín 54 Colombia65 rooms, standard rooms, junior rooms and suites, all equipped with air-conditioning, mini-bar and Wi-Fi access. Facilities and services are bar, events room and fitness room/gym.
Hotel Terranova 70phone: +57 4 260 2282address: Carrera 70 #47-34The cheapest hotel in this area. Clean, modern, nice rooms. Friendly staff. Bar next door plays loud music until 3am.
Sauces del Estadioaddress: Cra 69 No.49A-30
phone: +57 4 604 0686address: Calle Colombia 50 N 70-124The newest hotel in the area
- Hotel Casa Laureles, Calle 35 No.78-66.
- Hotel Laureles 70 , Circular 5a No.70-15.
- Samarian Hostel, Carrera 77b #47 35 Sector Laureles Estadio Velodromo, +57 4 2504472 Cel 3165006043. firstname.lastname@example.org. Metro stations Floresta and Estadio nearby, communal office space for digital nomads with a coffee bar, language exchange and Spanish school nearby, dormitories from COP$18,900 (breakfast included).
El PobladoThis is probably the most desirable neighborhood to stay in. However, it is also the most expensive. The higher-end bars, restaurants, and clubs are all located in this area. High-end supermarkets (Pomona, Carulla and Exito) are nearby, as well as shopping malls, open Wi-Fi networks, and a few Juan Valdez coffee shops.
phone: +57 4 319 4450address: Calle 16 #28-51A nice and traditional hotel in town. Suburban location. Large rooms, convention center.
phone: +57 4 444 5353address: Carrera 42 A # 1 - 15Very fancy and elegant for the price, excellent service. Nice surroundings with many restaurants, gym, coffee house.
phone: +57 4 268 5555address: Carrera 43A No.4Sur-75In the Golden Mile. Has a pleasant garden where meals can be taken. Free Wi-Fi.
Hotel Plaza Rosaphone: +57 4 312 0005address: Carrera 32D No. 09-17 El Poblado
phone: +57 4 3197400address: Carrera 43 C #6 Sur 100
address: Calle 17 # 40 B - 30Nice swimming pool area.
phone: +57 4 310 6060address: Carrera 36B No. 11-12 El Poblado
address: Carrera 43 A No. 1A Sur 237Over 150 rooms. Toll free calling within Colombia 01 8000 97 8000
phone: +57 4 313 2020address: Carrera 43A No 9 Sur 51 Av. El PobladoLocated in the area called “The Golden Mile”.
phone: +57 4 444 5151address: Av. El poblado Cra. 43A # 7-50
phone: +57 4 318 2000address: Cra. 36 # 2 Sur-60
phone: +57 4 448 5700address: Cra 42 No 5 Sur -130 El Poblado
phone: +57 4 311 4882address: Calle 11 #43B-71The least expensive hotel in this area. Clean and modern rooms, but musky. Opened in early May 2009. Friendly staff. Wider range of cable TV than most inexpensive hotels. Internet computers and Wi-Fi included. Free parking.
phone: +57 4 319 4000address: Ave El Poblado Calle 4 sur #43 A 109Comfortable and spacious suites in a modern building. Moderate prices.
phone: +57 4 4440344address: CRA 43 A # 1 SUR - 150 Av El Poblado
phone: +57 311-582-6237address: Calle 11 A No. 31 A - 208An exclusive hotel with exemplary service, modern amenities, and idyllic surroundings. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of Medellín. Short walk to Parque Lleras. Wi-Fi, pool and recreation deck available.
phone: +57 4 314 0707address: Calle 15 sur No. 48 - 34Santa Ana is not as nice as the other hotels in El Poblado, but its proximity to the Metro is a breakpoint for many tourists. There is not much to do in La Aguacatala. Breakfast included.
phone: +57 4 369 7900address: Cra 41 # 9-21 El PobladoSpacious loft-style rooms with high ceilings, some with private terrace. A real boutique hotel near Lleras Park, but quiet and safe.
phone: +57 4 4444 513address: Cra. 33 # 5 G - 73Only 14 large rooms with good service. Spanish courses available. The hotel arranges great tours outside the city.
