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
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For foreigners who want to live in Colombia permanently. Valid for 5 years.
- 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
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.
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.
Recommended Hotels in Medellin
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.
You can find a nice 1-bedroom apartment in a good area for ~$600 USD/month.
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.
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 packages start at ~$50 USD/month for 50 Mbps.
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.
- Bandeja Paisa: Rice, beans, pork cracklins, fried sweet plantains, fried egg, avocado, arepa
- Arepas: A type of corn cake/corn bread
- Empanadas: Popular colombian fritter usually stuffed with pork or beef.
- Calentao: Breakfast plate that originated from combining rice and beans leftovers with pork, sausage, and/or eggs.
- Buñuelo: Fried dough ball stuffed with white cheese.
Nightlife in Medellin
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.
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.
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.
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.