Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

Medellin – The Monotone City; The Truth About Living in Medellin, Colombia

My mom, who loves to visit her son wherever he may be including such exotic locales such as Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, recently inquired about visiting me in Medellin.  I thought for a moment but couldn’t warrant enough of a reason to justify the expense of her flying down and spending her precious vacation time.  There are probably two or three things that would be worthy of her seeing, but neither one is so earth-shattering that truly justifies a trip.  “Save your money and travel time for our planned trip to Lisbon, Portugal,” I ended the phone conversation.  As I was itching to speak some Portuguese again, we both agreed a small country in Southern Europe made much more sense.

As I write this I’m exactly a week short of three months living here in Medellin, a city that I still can’t quite come grips with and figure out.  As much I try making sense of the city, I feel that during my time here I’ve either barely scratched the surface or stayed two months longer than necessary.

I usually figure out cities pretty quickly.  My previous stints in some of Latin America’s largest metropolises gave me the experiences to appreciate the diversity of the cities.  Cities have a unique way of letting you automatically organize them.  I appreciated Mexico City for its “in your face” Latin culture and overall largesse.  I credited Buenos Aires for its European feel and unique style.  I loved Rio for it’s beach life and its colorful tropical setting.  But after three months here, I’ve yet to find what I think of this city, and it troubles me.

I was originally lured to this city when various bloggers called it a “must see” city in Latin America, surely helped by its year-around spring-like climate and cheap but high standard of living.  The water is also supposed to be of very high quality, but unfortunately that rounds out the pros this city has going for itself.

The negatives come in droves.  It’s a landlocked city with no beautiful oceans and accompanying views.  The people are nice, but I’ve definitely met friendlier locals elsewhere.  I can count on one hand how many nice sunny days I’ve witnessed in three months (lately it’s been raining daily).

The unique social scene makes it difficult to meet people — especially during nighttime.

I remember than even after two years of living in Rio, I would wake up and still pinch myself to see if it was just a dream: I couldn’t believe that I was living in paradise.  Perhaps the most beautiful city in the world, even though I started to find the locals a bit snobby towards the end of my stay.

When I lived in Buenos Aires, I loved the city for its charm and even it’s overall arrogance of not wanting to be considered Latin American but European.  It’s still an amazing city and that’ll never change.

But Medellin for me is something a kin of a small country city that grew beyond its means in population but not in mentality.

It’s an incredibly organized city (for Latin American standards anyway) with solid infrastructure, honest, hard working people, but also a city where everyone sticks to themselves.  On the weekends, you see large families hanging out in the malls, drinking coffee and talking, but overall people are serious, and are rarely joking around with each other like you would constantly see in Brazil.

The locals would never forego an opportunity to greed you with the typical “Buenos dias” and later, “Hasta luego”, but beyond that you’d met with silence on the ascent to your 10th floor apartment. Do the same in Brazil or Mexico; you’d probably trade life stories in that time span.

Even in my Jiu Jitsu class, which is a great barometer of how friendly the culture is, nobody greets each other on their way in or on their way out.  Everyone sticks to themselves, where as in Brazil I’ve made some close friends that I continue to stay in touch with until this day.

Ironically, the coolest guy I’ve met here has been my Jiu Jitsu instructor, but he’s from Panama and is more social, open and interesting than any other local I’ve met here so far.

Walking around the city has a distinct grey and monotone feel.  All the buildings are the same brick color.  Add the typical grey skies and you have the city’s depressingly omnipresent grey/maroon color scheme.

The locals are not much of help either.  Most are very reserved and closed off, a sure anomaly in what should be an outgoing Colombian culture.  It’s almost like there’s something bubbling up and lurking under the surface as remnants of the violent past this city endured.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived so long in Brazil, and after Brazil everything else in Latin America becomes monotone.  But I still vividly remember my time in Mexico and Argentina.  My stay in Lima, Peru, however, was quick without any regret, something I’d probably would’ve done here if I wasn’t so stubborn of adding yet another city to my “cities lived abroad” list.

