Medellin Colombia, also known as “The city of eternal spring”, most likely offers the best climate off all the major cities of Colombia. The “paisas” as the locals are known, are friendly and proud of their city.
I know Medellin particularly well, because my wife is from this city where we now live.
You begin by reading up on general information about Medellin to get you started.
The Medellin Metro system is modern, safe and clean. It runs North / South and East / West but is limited in the number of areas of the city it covers. Nevertheless, if your route fits with the stops on the 2 lines, it is extremely good.
Perhaps you want some information if you’re wanting to learn Spanish in Medellin. This is a great place to do it!
Where to eat?
Restaurants in Medellin used to serve mainly traditional fare consisting of plantain, rice, arepa (corn bread), beans, soups or broths. The raw ingredients are fresh, rich in flavor and generally local or national produce.
The amount of new restaurants, ranging from authentic Spanish Tapas to Italian has literally exploded over the last few years. It used to be difficult to find a good restaurant here, but that has changed.
My top picks are:
“New Colombian Cuisine”
“Burgers and fries”
Next to the new MAMM (Museum of Modern Art, Medellin)
The new Ciudad del Rio project in the middle of the city just South of downtown, is a great success. Having moved the Museum of Modern Art from the Carlos E. Restrepo area to this new development, injects a large dosage of culture into this part of town.
Bonuar is terrific. Another example of “New Colombian Cuisine” as I like to call it. We tried the shrimp gumbo, large shrimps over a bed of risotto-style rice. Light and tasty. Then, the “Lomito de cerde con chutney de guayaba agria” (Pork chops with guava chutney). Really delicious. I love the use of fruity sauces that are being used more and more frequently in the newer restaurants here.
There’s also a burger and fries section to the restaurant. A counter to the far end of the room by the red booth-type seating.
The service is good, if a tiny bit slow, and the location is great if you want to drop in on the museum (free). There’s outdoor seating and the decor/ layout has a nice rustic feel to it, even though the place in brand new.Good food comes at a price. You can expect to pay between COP 20-35.000 (US$ 10-18) for a main meal, but it’s definitely worth it.
One of the better restaurants in Medellin.
To check out everything from breakfast and lunch spots, to Colombian or Japanese, follow this link for more info. about restaurants in Medellin.
Bars & Nightlife
Medellin and Colombia are known for partying. If going downtown at night, a great choice it the Eslabon Prendido.
Hotels in Medellin
There is a large and ever-increasing selection of hotels in Medellin. TheDann Carlton Medellin is considered one of the main luxury hotels in Medellin Colombia. It’s not my taste but it might appeal nevertheless.
Far more appealing, is the Intercontinental Medellin where my mum has stayed and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Another name you might come across online is the Poblado Plaza Hotelthat is well situated next to the Oviedo mall but lacking in charm and next to a noisy street.
Alternatively, there are is a wide selection of cheap Medellin hotels andhostels such as the Blach Sheep and Casa Kiwi in Medellin Colombia.
Renting an Apartment
Renting apartments in Medellin is fairly cheap for a very high standard and not too complicated if you go about it the right way.
Flights and car rentals
Medellin Airport, situated in the city of Medellin Colombia is a practical and fast way to fly into the city but serves mainly domestic destinations.
Flights to Medellin from abroad bring you to the small and comfortable Jose Maria Cordova international airport directly from cities such as Madrid, New York and Miami.
Medellin car rental is something I used to think was a bad idea because of driving habits here but it does make sense, especially if you plan on taking day-trips out of the city. Personally, I rented a car to visit the coffee region from Budget and found the process professional and pricing fairly cheap.
The City & Things to do
Here are some of the top things to do in Medellin.
Plaza Majorista is doubtlessly the most impressive market in Medellin Colombia. It is officially known as the Central Majorista, located in the Santa María neighborhood to the South of Medellin in the city of Itagüí, boasting a total area of 288.015m2. Itagüí by the way, joins Medellin seamlessly and is about a 20 minute drive from El Poblado.
There is an enormous selection of grains, vegetable and fruits with some stores selling other items such as food fodder etc.
Food is shipped in directly from farms both in Antioquia and nationwide and is of the freshest quality. It is organized by different industrial halls in a sense, subdivided into numerous smaller stores that tend to specialize in a limited number of items. The different halls are divided by type, ie. fruits or vegetables.
There is of course still curiosity about the history and background of this place if you want to read more about Medellin.
Medellin City is growing and has much to offer, especially beyond the typical tourist attractions, if you know where to look. Shopping is huge here and there are an abundance (too many?) of Malls in Medellin.
Centro Medellin (downtown Medellin Colombia) is worth seeing but also not at all like the more up-market areas such as El Poblado and Laureles.
On a practical note, especially if you’re moving here for a while, it’s practical to now about the utility and Internet (through Une) provider,Empresas Publicas de Medellin.
Parque Lleras is the just the place to have a drink, once you’ve had enough of exploring the city and if you really not to get some air under your wings, I highly recommend paragliding in Medellin Colombia,considered a world-class site up in the hills at San Felix. The views are incredible!
You can also visit the botanical gardens that is not as impressive as you might imagine, but makes for a nice outing and has an excellent restaurant on the premises called In Situ.
Antioquia is the department that is home to Medellin; a beautiful and mountainous region where there are an abundance of towns and places to visit either for a day-trip or a weekend if you prefer.
Festivals and events
The Medellin Christmas lights are charming and a great opportunity to mingle with people from the city.
Feria de las Flores (flower festival) is undoubtedly the most well-known festival of Medellin Colombia.
If fashion and design are your thing, then Medellin Fashion Week, or Colombia Moda as it’s known to locals, is one of the biggest of its kind in Latin America. Held yearly: end July/ early August.
Local Food & Customs
Well, you can’t get around having to try the Bandeja Paisa! This is a wholesome lunch to say the least. We’re talking meat with beans and egg and rice and plantains and the list goes on. Bit much if you’re not working the fields as they did back in the day…