phone: +57 4 268 6010In Los Balsos el Poblado. Walking distance to popular attractions such as Oviedo Shopping center. U.S. phone number: 310-728-6301
phone: +57 4 312 0005address: Calle 10 A Cra 34Mobile +57 300 216 3744. A boutique hotel with decor inspired by all Colombian regions.
phone: +57 4 536 0440address: Glorieta of the international airportNice suburban hotel with beautiful grounds. Not noisy. Toll-Free from Colombia: 018000 940 440
phone: +57 4 311 1589address: Transversal 5A #45-133 (Patio Bonito)On-site Spanish lessons, BBQ every Sunday. Operated by a helpful Kiwi expat named Kelvin. Two meters long European sized beds, en suite bathrooms, hot power showers, airy rooms, fully equipped kitchen, 5 computers with high speed internet access (COP$2,000/hr), TV room + cable, free DVDs, hammocks.
phone: +57 4 268 2668,+57 352 1109address: Cra 36 #7-10Great foreign-run backpacker hostel, with cheap dorm beds and private rooms, and a new addition with nicer private rooms and suites. High speed internet, free Wi-Fi, TV with satellite. Terraces and patios, a fully equipped guest kitchen, laundry service, pool table, and lockers in the dorm rooms. Great atmosphere and good customer service and travel information.
Sunshine Hostelphone: +57 4 582 0305address: Calle 9 #43C-36 (Poblado)Operated by two nice and helpful Israelis, it is one of the cheapest hostels in town. Two-meter-long European-sized beds, hot power showers, fully equipped kitchen, computers with high-speed internet access, free Wi-Fi, three common areas (TV area, dining room, chill-out area with hammock), ping-pong table.
phone: +57 4 268 9828, +57 315 451 6268address: Calle 7 #35-36, El PobladoCalm, warm and friendly atmosphere, great service, clean comfortable rooms, bathrooms and social areas, hot water all day, a fully equipped open kitchen, free linens and towels, lockers, DVD movies, no curfew, free Wi-Fi, internet service, laundry service, keyless entry and complete tourist information.
Lleras Park Hostelphone: +57 4 266 6291address: Carrera 39 #8-72, El PobladoAmenities include free towels, internet, lockers, coffee, cable TV, and 24/7 security. Roof top bar, meals for cheap, book exchange library, guided tours available.
Palm Tree Hostelphone: +57 4 2606142 or +57 4 260 2805address: Cra 67 # 48D - 6324 hour staffed office, free internet and Wi-Fi, dormitories and private rooms, linen included, hot showers, laundry service, bar, book exchange, free bicycle, cable TV with over 100 channels, DVD movies. Hammocks, free BBQ on Fridays, fully equipped kitchen, free bag storage, free coffee and breakfast.
phone: +57 310 221436, +57 320 7662735address: Calle 10 N° 36-24, El PobladoRun by an amazing guy named Alejandro who goes out of his way help you experience medellin. Seriously plush and very clean for a hostel, and close to the more up-market bars around El Poblado. Internet, plush lounge, kitchen, free tea & coffee, laundry service. Alejandro and his sidekick, also Alejandro, clean the rooms daily and even offered to do the dishes after cooking dinner!
phone: +57 4 311 6079 (international) and +57 311 7072 272 (whatsapp)address: Car 36 No. 10-49Brand new hostel which is steps away from the main night-life in town. Extra large compartmentalized private bunk beds. US TV programming, DVD, laundry, bilingual staff, pool table, free internet, WiFi, XBOX-360, private lockers, 24 hour reception, events, tour information, kitchen, hot water. Owner is American with plenty of experience in Medellín. Sports Bar located in the hostel (see 'Eat' section).
phone: +57 4 352 1176address: Cra 43 e # 5 - 110Mobile 314 657 6390.
phone: +57 34 436-6759, +57 320-749-2073 (cell)address: Calle 44 A No. 68 A 76, LaurelesNew hostel with comfortable beds, included linen, Nintendo Wii, free wifi, bar, laundry service, hammocks, sun deck/patio, rooftop terrace, library, 24 hour hot water, bilingual staff, lockers, kitchen, tour information, 24 hour reception.
