Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia. 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 just under one hour by plane from Bogotá.
The weather in Medellín is quite mild it well deserves its common motto of 'City of everlasting spring'. Average daily temperatures are 22ºC (71ºF) , range from 15 to 30 degrees centigrade (60º-85ºF). 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 Medellin 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 Medellin often takes foreign visitors by suprise. Air conditioning is used in downtown areas. Fresh air comes from the mountains surrounding Medellin on all sides, and provides Medellin with the perfect climate. At night time the temperature is usually in the 50-60ºF 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.
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-1990's, the cartel was disbanded and the city has rebounded tremendously. Murder and other crime rates have dropped dramatically, and today Medellín is one of the most secure cities in Latin America. Paisas (residents of Medellin) 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 newer city, the architecture has a decidedly modernist appeal, which goes hand in hand with the progressiveness of its residents. Medellin also has the first (and only) Metro system in Colombia. And, for international travelers, Medellín is perhaps most famous for its beautiful women and the Botero Museum, whose namesake is arguably the most famous modern artist alive today. It is also known for its perfect climate, as witnessed by its nickname "city of the eternal spring". Enough to make your trip worthy.
Traveler be aware: The best advice is to use common sense. Remember, common sense is the least common of all senses. As modern and picturesque as it may seem, listen to advice from the locals as to neighborhoods to stay out of. The city safety report is online .
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.
At the local airport Olaya Herrera the coordinates are Longitude -75,60 and Latitude 6,22. Altitude is 1.490 meters over the sea level.
Medellín is served by José María Córdova International Airport (IATA : MDE) , located in the nearby city of Rionegro. International non-stop flights are available from Caracas, Lima, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Panamá, Quito, New York City and Mexico City with easy connections to Buenos Aires, Santiago, San Jose, Sao Paulo and other places. Airlines with international flights serving the city are: American Airlines , Avianca , Aerorepublica , Copa , TACA , LAN , Spirit Airlines .
Domestic flights have frequent service to Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, San Andres isla and Santa Marta. There are taxis that can take you down to the city. As of June 1, 2009, a taxi from Rionegro to the city is $50.000 Colombian pesos. The minibus to Medellín downtown is at $5.800 Pesos and takes approximately one hour.
There is a small local airport Olaya Herrera (IATA : EOH) close to downtown and it is very convenient for regional and domestic travel. Airlines: Aires , Aerolínea de Antioquia -ADA- , Satena , Easy Fly , etc.
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 North terminal is much larger and it is connected with Metro station Caribe 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).
The South terminal is next door to the much smaller domestic airport (closest Metro station El Poblado but not within walking distance). Serves towns South (Manizales, Pereira, Cali).
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 (aprox. 11 hours). Of note, there is no road connecting Panamá with Colombia.
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 most central point, Parque de Berrio, is located by convention on the crossroads of Calle 50 and Carrera 50.
Timetables : Monday through Saturday from 4:30 a.m to 11 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 5:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m.
Fare : single ride 1,550 COP (includes Metrocable transfers) The new touristic Metrocable line L costs 2,500 COP
Traveling trough the city is easy and quick, with the Metro system , you can go to anywhere in the city with The Metroplús (Bus extension to the Metro) and the Metrocable , a sky train or cable car that has revolutionized transport in the city. Under construction is the 'southern extension' of the metro with stations in the towns of Sabaneta and La Estrella. The new project will add 2 km of lines to the system. Trains run from 5.00h to 23.00h on workdays and from 7.00h to 22.00h on Sundays and holidays. Single tickets are 1,550 pesos (0,70 USD), transfers between the Metro trains, cables and buses (Metroplus) are free. The new Metrocable to the ecopark Arví - Line L- will open in February 2010 with a fare of 2,500 COP for the 4.5 km trip up the mountains. Transfer is available at the Santo Domingo station of the Metrocable K line.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful. All taxis have meters, make sure they use them. Minimal fee costs about 3,900 COP. Taxis are yellow and you can hail them in the streets, or you can have your hotel call one. As in most Latin American countries, their driving can be harrowing, so hold on tight.
