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.
3 – The 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.
4 – Arvi 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:
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.
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
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
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
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.
Otherwise, you can take a shared taxi or a bus from the San Diego Mall (15-20 min from Laureles district).
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).
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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).
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.
Where to sleep? What to do? Where to eat? How do you get from one place to another?
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