Medellín

Medellín is an attractive city. Some people add it to their itineraries in Colombia for the wrong motives: prostitution, drugs, the story of Pablo Escobar.
However, I dare to believe that the majority of tourists go there for more praiseworthy and understandable reasons such as the clement weather, hence the nickname of the city of eternal spring, the discovery of the incredible Antioquia region, the nightlife, the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with pleasant and friendly locals, the “digital nomad” way of life.

I enjoyed spending more than 5 months in the city of eternal spring. Although its nickname is a bit exaggerated, I learned to understand and discover this city and I intend to share with you the advice I got from it.

1 – Many travelers and locals will tell you about the “Poblado” district when you mention Medellín. The Poblado is the trendy neighborhood where most of the clubs, restaurants, bars, Spanish schools, and hotels are located. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a night out. If this is not the case, I recommend Laureles. It’s another area of the city that is much more authentic and pleasant.

2 – The “Comuna 13” was, and still is, an excellent example to see and understand the change that has taken place in Medellín in recent years. However, Comuna 13 is now far too crowded, and you will meet a lot of tourists there. You have other options to discover the dynamics of change in this city, such as the neighborhoods of Moravia or La Sierra.

3The beautiful village of Guatape is located 2 hours from Medellín without counting possible traffic jams. This destination is very popular with locals and foreign tourists alike. Avoid the weekend if you want to have a peaceful and pleasant time there. You also have the option to stay in San Rafael and organize a day trip to Guatape from this small village. A great opportunity that you can include in your tour of Colombia.

4Arvi Park is overestimated. If you want to discover the surroundings of Medellín, decide instead to visit the Antioquia region. You’ll have plenty to choose from among the many beautiful little colonial villages. Antioquia is one of my favorite departments in Colombia.

Avoid adding Medellín to your stay in Colombia just because you want to party. You can enjoy the nightlife in any city in Colombia if you know where to look. However, if you’re going to visit part of the Antioquia region, it would be a shame not to spend some time in Medellín.

 

Articles about Medellin you must read before coming:

 

Getting to Medellin?  (+)

From Jerico to Medellin:

  • Many buses leave from Jerico. Take a bus that passes by Bolombolo. Schedules. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal.| Transportes Jerico | 3h30 

 

From Tamesis to Medellin: 

  • Many buses leave from Tamesis. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal. | Transporte Tamesis & Cooptratam | 4 hours

 

From Jardin to Medellin:

  • Many buses from The Jardin terminal. The fastest ones belong to Rapido Ochoa. Schedule. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal.| Transporte Suroeste Antioqueño & Rapido Ochoa | 4 hours

 

From Salamina to Medellin:

  • A few direct buses per day from the Salamina “terminal”. Ask your hotel for the time departures. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal. | Expreso Sideral | 6-7 hours

 

From San Rafael to Medellin:

  • Buses leave frequently from the San Rafael “terminal” (at the main square). Last bus leaves around 5 pm. You’ll arrive at the North Terminal. | Sotra San Vicente & Guatape del penol | 3 hours

 

From Guatape to Medellin: 

  • Buses leave frequently. Last bus leaves around 6 pm. You’ll arrive at the North Terminal. | Sotra San Vicente & Guatape del Penol | 2 hours

 

From San Carlos to Medellin: 

  • A few direct buses per day from the San Carlos Terminal. Schedule. You’ll arrive at the North Terminal.  | Transoriente & Coornote |4 – 5 hours

 

From Pereira to Medellin: 

  • Many direct buses from the Pereira terminal. Hourly departures. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal. Schedule.| Expreso Arauca, Flota Ospina & Flota occidental | 6 – 8 hours
  • Direct flights from the airport. Arrival in Jose Maria Cordoba or Olaya Herrera.  | Easyfly | 1 hour

 

From Armenia to Medellin:

 

From Salento to Medellin:

  • A few direct buses from “La Terminal – Parada de Buses Salento”. 08:00 am; 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 13:30 pm, and 16:00 pm. Double-check with your hotel. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal. | Flota Occidental | 8 – 9 hours
  • You can also take a taxi to the Armenia or Pereira airport, then a direct flight to Medellin with Easyfly.