There is also the TuriBus , a modern bus that goes around the city showing its parks, attractive neighborhoods, and historical parts; it only costs 15,000 COP. While they do not guarentee 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 1400 COP and require exact change.
Renting a car in Medellin, 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 Medellin allows for spectacular views as you climb up and out of the city into the surrounding mountains that lead to your day trip destination. Car rental in town or at the airport .
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 Ciclovia 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 advise.
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 Medellin, 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 Medellin at the 'puente de Guayaquil' and downtown. Large statues made of lights can be found throughout the city. For Christmas 2009 the theme will be Fountains of Lights, with numerous colorful waterfalls, rains and waves. Metro stations Exposiciones and Industriales.
The Metropolitan Cathedral, which holds the record as one of the buildings in the world with the most bricks -over 1'1 million-, located along the Bolivar park in the city heart. Cra 48 calle 56. Metro station Prado.
Museo de Antioquia , Cra 52 #52-43, displays a 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. Open: Mon - Fri 10 AM-5 PM and Sun - Holidays 10 AM-4 PM. Entrance is usually free, but on occasion is COP$8,000 and students COP$4,000. Metro station Parque Berrío.
Museo Universidad de Antioquia represents 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. Located in Bloque 15 of the University's main campus. Free admission, closed Sundays. Calle 67 N° 53-108, phone +57 4 219 5180. Metro station Universidad.
Casa Museo Fernando González was 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. Monday-Friday 8 Am-8 PM, Sat-Sun 9-5 PM. Cra 43A # 27A Sur - 11 Avenida Fernando González (In the nearby town of Envigado), phone +57 4 276 1415 or 335 2501. Closest Metro station is Envigado then take a cab or bus, the walk is almost 2 km mostly uphill.
Museo Pedro Nel Gómez shows artwork by this local artist, Free Admission. phone +57 4 233 2633. Monday-Sat 9 AM - 5 PM. Sundays and Holidays 10 AM - 4 PM. Not near the Metro, closest stations are Prado or Hospital.
Museo Interactivo EPM a 'please touch museum', great for kids. Tuesday-Fri 8 AM- 5:30 PM, Sat - Sunday 11 AM- 5:30 PM. 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.
Museo Etnográfico Miguel Angel Builes A 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, Phone: 57-4 421 6259. 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 Medellin (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. Opened in October 2009 near Metrostation Industriales. Carlos E. Restrepo, Carrera 44 Nº 19A-100. Phone +574 444 2622. Ciudad del Río, Carrera 64B Nº 51 - 64, Ph +574 230 2622
During the 1980's there was a local law mandating 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 1980's and 90's 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 los Deseos (Wishes' Park) near Antioquia's University, has an Indian context, beautifully enmarqued 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.
The Plaza de Cisneros (o de la luz - Plaza of Light) is in the heart of the city, it borders some beautiful buildings from the 20's, 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.
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 Antioquiais 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 Berrio. Walk uphill 6 block east.
Parque de Berrio 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 Plazulea Nutibara. Metro station Parque de Berrio.
The Parque Periodista 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 Berrio.
Parque San Antonio is a large, newer development right downtown. Hosts a handcraft bazaar and an infamous sculpture of a fat bird, 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.
Jardín Botánico (Botanical Gardens) , +574 444-5500, Calle 73 # 51 -298, Metro Universidad, Mid size gardens with a vast collection of orchids and many tropical flowers, plants and trees. The covered area for display of flowers is an architectural marvel. The annual orchid exhibit is during August is world class. . Metro station Universidad
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 square meter facility cost was around COP$11 billion, financed in part by the government of Medellín, it was completed in 2008. . Metrostation Tricentenario.
Currently under construction is the new Arví park in the eastern slopes of the valley, close to a beautiful dam. This park will promote ecotourism and it will have direct connexion with the Metro through a new Metrocable (opens Feb 2010).
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.
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).
Prado neighborhood - formerly it was the wealthy neigbourhood 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 1km.
West of the Medellin 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.
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 10 AM 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.
Metrocables There 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 or 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:
Medellin 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 . They offer a variety of Music concerts, Opera, Theater, Ballet and other events with international and local performers.
