Medellin: The Ultimate City Guide

What would you like to know about Medellin?

WHERE TO STAY

El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood that foreigners stay in since all the hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars, and clubs are located here. Most people stay specifically in the area of Parque Lleras located within el poblado. We loved this neighborhood and stayed at two different hostels that we can recommend.

Selina

Their hostel in Medellin has very nice rooms, a restaurant, and a great co-working space (co-working space not included but a 24 hour ticket costs 36,000 COP or $12).

Coolto Art Lodge

This hostel is more affordable and it is a great location for creatives. There is an art gallery, a clothing line shop, a recording studio, and a rooftop bar. You will run into local artists hanging out and working here.

TOURS

Exotic Fruits Tour

Visit Plaza Minorista Jose Maria Villa by taking the exotic fruits tour offered by Real City Tours. You will get a chance to try around 15 exotic fruits, delicious fruit smoothies, and the best cheese bread.
Price: 60,000 COP/person ($20 USD)

Barrio Transformation Tour

Join a walking tour with Comuna13Tours and learn about how Comuna 13, Medellin’s most dangerous and violent neighborhood, underwent a creative transformation and is today a safe place to visit.
Price: 70,000 COP/person ($23 USD)

MUSEUMS

Casa de la Memoria Museum

A must visit museum to learn about Colombia’s conflicting past. The museum pays tribute specifically to the victims of armed conflict.
Price: free

Modern Art Museum

Visit many exhibits presenting Colombian and Latin American talent.
Price: 10,000COP/person ($3.45 USD)

Museum El Castillo

Visit the castle museum to experience how a wealthy family lived in Medellin during the 1950’s. The family history is very interesting and the castle is beautiful.
Price: 12,000 COP/person ($4 USD)

Museum Casa Otraparte

A small home dedicated to the life of Colombian writer Fernando González. You can also enjoy a coffee in the garden restaurant.

Traditional Towns

Santa Elena

Visit Santa Elena to learn about the flower industry in Colombia. Book a visit 24 hours in advance with La Corporacion de Silleteros Santa Elena. (A separate blog post coming soon!)
Price: 70,000COP/person ($24 USD)

Guatapé

Take a day trip to the colorful town of Guatapé and the rock El Peñol. The town is very colorful with nice shops and cafés and the rock has around 700 steps that lead up to a beautiful view.
2 hours away from Medellin. Join an organized tour or go on your own.

Pueblito Paisa

Pueblito Paisa is a small replica of a traditional Colombian town. Enjoy some fruits, traditional Colombian snacks, and shop for some souvenirs. There also some nice views of the city.

MARKETS

Mercado Artesanal Sanalejo

This market opens in Plaza Bolivar only the first Saturday of every month with over 200 stalls. Perfect place to shop for vintage things or to buy nice souvenirs to bring home.

NIGHTLIFE

Parque Lleras is the main location where tourists and locals go out. All the bars and clubs are here. If you want a more local experience you can check out the bars at Calle 70.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Medellin has different festivals and events throughout the year. Check on TeleMedellin to see what’s happening when you are here. The most famous event in Medellin is the Flower Festival which usually takes place in august.

International Tango Festival

During our stay we got a chance to go to the International Tango Festival, which brought together many South American artists to perform and sing Tango.
Price: Free

WHERE TO EAT

Ganso & Castor

Delicious brunch and very friendly staff. I highly recommend the french toasts!

Marietta

If you are in need for some delicious vegan or vegetarian food, this is the place to go to. They offer a different meal of the day everyday that includes a drink, appetizer, main dish, and dessert for a price range between 12,000 and 15,000 COP ($4.20- $5.20).

Al Alma

Good location for breakfast or brunch. Everything was delicious and the main dishes included each a fruit salad.

TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS 

  • Medellin is located between two mountain ridges and the city itself has a lot of beautiful vegetation and even small rivers going through the city. It gets a bit chilly early in the morning and late at night. Through out the day it has perfect weather with a sunny sky and a fresh breeze.
  • People from Medellin call themselves Paisas. They are very proud of being extremely kind and friendly. It’s no lie! Paisas are the friendliest and kindest people ever.
  • Dont give out “papaya”: This is a very common Colombian expression which technically means don’t make yourself an easy target to get robbed. Don’t keep phones or wallets hanging out halfway out of your pocket or walk around with open backpacks or purses.
  • Uber is illegal in Colombia. It is still very reliable, but know that the police won’t like it if they know you are riding an Uber. You might have to ride the front seat and pretend to be the driver’s friend. Regular cabs are safe to take, just a bit more expensive. The metro is also very safe and clean. After 10pm it is better to just take cabs.
  • Prostitution is legal in Colombia. Don’t be surprised if you see many working girls on the streets when out at night.

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