 

From Filandia to Medellin:

  1. Direct bus from the Filandia terminal to Pereira. Hourly departures from 7 am to 7 pm. | Expresó Alcalá | 1 hour
  2. Then a bus from the Pereira terminal to Medellin. Hourly departures. You’ll arrive at the South Terminal. Schedule.| Expreso Arauca, Flota Ospina & Flota occidental | 6 – 8 hours

You can also take a taxi to the Armenia or Pereira airport, then a direct flight to Medellin with Easyfly.

 

From Cali to Medellin: 

  • Direct bus from the terminal. Frequent departures. I recommend a night bus. Schedule. | Bolivariano & Expreso Arauca | 10 h
  • Many direct flights from the airport. You’ll arrive in Jose Maria Cordova airport | Avianca & Easyfly & VivaColombia | 1 hour | Prices & Availabilities 

 

From San Agustin to Medellin:

  • I’ve heard there is one direct bus per day from the “terminal”. Confirm with our hotel or the bus company. | Coomotor | 18 hours
  • Or you can take a bus to Pitalito (1h) then fly to Medellin with Satena.  

 

From Popayan to Medellin:

  • Only 1 bus in the evening from the terminal. Schedule – double-check with the bus company. You’ll arrive in the South Bus Terminal| Flota Magdalena | 13 hours
  • By plane: there are several flights departing from Guillermo Leon Valencia Airport in Popayan but with one stopover | Companies: Avianca & Latam | Duration: 4h to 5h30 | Prices & Availabilities

 

From Neiva to Medellin:

 

From Nuqui / Guachalito to Medellin:

 

From Bahia Solanto / El Valle to Medellin:

  • Direct flights. I recommend San German Express. You will arrive in Olaya Herrera. | Satena & San German Express | 40 min
  • Many tuk-tuks can drive you from El Valle to Bahia Solano’s airport | 40 min

 

From Bogota to Medellin:

  • Many buses leave from the Salitre Terminal. I recommend a night bus. Your bus trip will be more comfortable if you take a premium bus. You’ll arrive at the North bus terminal. | Rapido Ochoa, Expreso Brasilia, Flota Magdalena, Bolivariano | 10 hours
  • Many flights from the Bogota airport to the Maria Cordova Airport (Medellin). | Viva Air, Latam & Avianca | 1h | Prices & Availabilities

 

From Cartagena to Medellin: 

  • Bus at the main terminal. I recommend a night bus. Schedule – Double-check with the bus company. | Expreso Brasilia & Rapido Ochoa | 14 hours
  • Flights from the main airport – Jose Cordova | Viva Air, Latam & Avianca | 1 hour | Prices & Availabilities

 

From Santa Marta to Medellin: 

  • Direct flights from the Santa Marta airport. You’ll arrive at the main airport – Jose Maria Cordova | Avianca, Viva Colombia & Latam | 1h15 | Prices & Availabilities
  • A few direct buses leave from the terminalSchedule – double-check with the bus company. You’ll arrive at the North bus terminal | Rapido Ochoa & Expreso Brasilia | 16 h

 

From Capurgana to Medellin:

  1. Boat at 11 am in Capurgana to Necocli | 1h30 
  2. Bus from the Necocli terminal to Medellin | Cootrans Uroccidente & Sotrauraba | 9 – 10 hours

 

From Isla Fuerte to Medellin:

It’s quite a demanding trip as there are many changes:

  1. Boat Isla Fuerte to Paso Nuevo | 20 min
  2. Taxi Paso Nuevo to Lorica | 45 min
  3. Bus Lorica to Monteria | Sotracor | 1 hour
  4. Direct night bus to Medellin. I recommend a night bus. Schedule. | Rapido Ochoa & Expreso Brasilia | 10 hours

You can also fly from Monteria to Medellin.

