First Impressions of Medellin
*Unfortunately, I barely took any pictures in Medellin
I asked a few fellow backpackers travelling around Colombia what their favourite city is and many of them said Medellin. When I was checking out of my hostel in Bogotá, I told the front desk dude that I was going to Medellin next and he said, “You’re just getting started”. Before stepping foot in Medellin, I heard a lot of hype about the city. After spending a week there, here are a few thoughts:
- Medellin feels like a western city. The neighbourhood that I was in, El Poblado, had many tourists, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It also had many upscale offerings such as a Walmart-esque supermarket and gringo food like hotdogs and hamburgers. It’s also the only city in Colombia with a metro, something the city takes much pride in.
- As I wrote about recently, the Communa 13 tour was the highlight of my trip in Medellin. It’s incredible how in a decade, Medellin transformed itself from the murder capital of the world and the headquarters of Pablo Escobars cartel empire, to one of the most innovative cities in Latin America. A big reason why is because of the investment in public infrastructure including the aforementioned metro system, the metro cable, and the public escalators in Communa 13. Medellin is a case study in how great urban planning can transform a city.
- Medellin is known as the digital nomad capital of South America. Why? First, it’s one of the safer cities in Colombia. Second, it’s cheap. You can find cheap food and accommodations across the city. If you’re working remotely your dollar can go quite far in Medellin. Third, it has great bars and nightlife. Fourth, it’s within the North American timezone.
While I did enjoy my time in Medellin, personally, I didn’t think it was for me. I was there for almost a week due to Spanish classes and unfortunately I got sick over the weekend but I would’ve left sooner if I had the chance. While I do enjoy partying and clubbing occasionally, I felt like that was all there was to do in the city.