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. Commercial movies are available at most shopping malls: Cine Colombia , Royal Films or Cinemark . Price is around 10,000 pesos (4-5 USD).
Medellín is one of a few cities in the world to have all sport venues located at the same place. At Unidad Deportiva Atanasio Girardot you will find soccer, track & field, swimming, diving, baseball, volleyball, basketball, softball, tennis, velodrome, ping-pong, karts, boxing, hapkido, judo, karate do, gymnastics, taekwondo, weightlifting, chess, roller skating and many more stadiums in one convenient location. Some of them are currently undergoing improvements for the upcoming South American games in 2010. Metrostation Estadio.
Watch a football game at one of the two teams based in Medellin, 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 Saturday or Sunday, and tickets can usually be purchased at the stadium. Metro station Estadio.
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. There is another Skate Park in Unidad Deportiva Atanasio Girardot, opens 24/7. Metro station: Estadio.
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.
The Fourth International Tango Festival will convene with world renown artists. June 2010.
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.
Colombian cuisine is varied and regional. The more typical dishes are referred to as comida criolla.
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 fried bacon) and patacon (deep-fried plantain pancakes). Topping that off with a Colombian beer and a cup of "chocolate" (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 Medellin, 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 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 Medellin 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.
HatoViejo (Local dishes), +57 4 268 6811, Calle 16 #28 - 60 Via Las Palmas, Across the street from Hotel Intercontinental, Great food for the last 30 years. Mostly meat, regional dishes. Decorated as an old farm. Also outdoor areas
Las Luisitas (Typical & Local), +57 4 311 5615 and 312 6064, Carrera 37A No. 8A-50, Simple and well done meals. Tiny place with lots of character
La Provincia (Seafood & Itialian), +574 311 9630, Mon-Sat Noon-3 PM, 7PM - midnight, Calle 4 sur # 43 A - 179, Near Oviedo shopping mall, Really good food, well prepared and well served. Closed Sundays.
San Jorge de Manila (Grill & Seafood) , +574 312 3006, Mon-Sat noon-3 PM, 7PM-Midnight, Carrera 43 B # 12 - 101, Calle de la Buena Mesa, near El Poblado, Lunch menu available at discounted price. Closed Sundays.
Al Patio (Mexican - Seafood), +574 2666 060, Noon to 4 AM, Carrera 38 # 19 - 2- 65, Carretera Las Palmas, Restaurant and Bar. Overlooks town, great outdoors.
Mystique, +574 311 8221, Cra. 33 # 7 - 55, El Poblado - Provenza, not far from Parque Lleras, Nicely 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. Mobile: +574 311 8221
Bijao (Latin food), +57 4 311 6294, Noon-2.30 PM, 7-11 PM. Closed Sundays, Cra. 37 A # 8-66, Parque Lleras, El Poblado
El Cielo (Molecular cuisine), +57 4 268 3002, Noon- 3 PM, de 7-11 PM, Cra 40 No. 10A - 22, El Poblado, Molecular cooking is a complex science, here you can sit down and enjoy it. Ignorance is bliss.
Anita's (Cafe), +574 310 1770, Bfast-Lunch, Calle 4 sur No. 43-A 97, Near Oviedo shopping mall and McDonald's, Modern cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Eggs any style, bacon or French toast. Sandwiches (ciabatta or baguette), salads (Caesar, tuna, Thai or Italian) as well as delicious coffee and fruit juices.
Milagros (Mexican), +57 4 311 4216, Cra. 48 # 10 - 45 local 149, Near Hotel Plaza Rosa, Authentic Mexican food. Basic wine list.
Bonuar (At the Museo de Arte Moderno), Carrera 44 Nº 19A-100, Ciudad del Rio, on the side of the Museum, Great outdoors. Easy free parking
Lion's Den Sports Pub (American) , + 574 311 6079, + 574 311 6079, 5PM - midnight nightly, Car. 36 No. 10-49, Three blocks from Parque Lleras. Go up Calle 10 and turn left on Car. 36, we are 5 buildings down on the left, Watch 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, etc). Multiple plasma/LCD/wide screen TVs.