 

From Rincon del Mar to Medellin:

  • Take a moto-taxi from Rincon del Mar to San Onofre | 30 min
  • Then a bus from San Onofre to Sincelejo | 1 hour
  • Then another bus to Medellin. I recommend a night bus. Schedule. | Rapido Ochoa & Expreso Brasilia | 10 – 11 hours
    OR
  • From San Onofre you can take a direct bus to Medellín but they only leave during the day | See the timetables: check them again with your company | Companies: Rapido Ochoa & Expreso Brasilia | Duration: 12-13h 

International airport?  (+)

From Jose Maria Cordova Airport to Medellin:

  • The main airport is called Jose Maria Cordoba, and it’s located in Rionegro, at a 45-min drive from Medellin. Official taxis are leaving from the airport, and the price is fixed (approx 25$). Book a private transfer to make your life easier. 
  • Another option (cheaper) is to take a shared taxi or a bus.  They will stop at the San Diego Mall. Then you will have to take a taxi to your hotel. 

 

From Medellin to Jose Maria Cordova:

 

Who lands in the Jose Maria Cordova?

  • Almost everybody, except if you’re going to the Pacific coast.

Olaya airport?  (+)

The airport Olaya Herrera is only used by Satena and Easyfly. Flights to the Pacific coast leave from Olaya Herrera. The airport is 10 minutes by taxi from Poblado and 20 min from Laureles. It’s next to the South bus terminal.

North Bus terminal?  (+)

The North Bus Terminal is 20 min up North by taxi from Laureles. All buses going to Bogota and the Caribbean Coast leave from there.

South Bus terminal?  (+)

The South Bus Terminal is next to the airport Olaya Herrera, at only 10 min by taxi from Poblado. All buses going South of Medellin leave from there (Cali, Coffee region, Jardin, and so one).

Table of Contents

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Where to stay in Poblado

Poblado is an excellent pick if you want to enjoy the nightlife in Medellin without taking a cab between two locations. Everything is close, and you will find hips of hotels, upscale restaurants, and nightclubs. At night, the district turns into a mini "Las Vagas" with neons and loud music, with a young crowd of Colombians and foreigners. I have a preference for the area of Manila (a little more relaxed).

  • Garden of blues

    Hostel - $

    Garden of blues

    An economical option, with clean rooms. Homelike atmosphere. Nice courtyard. Dorms only.
    Get the best prices
  • Hotel 574

    Hotel - $$

    Hotel 574

    A simple and modern design, with beautiful furniture. The staff is helpful. Quiet area, 10 min from the bars.
    Get the best prices
  • Los Patios

    Hostel - $$

    Los Patios

    Probably the best hostel in Medellin. Fantastic rooftops and lots of social events. Modern. Manila.
    Get the best prices
  • The Somos

    Hotel - $$

    The Somos

    Ideal for enjoying the nightlife of Medellin. Modern New York style design, cool rooftop, and bar. Comfortable.
    Get the best prices
  • Cafe Medellin

    Hotel - $$$

    Cafe Medellin

    Modern and comfortable hotel in a quiet area. Ideal to rest and enjoy Poblado. Staff at the top level.
    Get the best prices
  • Rango

    Hostel - $$$

    Rango

    Modern hostel with many social events. Tasty breakfast. Comfortable and spacious bedrooms.
    Get the best prices
  • Epic Boutique

    Hotel - $$$

    Epic Boutique

    Great design and good value for money. Close to restaurants and bars. Friendly staff. A bit noisy.
    Get the best prices
  • Sites

    Hotel - $$$

    Sites

    Fantastic facilities and superb views of the city (with pool). Ideal for families. Comfortable and quiet.
    Get the best prices
  • Celestino

    Boutique - $$$

    Celestino

    Romantic trendy hotel, perfect for young couples who want to enjoy the nightlife in Medellin. A bit noisy.
    Get the best prices
  • Lifeafar

    Apartment - $$$

    Lifeafar

    Excellent furnished apartments in Laureles and Poblado. Modern design and well decorated. Functional.
    Get the best prices
  • Patio del mundo

    Luxury - $$$$

    Patio del mundo

    Homelike hotel with only a few bedrooms. Personalized attention and top-notch facilities.
    Get the best prices
  • The Charlee

    Luxury - $$$$

    The Charlee

    The most famous hotel in Medellin. Top-notch rooftop, 3-floor gym, private chef, and jacuzzi.
    Get the best prices

Where to stay in Laureles

Laureles is located in the "center" of Medellin, and it's a perfect option to move to the different highlights of the city. Your stay there will be quieter than in El Poblado, but you will still be able to find many great spots for going out in trendy bars, cool coffee places, and upscale restaurants. This district is quite large, so be ready to walk a bit between the different locations - or take a taxi at night. We like to stay around Primer Parque and Second Parque. For us, it's the best area in Medellin.

