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Medellin, Colombia

City Guide for Digital Nomads

Medellin, Colombia Skyline - City Guides for Nomads

Written by Hector

Founder of Latinomad, your Go-To Guide to living in Latin America as a Digital Nomad. My goal is to help people design a life that’s worth living; full of experiences, not things.
Last Updated:
Feb 27, 2022

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Medellín, capital of the Antioquia Department, and second largest city in Colombia. It is located in the Aburra valley and known as the city of eternal spring.

It is the preferred destination in the country for retirees and location independent entrepreneurs. It has a relatively low cost of living, vibrant nightlife, and good infrastructure.

The locals, known as “paisas”, are one of the friendliest people you will ever meet.

Also, yes guys, the hype is real; the women are absolutely gorgeous in Medellín.

Top 5 Things to Do in Medellin

Guatapé

Little town located about 2 hours away from Medellin. The main attraction is El Peñol de Guatapé, which you will have to climb 740 steps to get to the top. It will be worth it once you see the stunning view. Don’t miss the watersports and the colorful “pueblo de los zócalos”.

Pueblito Paisa

It is a replica of a typical “pueblo Antioqueño”. It is a good spot to take that awesome Instagram picture of the Medellin skyline. Also, there are some restaurants, coffee shops, and souvenir shops.

Comuna 13

Back in the day, the most dangerous barrio in Medellin. It has come a long way over the years, after being the center of criminal activity in the city. It is still a very humble neighborhood, but full of art, talent, and beautiful people.

El Centro

Head to El Centro to see the sculptures of the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Next to Plaza Botero you will also find the Museo de Antioquia, Medellín’s most popular museum. Enjoy some food and/or drink in one of the local restaurants in El Centro.

Parque Arví

Spend some time in nature with a day trip to this beautiful nature reserve. Great spot for hiking, biking, camping, and chilling at the river. To get there you will need to take the Metrocable, which is an attraction itself.

Tours & Activities

If you want to save the headache of planning activities abroad, check out our partner Viator. They offer memorable experiences from Medellín. The best thing: they are affordable, high quality, and have an awesome free cancellation policy.

Getting to Medellín

Medellin has a well connected airport, Jose Maria Cordoba International Airport (MDE).

Getting here from the states is relatively easy, especially if flying from the southeast.

Flights from Miami are usually ridiculously cheap.

If you find tickets to be expensive from your hometown, try the Hometown – Miami – Medellin route.

The second best option is flying into Bogotá. Once you are in Colombia, internals flights are super cheap.

Visa Requirements

Visitor Visa – 180 days total for visitors from over 90 countries.

Initially you will get 90 days. Once those first 90 days expire, you can request to stay another 90 days.

Resident Visa

For foreigners who want to live in Colombia permanently. Valid for 5 years.

Documents Needed:

  • Valid Passport
  • Proof of legal entry
  • Proof of income
  • Accreditation of Occupation
  • Migratory Movement Certificate
  • Passport type photo
  • Proof of Investment Issued by Department of International Exchange (If obtaining visa through investment)

Weather in Medellin

Is is known as “The city of eternal spring” for a reason.

Medellin has perfect weather.

High in the 70s/80s. Low in the 60s.

All year round.

How to Stay Safe in Medellin

The city has come a long way since the early 90s.

Not as dangerous as it used to be.

However, it is still not entirely safe. Stick to the Poblado, Laureles-Estadio , Sabaneta, Belen, and Envigado.

Always take an Uber/taxi if going out at night.

Also, always watch your drink. I’ve too many stories of drugged tourists in Medellin.

I don’t want you to be the next one.

Make sure you review our 10 essential travel tips for beginners.

Best Travel Medical Insurance for Nomads

Never take your health for granted, especially when you are abroad. During these times, it is a MUST to have a travel medical insurance you can trust in case of an emergency. In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for nomads is provided by SafetyWing.

