Medellín Colombia: Even Better Than We Expected!

Our first trip to Colombia was even MORE surprising than we expected! We spent a week in Medellín in the neighborhood of El Poblado, which the New York Times just listed as a “must-visit place in 2023.” We also visited some of the other neighborhoods, like Laureles, La Floresta and Sabaneta.

So, in this article, we’ll tell you about the top 10 things that surprised us about Medellín, Colombia.

#10 Medellín Is a Modern City

Medellín ColombiaColombia may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of modern cities, but Medellín may just surprise you.

The city is full of high-rises and great places to live, including the AirBnB in the Blux building where we stayed. It was a studio apartment on the 13th floor with incredible views of El Poblado!

The city has reliable utilities and internet with wifi speeds in our AirBnB of 100mb download/30mb upload.

And you can drink the tap water, which is a huge plus! However, it is highly chlorinated so it tastes a bit like pool water straight out of the faucet. Chlorine evaporates at room temperature so I filled our bottles and left them sitting on the counter and the pool flavor dissipated after a few hours.

The city has a great transportation system, including a metro, buses, taxis, and Uber.

#9 Medellín Is Clean

Medellín is a clean city without a lot of graffiti, and street cleaners keep it tidy. You won’t find m

Medellin, Colombia

uch trash on the streets, and the air quality is surprisingly good, especially when compared to other Latin American cities like Guadalajara or Mexico City.

The locals had their dogs on a leash and picked up after them, and we didn’t see any stray dogs, so that means we didn’t see a lot of dog poop on the sidewalks.

#8 Medellín Is Walkable

Medellin is a very walkable city, with nice wide sidewalks without a lot of hazards, although we did see a few open holes.

The city is also pedestrian-friendly, and El Poblado even closes down some of the streets to cars on Sundays so that everyone can enjoy walking, jogging, or bike riding.

Parts of the city are hilly, especially where we stayed in El Poblado. We typically walked downhill to the main restaurant area and then took an Uber back.

Amelia did make me walk back uphill a couple of times after dinner (because it’s good for me) and I was cursing her name the whole way!

#7 Medellín Is a Foodie’s Paradise

Kaime Medellin ColombiaMedellín is known for its gastronomy, and there are lots of restaurants to choose from in the neighborhoods we visited, especially El Poblado.

You can find international cuisine as well as traditional Colombian dishes. Some of our favorite places were Florez Food Garden, Kaime, and AMA Restaurante.

The city also has several mercados and grocery stores, including Carulla, Éxito, Jumbo Santafé, Tienda D1 de Todos, and most neighborhoods have a farmer’s market on the weekend.

#6 There Are Lots of Foreigners in Medellín

Medellín is a popular destination with young and old travelers from all over the world, and we heard lots of languages spoken during our trip. However, you still need to speak Spanish, as it’s the main language used in the city.

The city is particularly popular with digital nomads and retirees, and El Poblado is known for its nightlife and party crowd.

#5 Medellín Is Crowded!

With a population of 4 million, Medellín is bigger than Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The traffic can be bad, and there are lots of people on motorcycles, so beware of moto robbers.

#4 Medellín Has Great Weather

One of the things we loved about Medellín was the perfect weather!

At an elevation of around 5,000 feet, the city has a mix of sun, clouds, and rain. Temperatures are typically in the 70s and 80s F, making it comfortable to explore the city throughout the day.

However, it’s still important to wear sunscreen during the day and bring a light jacket for cooler evenings.

#3 There’s Lots To Do In Medellín

Medellín has a ton of activities and attractions to offer. From shopping to museums to outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone.

Santafe Mall Medellin Colombia Ice SkatingWe enjoyed visiting Santafé Mall. It’s HUGE and has a wide variety of shops and attractions. It’s has an inner and outer ring with 5 levels and a rotating display that changes monthly, featuring dog shows and flower gardens. It had an ice skating rink when we visited.

If you’re interested in exploring the city’s culture and history, you can check out the sculptures of the famous Colombian artist Botero in Plaza Botero.

There are also plenty of parks to enjoy, including the beautiful gardens of the El Castillo Castle, which you can visit for just 17,000 pesos (about $3.50) to walk around the grounds or 20,000 pesos (about $4) for a castle tour.

For those looking for day trips, Medellin offers plenty of options. You can go bird watching, visit the nearby town of Guatape or Santa Fe de Antioquia.

#2 Medellín Is Super Affordable

One of the most surprising things about Medellín was how affordable it is. The cost of living is low, making it a great destination for budget-conscious travelers.

You can find fully furnished rentals for as little as $400 per month, and cell phone plans start at just $10 per month. Internet service is also reasonably priced at around $40 per month.

Getting around the city is also affordable, with bus fares costing less than $1 and taxis costing around $2 for local fares.

Whether you’re a budget traveler or just looking to save some money on your next trip, Medellín is a great destination.

#1 Medellín Is a JUNGLE with a CITY In It!

Medellin ColombiaFinally, the most surprising thing about Medellín is how green it is!

Despite being a bustling city of 4 million people, Medellín is surrounded by mountains and filled with lush greenery, including big trees, flowers, and plenty of birds.

It truly feels like a jungle with a city in it!


Medellín is an amazing city that surprised us in many ways. From its modernity to its affordability to its natural beauty, Medellín has a lot to offer travelers.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s culture, enjoy its great weather, or just soak up the greenery, Medellín is a destination that should definitely be on your list.

Plus, with a variety of visa options, including a new digital nomad visa, Medellín is a great place to work and play! We certainly plan to spend more time there in the future!

Watch Our Video About Medellín Colombia



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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

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