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From one of Colombia's most dangerous cities only 20 years ago to being the new Digital Nomad hotspot - Medellín has really come a long way in a short period of time.
Most people tend to fly into Medellín due to its mountainous location. The city has two airports; José María Córdova is the main international airport most will arrive into. This airport is a little out of the city (around a 40 minute Uber) and the journey in will cost around 90,000-100,000COP. Olaya Herrera is the other airport but is only a domestic airport. It is located right in the middle of the city so getting to and from here is very easy - you could even walk!
If you're trying not to fly, you can also take a bus to Medellín from just about anywhere in the country. The roads surrounding the city are all in the mountains though, so expect a very long, often delayed, windy journey from wherever you're coming from.
Once you're in the city we would highly recommend using the Medellín metro system. The city has metro lines, trams, buses and even cable cars to reach the areas higher on the mountains as part of their public transport.
The system is very easy to use; you simply load money on to a metro card and tap at the gate to enter. Each journey costs 3,000 COP no matter how close or far you travel (cable cars cost more).
The metro is very efficient, runs on time, is very clean, busy and safe. It connects a lot of the city and is definitely the best way to travel.
The answer for where to stay in Medellín really only has one true answer for most; Poblado.
This is a very affluent neighbourhood with lots of cafes, restaurants, bars, new build flats, hotels and hostels.
If you're looking for the best places to eat and drink in Medellín then check out our summary here!
Poblado is located in the south of the city and is served by one of the main metro lines so is very well connected to the rest of the city.
The other neighbourhood often mentioned as being a good area to stay in Medellín is Laureles. This has a very different feel to Poblado - it's more 'neighbourhoody' with less tall buildings and less choice of bars and restaurants.
Laureles is not quite as well connected as Poblado as the metro station is a longer walk from the heart, but there are a number of buses which run through as an alternative.
Whilst Laureles is a very nice area, we felt the bubble was a little too small in this area if you're planning on being around for a while. Those we know who stayed there found themselves heading over to Poblado for dinners and drinks pretty frequently.
Viejero Medellín Rooftop Views
Masaya Medellín Rooftop Views
AirBnB Views of Medellín
Viejero Medellín Rooftop Views
If you're looking for a hostel in Medellín then there are three that we would check out first:
- Los Patios
All are very new and very busy with travellers so make good places to stay. They also all host parties on their rooftops which have some pretty great views of the city and valley.
All 3 of these hostels are within walking (if not stone throwing) distance of each other, so whichever one you choose you're bound to end up at the others at some point!
The other great option here for extended periods is AirBnB. There are countless amazing new build apartments all over the Poblado and Laureles areas for around $500 for a week.
Although Medellín is a 'must-see' place on the Colombian traveller route, there isn't an endless list of things to see or do as there are in some other cities.
Museo de Antioquia / Botero
The Museo de Antioquia sits on the Botero Plaza in El Centro and is a good way to pass a few hours.
Botero was a Paisa (Medellín native) and is famous for making all of his subjects (human or otherwise) much larger than they really were! He has donated countless pieces of art to the museum and the city, which are displayed in the Plaza Botero infront of the museum.
The museum was 21,000 COP entry per person (as a foreigner) in May 2022.
Medellín's most famous neighbourhood which previously held the title of the most dangerous in Colombia, with 'El Corazon' being the epicentre of the violence and holding the overall crown of most violence thanks to it's strategic position at the top of the hillside and with the only road connection in in that area.
For most, a tour of the 300+ murals of this mountain-side famous comuna is their one must-do thing in Medellín since it became safe enough for visitors back in 2010/2011.
Tours are very easy to book; most hostels offer them and you can also find tours with locals on AirBnB for around $15 per person.
Guatapé Day Trip
Medellín is the perfect launching point for a trip out to Guatapé.
Buses leave from the North Terminal in the city pretty frequently and are the most common method of reaching here.
Lots of travellers choose to have an early start to make the 2 - 2.5 hour bus journey, climb the rock and perhaps a boat tour of the lake before heading home on a late evening bus.
We decided to spend the night in Guatapé to give ourselves more time and are glad we did!
You can read about our experience HERE.
This is not something we did during our time in Medellín however we have friends who did and they loved it!
There are paragliding tours advertised everywhere, including in all of the hostels so it seems pretty easy to set up and it looks like you'd have some great views of the city!
As with most things in Medellín, we would recommend you book this tour for the morning to reduce the chances of rain.
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