Vitto's (Trattoria Italiana), +574 411 7247, Calle 33 # 74 B - 310, Ave. 33, 300 mts up from Bulerias Circle, Well done Italian food, home-made pasta. Great sauces.
Fenicia (Middle Eastern cuisine) , +574 413 8566, M-F noon to 8.30 PM, Sundays/Holidays Noon-4 PM, Cra. 73 # circular 2 - 41, Ave Jardin, Laureles, Mainly Lebanese dishes in this unpretentious restaurant. Good food.
Versalles, **+57 4** 511 9147, Carrera 49 # 53-39, Metrostations Parque Berrio or Prado, Restaurant along carrera Junin downtown has basic Argentinean fare at reasonable prices.
Moli (Vegetarian), +574 231 5675, Calle 54 # 47 - 105, local 132, Centro comercial El Parque, Downtown location.
In situ restaurante (Jardín Botánico) , +574 233 2373, +574 233 2373, Calle 73 # 51 D-14, Metro Universidad, Reservations 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..
Agua Clara (Typical), + 57 4 231 6642, lunch, Carrera 49 No. 52-141, 2nd floor, Metro station Parque Berrio, Regional food.
QueAreParaEnamorarte , +57 4 542 0011, +57 4 542 0011, Partidas para El Retiro, Crossroads of Las Palmas and road leading to El Retiro, near the dam, At 40 km east of Medellín, great local food, old fashioned and homemade.
Casablanca (Restaurant and Supermarket) , intersection of Las Palmas and road to International airport, 20 km east of Medellín, 10 west of the airport, A beautiful restaurant easily accessible on the way to the airport.
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. $$.
Mondongo's , +57 4 411 3434, Carrera 70 # circular 3 - 43, Right hand side on avenida 70, 3 blocks from Universidad Bolivariana, A 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.
El Astor (Dessert house) , +574 511 9002 , 9 AM - 7 PM, Junín: Carrera 49 # 52-84, 1 block away from Edificio Coltejer, Traditional cakes, pastries and desserts. Tea house. Metrostation Parque Berrio.
Pasteleria Santa Elena , +574 325 6600 ext 107, Parque el Poblado, Carrera 43 # 8 - 36, Great 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.
Food and Deliveries (Online only - Deliveries only) , +574 448 4836, 11 AM- 9 PM, Virtual, Meat, 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.
Cerveza - Beer is available almost anywhere, the one most enjoyed by people is Pilsen a light golden in color, German Pilsener or Lager type 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.
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.
Babylon is best known for its Thursday night all you can drink, 20,000 pesos to enter, OPEN UNTIL 4AM. Located in Las Palmas. It's popular with gringos and 'gringo hunters'.
El Blue is a 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.
Red, opposite El Blue, offers electronic music and local music.
Mangos is the 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. OPEN TIL 4AM
Palmaia is the newest, biggest and arguably best club in Medellin and has a capacity of 3,000 people. Standard crossover music with a boxing ring for girl-fights! Autopista Sur.
Circus is a new venue with great views over Medellin. Very popular with the beautiful, in-crowd and normally plays cross-over music.
El Eslabón Prendido is a great place to watch, or if you can, dance salsa. It's located in the centre so some precaution is necessary.
Carnival International DJ's spin house, techno, etc. until the early morning (9AM) with most patrons high on extasy sucking lolly pops and wearing sunglasses.
VIVA (Dance club), Calle 51 # 73 - 100, Close to baseball stadium, Large 2-story dance club with mostly gay clientele
Sabor Antillano (Salsa & Tropical music), $, Calle 38 sur # carrera 43. Envigado, Two blocks down from main plaza, A fun tiny place. Classic salsa with songs coming from vinyl.
Eslabon Prendido (Salsa & Tropical), Calle 53 # 42- 55 (Maracaibo street), Downtown, half block east Parque del Periodista, Live music Tuesday nights. The name of the place plays with words: Hot -or Burning- Link instead of Missing Link.
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 admitedly 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.
Just outside of Medellin, 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.
B-Lounge is an electronic disco with rich, beautiful women as is...