phone: +57 4 312 52 94, +57 4 300 671 99 12 (Mobile)address: Cra 48b # 10 sur - 08Clean sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. Cooking facilities, hammocks, hot water, Wi-Fi, swimming pool.
phone: + (57) 316 452 74 20address: Calle 32B # 66C - 06Hostel run by a traveler in a residential area with good connections to public transport. Free, very fast WiFi; awesome, really well-equipped, communal rooftop-kitchen (with lots of fridges for guests to use); laundry for COP$10,000 per load. Work & travel-friendly. Free sports facilities just across the road, huge mall and supermarket within 5 minutes walking distance. Small shop downstairs for snacks and drinks. Non-smoking except for balconies and rooftop. Very helpful and caring staff.
phone: +573117826304address: Calle 54 Numero 36 A-36, 050013 MedellinA brand new place with comfortable beds and great breakfast. Extremely friendly owners.
Clothing is usually casual but shorts or Bermuda pants are unusual on weekdays. Only young locals will wear them on weekends. Sweaters and jackets are usually not necessary at daytime, occasionally needed at night.
Refrain from joking about drugs, kidnapping or bombings. Many residents of Medellín were personally affected by the violence of the past, and today they consider themselves very modern, forward looking and ready to move on. They do not find these things to be funny. In addition, the police take the security situation very seriously, and you may find yourself detained. Accordingly, there is no official tourism built around the history of Pablo Escobar, and many people do not like to discuss him, although several hostels offer a Pablo Escobar tour. You will receive a lot of puzzled stares if you start asking how to get to the house where he was killed, etc.
When on the Metrocable, remember that it is a functional part of the Metro system, and that many proud residents of the mountainside neighborhoods ride the system to and from work each day. Accordingly, refrain from gawking, commenting on or taking pictures of the neighborhoods below, especially if there are Colombians in your car.
Medellín is generally a safe city for tourism, depending on the part of town you visit and the hours (like most other cities) and is much safer than in previous years. It was reported that in 2009 the murder rate in Medellín was the lowest in 30 years, while murder rates have since doubled in 2010 in a new surge of violence. According to the US State Department, murders have involved tourists and U.S citizens, and there remains a risk of "terrorist" actions in the urban area. Much of the violence is concentrated within the city's hillside slums and among known drug traffickers, although richer parts of town have also been afflicted by the latest surge in crime. The poorer neighborhoods in the north-east and north-west of the city should be avoided at both day and night to avoid trouble. Most of the inner city is best avoided at night, maybe excluding El Poblado. Most travelers to Medellín will tell you that they never found themselves in any danger while there, as the city center and touristy neighborhoods and attractions are all heavily policed. Therefore the following advice should not deter your plans to travel there.
Don't travel alone after dark. Almost anyone who knows anyone who has gotten into trouble in Medellín will tell you that they were doing things that you shouldn't do in any city, i.e. walk around after dark alone, especially leaving clubs after having been drinking. If you must, travel with a few friends, and at night call a taxi instead of taking it off the curb.
Avoid straying off of the main areas outside of the Santo Domingo Metrocable station, especially after dark; basically, try to stay within sight of the station and library, and you will be fine. Avoid areas of downtown at night, such as the Parque San Antonio area (including outside of the Metro station), Parque Boliviar, and areas directly to the north of Parque Barrio, where there is a lot of prostitution and other shady dealings. During the day, these areas are all perfectly safe with the normal precautions.
As in most large cities, petty crime can be a problem; it is advisable to carry a color copy of your passport rather than the real thing, avoid carrying a wallet and to keep varying amounts of cash in several pockets, socks and bras. Only carry what you will need for the day, and always have enough hidden somewhere to get back to your hotel. However, at most tourist sites, the police have a very heavy presence, so you can feel safe taking pictures and walking around during the day. Avoid parks, muggers with knives wait for tourists in parks near hotels in the affluent areas of the city, such as El Poblado.
Avoid accepting drinks from strangers. One common organized scam reported recently involves girls being overly friendly to gringos at a club, buying them drinks and then asking to go home with them. The drinks end up being drugged, and the girls make off with money, credit cards and other valuables. It is not very common for Medellín locals to go home with other locals to hook up; rather, cheap hotels are used. So one should be suspicious of overly friendly girls asking to come to your hotel or residence from a club.
