Medellín…the promised land of travelers at the moment. It has become one of the new top digital nomad capital’s, according to some recent polls. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its perfect weather, Medellín is a place you can walk around in shorts & sandles (although I was one of the rare men brave enough to not care about fashion & have this tropical-beach-guy look. Most guys wear jeans, which I abhore, especially in hot weather!). Medellín, is Colombia’s second largest city at around 3 million peeps. It is the capital of the mountainous Antioquia province, formerly made famous by the likes of Pablo Escobar & his Medellin drug cartel. Long gone are the days when this city was one of the most dangerous in the World. Now, with the recent peace agreements with the rebel FARC & ELN groups, the times are a changin’! The people in this region, who refer to themselves as “paisa’s”, are proud of their heritage. They are known to be some of the friendliest people in Colombia & come from a long line of entrepreneurial hard working folks that take pride in their modern ways. Here in Medellin, you will see no colonial cobblestone streets or early Spanish colonial buildings because they were torn down & paved over long ago in the quest to modernize! You will, on the other hand, benefit from the metro system & metro-cable cars that link the city to surrounding barrios and offer amazing views! You will find a pocket of history in the Centro barrio, with a few nineteenth century churches, museums & the likes. Medellin is bursting with energy, culture, and modern amenities. Enjoy!
Top 3 places that are must-see in Medellín ::
1. Parque Arvi – ride the cable car soaring above the barrios of the North, switch to another one & all the sudden you feel 100km away from Medellin as you zip through the forest for a 15 minute ride through the forests to Parque Arvi! Do the guided 3hr hike for only 5,000pesos (less then $2usd).
2. Comuna de 13 tour – more on that below. A must!
3. Botanical Garden – muy linda…very beautiful!
Must see Top 3 near Medellin ::
1. Guatape: 2 hours by bus from Medellin you arrive to this amazing beautiful area surrounded by Colombia’s biggest man made lake! Very special place, trust me! People come to climb the roca de Penol up the winding stairs for a spectacular view, as well as for boating, jet skiing, zipline, horseback riding & then some.
2. Santa Fe de Antioquia: A pueblo about 1 hour northwest of Medellin known for its colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and tamarind candies.
3. Jardín: said to be the most beautiful town in Antioquia province, also known for its colonial buildings & cobblestone streets, as well as its brightly painted houses & milk candies.
:: Music Nightlife :: the infamous Medellin nightlife revealed! ::
Medellin has become famous for its thriving nightlife scene. Below, I will reveal the two main neighborhoods where all the action is it, plus an extensive list of music venues. If Pub Crawl’s are your thing, there are a few that happen weekly, & the funnest are one’s that take you around in these ‘chiva’ buses, quite famous all over Colombia.
Main neighborhoods for musica ::
El Poblado –
Parque Lleres is the main hub of the music scene, go there…just go there! 50+ bars in walking distance. Anything from the expected Salsa & Reggaeton, to DJ’s spinning various House/Techno/EDM, to Rock bars & more. 50% tourists, 50% local makes a good mix for guaranteed fun!
Carerra 70, aka “Setenta” has over a dozen bars, mostly salsa & reggaeton. No need to list them all, just go out for a stroll if that’s your kind of music, or you just want to get a real local feeling for the nightlife here. 10% tourists, 90% locals!
Venues :: here is my superlist of happening joints!
Victoria Regia – My favorite bar/cultural center space I found in Medellin! The decor, plants, big windows & vibe is just right here, perfecto! I hear they have good food & many great drink options as well. Lots of live bands Thur/Fri/Sat nights. Medellin Jazz sessions on Wed. nights 9pm-12am, Thur-Sat nights happening too!
Address: Calle 10 # 43a – 30 Parque del Poblado
Siete Ovejas – Cultura/Bar space that does many live music events.
Address: Calle 52 # 45 – 22
Octava – This bar in Poblado has a huge ball crawl pit in the back room = FUN!
Address: Cl. 8 # 37-49, El Poblado
La Pascasia – It’s a music venue in Centro that is more culture than party scene and all sorts of different styles of live music.
Address: Cra. 42 # 46-46
Centro Cultural Moravia –
Address: Calle 82a #52-25 (Zona Norte)
Calle 9 +1 – Wednesdays, NO COVER = Brutal Bass Crew. Thursdays #JuevesDeCalle
una noche cargada de Disco, Nu Disco, Deep & Electro!
Address: Carerra 40 #10-25
Salon Amador – One of El Poblado’s best bars for live music.
Address: Carrera 36 # 10-38
Sixttina – located in the heart of El Poblado & with one of the best soundsystems in Latín America!