La Kasa which are both good on Thursday nights as it's Ladies Night.
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.
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 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.
Salon Málaga (Tango and Bolero bar) , +57 4 231 2658, M-Sat 7 AM - 2 AM, Sundays/holidays 8 AM - Midnight, Cra. 51 Bolívar # 45 + 80, Between Amador & Maturín streets, A 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).
Dulce Jesus Mio (Mi Pueblo) , +57 4 288 8176, 4 PM- 1 AM, Calle 77S # 46B-90 Sabaneta, Next to Texaco gas station, The 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 Bar, +57 4 234 039, Cra. 67 B 51 A 98 Local 101, Near Exito calle Colombia, Tangos, boleros. Ph +57 4 230 3259
Bermellón, +57 4 331 7963, Calle 23 Sur # 42B-107 Envigado, Tango and more.
Most of the inexpensive hotels in Medellín are located in El Centro. It's a vibrant area during the daytime, but at night becomes a bit sketchy, be aware.
Hotel Conquistadores , +574 512 3232, Carrera 54 #49-31, An affordable and safe hotel in the center of town. All the basic amenities, including broadcast TV, hot water, lockboxes. Restaurant on site. Extremely friendly and helpful staff. Recommended.
Hotel Linton, +574 239 2647, Carrera 45 #47-58, El Palo entre pichincha y Bomboná, All the basic amenities including cable TV, hot water, mini stereo system in rooms.
Hotel Ayacucho Real, +574 511 5904, Calle 49 (Ayacucho) #48-15, All the basic amenities including cable TV, hot water, mini stereo system in rooms.
Hotel San José, +57 4 512 0066, Calle 49 #45-12, second floor, Ayacucho por el Palo, Probably the cheapest decent hotel in town. Despite the price, it is clean and safe. Cable TV, hot water, laundry on site.
Nutibara , +57 4 511 5111, Calle 52A # 50 - 46 Plazuela Nutibara, Downtown near Metrostation Parque Berrio, The most traditional hotel in Medellín, now a tad rundown. Great architecture. Just across the street from Museo de Antioquia. Fax: +57 4 231 3713
These are middle-class, safe neighborhoods just west of the river (west of downtown) with many bars, restaurants, shops and clubs along Carrera 70.
Hotel Terranova 70, +574 260 2282, Carrera 70 #47-34, Diagonally opposite Estadio metro station, The most inexpensive hotel in this desirable area. Clean, modern, nice rooms. Friendly staff.
Sauces del Estadio, Cra 69 No.49A-30
Hotel Casa Laureles, Calle 35 No.78-66.
Hotel Laureles 70, Circular 5a No.70-15.
This 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.
Hotel Intercontinental , +574 319 4450, Calle 16 #28-51, Variante Las Palmas, 2 km up from San Diego shopping mall, A nice and traditional hotel in town, recently renewed. Suburban location. Large rooms, convention center.
Milla de Oro (Estelar) , Carrera 43 A No. 1A Sur 237, Av. El Poblado, between the main plaza and Oviedo shopping mall , Opened June 2009. Over 150 rooms. Toll free calling within Colombia 01 8000 97 8000
Hotel Portón de Medellín , +574 313 2020, Carrera 43A No 9 Sur 51 Av. El Poblado, Close to Oviedo mall, Located in the area called “The Golden Mile”, an exclusive business, trade and entertainment center.
Hotel Casa-10, 311 4882 or 582 5347, Calle 11 #43B-71, A couple of blocks NW of Parque Poblado, The most inexpensive hotel in this desirable area. Clean, and modern rooms, but musky. Newly opened in early May 2009. Friendly staff. Wider range of cable TV than most inexpensive hotels. Internet computers and WiFi included. Free parking.
Medellin Executive Suites Hotel , + 57 313-582-6237, Calle 11 A No. 31 A - 208, Near Zona Rosa, An exclusive hotel with exemplary service, modern amenities, and idyllic surroundings. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of Medellin. Short walk to Parque Lleras. Wi-Fi, Pool and recreation deck available. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Santa Ana , + 57 4 314 0707, Calle 15 sur No. 48 - 34, Two blocks from Metrostation La Aguacatala, Santa 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 no much to do in La Aguacatala. Breakfast included.