  • Wandering Paisa

    Hostel - $

    Wandering Paisa

    Located near La 70 - party area. Lots of social events with the locals. Fun vibes. Cheap.
    Get the best prices
  • Pomo Rosa

    Hotel - $

    Pomo Rosa

    Lovely hotel with affordable rooms. Clean and welcoming staff. Quiet district.
    Get the best prices
  • OBO

    Hotel - $$

    OBO

    Excellent value for money. Cool rooftop with jacuzzi, well situated. Comfy bedrooms.
    Get the best prices
  • Lincoln

    Hotel - $$

    Lincoln

    Perfect location, quiet area. Excellent facilities, with a rooftop and a jacuzzi. Clean.
    Get the best prices
  • Inntu

    Hotel - $$$

    Inntu

    Modern hotel with all the facilities you need. Spacious room, perfect attention.
    Get the best price
  • Factory lofts

    Hotel - $$$

    Factory lofts

    Modern design and comfortable rooms. Beautiful city views and super jacuzzi. Quiet. Close to bars and restaurants.
    Get the best prices

Things to do in Medellin

Don't waste your time being a hangover traveler in Medellin. There are plenty of hikes, museums, tours and weekend trips that you will love!

  • Free walking tour

    4 hours | $

    Free walking tour

    Explore the city and learn about its history. Free walking tour. From Monday to Saturday.
    Learn more
  • Private tours

    4 - 5 hours | $$$

    Private tours

    Don't like big groups? Book a private tour to ask all the questions you've got in mind.
    Get the best price
  • Street Art

    All day

    Street Art

    There are tons of street art in Medellin (not only in Comuna 13). Don't forget to look around!
    Learn more
  • Bike Tour

    4 - 5 hours | $$

    Bike Tour

    Ride a bike and explore the best Medellin's district. Perfect for getting an overview of the city.
    Get the best price
  • Coffee tour

    4 - 5 hours | $$

    Coffee tour

    Learn about coffee, visit a place where we roast coffee beans, and listen to some of Medellin's stories.
    We recommend
  • Coffee Farm visit

    5 hours | $$$

    Coffee Farm visit

    Don't have time to get to the coffee region? Visit a coffee farm in Sabaneta, eat pastries, and taste cups of coffee.
    Get the best price
  • Medellin's nightlife

    3 - 4 hours | $$

    Medellin's nightlife

    Medellin Nightlife isn't only in El Poblado. There are hips of cool bars in the city center. Mingle with the locals!
    Get the best price
  • Plaza Botero

    15 min | $

    Plaza Botero

    A world-famous artist who gives generous forms to his subjects. Square with many sculptures.
    Learn more
  • Food tour

    4 - 5 hours | $$$

    Food tour

    Fill your belly with several Colombian specialties in Sabaneta. 100% fun and authentic.
    Get the best price
  • Market tour

    3 - 4 hours | $

    Market tour

    La Minorsita is a famous market in Medellin. Eat lots of fruits and observe the Colombian daily life. Authentic experience.
    Learn more
  • Moravia

    4 hours | $$

    Moravia

    Moravia was a massive garbage dump where people used to build illegal houses. Now it's a garden. Learn about it.
    Contact
  • La Sierra

    4 - 5 hours | $$

    La Sierra

    It was one of the most dangerous districts in Colombia. Learn about its transformation. Great viewpoints.
    Learn more
  • Comuna 13

    4 - 5 hours | $$

    Comuna 13

    Comuna 13 was one of the first districts to experience a significant change in Medellin. Street art.
    Get the best price
  • Antioquia

