Time Of the Year Visited: March 2019
Days Visited: 3. We suggest you visit Medellin for at least 4 days as it offers so many things to do and see!
Colombia is a dream. Paisas (residents of Medellin) are some of the warmest people we’ve encountered. Visiting Colombia is close to my heart. Like with Mexico, people will always tell you “omg you’re going ? It’s so dangerous”. But we have to open our eyes and get a real & up to date perspective. Colombia has fought hard to battle its demons. It’s people deserve the economic growth tourism brings. The rest of the world who wants to learn and embrace the culture deserves to experience its greatness. There’s much more to Medellin than the stereotypes people know it for!
How To Get There
US citizens must have a valid passport with at least one blank page. The passport can’t be set to expire during your stay there. A tourist visa isn’t required for stays of 60 days or less. You can see more about entry requirements here.
We flew to Colombia on Avianca. The airline exceeded my expectations as they weren’t that great years back. The flight attendants were, for the most part, very pleasant. I will point out that on the way to Colombia from LAX, the Flight Attendants wouldn’t serve anyone on board drinks outside of their serving times, they made passengers get up to get their own drinks. This wasn’t the case coming back.
It’s also important to note if you’re going to have a layover make sure you give yourself at least 2 hours due to long lines in Colombia customs and having to check back in before the next flight.
The city center is about 40-45mins from the MDE airport. By May there will be a tunnel that cuts that time in half!
When To Visit
The driest months in Medellin are December-March and July-September. The weather was pretty hot during our visit but it will get chilly at night. 2/3 days we were there it rained. It didn’t last very long but it can put a damp on your visit if you are not prepared for it. I would recommend a light rain jacket. Don’t forget to pack your bug spray!
Let’s Talk Money
Dollars are accepted in many places in Medellin. However, you should exchange your money to Colombian Pesos it will last you longer and you’ll get better pricing overall. If you follow our guides then you know NOT to exchange money at the airport. Do it at an exchange house once you get to town. There’s plenty so compare rates. During our visit, the peso was around $1= 3,080COP. The closer you can get to the ongoing rate, the better. You can also withdraw money from an ATM just beware of your bank’s foreign transaction fee. Lots of establishments accept debit/credit cards, but use a credit card without a foreign transaction fee. Don’t rely on solely using plastic though. Again, cash is KING.
Depending on your spending choices you can do 3 days with $200 in spending money without limiting yourself. If you haven’t downloaded XE Currency app, download it now to help you convert the rates instead of doing it manually on every trip as rates change daily.
Always count the change, even if takes you longer. Pay attention to the bills, the 1,000 bill and the 10,000 at first glance can look very similar. It helps to read it not just glance at the number. Also, NEGOTIATE prices if you are buying from street vendors. Keep it fair with them as well, don’t rip them off either. For cab rides, establish a price BEFORE getting on. Uber also works well in Medellin.
One important note: at restaurants/bars when you get your bill it’ll show two prices: one for what you consumed plus the tax and in a bigger font a price with the service fee at 10%. When paying you can say “I’m paying without the service fee please”. It ISN’T mandatory. You can leave a different amount for the tip in cash after.
There’s a lot of places to choose from, it all depends on what area you want to stay in. Personally, we love the areas of El Poblado and Laureles, surrounded by locals, restaurants and shops. We stayed at the La Campana Boutique Hotel. The staff was amazing and prices are as low as $54/night.
What To Do & See
For transportation and tours you can contact Juan Carlos. Let him know Suzzstravels referred you so he can provide you with the best pricing through his company. PLEASE respect his time as we share his information with you to help you facilitate booking with a local. You can reach him via WhatsApp: +57 301 2185131 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parque Lleras: Bars & Music. There are plenty of places to choose from such as Guachafita and Matilde.
Mercado del Río: lots of bars and little restaurants in this area. You will also find a rooftop bar
Comuna 13: Learn about this community who has turned things around for the better. Checkout all the amazing graffiti by local artists. Go up to to grab a drink at a spot called Donde Luis.
El Pueblito Paisa-you will find great views of Medellin here if you go up the steps to “El Mirador”
El Hueco “black market”: recommended you go with a local who can help you navigate through it
Jardín Botánico de Medellín
Botero Plaza: AKA “Plaza de las esculturas” you will find 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero
ATV Riding: the staff at CuatriTours ATV’s is amazing. Would highly recommend them. They can be reach via WhatsApp: +57 301 2667043
Ride the Metro Cable (Cable Cars)
Parque Arvi (you can ride one of the cable cars to get here)
Day Trip to Jerico (3 hours away from the City)
El Penol Guatape
La Piedra de Penon Guatape
Guatape (Pueblo de Zocalos )
Where To Eat & Drink
Cervecería Libre-if you are looking for a spot with a good beer selection, this is it!
Restaurante Las Berracas-located in Comuna 13. It’s a small little spot ran by the local women, serving some delicious homemade meals!
Ajua– we came across this Mexican Taco spot in Parque Lleras. 100% Authentic
Mercado del Tranvía– you can find lots of different options here from local street food to Mexican food and even Sushi
Tal Cual-steak, seafood, vegetarian, they have a little bit of everything!
3 cordilleras– get a beer tour, grab a drink, enjoy live music!
JC & Delicias: really enjoy the Arepas and Bandeja Paisa here
Pergamino Café– if you love coffee, like we do, make a stop here
Salon Malaga-old school bar
Dora Delicias- great little spot for Empanadas! They have 22 flavors available, one of my favorite is arequipe y queso!
Medellin quickly became one of our favorite cities. There is so much to see and do here. What made it extra special for us, was how hospitable the people were. Everyone we encountered was very warm and willing to help. I highly recommend you pay Medellin a visit. If you do, make sure you tag us on your photos! We are dreaming of the day we can go back and continue to explore!