Las Rosas (Boutique hotel) , +57 4 4444 513, Cra. 33 # 5 G - 73, Barrio Provenza, near Parque Lleras, Only 14 large rooms with good service. Spanish courses available. The hotel arranges great tours outside the city.
Hotel La Casa Medellin , +57 4 268 6010, Los Balsos, La Casa is a Boutique Hotel located in the most exclusive area of Medellin known as Los Balsos el Poblado. Walking distance to popular attractions such as Oviedo Shopping center and a 5 minute taxi drive to Medellin’s exciting Zona Rosa & Parque LLeras. U.S. Phone Number: 310-728-6301
Blacksheep Hostel , +574 311 1589, +574 311 1589, 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 (2,000 COP/h), TV room + cable, free DVDs, hammocks.
Casa del Sol Hostel , +574 422 0531, +574 422 0531, Calasanz 49 81A-24, Friendly and basic hostel. Kitchen, inclusive breakfast of toast and tea or coffee, TV/DVD room. Internet/WiFi, table tennis, book exchange, laundry
Casa Kiwi Hostel , +574 268 2668 / 352 1109, +574 268 2668 / 352 1109, Cra 36 #7-10, 3 blocks above Parque Lleras in El Poblado, Great 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.
Waypoint Hostel , +574 312 52 94 / Mobile 300 671 99 12, Cra 48b # 10 sur - 08, La Aguacatala, in El Poblado, next to EAFIT University, Clean sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. Cooking facilities, Hammocks, Hot water, Wi-Fi, Swimming pool.
Casa Mayde , +57 4 312 0254, +57 4 312 0254, Calle 10 # 37-39, Ten-minute walk from Poblado metro station, A Colombian run hostel in the safe and modern Parque Lleras neighborhood, for a maximum of 15 people. Hot showers in some rooms. Fully equipped self-catering kitchen. Two outdoor patios, slow internet connection, cable and laundry service. The owner, Mayde, and her staff are a rather eccentric bunch that drinks and smokes up every night, so only consider staying here if you are looking to stay up all night.
Hostal Tamarindo - Medellin (email@example.com) , +574 268 9828, 57 315 451 6268, +574 268 9828, 57 315 451 6268, Calle 7 #35-36, El Poblado, At Tamarindo you will find a calm, 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.
Palm Tree Hostel , +57 4 2606142 or 260 2805, +57 4 2606142 or 260 2805, Cra 67 # 48D - 63, Behind the **Exito Colombia** supermarket, 3 blocks away from the Suramericana Metro station, For 7 years giving to travelers a very welcoming place, family ambient, cheap rates and full information about Medellin, Colombia and South America. Many bus routes and a Metro station nearby. Spacious hostel with all hostel services : 24 hour staffed office, free internet & 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 & breakfast.
Samán Hostel , 310 221436/320 7662735, 310 221436/320 7662735, Calle 10 N° 36-24, El Poblado, Run 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!
Tiger Paw Hostel , US 843-564-5585 and international +574 311 6079, US 843-564-5585 and international +574 311 6079, Car 36 No. 10-49, Across the street from Parque Lleras in Poblado, Brand 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 Medellin. Sports Bar located in the hostel (see 'Eat' section).
For Apartment acccommodation and whenever possible, you should try to rent for a month. Prices in pesos en El Centro range from 200,000, in Laureles from 400,000 and in El Poblado from 800,000 pesos per month for unfurnished apartments. El Poblado is the safest and cleanest neighborhood, and furnished studio apartments run 1'700,000 pesos and up.
The Apartments Medellin (Luxury Apartment Rental) , +57 4 331 2837, +57 4 331 2837, Ireland, 12 different luxury apartments to choose from, all fully furnished and serviced, including a free mobile phone!
apartments-medellin.com (Luxury Apartments in Poblado, Medellin), 301 286 9409, 301 286 9409, Calle 5 sur, 37 - 128, El Poblado
Colombia is famous for its coffee and Medellin 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 Medellin: The local Rum, excellent! 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, Medellin 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 Medellin 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.
