Where to stay in Medellin, the City of Eternal Springs
Once known as the world’s most dangerous city, Medellin in Colombia has become one of the most innovative tourist hotspots in South America. With 5 million+ international visitors every year, this city is only getting more popular. Medellin’s nickname The City of Eternal Springs speaks volumes about the city’s breathtaking beauty and scenery. The vibrant culture and friendly locals improve the overall experience even more.
Medellin offers something for everyone: backpackers hungry for adventure will find as much fun in this Colombian city as families who want to relax or travelers looking to explore the nightlife. Walking tours, learning more about the city’s history and culture, hiking in the nearby mountains, and salsa dancing after sunset are just some of the amazing things you’ll get to do during your visit to Medellin.
Transportation in Medellin
Even though Medellin is a mountain city, the public transportation system is well developed and rather modern. Visitors can use the Metro, MetroCable, MetroPlus, and public bus system. UniViajes are metro tickets that will serve you for a one-way trip. Learn more about the metro here.
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Five best neighborhoods to stay in Medellin
Medellin is Colombia’s second-largest city. It’s split into six zones: main urban area and five more townships. Even though the city is gaining popularity as a tourist destination and has a growing population, you should still exercise caution when picking the areas you wish to visit and stay in. It would be best to stick with the main urban zone, which is still fairly large and offers plenty of options for sightseeing, exploration, and fun. Medellin’s urban zone consists of 16 communes, which include 249 neighborhoods. In order to come up with our top 5 neighborhood list, we used the following factors:
- The atmosphere and vibe of the area
- Interesting things to do and see
- The cultural and historical importance
- Neighborhood safety
- Ease of transport
- Accommodation cost
|Quick Medellin Neighborhoods Roundup|
|Laureles||For first-time visitors|
|La Candelaria||For traveling on a budget|
|El Poblado||For best nightlife|
|Belén||For bohemian fun|
|Envigado||For families/long term stay|
Where to stay in Medellin, Colombia for the first time: Laureles
It may not be the most popular and famous Medellin neighborhood, but Laureles definitely stands out as a great choice for first-time visitors to this city. The mix of modern comfort and traditional Colombian lifestyle is exactly what most tourists want when looking where to stay in Medellin. Not to mention that this is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city.
During your stay in Laureles, you can choose to live like a local with supermarkets and small locally-owned restaurants at your immediate reach, but you can also enjoy a variety of chain shops and eateries.
You’ll need approximately 15 minutes to get to the metro station on foot. If that’s too much for you, you can always use the bus.
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Where to go in Laureles
Laureles may be a quiet and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of activities to enjoy and things to see.
- Check out bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops
- Enjoy the beauty of the park and engage in some sports fun
Best for party people, foodies, and coffee lovers: streets 70 and 33
Quaint cafes and rich coffee culture will keep you busy if this is your jam. Don’t hesitate to visit the streets 70 and 33 for exciting nightlife with salsa bars, live music, and more. Unicentro and Mall Laureles are the hotspots of the area for shopping fun.
Image Source: cafeteatrolaureles
Best for nature and sports enthusiasts: Atanasio Girardot stadium
Go to Atanasio Girardot stadium to watch a football match or go for a swim, play basketball, or visit a skate park. Afterward, you can relax at the Primer Parque Laureles park.
Image Source: wikimedia commons
Where to stay in Laureles
You can find accommodations in Laureles for as low as $19, with the average price per night around $37. These are our favorite picks:
This beautiful lux house – Inntu Hotel
Where to stay in Medellin on a budget: La Candelaria
The lively and touristy downtown area by day but a riskier place at night, La Candelaria is a Medellin favorite when it comes to a budget stay. If you don’t mind the edgier nature of this neighborhood once the night falls, you’re bound to save a lot of money on your travels. Also known as El Centro, La Candelaria has plenty of bars and restaurants, as well as diverse exploration possibilities. Just remember to take a taxi once it gets dark.
Image Source: juliocesaroro
Where to go in La Candelaria
Don’t let the conflicting day/night atmosphere of this neighborhood deter you from exploring its many beauties.
- Marvel at the art, museums, and religious buildings
- Relax in the city squares and get some shopping done
Best for art and history lovers: The Cultural Palace of Rafael Uribe
Art lovers will enjoy The Cultural Palace of Rafael Uribe, the Museo de Antioquia, and Pedro Nel Gomez murals. Check out Medellin’s gorgeous religious buildings such as La Candelaria Church, San Antonio Church, the Metropolitan Church, the Church of San Ignacio, and Veracruz Church.
Image Source: museodeantioquia
Best for relaxation and shopping: The Playa
Relax at Plazuela San Ignacio and Plaza San Antonio squares and take a stroll along The Playa. Enjoy some shopping fun at Avenida Junin, El Hueco, and Carabobo, and then gaze at Parque de las Luces’ stunning illuminations.