Many people sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the small-time vendors selling anything from fruit, ice cream, cigarettes, lottery tickets, cell phone chargers, trinkets, to hats. However, a simple "no, gracias" will deter them from bothering you.
As Colombia is still a country with a "macho man" mindset, women might be the subject of lewd comments, cat-calling, or whistling. Women shouldn't take this personally - although women have the same rights as women in the US and elsewhere, it's just the culture.
Do not, under any circumstances, make any jokes about the use of cocaine or bombs. The Colombian police take jokes as threats, and you may find yourself in a police station explaining yourself to unsympathetic police officers. Under normal circumstances, police officers are usually kind and helpful towards tourists.
The age of consent in Colombia is 14, which does not apply to prostitution which is a crime with minors under 18. The drinking age is 18. Minors are not allowed to be in possession of alcohol at any time, and they may not enter night clubs of any kind. If a minor is found to be in a night club, the entire club will be immediately closed for violating a national law (Enforced more in nicer neighborhoods).
Always change your money at the airport or at a bank. Bancolombia is the largest national bank, is based in Medellín and has ATMs almost everywhere. "Street changers" offer tempting rates for your dollar, but be on guard. "Street Changers" palm several of the biggest bills for themselves. Do not flaunt large amounts of money around. ATM machines are your best bet for dealing with the complexities of various money changers.
When using an ATM machine (only delivers pesos) it is wise to use machines in a mall (Spanish: centro comercial), one of the large superstores (such as Exito, Jumbo or Metro) or grocery stores (such as Carulla), then take your time walking around a bit. Don't rush out the door. If someone is watching people at the ATM, they will wait for you to leave, and possibly rob you on the street down the road. Using ATMs on the street is not advisable in Colombia.
- The water in Medellín is potable, although bottled water is always available everywhere for the extra-cautious.
- In Medellin, you are at no risk of many tropical diseases like malaria, cholera, yellow fever, leishmaniasis or Chagas disease because of its altitude and a very good vaccination program that eradicated all vectors for those diseases.
- If only staying in Medellin and/or Bogoto no extra vaccinations are required. Though, if traveling to the far south a yellow fever vaccination is required and one might be asked to provide proof of it; you can get it for free Monday to Saturday, from AMm on, at Carrera 45 # 50-48 (El Palo con la Playa), Edificio El Doral, Consultorio 203 (first floor). It takes 10 days to become effective.
- Altitude is generally not a problem for foreigners since Medellín is approximately 1,500 m (4,921 ft) above sea-level (about the same as Denver, USA). However, some who reside at or around sea-level may experience some minor effects their first night. If this is the case, it is advisable to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol on the way there and on the first night.
- International country codes: Colombia 57, City code Medellín 4. When calling a mobile from outside Colombia dial 57-3 (i.e., +57 311 xxx xx xx don't double the 3).
- To make an international call from Colombia, dial the access code 005 (Orbitel), 007 (ETB) or 009 (Movistar), followed by the country code, area code and party's number.
- Many local phones are blocked for direct international calling, but calling through an operator will work many phones: Call 159 for the operator.
- For all local phone calls you have to dial only 7 digits.
- When calling from a local phone into a cell phone you have to dial '03' then the 10 digit mobile number.
- When calling from a Mobile to a local phone: dial 03 + (city code) + 7 digit phone number.
- Emergencies dial 123
Mobile services: There are several mobile phone companies in Colombia (Claro, Movistar, TIGO, Uff!, UNE, ETB and Avantel). Calling mobile phones is more expensive than calling local numbers but not prohibitive. In crowded places is common to find people selling 'minutes' to make calls from their cell phones, usual range of prices from COP 100 to 200 per minute for domestic calls. All mobile numbers have 10 digits (The digit 3 is always first).
There are many internet cafes throughout the city. The appendix for Colombian web addresses is .co
Regular mail in Colombia is quite dismal as you can not attach the stamps yourself and always have to go to a post office. There are very few offices in each city, usually downtown.