On the first Saturday of the month there is the Mercado de San Alejo, an open market right on Parque de Bolívar, hours: 8.00 a.m. a 6.00 p.m. A large variety of local handcrafts sold primarily by the artisans themselves.
Centro Artesanal mi viejo Pueblo. Cr 49 # 53-30. Phone +574 513 7563
El Tesoro Parque Comercial , 5743211010, 9 AM-11 PM, Cra. 25A # 1A Sur - 45 / Loma El Tesoro con Transversal Superior, Access only by taxi or private car, A 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 14:00 to 21:30. 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 comercial, +574 311 6116, Av El Poblado Cr 43 A # 6 S 15, Large shopping area with nearby hotels and restaurants.
San Diego centro comercial, + 574 262 0105, Calle 33 No 43 16, At the crossroad of Las Palmas, Avenida Oriental, Avenida San Diego and calle 33, The first shopping mall built in Colombia over 30 years ago is still a nice place to stroll, eat and of course shop. Located less than 1 mile away from downtown.
Monterrey (Centro comercial), Avenida 62 (Carrera 48) x Calle 10, Only 2 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).
The local currency is the Colombian Peso (COP). Bank notes come in denominations from 1000 to 50,000 pesos. Coins are available in 20, 50, 100, 500 y 1,000 pesos, although 20 coins are quite unusual outside the supermarkets. 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. Often times you will need a form of ID, like your passport or government ID to pay with a card. You sometimes may be able to use a copy of your passport, but not always.
ATM limits: ATMs strictly limit withdrawals on foreign and domestic cards. You may only be able to get out 1,2 million pesos 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 ATM's everywhere.
Spanish is the official language in Colombia. Few locals are bilingual, and when so it is usually English as the second language. There are no major native (First nations) people in Medellín so indigenous languages are not spoken.
Under-served kids 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. Dialectologist have gather together a dictionary .
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 Medellin 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. 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.
Medellin is generally a safe city, especially compared to its past. While murder rates are soaring in 2010, it was reported than in 2009 the murder rate in Medellin was the lowest in 30 years . Murders rarely involve tourists. The poorer neighborhoods in the north-east and north-west of the city should be avoided at night to avoid trouble. Most travellers to Medellin will tell you that they never found themselves in any danger while there, and that the following advice should not deter your plans to travel there, and should be taken as advice. As in most major cities, staying safe comes down to common sense, and even the locals follow the following advice.
Don't travel alone after dark. Almost anyone who knows anyone who has gotten into trouble in Medellin 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.
Avoid straying off of the main areas outside of the Santo Domingo Metrocable station, especially after dark; basically, try to stay within site 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 alot 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 varrying 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 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. Note that it is not very common for Medellin 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, hats, etc. 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. 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 ATM's 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 it is wise to use machines in a mall (Spanish: centro comercial), one of the large superstores (such as Exito or Carrefour) or grocery stores (such as Pomona), 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 and delicious. However, bottled water is always available everywhere for the extra-cautious.
Colombia does not require foreigners to get extra vaccinations to enter the country.
Altitude is generally not a problem for foreigners since Medellín is only 1,500 mts 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.
You are at no risk of many tropical diseases like malaria, cholera, yellow fever, leishmaniasis or Chagas disease because of its altitude.
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 nd the second one in the whole country. Its old campus downtown has beautiful republican architecture while the newer campus (1960's) i a great example of modern architecture .
At a variety of second language schools:
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.
Learn Spanish at Loquella . All levels of students are welcome, overseas students can also find accommodation at different levels from cheap hotels to apartments. They also offer cultural learning and courses online.
After Buenos Aires, Medellín is the best place to learn how to tango -dance, sing-.
El Ultimo Café (Milonga & Tango Dance Academy) , +57 4 266 1860, Scheduled events, Cra. 43 B # 11 -12, Near parque el Poblado, A dance academy with good turnout. Call to book your place. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Officially 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.
International country codes: Colombia 57, City code Medellín 4. When calling a mobile from outside Colombia dial 57-3.