Address: Cra 43A #6 Sur 26
Kukaramakara – Located in El Poblado. One of the most popular clubs in Medellin.
Address: Carrera 43 #6 Sur – 26, Rio Sur, 7th Floor
Berlin – Located in El Poblado. I heard good things. Electronic music mostly.
Address: Cl. 10 #41-65
Fahrenheit – Rumor is this place rocks.
Address: Carrera 42 # 79-125
Magicis Domun – A cultural space for Music, Art, Movies & more!
Address: Cra 68 # 96-97
Wandering Paisa Hostel – Tue free Salsa nights, Fridays 2x month 9pm-1am is Karaoke Night. Select Saturdays is Open Mic Night 9pm. Address: Calle 44A #68a-76, Laureles
Heardfrom – Another one of Medellin’s top electronic music clubs.
Address: Carrera 36 # 8A-53
Mansion Club – Yet another one of Medellin’s top electronic music clubs. They love electronic music here, what can I say? Address: Cra 36 # 10-37
Trilogia Bar – this bar specializes in live bands.
Address: Carrera 43G # 24-08
La Licuadora – Saturday night improv Latin Jazz, Funk & Rap.
Address: Calle 44 #69-72, Laurales.
Others Venues: – Trilogia Bar Medellin, Dopamina Rock Bar, Salon 106, Attic, Vintrash, Mute, 1984, Selina, El Blue.
Great article on local music scene – https://latinhosts.co/colombia/medellin/category/barsClick Here
:: Rooftop Bars ::
Envy Rooftop Bar @ The Charlee Hotel – Poblado
Address: Calle 9A #37-16
Hotel Dorado – In the heart of Laurales, if you look up you will see the rooftop bar at this joint. Go dig it man!
Address: Carrera 70 # 44B – 66, Laureles
:: Dance Lessons ::
Wandering Paisa Medellin – free salsa lesson Tuesdays 8:30-10pm
Address: Cl 44A #68A-76, Laurales.
Dance Free – Free Salsa lessons & classes available
Address: Calle 10A #40-27, Medellín.
Thursdays there is a free Salsa Class from 8:00-9:30 PM and then Bar for Salsa, Bachata and more until as late as 4:00 AM (free if you enter before 9:00 PM).
Fridays there is Bar for Salsa, Bachata and more until as late as 4:00 AM (free if you enter before 11:00 PM).
Saturdays there is a free Language Exchange from 8:30-10:00 PM, a free Dance Class (typically varies between Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba) from 10:00-11:00 PM and then Bar for Salsa, Bachata and more until as late as 4:00 AM (free if you enter before 11:00 PM).
Which neighborhoods to stay in?
Easy answer…..El Poblado or Laurales. Both have hundreds of great restaurants & everything you need within arms reach!
Book your AirBnB there & receive $40 free credit (see my blog on how to do this by creating a new account with alternate email):
Laurales – Great blog about Laurales
The Atanasio Girardot complex: This place is a huge athletic facility that’s open to the public. Here you have running tracks, swimming pools, a skate park, soccer fields, basketball courts and more. Additionally, aerobics classes like Zumba, and even Salsa, are offered in the evening for free! They usually meet at the outdoor stage near the fountain, unless it rains.
Centro Psique Community Center: Art Classes to Yoga to Movie Nights.
Address: Cl 59A # 37-30
Salsa anybody? Both Son Havana and El Tibiri have regular salsa events with live bands & great salsa dancers (beginners welcome).
El Poblado –
By far the most popular barrio in Medellin for tourists & expats. It is full of hostels, cafes, restaurants & bars & some blocks quite funky & charming. There are also many parks around this hood to go soak in some Nature time.
Outside Medellin cool places to stay –
Lake View Guatape – hostel near the lake that has Thai restaurant, horseback riding, kayak rentals, mt. bike tours, etc. www.lakeviewhostel.com
Eco Hostel Medellin (actually in Guatape, 2hrs from Medellin) – hostel on farm near amazing beautiful Guatape town that does Yoga, Meditation, Spanish & Permaculture immersions. www.EcoHostelMedellin.com
:: Vegetarian Restaurants ::
Naturalia cafe – Great menu del dia (veggie or not) for 12,000 pesos.
Address: Circular 3 #70-39, Laurales
Ganges Medellin – restaurant & yoga center
Address: Calle 49B #74-22, Laurales
Café Zeppelin – great spot for coffee or “menu del dia” – where you get a 5 course great meal for $12,000 COP. Good wi-fi too!
