I spent two weeks on a visit to Medellin Colombia in August 2019. There are many great blogs about Medellin Colombia. They advise on what to see and where to go.
I don’t want to write another blog about my visit to Medellin Colombia and repeat what others are saying. The below is more a summary of my two weeks in the city.
Where to stay during your Medellin Colombia visit
People want different things when they visit a city for the first time. Some want to be near the nightlife. Some want a more real experience.
The main areas most tourists stay are El Poblado or Laureles. These areas cater for tourists that want to be near bars and restaurants.
El Poblado is more lively, and there are bars to suit all tastes. You will find an El Poblado in every large city. This is the main nightlife area of Medellin.
If you are looking for nightlife, El Poblado is the place for you. The downside is it can be a bit seedy. There will also be a lot of people asking for money and trying to sell you stuff.
Laurels is a bit less hectic than El Poblado.
You will find plenty of bars and restaurants here also. They include some well know burger and coffee brands.
I stayed in the Santa Fe area near the Zoo. I was happy with my choice. It was in the middle between El Poblado and Laureles. They were a short 2 Euro Uber ride away.
The area was slightly middle class, and I saw very few tourists. At no time did I feel unsafe, and I ate and had beers there at night. There was a good choice of basic places to eat.
The area was lively on weekends with music blaring from the local bars.
Is Medellin Colombia safe
I think feeling safe is a personal thing. Some people will not feel safe anywhere that is outside their comfort zone. My feedback is from my experience over two weeks.
At no time during my time in Medellin, did I feel unsafe. I did manage to visit a lot of the city. Of course, you do need to take the usual precautions that you would take anywhere in the world. Don’t make yourself a target.
El Poblado was the only area where I felt there could be a little danger. There is a lot of people hustling for money here. It is not a place that you would leave your phone on a table.
Places to see in Medellin Colombia
There are so many places to see in this city. One of the best ways to get to know a city is to take a free walking tour. You are expected to tip the guide at the end of the walk, but it is a great cheap way to see Medellin.
You can then go back to the places you liked during the tour.
I took town free walking tours.
El Centro is the old downtown area of Medellin. If you like a manic bustling centre, you will like El Centro. The streets are full of people selling and buying everything you could think off.
There are a lot of people there encouraging you to come and try the food in their establishment. You will also see gatherings of people playing music and young people dancing to rap.
El Centro is well worth a visit, but people are advised to not stay here after dark.
The other free walking tour I took was one the best I have ever done. Comuna 13 Medellin is an amazing place and a must-visit in the city.
Colombians escaping from the internal conflict in rural areas between the Government and guerrillas started to settle here in the 1970s.
For a long time, the area had no services such as water and electricity. There was also no schools for children.
The area went through some very difficult days. The Guerrillas eventually arrived. The Government and paramilitaries then followed. Comuna 13 had many dark days.
Since 2012 there has been a significant effort to change the area. Services have been added. The area is peaceful today and full of colour and energy.
I use the free tour’s website to check out tours in any place I visit.
Getting around Medellin
The Medellin Metro is a great cheap way to get around the city. It is also straightforward to use. It is clean and efficient.
If you are going to use the Metro, you should take the opportunity to visit Santo Domingo. The last part of the journey is by cable car. This does not cost extra as it is part of the metro system. The views of the city are spectacular.
The Metro does not stop in El Poblado and Laurels. They are both about a 20-minute walk to the nearest station.
During my two weeks, I used Uber six times. It worked fine, and I was never waiting more than five minutes. Four of the drivers had only recently started working with Uber. Uber is illegal in Colombia, but it still operates. Because it is illegal drivers prefer you sit in the front seat with them.
I had to use regular taxis twice and they were fine. Worked out the same price as Uber.
Medellin also has two bus stations. Terminal del Norte and Terminal del Sur. Buses to Bogota depart from Terminal del Norte.
As well as the main International airport there is the regional Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport. This is situated next to Terminal del Sur bus station. You can get flights to Bogota and other parts of Colombia.
Beer is beer
The price of beer in Medellin is like the city. A lot of differences. The most I paid for a beer was 13,000 Pesos in EL Poblado. That was 3.44 Euro. I am sure you can pay more in tourist bars.
The cheapest beer I had was in a barrio bar in Santa Fe. 2,500 Pesos. 0.66 Euro.
Not many speak Spanish in Medellin so having a little Spanish help.
Medellin is known as the city of eternal spring. The climate is warm all year. When I visited in late August, the daytime temperature was 30c and nighttime 20c.
Don’t wear shorts you will look like a tourist. I have seen this on many a website. In my two weeks in Medellin, the daytime temperature never went under 30c. If it is over 30c I am wearing shorts.
Yes , Colombians wear shorts less than in most countries. Wearing shorts will not make you a target. Being careless will. Wearing trousers will not make you Colombian. There is a bit more to it than that.
People also say don’t wear sandals. I would agree with that but on a matter of taste.
There are long lines at ATMs.
I saw no long lines at ATMs. ATMs are similar to anywhere else. There are not as many ATMs as you would find in Europe for example. It is, of course, advisable to use an ATM in a safe area.
To see reviews of other places I have visited click here.
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