To make an international call from Colombia, dial the access code 005 (Orbitel), 007 (ETB) or 009 (Telecom), 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 '0' 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 4 cellular phone companies in Colombia (Comcel , Movistar , TIGO 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 call cell phones. 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' .
Six local stations are available in cable services, air broadcast and most can be watched online.
There are plenty of good hospitals and clinics in Medellin unfortunately English is not widely spoken by doctors and nurses. Most upscale hotels have medical services in house.
Austria. Address Cr 43A No. 14-109. Phone: +57 4 266-5757, ext. 119/ Fax: +57 4 268-2858
Belgium - Bélgica. Address Diagonal 75B No. 2A-120, Of. 309. Phone +57 4) 341-6060/ Fax: +57 4 341-2946
Bolivia Address Cl 10 No. 41-9, Of. 301. Phone +57 4 381-7601/ Fax: +57 4 268-2706
Brazil - Brasil Address Cl 29D No. 55-91. Phone +57 4 265-7565/ Fax: +57 4 265-5211
Chile Address Cr 48 No. 12sur-70, Ed. El Crucero, Of. 808. Phone +57 4 313-2209 or +57 4 313-5264/ Fax: +57 4 313-1608
Costa Rica Address Cr 43A No. 14-109 Ed. Nova Tempo, Of. 309. Phone +57 4 381-7549 or +57 4 312-2391
Denmark - Dinamarca, +57 4 513-5161, Cl 49 No.50-21, Of. 1904
Ecuador Address Cl 50 No.52-22, Ed. Banco de Caldas, Of. 802. Phone +57 4 512-1193
El Salvador Address Cl 10B No. 35-27. Phone +57 4 266-5433/ Fax: +57 4 266-5586
France, +57 4 235 8037, Cr 52 No. 14-200, local 204 Fax: +57 4 265-7291
Germany - Alemania, +57 4 380-8080, Address Cr 43F No. 17-419 Fax: +57 4 232-8474
Netherlands - Holanda, +57 4 251-0324, Address Cr 52 No. 51A-23, Of. 401-402 Fax: +57 4 251-0314
Italy - Italia, +57 4 262-1823, Cl 31 No. 43A-172 Fax: (+57 4) 262-3139
México Address Cl 50 No. 42-54, piso 2. Phone +57 4 239-0456/ Fax: (+57 4) 239-7062
Panamá Address Cl 10 No. 42-45, Of. 233. Phone +57 4 268-1157/ Fax: (+57 4) 288-6108
Perú Address Cl 4 sur No.43A-195 Ed. Centro Ejecutivo. Phone +57 4 268-7285/ Fax: +57 4 268-7293
South Korea - Corea del Sur Address Cr 42 (Autopista Sur) No. 54A-22, Itagüí. Phone +57 4 372-0755/ Fax: +57 4 373-6289
Spain - España Address Cr 42 No.10-11. Phone +57 4 312-0400/ Fax: +57 4 266-5364
Sweden - Suecia, +57 4 266-0498 or +57 4 311-9983, Address Cr 43A No. 1 sur-31 Ed. Banco Ganadero, Of. 401 Fax: +57 4 268-7878
Switzerland - Suiza, +57 4 230-4563, Cr 68 No. 48D-48 Fax: +57 4 260-1881
UK - Inglaterra - Gran Bretaña, +57 4 270-9242 or +57 4 331-8625, Carrera 49 No. 46A sur-103, Envigado Fax: +57 4 331-0046
Venezuela Address Cl 32B No.69-59. Phone +57 4 235-0359 or +57 4 351-1644/Fax: +57 4 351-1909
US citizens (There is no consulate in Medellín. Only the US 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 Tour and La Piedra del Peñol : Guatape is located approximately 90 minutes outside of Medellin and is becoming a recreational destination for many Colombian's 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 damn. 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 busses going about every hour from the Medellín North bus terminal. Pablo Escobar, the famous druglord, 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.
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 mts long, among the largest in the world. You can canopy, trek, even sleep in the park. $$-$$$. Phone: +574 538 0279. email: email@example.com
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.
Most of the coffee in the country grows in the Andes south 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, 2 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.
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 2.5 hr. drive from Medellín.
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