Medellin City Guide
OVERVIEW: The second-largest city in Colombia. It is located in the Aburra Valley of the Andes Mountains. Since being a battlefield for gangs in the 1980s and 90s during Pablo Escobar's reign, Medellin has successfully shed it's image as a city known for car bombs and Colombian neckties, and was even voted the most innovative city in 2013 due to its strides in politics, education and social development.
WEATHER: Tropical rainforest (15-30 °C). "The city of the eternal spring."
SAFETY: So-so. Despite it's unprecedented decline in crime rates over the past 20 years, Medellin is still not entirely safe. Take taxis home after the bar, and never leave your drink unattended. Be cautious walking alone at night.
MUST DO: Take the metrocable up for a fantastic view of the city. The barrios feel sketchy but they are safe if you don't wander too far into them.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN MEDELLIN: Allow for $600. Can you do cheaper? Yes, but I suggest spending a little extra cash to have a decent apartment in a good area of Medellin to bring people back to.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $12.00. But this will only get you something in Centro. If you want Poblado (the upscale area with clean streets and coffee shops) you'll pay a tad more.
NIGHTLIFE IN MEDELLIN: 9.5/10
I'm probably not the first to tell you that Medellin's nightlife is very, very good. There are a baffling number of bars and clubs located in pockets throughout the entire city. There are many areas I can suggest, but if you are here for any less than 2 weeks, I will only recommend one: Parque Lleras. This area is dense with bars, discos, lounges and restaurants and is snuggly in the posh El Poblado district.
I recommend: Bendito Seas. Definitely a younger crowd here, but a really cool interior. I liked it, but if you want a nightclub, go to Babylon. But, there are lots of foreigners in Babylon. You've been warned.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN MEDELLIN: 7.5/10
The days when a North American or European foreigner could roll into Medellin and pick up a gorgeous Paisa just by virtue of being exotic and probably rich are long gone. In fact, I'd almost go as far as to say it is now a detriment to meeting women in Medellin to say that you are a Canadian, American, Australian, Italian, German, British or Irish tourist. This is because gringos in Medellin have gotten the reputation of being nothing more than sex tourists, which means their social value has plummeted over the last 5 years. This isn't just for dudes over 30 either - young backpackers get a bad wrap too. For good reason, mind you. Anyway, the best chance you have at having some fun with Medellin women is to meet them during the day in parks, universities, recreation centres etc., tell them you are here for work and staying for a long time and then get their contact information to set up a date. If you stick to the clubs to try and meet women, you may find yourself stuck with either a prostitute, or someone looking for a sugar daddy.
***If you want to meet girls in Colombia the easy way and set up dates before you arrive in the country, I highly recommend checking out Colombian Cupid.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN MEDELLIN?: 9/10.
The beauty of Paisas is world-renowned. The people here are very preoccupied with the way they look, and will often go to great lengths to meet unrealistic standards of beauty. Plastic surgery is normal here, so it's not out of the ordinary to see fake tits, ass and lips on a trip to the local supermarket. If you're not a fan of body enhancement, you may find your opinion changing after a trip to the City of Eternal Spring (mine did). But, before you book a ticket, remember to manage your expectations. They aren't all good looking by any means. And yes, there are many hot girls here, but the hottest girls (estrato 6s who live in El Poblado) won't even look at you unless you meander your way into their social circles. These are the richest gals, and to be seen with a gringo is somewhat a social downgrade. However, don't fret - there are plenty of nice above-average middle-class girls for you to game.
If you want to make the most of your time in Colombia, you will need to speak some Spanish. Rocket Spanish is the best resource for learning Spanish quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.20 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Get ready to complete with thousands of horny gringos for low-paying English teaching jobs and thankless hostel work.
NOTES: The boom years of Medellin have come to pass. The glory days were from 1999-2006; after the violence, but before the sex-tourism. This isn't to say that Medellin isn't a great city, because it is. Aesthetically, culturally and entertainment-wise, it is a Latin American standard. And it's still quite easy to get laid here in Medellin. Just don't go there expecting easy sex with the best of the best.
OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10
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