Medellín is the favorite city of many backpackers traveling through Colombia, especially for the party-people. Most of them stay in the district Poblado, there are many bars, restaurants and discos. In addition to the lively nights, the country’s second biggest city has enough tourist attractions for a visit of at least three or four days.
How to get there
Medellín doesn’t have an own airport. Just on one flight lane can land small airplanes. José María Córdova International Airport, which is closest to the city, is located in the municipality of Rio Negro. About 1h drive from downtown Medellín.
In addition to international flights at this airport land planes from major cities in Colombia. We flew from Cartagena with Viva Colombia, a Colombian low-cost airline.
To get from the airport to Medellín city center, the cheapest option is by bus, which leaves from the airport (timestables at the exit) and costs COP 9,000 per person. The bus is quite comfortable and the last stop is at the North Terminal, where you can find the subway line Caribe. From the terminal it is also possible to take a taxi to get to the place where you will be staying.
Medellín also has two bus terminals: South and North, where you can arrive by buses from several cities, including Bogotá and Cartagena. However, as the city is in a mountainous region, the trips are usually quite long and cause nausea.
Where to stay
I would say that the most important thing in Medellín is knowing where you SHOULDN’T stay. Definitely avoid the area from Prado, the outskirts of Parque Berrío and Parque Bolívar. It’s a very, very weird region. If you want to enjoy the nightlife, Poblado is probably the best district. It is always the best to be near a subway station because the system works very well and it is possible to travel all around the city.
We stayed in the Las Colores district, which isn’t so touristy as it is a residential neighborhood, quiet, beautiful and has a main street with many restaurants, shops, supermarkets, pharmacies. We stayed in Sophia’s House and loved it. The house is huge, very pretty, has a pool and a kitchen. Sophia and her daughters are very friendly and helpful.
Medellín has a great transport system, by subways, which aren’t underground. You can get everywhere by subway. The public transportation card is for free and unified (subway, bus and cable car).
The city’s taxi fares are pretty cheap and are set by meter.
Medellín was once the most violent city in the world and was very dangerous, especially in the 90’s, after the death of Pablo Escobar, when a war between criminal gangs began. But a few years ago, the life in the city changed radically. And today it is possible to go there as a tourist without feeling insecure. Of course, should still be careful, especially in the city center.
Written in Portuguese by Karla Larissa
Translation by Juliane Boll