Medellin Travel Tips
Medellin Travel Tips
Medellin, the 2nd largest city in Colombia, has received much attention from the traveler community over the past several years. It has recently been named one of the top cities to visit in the world.
The appeal is no mystery as the city caters to every type of traveler. From a vacation to an extended stay, Medellin is a prime destination for sightseers, expatriates and digital nomads alike.
Medellin is a large city with hundreds of “barrios” (read: neighborhood), and a population of over 2 million people. It’s not hard to be overwhelmed by the vastness of the city. Here are some travel tips to help you navigate this metropolitan paradise.
How to get to Medellin city from the airport
Getting from Jose Maria Cordova International Airport to Medellin itself is about a 45-minute journey. Fortunately, there are several options to get from point A to B. Here they are from cheapest to most expensive.
Photo by Alejandro Gonzalez
Medellin Airport Bus – 9,000 COP ($3)
This green and white bus sits just outside the arrival terminal that takes passengers from the airport to downtown Medellin, just a couple blocks from a metro station. The only caveat is that the bus waits until it is entirely full to leave, which typically takes about 20-30 minutes.
Airport Colectivo – 13,000 COP ($5)
This is a small van that takes passengers from the airport to a small gas station by San Diego Mall, which is about a 10-minute walk from Exposiciones Metro Station, or around the corner from a major taxi stop.
Cabify – 65,000 COP ($22)
Cabify is an app that allows you to order a private car with professional driver that will pick you up within minutes wherever you are. They have cars large enough (SUV) for several pieces of luggage or regular cars if you prefer. It’s safe, modern, cheap and more comfortable than any other form of transport out there.
Taxi from Medellin Airport – 70,000 COP ($24)
There is always the option to catch a taxi from the airport to wherever you plan to go in Medellin. The price ranges from 65,000-70,000 COP.
Medellin Airport Transfer – 90,000+ COP ($30+)
The newest service to arrive in Medellin, Medellin Airport Transfer is a private car service that screams convenience. Choose the service you’d like, then book online with your card or via Paypal. You can even choose the type of car. If you have a group or special request, they cater to that as well.
Medellin is a safe city for tourists, which may explain the influx in tourism over the years. Most neighborhoods that travelers frequent are full of people and business, and are well-lit areas with very little crime. Some of the most common neighborhoods for foreigners are El Poblado, Laureles, Envigado, La Floresta and Ciudad del Rio. These are all well kept areas that are safe at anytime of day or night.
The best way to stay safe in Medellin, like with any major city, is to stay with others when in unfamiliar areas, keep valuables hidden and don’t walk around alone at night.
There is also the option to sign up for the U.S. Department of State’s STEP Program that provides safety reports and travel warnings.
Best time to visit Medellin
The best time to visit Medellin is year-around. Colombia sits close to the equator, which translates to very little fluctuation in the climate throughout the year. In fact, Medellin is known as the “city of eternal spring” for this reason. There are, however, “wet seasons”, where the city will experience daily bouts of rain lasting for a short period of time.
In general, the weather in Medellin is relatively moderate and sunny. The city sits at an altitude of 1495 meters and is surrounded by mountains, providing a picturesque, 360-degree backdrop.
Photo by Jenny Cardona
From high-end hotels in Poblado to Airbnbs in the residential district of Laureles to boutique hostels in the Floresta and Belén neighborhoods, Medellin has all types of accommodations for every type of traveler. All of the aforementioned are the best places to stay in Medellin as they offer a balance of authentic Colombian living and foreigner community.
Good hostels in Medellin
These are the best hostel options in the most safe and popular tourist areas in Medellin.
Ondas Hostel in La Floresta
Not only is Ondas a well-designed hostel, but it’s also a café, co-work space and popular meeting point for foreigners. Ondas features a beautiful rooftop furnished with artistically renovated recycled materials and a bar. Downstairs you will find a quaint café with outdoor seating and some of the best coffee in the city, not to mention an outstanding menu.
Wandering Paisa in Laureles
Wandering Paisa is set up for the solo traveler (or anyone really) who wants to make connections in Medellin, both local and foreign. The hostel hosts weekly events, like language exchanges, salsa lessons and karaoke nights to help its guests get acquainted with the area and meet new people.
Casa Articulada in Belén
Casa Articulada was designed by artists for artists (although everyone is welcome). Between the meticulous designs to the beautiful décor, everything about this hostel has an artistic feel. The patio and tree canopy over the outdoor hammocks are just bonuses.
Happy Buddha in Poblado
Looking for a party hostel? You’ll find it here. Between the onsite bar, constant music and high energy, Happy Buddha is everything you’d want in a party atmosphere. Guests call it the perfect mix of entertainment and serenity; you can be the judge.