With this background, private mail couriers have flourished with better service and more offices. There are close to 10 different companies, among the most popular are Coordinadora and TCC. Both have agreements with international delivery services and cover the world over.
There are 4 daily newspapers in town:
- El Colombiano is the second largest paper in the country with somewhat conservative views. Interestedly it has a few vignettes with the most important news in English - look for 'Antioquia Bilingue '.
- El Mundo has a liberal point of view.
- The small format news outlets Q'hubo and ADN are easily available.
For the country Colombia Reports is a good source of news in English.
A good monthly paper about life downtown, with long articles (sorry, only for masters of the Spanish language), is Universo Centro.
- Paisa Estereo is an online radio station streaming to more than 174 countries from Medellín
TV stationsSix local stations are available in cable services, air broadcast and most can be watched online.
- Teleantioquia has local news and entertainment. The news outlet has hearing impaired caption. It promotes its non-violent programming. The channel is also available online.
- TeleMedellín, online at: . Also has an app for the iPhone.
- Une .
- Canal U the local universities medium .
- Televida is a regional catholic TV channel based in Medellín. .
There are plenty of good hospitals and clinics in Medellín unfortunately English is not widely spoken by doctors and nurses. Most upscale hotels have medical services in house.
- Hospital Universitario San Vicente de Paul covers almost all specialties with emphasis in transplantation, trauma.
- Clinica Cardiovascular is the local reference for cardiovascular medicine in adults and children.
- Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe a non for profit with excellent services.
- Clinica Medellín with its main building downtown and a smaller branch in neighborhood El Poblado.
- Clinica el Rosario has 2 sites, the one in El Poblado is modern, calm and oriented for international patients.
Austriaphone: +57 4 266-5757 ext 119address: Cr 43A No. 14-109
Belgium - Bélgicaphone: +57 4 341-6060address: Diagonal 75B No. 2A-120, Of. 309
Boliviaphone: +57 4 381-7601address: Cl 10 No. 41-9, Of. 301
Brazil - Brasilphone: +57 4 265-7565address: Cl 29D No. 55-91
Chilephone: +57 4 313-2209 or +57 4 313-5264address: Cr 48 No. 12sur-70, Ed. El Crucero, Of. 808
Costa Ricaphone: +57 4 381-7549 or +57 4 312-2391address: Cr 43A No. 14-109 Ed. Nova Tempo, Of. 309
Denmark - Dinamarcaphone: +57 4 513-5161address: Cl 49 No.50-21, Of. 1904
Ecuadorphone: +57 4 512-1193address: Cl 50 No.52-22, Ed. Banco de Caldas, Of. 802
El Salvadorphone: +57 4 266-5433address: Cl 10B No. 35-27
Francephone: +57 4 235 8037address: Cr 52 No. 14-200, local 204
Germany - Alemaniaphone: +57 4 380-8080address: Address Cr 43F No. 17-419
Italy - Italiaphone: +57 4 262-1823address: Cl 31 No. 43A-172
Méxicophone: +57 4 239-0456address: Cl 50 No. 42-54, piso 2+57 4 239-7062
Netherlands - Holandaphone: +57 4 251-0324address: Address Cr 52 No. 51A-23, Of. 401-402
Panamáphone: +57 4 268-1157address: Cl 10 No. 42-45, Of. 233
Perúphone: +57 4 268-7285address: Cl 4 sur No.43A-195 Ed. Centro Ejecutivo
South Korea - Corea del Surphone: +57 4 372-0755address: Cr 42 (Autopista Sur) No. 54A-22, Itagüí
Spain - Españaphone: +57 4 312-0400address: Cr 42 No.10-11
Sweden - Sueciaphone: +57 4 266-0498 or +57 4 311-9983address: Address Cr 43A No. 1 sur-31 Ed. Banco Ganadero, Of. 401
Switzerland - Suizaphone: +57 4 230-4563address: Cr 68 No. 48D-48
Reinos Unidosphone: +57 4 270-9242 or +57 4 331-8625address: Carrera 49 No. 46A sur-103, Envigado
Venezuelaphone: +57 4 235-0359, +57 4 351-1644address: Cl 32B No.69-59
- There is no consulate for Canada, China, Indonesia or the United States of America in Medellín, but each has a national embassy in Bogotá.