Café Ondas – Wednesday & Friday night language exchange meetups 7pm. Good wi-fi.
Paraiso Resto-Café – always popular with the digital nomads, so there must be good wi-fi here! Address: Calle 42 #70-38
SaludPan – Amazing 5 course organic meal (veggie or not) for 12,000 pesos 12-4pm. Also health food store with great selections! Address: calle 47 #70-12
Café Cliché – a French café, with of course the best wine & local coffee. They also offer events and entertainment through the week with live bands & host a popular digital nomads meet-up that happens on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Address: Cra. 76 #4141
Café New Heart – a rare by donation cafe. M-Th 2-8:30pm Fri-Sat 2-9:30pm, Closed Sundays. Located in Laurales.
Tomasa y Al Alma – breakfast is da bomb! Huevos Campesinos = big plate of goodness!
Address: Carrera 45 #5-30
Café Revolucion – Start your day right with real Colombian coffee! English books for sale or trade as well.
Address: Cra. 73 #410, Laurales.
Alma Restaurante – near Estadio metro station. Great place for breakfast (served all day), & the lunch/dinner menu looked pretty good too! Address: Calle 47 #70-12 in Laurales
El Cafecito de Izmed – A small local outside café coffee bar.
Address: Cl. 48 #70-61 in Laurales just 20 meters from Estadio metro.
Ganso & Castor – This place is a little slow when it comes to service, but they have great Eggs Benedict, need we say more?
Address: Cra. 43e #11a-30, El Poblado.
:: Date Places ::
Bolivar Dance Club – this place is a great if you want to take a girl out dancing. It’s a little more upscale so you should definitely wear nice clothes. Music is usually Reggaeton, Latin Hip-Hop, & the likes.
Victoria Regia – an awesome lounge/bar/restaurant. Perfect for a date. They sometimes have live music, so check their events page on Facebook.
Mercado Del Rio – This is definitely a fun place to go to. It’s a big market style eatery that was basically built in a hangar. There are tons of restaurants (mostly barbecue style) inside including a wine bar, a couple cafes, and a dance club on the third floor. It’s a great place for a date or just to go hang out with friends.
:: Wi Fi Cafes ::
Al Alma, El Poblado: Cra. 45 #55, Medellín
Café Zeppelin, El Poblado: a 168, Cra. 37 #8a60
Café Velvet, El Poblado: Cra. 37, Medellín
Ubicuo Café, El Poblado: Cra. 35 #711.
Pergamino Café, El Poblado: Cra. 37 #8-37
Hija Mia, El Poblado: Calle 11a No 43b -9, Barrio Manila. *Out of all the cafés with WiFi in Medellin this one had the best vibe, quiet, good place to work!Café Ondas, Laureles: Carrera 81 45g – 52 (Corner of 81 & 46)
Café Zeppelin, Laureles: Transversal 39 #76-12
Naturalia Café, Laureles: Circular 3 70-39
Paraiso Café, Laurales: Cl. 42 #70-38
:: Facebook Groups ::
Medellin Expats – 7k members
GringoPaisa (Americans In Medellin) – 7k members
Colombians and Expats of Medellín
Expat of Medellin
Medellin Hiking Group
Ardilla Weekends – cascadas y cultura (Hiking group)
Colombia Digital Nomads & Entrepreneurs
Medellin Rooms, Apartments & Expat Info
Medellin Short Term Rentals
Buy and Sell- Medellin
Burning Man Colombia
Cantantes y Musicos de Medellin
Red de Musicos Medellin
Other Groups ::
Realty in Medellin ::
:: Yoga ::
Atman Yoga – free Thursdays 10am
Ganges Yoga Medellin – Laurales. classes, veg restaurant, etc…
Flying Tree Yoga – Transversal 39a #71-85
Yoga classes in Laurales. Massage too 70k pesos an hour! Sometimes they have a day of yoga, massage, meditation and community – all totally free! Check events page for updates or Facebook. http://www.flyingtreeyoga.com
La Casa de Loto – yoga retreats near Medellin
:: Meditation ::
Vipassana Colombia – Medellín. Regular 10 day sits.
Weekly Meditations with a group in El Poblado
Calle 24 # 39-91 Apto. 5 / Edificio Cantizal
Contacto: Ana María Arciniegas.
Celular: 311 312 3680
:: Language Exchange ::
Toucan Café – Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri 6-8pm
Café Ondas – Cra. 81 #45g-52, Laurales.
Wed & Friday nights @ 7pm Rooftop party.
