How to select the perfect barrio in Medellin for a perfect stay in the city.
Medellin’s got some fascinating neighborhoods to explore and one the biggest attractions of Colombia’s second largest city is the variety of vibes unfolding in the different barrios of this fast-moving mountain metropolis. The river Medellin divides the city in two along a north-south axis with the metropolitan area split into 16 comunas, or administrative districts, for the purpose of local government. Each comuna hosts a selection of smaller neighborhoods that all have a very distinctive atmosphere depending on the socio-cultural mix in the area.
Most foreign visitors to Medellin tend to end up staying in two of the largest comunas: Poblado to the south-east and Laureles, to the north-west, both of which have an extensive collection of neighborhoods to choose from.
Poblado and Laureles have become the go-to places to stay for their superior selection of Airbnb vacation rentals, something closely correlated to their proximity to the best bars, coffee restaurants and shopping options in Medellin. For New Yorkers, Poblado would be something akin to Manhattan while Laureles might be considered Brooklyn and Rionegro, Llanogrande and El Retiro would be the Hamptons.
Also like New York, most of Medellin’s most exclusive apartment blocks have tight restrictions on owners being able to rent out to short-term visitors on Airbnb. If an influential local resident lives in the apartment block there are very likely to be restrictions on rentals of less than 30 days in line with Colombian law. The demand for Airbnb vacation rentals in the city, however, has resulted in a spate of high-end properties being built for investors, foreign nationals and digital nomads that want to own a pad in Medellin and be able to rent them out when they are not in the city. All of Casacol’s properties are in buildings that are 100% Airbnb friendly and built to avoid any restrictions on rentals to short-term visitors including a friendly receptionist ready to meet you on arrival and help you get settled into your short-term or long-term stay.
The top two neighborhoods in Medellin – Poblado vs Laureles
Poblado’s where the city’s affluent and powerful families used to have their traditional family homes and even castles, a quaint little village on the eastern side of the valley looking down on the rest of Medellin from a privileged perch. In the 1980s, there were none of the luxury residential tower blocks, hotels and shopping centers that have transformed Poblado into Miami in the mountains. Although most of Medellin’s influential families still have an apartment in one of the more luxurious apartment blocks built on top of their former fincas, in the San Lucas, Alejandria, Provenza Arriba, Aviñon or Los Balsos neighborhoods, some of Medellin’s movers and shakers have moved out to more expansive mountain retreats in Rionegro, El Retiro or Llanogrande. The exodus of reggaeton stars and top executives has left Poblado to become an Airbnb paradise for foreigners seeking a convenient corner of the city to enjoy the best nightlife, bars, fine-dining restaurants and high-end shopping in Medellin.
Blessed with a series of streams running through the mountain into the Medellin River, Poblado remains one of the most lush, verdant places to stay in Medellin and soak up Colombia’s remarkable biodiversity. The construction boom has created some seriously sophisticated urban allure in the midst of this lush foliage, including three of the largest shopping centers in Colombia – Oviedo, El Tesoro and Santa Fe.
Money talks in Poblado and you’ll pay more to stay here and enjoy the convenience of being within walking distance of the city’s most exclusive places to eat, drink and party, although the steep incline of the mountains might mean you’ll end up getting a taxi home after venturing down the hill to enjoy Poblados considerable charms.
It was the nightlife of Parque Lleras that first put this neighborhood on the map for foreign visitors, but the original ground zero for visiting hedonists feels a little tired these days and most of the best new bars and restaurants are opening three blocks further up the hill from Parque Lleras in leafy Provenza or in the trendy neighborhoods of Astorga and Manila located in the area below Avenida Poblado.
The Best Bars in Poblado
When it comes to bars, you’re in the right place for some elevated cocktails and nocturnal fun and frolics. Most of the best rooftop bars can be found in Provenza, Parque Lleras and Manila and Medellin’s top nightclubs and best bars for meeting people tend to concentrate in the three blocks of bars and restaurants in Provenza.
The Best Restaurants in Poblado
Medellin’s upscale restaurants are almost exclusively concentrated in Poblado in either Provenza, Lalinde (a small neighborhood on the north side of Calle 10) and Astorga. Carmen, El Cielo, Oci.Mde and La Provincia, are the pick of the bunch. The top brunch joints also happen in some of the rarefied real estate of Poblado.
While Poblado has undisputedly been the home for Medellin’s most influential families throughout the ages and is home to the most spectacular Airbnb apartments today, Laureles, has been one of the city’s most intellectual and creative neighborhoods.
Laureles may have always been a popular second best to Poblado for out-of-town visitors but you get more bang for your buck in this pretty barrio. With its charming mid-century modern architecture and leafy boulevards connecting a couple of pretty parks and the stadium complex, it’s become a popular place for Airbnb with local and foreign owners. You can find some attractive deals staying in this well located district. The Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana found on the border of Laureles and Belen (another well-rounded neighborhood with plenty going for it) gives Laureles a studious vibe and there’s an impressive selection of student friendly bars in the vicinity with prices that won’t leave a Poblado-shaped dent in your wallet. With an interesting socio-economic mix of working class neighborhoods like Estadio and laid-back, residential middle class neighborhoods like Conquistadores you have a far more authentic Medellin vibe.
Most of the best nightlife and restaurants in Laureles can be found nestled between Primera Parque de Laureles and Segundo Parque de Laureles close to the University and Belen.
The historic artery, Calle San Juan, connects the city from west to east, with every type of commercial venture you could imagine en route and Calle 70 is a bristling thoroughfare thrown over to the city’s heavy-drinking football fans at weekends. To the north, Velodromo is a wonderful neighborhood that’s slowly being gentrified but has plenty of affordable Airbnb options.
In general, the hotels in Laureles are more tailored towards Latin American visitors on a budget but there are plenty of foreigners that have set up shop in Laureles and started renting some beautiful apartments on Airbnb. One of the charms of this neighborhood is being able to explore it on foot or by bike. There’s an impressive network of cycle lanes connecting Laureles to Belen to the south and Suramericana and the Universidad de Antioquia to the north. Both neighborhoods are also interesting to visit to see the city in a more authentic light, which is what you want when you book with Airbnb right?
The Best Bars in Laureles
There’s a host of lively bars on Calle 70, La Charcu is one of the highlights for people watching. Panorama Rooftop Bar is excellent for an evening with friends or to meet some new friends and the rooftop bar of Indie Studio attracts a creative crowd for its evening shindigs. Salsa fans shouldn’t miss the live band and bottomless bottles of rum at Son Havana, one of the best places to get a sweat on in Medellin.
The Best Restaurants in Laureles
You can eat well and affordably in Laureles. Most of the city’s most successful restaurants have opened up a second version in Laureles. Whether that’s a meat fest at Voraz , La Pampa or Barbaro Cocina Primitiva or the vegetarian delights on offer at the tasty coworking restaurant hybrid Semilla on Primera Parque de Laureles.
CTA: If you know where you want to stay and are looking for a luxury vacation rental, hotel or long-stay apartment check out Casacol’s superior selection of properties in Medellin. If you need some help choosing the perfect property for you, reach out to one of Casacol’s team of talented concierges.
If you need help deciding contact one of Casacol’s concierges.