Perhaps we all make mistakes, get seduced by positive reports from previous travelers who make a destination into something it definitely it’s not.  Or perhaps with continued travel experience, we begin to demand more from our cities, trying to best the next to the previous, kind of like always comparing a new girl to that beautiful ex-girlfriend who got away.

As hard as I try to find something positive here, something to justify my time investment here, I keep coming short.  It just doesn’t seem compatible with my personality and my travel experience.

In many ways it’s a city without a soul, a city without charm.  A city where everything works but nothing is special that motivates you to return or convince others to come and visit.  Sometimes it’s those imperfections that make a city standout, and prevent a city from becoming too generic.  For some, a well functioning city is enough, but I’ll take an imperfect city with a soul anytime.

I’m glad that my mom is saving her vacation time for a more deserving destination.  Whether it’ll be Lisbon or Istanbul, some cities give to the visitor more in terms of culture and tradition and as a result warrant that visitor’s precious time and money.   Medellin still has many, many ways to go if it’ll ever join the ranks of those world cities.


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79 Comments

  1. I was there a couple months ago for 2.5 weeks, and am headed down in July for a more extended stay. Did you rent a furnished or unfurnished apto?

  2. I’ve lived in Medellin for about 11 years, and I’m from Germany. Opposite to these comments I’d rather say that Medellin has been for me the best city I’ve ever been to live. I also have been in cities like Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, whcih are really beautiful, specially Rio de Janeiro, (for me), but I would recommend those cities for a vacation time. Medellin has been my where-to-live-forever place. I have spent more money in a week in Buenos Aires than in two months in Medellin city and surounding areas, which are really gorgeous. As I write this I’m exactly 11 years living in Medellin, and I love it. Even, you need long time to see all the places and nearby town whcih are great for a weekend. I usually figure out cities pretty quickly. I have also lived in large metropolitan cities, including Bogota for 6 months, and after comparing I can definitely say that Medellin is really a where-to-live city. Bogota is a nice city, very large and 24 hours open for everything, but with no authentic culture like I found in Medellin, the city is very organized and people take care of it. Large cities are not as friendly as Medellin, which is not a small city, just fine. Mexico City has its latin culture but too large and a little dangerous nowadays. Buenos Aires, too European, I don’t feel like among the real latin people there and it is really very expensive. I loved Rio for it’s landscape and people but too many robbers and people asking you for money everywhere.  I have invited many friends from Germany and other European countries to visit me here in Medellin and they all have said that they would probably like to experience to live here in the future, since they had a great time here with me and my “paisas” friends, who are the best honest, transparent, and friendly people I have ever met, they are real people who are very clean, they sometimes take a shower 2 and 3 times a day, women spend always their money in cleaning creams, manicure and pedicure and nice clothes, they smell delicious all the time, it’s their culture. And the best is that they take their showers with the best water I have ever tried in my life, you can even dring aout of the faucet and it doesn’t really taste, it’s refreshing. For me, Medellin has the best water in the world, at least in all the more than 100 countries that I have visited in the world. Women are the most beautiful I have ever seen, I mean, they are everywhere, in the shopping malls, on the street, in all the neighborhoods, walking everywhere and they are the most of them worried about keeping in shape. My friends from Europe had a great time here, some of them have come even each christmas time, which is lovely here and charming, very unique. Medellin transportation is really cheap, I do not drive my car very often, just seldom when I need to, because once you get to the bus station you grab a bust every half a minute almost everywhere in the city. In luxurious neighborhoods like El Poblado (the largest nice neighborhood I have seen in the world) it last longer to catch a bus because most of the people there use their own cars, but a taxi cab would cost you maximum 30 dollars for a long trip to the other side of the city, which in Germany I shoul pay like probably $300 dollars for the same trip, or $500 in Paris or Buenos Aires. I have met a lot of people during night in every place, because always the paisas greet you and make jokes and