Wandering Paisa hostel – Thursdays 8-11pm . Cl 44A #68A-76, Laurales
:: Language Schools ::
Blink Spanish School: Spanish School + Hostel packages combined for very reasonable rates! http://www.blinkspanish.com/
Colombia Immerssion: Cra 79B # 45D – 94, Laurales
:: Co-working Spaces ::
Epicentro, Atom House, Ondas, Co-work and Workamp & Global Expression are a few.
WorkAmp: This space offers fast fiber optic web (I tested it at 25mbps upload/download speed), unlimted café & purified water, kitchen space, with the cheapest plan at 23,000 COP (about $7.77usd) a day.
Address: Cl. 40 #6542, Laurales
La Casa Redonda: Cool space that has offices for working, patios, a DJ stand, & a huge room with a hardwood floor that is used for meetings, yoga, dance, Artistic performances, cooking workshops, movies, concerts, sound meditation. Cheapest plan was 25,000 COP ($8.33usd) a day for 8 days a month plan.
Hours: 8am-8pm Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lacasaredonda.tc/
Address: Circular 75 # 38 – 09
Global Express Center: $5 day for high speed internet, unlimited Colombian coffee/tea, shared space, use of meeting rooms, etc.
Address: Calle 10 # 42 – 28, Medellin
:: Biking In Medellin ::
Great articles – http://friendsofmedellin.com/en/2017/07/27/encicla-2/
Colectivo Siclas (FB Group) – Sicleada Wednesday Nights 8pm-Midnight ride all over Medellin with group of fun bicyclists!
EnCicla: This is a bike share city sponsored program popular in many cities around the globe now. First, you’ll need to obtain a Civica metro card in Medellin:
Then register here: http://www.encicla.gov.co/
Buying bikes: try local stores or online. There are websites for new and used items like Mercado Libre and Linio.
:: Outside Medellin Getaways ::
Guatape: 2 hours from Medellin is absolute paradise with a massive lake reservoir for boating, kayaking, jet skis, cruise tours & cute colorful colonial town of Guatape!
Eco Hostel Guatape offers lodging, yoga, meditation, Spanish & permaculture courses for very reasonable prices! www.EcoHostelMedellin.com
Happy Buddha Guatape – hostel located on a hill with an EPIC panoramic view of the lake! About 20minutes before Guatape, total serenity with nature, unless its Wet Sundaze pool party day, expect a party! http://www.happybuddhaguatape.com/
Hostal La Finca pool party trip! 2nd & 4th Sundays. HostalLaFinca@gmail.com
El Peñol or Santa Fe de Antioquia:
Recommended to spend a weekend exploring this area
How to Renew Your Colombian Tourist Visa:
There are two ways to extend the initial 90 day tourist visa to reach the 180 day limit. One way is to leave the country, for example, by traveling by road to Ecuador or Venezuela. When you re-enter Colombia you will simply be issued with another 90 day tourist visa. The alternative method of visa renewal is to apply for one at the local office of Immigration Affairs (IA). A branch of IA is located in each of the county’s major cities. In Bogota, the office is situated at Calle 100 #11-27, and in Medellin the address is Calle 19 #80A – 40, Barrio Belén. A full list of centers is available via the immigration office’s website.
Great article here as well: https://latintravelguide.com/colombia/tourist-visa-renewal
You can now do all online here: https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/registro/public/formularioRegistro.jsf
Other Random Links ::
The free walking tour of downtown Medellin is a great way to start your visit. They do historic tour, exotic fruits tour, & barrio excursions (immersion into real neighborhoods that without a tour would be places your normally may not go. This way you can meet real Colombians & interact in new ways & help out simultaneously!) www.realcitytours.com
Comuna de 13: the infamous barrio that was formerly one of the most dangerous places on Earth has now lightened up & experiencing positive changes. They are famous now for the beautiful graffiti/mural art everywhere & the escalator. This tour company does a “by donation” tour that is fantastic. Send them a message on WhatsApp at
Tel: +57.305.784.7763 or +57.314.878.7775 or Zippy Tour 13 on Facebook.
Other Blogs to check ::
Latin Hosts – https://latinhosts.co/colombia/medellin
Lets get political for a moment, shall we?
5 Nightlife Art/Cultura bars in Medellin
Free Medellin Living app ::
If you like hiking and going with locals off the beaten path, check out these groups on Facebook:
Show Around – Find a local to show you around: www.showaround.com
Food Delivery – Organic & Natural Health Food products delivered to your door, or visit their 3 locations. https://siembraviva.com
Tattoos – Big Brother & Santa Tattoo
Mt Biking: www.ColombianBikeJunkies.com
:: Dentists ::