Laundromats are scarce in Colombia, but full-service laundry and dry cleaning shops are commonly found in important streets and some shopping malls.
It is 110-120 volts for the country, using two-prong outlets (the same as in USA).
- Guatape and La Piedra del Peñol: Guatape is located approximately 90 minutes outside of Medellín and is a popular recreational and ecotourism destination for many Colombians and foreign travelers. Half the fun of traveling to Guatape is driving through the Colombian countryside lined with beautiful rolling hills, small towns, farms and friendly people. Once you arrive in Guatape you will notice that the town borders a reservoir built for a hydroelectric dam. The lake covers thousands of acres and can be explored and enjoyed by renting a boat or taking one of the large party boats available on weekends. Guatape has new resort hotels, restaurants, homes, and recreational rentals (boats and water skis) bordering the lake. The huge Rock (La Piedra del Peñol a.k.a. Peñón de Guatape) that borders the lake is an unexplained geological phenomenon. With 2/3 of its height below ground, the exposed vertical face is over 200 m high (660 ft) and visible from throughout the surrounding countryside. Anyone can scale the rock for a few thousand pesos via a staircase built into one side, the view is breathtaking. On the top of the rock, a restaurant offers outdoor tables overlooking views that stretch to the horizon in every direction. There are buses going about every hour from the Medellín North bus terminal. Pablo Escobar, the famous drug lord, once called Guatape his home and built several big Casas on its lakeshores. His presence made Guatape a dangerous place for both foreign visitors and local Colombians. After his death Guatape transformed into a quiet town that's growing as a tourist destination. Escobar's main home is now a bombed out shell that is easily viewed from the lake.
- Natural Reserve of Río Claro This private nature reserve began in 1970 with the intention of supporting the protection of tropical rainforests in the Canyon of Rio Claro, while developing ecotourism with recreational-educational programs. The lime-stone, marble deposits and the river bed are beyond amazing. Accommodations with optional open to the forest cabins are available. Day tours from Medellín are also available with optional activities to choose from such as cave trekking, white water scenic rafting, kayaking and canopy adventures to name a few.
- Extreme sports: Montevivo is a reservation in Santa Elena, 30 minutes up the hill from Medellín. It has 5 aerial ropeslides, one is around 400 m long, among the largest in the world. You can canopy, trek, even sleep in the park. Phone: +57 4 538 0279. email: email@example.com
- Parque Arví Comfama: Near Santa Elena, this adventure park has a wide range of hiking trails and is famous with locals for its canopying, a sport where a person navigates the forest canopy with zip lines, wire bridges and rope swings. Gloves are recommended for this activity, as it can be hard on your hands. They can be purchased from a kiosk immediately up the hill from the canopy park.
- Santa Fe de Antioquia, a tropical town with beautiful colonial architecture. An annual film festival draws the national elite and cinema lovers to this charming spot. This cobblestoned street town founded in 1541 was the capital of the Antioquia Province until 1826 when it was ordained to Medellín.
- Most of the coffee in the country grows in the Andes region southwest of Medellín and most of the traditions of the coffee growers are the same as in this city. Indeed, world famous Juan Valdez has lived in Medellín for over 3 decades. There are most of 20 small towns southwest of Medellín (Suroeste Antioqueño) where you can see Juan, mule Conchita and Grab Life by the Beans.
- Jardín is a quaint little town that displays beautiful local architecture, 2½-hour drive southwest of Medellín. The main plaza is lined with several outdoor cafes, a large stone built church dominates this plaza. Local fresh trout is easily available at many eateries in town and a couple of countryside restaurants. Probably Jardín's most spellbinding natural attraction is the Splendor Cave. LandVenture Travel offers day tours from Medellín to the Splendor Cave plus visiting sugar cane mills, coffee mills and other great attractions that Jardín has to offer.
- In the very southern tip of the Antioquia Department there is a small country hotel overlooking the Cauca river. Terrific views of the canyon, ecological paths, swimming pool. Hotel Pipintá in La Pintada. A 2½ hr drive from Medellín.