    2 hours | $

    Antioquia

    An important art collection of the artist Botero and a temporary exhibition. 1 - 2 hours.
    Learn more
  • Modern art

    1 - 3 hours | $

    Modern art

    Significant collections and a cool building. Night events every last Friday of the month. Nice view from the rooftop.
    Learn more
  • Casa Memoria

    2 - 6 hours | Free

    Casa Memoria

    An interesting and free museum to get a better understanding of the political situation in Colombia.
    Learn more
  • Explora

    4 - 8 hours | $

    Explora

    Interactive museum to learn while having fun. 4 thematics: Music, audiovisual, time, and mind.
    Learn more
  • Cable Car

    2 hours | $

    Cable Car

    Take the metro then a cable car to Santo Domingo to enjoy a fantastic view of the city. Don't hang out in the evening.
    Google Map
  • Football tour

    6 hours | $$

    Football tour

    Colombians love football and Paisas love their local teams. Attend a football game and be part of the experience!
    Get the best price
  • Tejo

    2 - 3 hours | $

    Tejo

    A Colombian game with clay, points, gunpowder, and beers. Check this out when you're in Medellin.
    Learn more
  • Dancing Salsa

    Evening

    Dancing Salsa

    There is a bunch of Salsa schools or Salsa bars. Get our map "Colombia Insider" on Mapstr to find them!
    Download
  • Las 3 Cruces

    3 - 4 hours | Free

    Las 3 Cruces

    It's the favorite Sunday hike for the Paisas. 45 min. Quite steep. Great view of Medellin.
    Learn more
  • Sunday hike

    4 - 8 hours | $

    Sunday hike

    Jack, a Profesional English guide, shows you the best hikes around Medellin.
    Learn more
  • Piketeadero

    Sunday Lunch

    Piketeadero

    Perfect for a Sunday while you're still hangover. Park with many restaurant options.
    Learn more
  • Horse riding

    3 - 4 hours | $$$

    Horse riding

    Escape the city for a few hours and explore the surroundings on your obedient horse. Great sceneries.
    Get the best price
  • Rafting

    1 - 2 days | $$$$

    Rafting

    Schedule a 1 or 2-day rafting trip on Rio Verde. An off the beaten path experience we loved!
    Get the best price
  • Mountain bikes tour

    4 - 7 hours | $$$

    Mountain bikes tour

    The hilly landscapes around Medellin are a perfect playground to improve your downhill skills.
    Get the best price
  • Paragliding

    4 hours | $$

    Paragliding

    Go to San Felix or Cocurna to enjoy an unforgettable paragliding experience. Great views. (20min)
    Get the best price
  • Santa Fe

    1 - 2 days

    Santa Fe

    Visit a cool secret canyon then learn about the history of Santa Fe de Antioquia, a lovely colonial town.
    Learn more
  • H. Napoles

    15 hours | $$$

    H. Napoles

    Hacienda Napoles was owned by Pablo Escobar. Now, it's a theme park. Perfect for families. Loong day.
    Get the best price
  • Guatape

    11 hours | $$

    Guatape

    You can visit Guatape on your own. But this tour is an excellent option if you don't' want to deal with the organization.
    Get the best price
  • Horizontes

    2 days | $$$$

    Horizontes

    A hidden little town with a gorgeous view of Antioquia. Perfect for a quick romantic getaway.
    Learn more
  • Venecia

    2 days

    Venecia

    From the lovely town of Venecia, hike to Cerro Tusa, the tallest natural pyramid in the world.
    Learn more
  • Rio Claro

    2 - 3 days

    Rio Claro

    Rio Claro is a natural reserve where you can spend a couple of days. Romantic gateway.
    Learn more

Partners we recommend in Medellin

Some local partners we have met, tested and approved during our stay in Medellin.

  • Real City tour: The best Free walking tours and fruit tour in Medellin

Where to eat & drink?

For us, good restaurants and exciting nightlife are important when traveling. We gathered our favorite picks on an interactive Map. Download the APP "Mapstr" and look for "Colombia Insider"!

More places in Antioquia

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