Our first stop in Colombia and indeed South America was Medellín and we LOVED it. The food, the street art, the vibe of the place – awesome! You do need to be careful about where you walk and what you carry with you, but we were pleasantly surprised by this city. We stayed in El Poblado which is super touristy, so do keep that in mind. Check out our top tips for an awesome time below:
Where to stay
We loved the staff, outdoor areas and location of Black Sheep. The shared areas are great to meet lots of nice people too – be aware that this is not a quiet place to rest up. We ended up at Happy Buddha Hostel for more pre-drinks before going out dancing one night and we liked the look of that too. El Poblado seems to be the best area to stay – check out this Booking.com link for more accommodation options.
What to eat
Mondongos is great- we went there because both the Hostel staff and TripAdvisor recommended it. The awesome local food tastes amazing (and everything came with a side of avocado and grilled bananas) even though we did not really know what we were eating.
We found the best pastries (Empanadas and the like) at Versalles. Super cheap prices for our Aussie standards coupled with delicious flaky pastries and strong coffee – what else could you want?
We also stopped for a snack at Pergamino– a hipster looking place that offers cakes as well as empanadas and the owner’s parents supply/grow their coffee. It is a bit pricier but well worth the treat!
There fresh fruit and vegetable stands around the city are the best way to get fresh produce – we did not find a mini mart that offered all we wanted and got our vitamins from the street vendors. Make sure you use bottled water to wash everything you eat!
How to get around
The trains in Medellín are awesome and even we understood how they work. There are maps you can grab from the stations and you’ll be able to see the routes inside the train too. They get full but not crazily packed and seemed safe enough.
If you want to explore the outskirts get the cable cars all the way up to the Aví Park. Amazing views and the opportunity to rest your feet.
During the day we felt safe walking around, but we met some people who got strip searched (by the police) and mugged (not by the police) at night so we took taxis everywhere if we were not part of a bigger group.
What to do
We missed our free walking tour because we got lost and were literally 5 minutes late – they had given our spots away already 😦 Would definitely recommend joining one, just be on time!
The Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture has free Wi-Fi and sheltered us from the rain, it is interesting, but a bit confusing (only Spanish). Check it out, it’s free.
The Botero Plaza is amazing, you will find the famous statues and weird and wonderful things on offer for sale. We also walked through lots of shops selling clothes, shoes and anything you might need close by – no idea if they were any good, but it certainly looked interesting.
Clubbing seems to be the thing to do in Medellín. If you’re travelling alone or as a couple and want to rather go out in a group you can meet other travellers at any hostel bar. Trust us, it is easier than it sounds!
While this is not an itinerary, or a to-do list for your time in Medellin we hope it conveys what it felt like to be in this crazy city. We would have loved to spend some more time here and will hopefully return one day.