Medellín is a must-stop on your South American adventure with great nightlife, shopping and places to eat. Here’s what I loved about my trip to Medellin – Colombia’s second largest city:
1. Kickass tours
Like most large cities in South America, you can do the standard city tour. Medellin has this – and after doing at least 10 in various cities, I can hand on heart say it was a good one. We have all been on a bad one that just involved going into churches, churches, and more churches, sometimes with 1000 other people. I went with Real City Tours, and our lively guide was extremely knowledgable about her city, and I learnt a lot about Medellin and Colombia at large.
Beyond this though, there are some super cool tours unlike anywhere else. Like the extremely popular Pablo Escobar tour, which you can do with Paisa Road tours (be sure to book a few days in advance) or The Brother’s Tour, which goes to Escobar’s brother’s house. For real! There are also tours that take you to changing suburbs so you can see how the city is evolving, like the new cables tour run by Paisa Road.
2. The Paisas
Colombia has incredibly warm and friendly people – I literally had people feed me in their home after asking for a restaurant recommendation – and Paisas (people from Medellin and the surrounding area) are no exception. I wouldn’t be surprised if Medellin has the friendliest people in the world as far as cities are concerned. Everyone knows the people are what make it, and this is very true in Medellin. People are also just so happy. They are adorably proud of their metro and keep it super clean, something our tour guide explained by their ability to find joy in things and celebrate it after years of troubles.
After months of hunting for a new bikini in Peru and Ecuador, I was about to give up on finding anything decent. Nothing but tacky as anything options with ugly frills and frumpy patterns. Medellin is shopping heaven ! They have multiple shopping malls as well as shops scattered throughout the city offering clothing and shoes for all different budgets.
4. Food and nightlife
No trip to Medellin would be complete without good food and an unforgettable night on the town. Medellin has an insane number of awesome restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs you can eat up and enjoy. If you head to chic Poblado, there are countless excellent options for eating, drinking and dancing. Just be prepared for a big night out and a sore head the next day if you’re with Paisas as they are known to party until the break of dawn.
5. It’s up-and-coming
Medellín is a city with a horrendous past plagued with constant kidnappings, murders and many violent drug-related crimes. In the early 1990s it was the world’s most dangerous city, a time when Pablo Escobar was paying his hit men US $1000 for each police officer they killed. In 2000, only 50,000 tourists visited Colombia. In 2015 that number increased to a whopping 4 MILLION! This is due to the fact that huge political changes have created a much safer country, probably much safer than other Latin countries like Brasil or even Perù. You don’t have to be scared of visiting Colombia, and you don’t have to be scared of visiting the wonderful city of Medellín. But because there is unfortunately still a stigma and fear, visiting now means you are coming at a time where the city is evolving, tourism is growing and there is more and more to offer visitors.
So what are you waiting for? Get in there now!