Medellín Overview

Pablo Escobar is dead and the bad reputation linked to the city eponymous Cartel is gradually fading away.

The Death of Escobar by Botero, Medellin

Medellín, the second city of Colombia, is an industrial and prosperous metropolis of more than three million people with enormous energy to move forward and become one of the leading cities in the world.

Overlooking MedellinLocated 1538m above sea level, the city boasts a pleasant climate with pleasant temperatures all year round. Medellín is the place to party in Colombia, whether you want to do salsa, vallenato, tango or even techno!

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Cool things to do in Medellin:
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Visit El Poblado and Parque Lleras Go to Medellin Cementary San Pedro
Medellin at night Have a beer in Parque Carlos Restrepo Medellin at night Attend la Feria de las Flores in August

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Medellín is a red city against green hills, by Cole Lavalley
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Antioquia (the district were Medellín lies) is mountainous and covered in vegetation - not rain forest - but hills and valleys, wooded, pastured, or planted. The city lies at about 1500 meters above sea level, while the mountains that enclose the valley soar hundreds of meters above. While close to the equator, its altitude keeps Medellín cool.

From the city itself, the view is of urbanization (it's all built of local red brick) dwindling upward to forested or grassy heights, while from above, it's of sprawling urban development extending from the North and South following the river and the metro.

Medellín, home of Pablo Escobar and his narco empire, was the worst hit in Colombia by the strife caused by cocaine production and trade. Was this a blessing in disguise for the paisas (the name of the inhabitants of Antioquia) ?

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Now, Medellín (in the opinion of many) is the most beautiful and organized city in Colombia.
The people here passed through the worst that third world Latin America had to offer, and now, having come out the other side, are beautiful as a people. Paisas are proud. Their courtesy is astounding. Their sense of civic duty is uncanny. The citizens of this city went through hell not so long ago, and they remember and have chosen to never go back. They do not take for granted the beauty and tranquility of their society.

As far as things to do, t doesn't take much to have a good time in this city.

For party, there's El Poblado, with Parque Lleras with its higher class clubs and bars, and Parque Poplado, a few blocks down where you'll find a more bohemian crowd. There's the ochenta, a more middle class vibe with more local music. There are a few good places in El Centro, like the Parque Periodista, but that's more fun if you can get a paisa to take you.

During the day time there are many museums, parks (often they have a theme), theatrical productions, cultural exhibits, art installations, and shopping districts. A day walking around El Centro even without a specific plan is plenty of fun.

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Outside of the city there are some places that you wouldn't want to miss. Guatapé with its labyrinth of waterways and multi-million dollar fincas and its Piedra del Piñol. Santa Elena (take the metrocable up to the reserve, then take a bus) boasts its small country-town flavor high above the metropolis. San Felix offers astounding views, especially if you opt to take a tandem parapentes ride - how high can you go? Care for any aerobatics? La Vuelta Oriete, as they call it, is a drive along the eastern hill sides of Medellín. It's nice to make your way along, visiting the more typical Atioquian suburbs, drinking and eating more traditional food in more traditional neighbourhoods. Have a hot canelaso up there, and bring a jacket.

The city, beautiful with its natural colors and public art, is best taken in by parchando with the locals. They are easy to meet, especially if you want to share a couple of beers. Their good will towards travelers makes spending time with them a pleasure. They are both curious about outsiders and enthusiastic about enlightening others about their homeland. Beware though, as the cliché goes, it can be hard to leave a place like Medellín. It's no 3 day stop.
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  • Guest (Ba3)

    After reading about expat living for 20 years (and even starting a small import business from Ecuador, renovating & renting a colonial in Nicaragua and flipping a condo in Panama), I think I've got to try Colombia for posible settling down. It sounds like the best of them all. I hope I can convince my partner to try moving. Ed Rose

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