Let’s use this bridge to talk about safety. To stay safe and keep your stuff safe in Medellin you’ll have to do what you do in every city, use your common sense. Colombians have a nice saying which goes like ‘No dar papaya’, which litterlaly means ‘Don’t give papaya’. This simply means don’t give people a reason to take advantage of you like flashing around with expensive stuff or be at grimey locations without guidance.
Besides this you should stay in a safe neighbourhood aswell. The right neighbourhood in Medellin will be ‘El Poblado’. There probably are more safe neighbourhoods, but you just wanne stay in this neighbourhood. Closely you will basically find everything you need.
In El Poblado are tons of hostels and hotels. The first days we stayed in Los Patios. I would almost call this hostel a luxury hostel. The rooms are nice and all possible facilities are available. It even has two roof terraces. On the other hand it’s a little bit expensive and just a little bit far from the main square (I probably exagerate). Also if you don’t like Dutch people I would definitely skip this Dutch meeting point. After this we stayed a few days at Cocobamboo and The garden of blues. These two hostels were quite basic hostels, but very nice located. Again I saw tons of hostels next to each other so it shouldn’t be hard to find a nice one.
Once you’re settled safely, I can answer the questions : ‘What to do?’ & ‘What did you(I) do?’. Let’s start with the things we did, followed by a few things we didn’t do.
New Years Eve: We arrived one day before this big fiesta in Medellin, which makes this the first thing we did in Medellin. During the day we just had food and walked around and around the start of the evening we started meeting up with friends we had known from before. We had drinks, drinks and another drink and then we went for dinner. Like everywhere in the world all restaurants close early this evening and Medellin is no exception. After walking around for like an hour sesrchung for a restaurant, we found out that the hotel bar we had drinks earlier was our only option left, so we went back here. We had some more drinks and food and switched to 2019 in this boutique hotel bar. Surprisingly we didn’t see much firework. We shoot more in the Netherlands easily, which you wouldn’t think. Well, being for like half an hour in 2019 we realised that the environment wasn’t really hot (it was closing), but our vibe was really good so we went to search for a party. During the night we visited two clubs ending up dancing at the main plaza of El Poblado. Happy New Year!
Parque Arvi & cable cars: After waking up not to late we made a nice lunch on the 1st of January. After this we decided to go for a Sunday type of walk at Parque Arvi. To get here you have to get the cable car all the way up. It was quite easy to find since the station was also called ‘Parque Arvi’. During this ride you get a nice overview of the big city Medellin. After that you continue a bit over some woods until you reach the parks station. On arrival there was a small market and from here we started a little walk in the park. We needed around one hour to finish a round within the park. Quite some movement for a 1st of January, right?
Comuna13 walking tour: This was our first walking tour we did. To be sure you can do this walking tour you need to make a reservation upfront, but we didn’t. We just went to the meeting spot and asked if we could join and of course there is enough space on the streets. This tour is actually a free walking tour. You know the concept, ‘free but we expect a little tip’ walking tour. Well in the end you will feel bad not giving a tip anyways. During the tour the lady (our tour guide) told us a lot of sad stories about the neighbourhood where she grew up. Comuna 13 has a let’s say, special history compared to the rest of Medellin, because this was the only neighbourhood which was not supported by the infamous criminal. For this reason he came here more often for recruitment for bad jobs and this had consequences like a higher rate of gang violence. Nowadays the neighbourhood is being bright with lots of grafitti and nice little stores.
Real city tour: The next tour we did was the real city tour. Like the Comuna 13 tour you’ll need to make a reservation upfront. We didn’t do it at all because it went so easy last time, but this time we had to wait a bit. The tour guides take a maximum amount of people so it could be possible there won’t be space at all. This tour took us to the real city center of Medellín. The tour was of course also packed with some criminal stories of the past. The funny part of this tour was that the people of the city are very interested in the tourist. This resulted in some funny conversations with random people passing by and stopping to see what we are doing.
Guatape: The last thing we did was visiting Guatape and the giant rock El Peñol. Guatape is a few hours ride away from Medellin. It’s possible to do a day trip Guatape and El Penol from Medellin, but it’s gonna be a long day. We decided to stay in Guatape for a day to extend our tranquilo lifestyle we had in Medellin. The bus to Guatape cost like 15000 pesos pp which is like 4 euros each way. I don’t know anymore when the bus leaves and how long the ride is, but I know it took longer than it should. This was because we visited in high season(Christmas Holidays). Once arrived in Guatape we walked around to see the beautiful houses. The next day we went to El Penol. We went 700 stairs up, but since it was so busy it took us 2 hours, no sweat.
Fooooood – In Medellin we had alot of good food. You can have nice pescatarian food at Pezetarian. The nicest salmon steak and fries you can get at Balbacoa, close to Los Patios. For a nice fresh dish try a pokebowl at Pokebowl. Some other places we really liked are Cafe Velvet, Mundo verde and the bar on top of the Art hotel (They sell good food too). Besides these places there were to much other attractive restaurants.
Well to end this blogpost I wanne say again that this was my favourite city of the trip (I’m home in Amsterdam currently(Mind blown)). Because of this reason I say ‘Hasta Pronto Medellin’, which mean ‘see you soon’, which means see you when it fits in some plans again.