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TLDR? A day in the life of an American in Medellin is much like it would be in New York or LA!
The city of Medellín is a diamond in the rough, a city completely different from anywhere in the USA.
I fell in love with the culture, people, architecture, and natural spaces. After visiting, I’m sure you’ll agree that Medellín is one of the best cities in the world.
Read ahead to learn about what it’s like to live as an American in Medellín!
You may experience a bit of culture shock when you first arrive in Medellín but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it!
Living in Medellín is a lot cheaper and easier than it may seem, though the cost of living can vary depending on where you book your hotel, Airbnb, or other place of residence.
I recommend booking an apartment in the city’s most well-known or central neighborhoods, such as Laureles or El Poblado. While there are cheaper places to rent, they’re often in more dangerous neighborhoods.
If you’re having trouble finding a place to stay, review the best options on the casacol page.
Another amazing aspect of Medellín is the food – you can try a different plate of food every day, from local to international meals. Just be careful when trying Colombian dishes so as not to hurt your stomach.
You may be used to traveling by subway in American cities, and the Medellín metro system isn’t too different. Moving around the city really isn’t all that complicated. You just need to keep a few things in mind depending on the type of transport you take.
Here are the transportation options in Medellín:
I’ve rented vehicles but found using public transport is much cheaper. All you need to do is purchase a Civic card, which you can top off when needed.
I’ve also used the bicycle loan system from time to time, accessible with a Civic card. Medellín is a great bike city, so you’ll be able to move around with safety and ease.
Medellín is full of activities, indoors, outdoors, day or night!
When I first got to Medellín, I took a bunch of different tours to get to know the city. I recommend trying out some of these activities as a first-time tourist:
You can visit Arví Park and the Piedras Blancas park, ideal for hiking and enjoying nature and the views of the city.
Take a trip to Cerro Nutibara and see the famous Paisa village on top of the hill, and round out your day with a visit to the botanical gardens
One of my favorite things about Medellín is the prevalence of art and culture everywhere you look.
The city has a list of museums displaying all kinds of art, and there are even permanent outdoor exhibitions such as La Plaza Botero.
I recommend checking out the Museo del Agua: its main purpose is to show the importance of water for our planet, and its interactive approach makes it a great way to spend a fun afternoon.
Medellín’s restaurant scene is amazing: not only can you find traditional Colombian food, but dishes from across the globe.
I’ve even tried some amazing Middle Eastern food, and found a new favorite cuisine!
I decided to take a tour of the city’s communes to get a taste of all of Medellín’s amazing neighborhoods.
The most famous neighborhood is La Comuna 13, home to enough street art and small museums to make anyone fall in love with its paisa charm.
Colombia has its own version of Spanish, and you’ll encounter different accents and dialects everywhere you go.
That being said, it’s not a necessity to be a Spanish speaker in Medellín. As a city visited by tourists from all over the world, English is commonly spoken to avoid language barriers.
If you’re interested in learning Spanish like I was, I can recommend some great places to start learning:
ProTrip: Remember that if you want to extend your visa in Colombia, studying the language or a professional career helps you stay longer in the country.
After living here for a while, I can tell you that they don’t call Medellín the City of Eternal Spring for nothing! Here the weather is always the perfect temperature, never too hot or too cold.
Medellín does not have seasons as North America does, but it does have rainy seasons and dry seasons. I made the mistake of only packing summer outfits before I realized I needed clothing to protect me from the rain!
In general, the people of Medellín are very friendly to foreigners, and wherever you go you’ll find kind people ready to give you directions or advice.
However, if you want to start making real friends, you might want to try out some different activities, such as taking a Spanish class.
Some other great activities to meet new people are:
Medellín is full of hills and parks great for hiking. You can find groups of people taking hiking tours to add friends to your social circle.
A Pub Crawl is a fun way to let loose and make some new friends. Alongside a group of people, you can take a tour of different bars throughout the city, where you can meet new people, try different drinks, and listen to all kinds of music.
If you’re a digital nomad tired of working at home, I invite you to look at some of the coworking spaces in the city.
These classes are not only a great way to burn off steam and stay in good shape, but also an excellent way to meet friends and have fun.
You’ll find foreigners and locals alike who love to move to the rhythm of different styles of music.
I’m sure you want to know more about the nightlife in Medellín!
If you’re worried the city doesn’t have enough places to go out, worry no more. Medellín is a city with long days and even longer nights, and you’ll find restaurants and bars everywhere you go.
Weekends are amazing in Medellín, especially Saturday nights.
I’ve visited a bunch of places with different styles of music and drinks, and have put together a list of my favorites:
I recommend visiting this place if you are a fan of good craft beer. I tested a few during my visit and found my new favorite beer!
They play music from across all genres to please any audience, especially on Thursdays during the Vive 3 Cordilleras festival.
Address: Calle 30 44-176, Medellin, Colombia
If you’re into rock and roll, visiting Pub Rock Lleras is a must. Here you’ll be able to see some amazing local bands pay tribute to the legends of rock.
The bar’s retro style goes with the music, and if you get a bit hungry, accompany your beer with a delicious burger.
Address: Cra. 37a #8-12,El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia.
Located on a rooftop overlooking the city, Envy is an elegant place to enjoy city weather and a good drink.
The bar offers a live DJ by pool, making it the ideal place to sip cocktails while enjoying house and reggaeton music.
Address: Cl. 9A #37-16, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
If you’re into electronic music, this is a great place to listen to international DJs play live techno house and techno deck.
It gets pretty crowded and you may find yourself struggling to get a beer, but the party atmosphere is totally worth it!
Address: Cl 10 #40-30, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
Although I love living in this city, I do get a bit homesick from time to time and want to do things that feel like home.
Here are some recommendations or places to go if you want to find something from the USA in Medellin:
Medellín is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with so much to do and experience. Come visit and see for yourself!
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