Their Nomad Insurance is the best bang for your buck in the market. It covers medical assistance overseas and unforeseen travel charges.

The best thing? It is super affordable and convenient. Also, you can cancel it whenever you want.

Don’t take unnecessary risks and get all the bases covered with SafetyWing.

Where to Stay in Medellin

Poblado

The richest and safest neighborhood in the city. This is where you will find the best hotels, restaurants, and malls. Most of the expats stay in this area.

Parque Lleras, the center of Medellín nightlife is in El Poblado.

This is my #1 recommendation if you are a 1st-time visitor.

Laureles-Estadio

The second nicest neighborhood in the city after El Poblado.

La 70 and la 33, popular nightlife spots for locals, are located in this area.

Also, it is home to the “futbol” stadium, and most popular arena in the city. I recommend Laureles for longer term expats who would like to have a real Colombian experience.

Luxury: Marquee Medellin

Mid-Range: Four Points by Sheraton Medellin

Budget: Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa

Cost of Living in Medellin

Cost of living has been going up in recent years, due to a huge influx of nomads.

However, Medellin is still cheap.

Rent

You can find a nice 1-bedroom apartment in a good area for ~$600 USD/month.

Food

If you are coming from the US, you will find grocery costs to be ~20% cheaper. A little bit more if you come from super expensive cities like LA or NYC.

However, eating out will be significantly cheaper than in the states. I would say 30% cheaper, on average.

Transportation

Uber is ridiculously cheap in Medellin. A 15-minute Uber ride ~$5 USD.

The best strategy to save on transportation is to stay walking distance to the gym, market, coffee shops, and bars.

Internet

Internet packages start at ~$50 USD/month for 50 Mbps.

Entertainment

Movies: $3 USD

Beer: $1.50 USD

Drinks: $6 USD

Bowling: $4 USD/line + $1 USD/shoes

Internet Speed in Medellin

Medellin has great internet speeds. I don’t think you will have any issues getting work done in this city.

Not uncommon to see 50 mbps download and 10 Mbps upload.

However, there are higher speed plans if needed. Most coffee shops and co-working spaces in the city have great internet.

Language Barrier in Medellin

There are a lot of expats in Medellin; you could get away with english.

But if you want to have a local social circle and/or date locals, learning Spanish is a must.

Learning conversational Spanish never hurts in Latin America.

Traditional Food

  1. Bandeja Paisa: Rice, beans, pork cracklins, fried sweet plantains, fried egg, avocado, arepa
  2. Arepas: A type of corn cake/corn bread
  3. Empanadas: Popular colombian fritter usually stuffed with pork or beef.
  4. Calentao: Breakfast plate that originated from combining rice and beans leftovers with pork, sausage, and/or eggs.
  5. Buñuelo: Fried dough ball stuffed with white cheese.

Nightlife in Medellin

Parque Lleras

The center of the action in Medellín, located in the popular neighborhood of El Poblado. It is literally a park surrounded by restaurants, bars, and clubs.

This is where you will find most of the foreigners hanging out.

“El Lleras” is always a good time.

Provenza

Another popular spot Just a few blocks behind Parque Lleras. It is a very nice area with nice bars and clubs.

It is more chill than Parque Lleras, for those who prefer it that way.

La 70

This is where you need to go if you want a more local experience.

This is a long strip with fondas and discos on both sides, packed mostly by locals.

Practice those salsa, merengue, and vallenato steps before coming here. You will need to show some moves.

Río Sur

An upscale mall with multiple clubs in the 7th floor. You will find something for every taste; crossover, reggaeton, EDM, and a few fancy bars. Dress to Impress.

Overall Rating (8.5/10)

One of the best cities for Nomads in Latin America.

Medellin has beautiful people, amazing nightlife, and perfect weather.

if you are a long term traveler, don’t think it twice to spend a season in this amazing place.

Pack your bags and come to The City of Eternal Spring.

You will have a blast.

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