The Insider’s Guide to Medellin, Colombia

medellin

The Best Kept Secrets of one of South Americas Most Dazzling Cities

The “City of Eternal Spring” is easy to navigate, full of beautiful green trees and bursting with sights and nightlife. Tourist attractions are abound in Medellin, but for the traveler that wants an extra edge, here are some secrets of the city.

Calle Junin in Medellin

Calle Junin Medellin
Image source by El Tiempo

This is a pedestrian street in the center of the city. It is one of the best places to find some traditional restaurants. Walking along the street there is great people watching and shopping as well. Visitors can get a sense of the history of the city in this area. The walkway ends at Bolivar Square where there is often free live music.

Zona Rosa in Medellin (Parque Lleras)

The Pink Zone or Parque Lleras is where all the best nightlife in Medellin takes place. The bars burst at their seams on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The area is lined with trendy bar after trendy bar. It is the place to see and be seen in Medellin. Most of the bars have an outdoor area to watch the show walk by. There are clubs and bars with every theme a tourist could imagine.

If you start your journey from the Parque de El Poblado, and go up towards OCI.mde, you can see, what I call, the layers of Medellin.

Parque Poblado at night is filled with rock, hippies, gothic people to lingering around and trying to drink a few beers out in the street (which is now illegal), going towards Parque Lleras, you see some spots thats a bit more traditional bars of Colombia. In Parque Lleras, is where you can see tradtional, meets Irish Pub, and places to eat. It’s a good area to just people watch as well. Going above Parque Lleras, is where more people who can afford luxury meets and gathers, price actually goes up because of the quality of food, bars, clubs.

Parque Bibliotecas

Parque Bibliotecas

These parts of the city are incredible examples of how the city of Medellin has been turned around. In what used to be dangerous parts of the city, these Parque Bibliotecas have been built offering libraries, free internet, free classes and safe public space. Any visitor to Medellin will marvel at these parts of the city and they are an important but little known attraction that are not to be missed.

Cable Cars or Metro Cable Transportation and More in Medellin

Cable Cars

The metro cable is more than just a mode of transportation. A ride up the world’s only cable cars that are part of Medellin’s public transportation system give a visitor the best views of Medellin. The cost of the cable car is included in a metro ticket, less than $.75. Even more remarkable than the view is the story behind it. The cable cars take visitors over an area of Medellin that was once one of the most dangerous parts of town. Now it is safe and a great way to view the transformation of Medellin as well as a way to see breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains.

Typical Food in Medellin

bandeja paisa

No trip to Medellin is complete without sampling the traditional meal, Bandeja Paisa. This huge dish includes beans, rice, chicharron (pork rinds), avocado, plantain and chorizo. It tastes great with fruit juice from one of the many fruits found only in Colombia.

However! Medellin is known for cafeteria food quality. Since the majority of the people in the city can’t afford luxurious meals, there are ton of local spots that serve this dish or “menu del dia” which has some of the ingredients in the Bandeja Paisa, perfect lunch size eats for around 7000-12,000 Colombian pesos, thats $2-3 dollar! You might get chicharron, rice, beans and a salad.

Living in Medellin for about 3 years, the only downfall of this affordable city was their quality of food. Even the amount of salt they put on their food, so becareful when you do order, just taste it first before gobbling it all up.

The quality however, is that all meals are pre cooked and not made to order. It’s not about quality but eating so you can get back to work type quality. There are a few places where you can sit an experience real good bandeja paisa like the Hacienda at the La Strada in Poblado. They provide made to order quality traditional Colombian food.

They go above and beyond to provide you the old Colombian ambience tradition, and compared to other thousands of places that offer Colombian food, they rank no.1.

Conclusion

Medellin is one of South America’s best kept secrets and without a doubt a world class city. Besides the cutting edge transportation, history, art, nightlife, shopping and restaurants, the best part of Medellin is surely its residence who are open, helpful, friendly and full of fun.