Image Source: jjmedellinontimetours
Where to stay in La Candelaria
It’s possible to find a place in Candelaria for as low as $12, with the average price per night at just about $22. See our top choices:
Where to stay in Medellin for nightlife: El Poblado
El Poblado is Medellin’s hotspot for fun and partying. This is also the wealthiest neighborhood in the city. If you’re looking where to stay in Medellin for rich nightlife action, this is definitely the place. El Poblado has a bunch of international bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops, enough to satisfy the most different tastes.
Where to go in El Poblado
There’s more to this neighborhood than meets the eye. The exciting nightlife of Zona Rosa is definitely a big part of the top activities, but you won’t be bored during the day either.
- Enjoy some shopping fun and picturesque beauty of the area
- Explore the art and gorgeous churches in the neighborhood
Best for shoppers and outdoor lovers: Golden Mile
Take a stroll along the tree-lined Golden Mile and then enjoy some shopping fun at Santafe Shopping Mall, El Tesoro Commercial Park, Oviedo Shopping Mall, and Viscaya Shopping Mall. You can also relax at Linear Park President, The Dancer’s Park, and Lleras Park, visit Laguna de Guatape to climb the rock for some incredible views or explore the gardens and period rooms at El Castillo Museo y Jardines.
Image Source: b_xhi
Best for art and history lovers: Jose Amar Gallery
Art enthusiasts should check out Jose Amar Gallery, Lokkus Contemporary Art, and Pictopia Graffiti street art. Visit Parroquia Santa Maria de Los Dolores church and the founding place of Medellin at Saint Joseph of El Poblado Church for some historical insight into the place.
Image Source: guiltygoose
Where to stay in El Poblado
In El Poblado, gorgeous apartments go for around $40 per night on average. These are our top picks:
Elegant hotel with modern rooms & suites, plus a casino, a spa & an outdoor pool.
Where to stay in Medellin, Colombia for bohemian fun: Belén
Belén holds the title of the coolest neighborhood in Medellin. This is the spot to stay if you prefer former working-class neighborhoods with industrial roots. Belén also makes it very easy to mingle with the locals. The atmosphere of this neighborhood is soulful and artsy, perfect for more alternative and boho tourists. Transportation in the area is great so that you can easily reach all the major hotspots. This is Medellin’s oldest and largest neighborhood that doesn’t lack nightlife fun either.
Image Source: discovercolombia.com
Where to go in Belén
As the coolest Medellin neighborhood with plenty of soul, Belén has a lot to offer to its visitors.
- Explore the museums, churches, and nature
- Enjoy the shopping, food, and party time
Best for nature and history lovers: Pueblito Paisa
Go to the Pueblito Paisa hill and check out the museum, church, and small restaurants. Then you can climb Medellin’s guardian hill Cerro Nutibara for some amazing views and unique sculpture park.
Image Source: sashacohennyc
Best for relaxation and partying: Calle 33
Engage in a wide range of leisure and fitness activities at Unidad Deportiva de Belén. Check out charming pastelerias for a quick bite or shop, dine, and watch movies at the Los Molinos shopping center. Once it’s dark, visit Calle 33 for a fun and eclectic night out.
Image Source: __posso
Where to stay in Belén
At the average price of $30 per night, you can book some really modern and comfortable apartments in Belén. Check out our favorites:
This gorgeous and luxurious loft – Hotel Park 10
Where to stay in Medellin long-term: Envigado
Envigado used to be a separate city but now belongs to Medellin, which means that the area has all the comfort and amenities you would need for a long-term stay. This is a rather safe city area with a suburban lifestyle, which is also why Envigado has the perfect setting for tourists who travel with their families. The rural vibe offers plenty of outdoor activities while it’s still easy to get to the major Medellin sightseeing hotspots.
Image Source: jsebas.saldarriaga
Where to go in Envigado
Envigado caters to all ages. This peaceful area has something fun to offer to both kids and adults.
- Explore amazing Envigado parks, natural beauties, and historical treasures
- Have fun shopping, tasting food, and partying
Best for nature and history lovers: Parque Salado
Check out colonial Envigado Church and saint shrines. Then head to the beautiful Parque Salado to explore the nature, hike, and watch the birds. You can also go to La Romera for some hiking fun or make your kids happy by taking them to Parque Recreativo.
Image Source: lostinlinderland
Best for foodies, shoppers, and party people: La Bota del Dia
Enjoy some shopping fun at City Plaza shopping center. Visit La Tienda to eat, drink, and dance your night away and have fun at La Bota del Dia bars and clubs.
Image Source: saludablesbatidos
Where to stay in Envigado
Envigado is also quite affordable when it comes to getting accommodation, with an average price per night at about $25. These are our top favorites:
This modern budget option – Ivy Hostel