are really extremely friendly with tourists and foreign nationals. I can say I felt the same in Rio, but portuguese is a little more difficult for me than Spanish, so it was more difficult for me to understand what they said. I have met a lot of US nationals living in Medellin, the most from them from the US Esatern Coast and they have bought very nice properties (you can affor a very good 4/3 home here for the same price that you purchase a 1/1 in New York, Buenos Aires or Paris. Medellin has grown up in mentality and the paisas have understood day by day that they have one of the best, cleanest and most beautiful cities in Latin America. As fas as I know, Medellin is among the four cities that have progressed more than any other city in Latin America in the last 20 years. The Metropolitan Transportation System is enviable and people love it and take care of it. It’s really an incredibly organized city with a very solid infrastructure, people are really honest and hard working, and for some reason the most friendly people I have ever seen. My best friends are germans and a group of paisas, who always hang out and make bar-b-q, visit the bars during night and enjoy Parque Lleras as our meeting spot. On the weekends, we sometimes go to the malls, play billiards, go to the stadium to see Nacional (my team), DIM and Envigado play (the 3 soccer teams of the city), which makes me feel like I am in Germany where people love soccer. We sometimes visit the surounding areas, like Llanogrande, San Jeronimo and the Southwest towns and villages. The locals always greet you, sometimes even 4 or 5 times a day, which is not common in Europe, even on the phone they always tell my “how are you” every time they speak to me which makes me laugh… I always tell them, “I told you I am fine, why you ask me again?” LOL. Since I came for the fisrt time I have felt happy always, 11 years ago. People always greet me in the elevator where I live. The security guys that work for the building are very friendly and they always have a smile for me. Ironically, the only 2 bad experiences I have had here have been with foreign people. I even love the way they build here, the city has a very nice architecture, enviable by any European country that wants to have a modern architecture, the brick monotone color combined with white and concrete color makes the city look extremely clean and beautiful. The locals have helped me always. Even if you ask for an address, they take you there; they don’t care if they are in a hurry, and try to be helpful always without expecting any tip from you. The Paisas are never reserved or closed off, oppositely they are completely outgoing and friendly, and I’d rather say they sometimes are more outgoing than necessary, because they want to be your friend, no matter what. The violent past this city endured has gone in part because of two things: former President Uribe’s government, and the fact that it was caused by narco-violence, which now moved to Mexico.I lived for some months in Argentina and Peru, even in Ecuador and Bolivia, and I was happy there, but there’s nothing like the honesty the Paisas have and they make you feel part of their city as a foreign resident. I came here because I got seduced by some travelers that I met in Germany and they told me to come and visit here, which I did. And I can assure that this has been a great experience for me (living in a different country), I even do not want to go back to Germany because I feel better here and secure. I know Medellin has problems, like any city in this world, but with the years, this will be one of the best cities to live and to invest.I encourage anyone who wants to come and visit here, this is really a place to live FOREVER.

    • Hello Mark. My name is Jay and I am very please “to meet you.” I have really enjoyed reading your article. It’s genuine and right on. I live in Calif., but I was born in Bogota and lived mostly all my life in Calif. I speak Spanish fluently and I am planning to retire in Medellin since Bogota it’s too crowded among other problems.

      I have been in Medellin around 3 times bet. 90 & 95. Yes the paisas are very helpfull. I was lost at 3 am in a bad part of Medellin and I asked a taxi driver for directions. He noticed that I was a tourist and asked me to follow him. I was going to “Hotel Nutivara.” I followed him for about 20 Min. and he took me to the front of the hotel. I asked him how much I owe him. He refused to except any money and wish me well and left. I only have great memories from Medellin and are now re-enforced by your comments.

      I’ll be going around July or August and I would like to get more info. anything would be very helpfull ie. places to live. or to stay away from. how to get around.

      Looking forward to hearing from you; Jay.

    • Hey I am by no means an expert in global travel I am from the USA and I have only been to Puerto Rico which is kinda part of the USA in a way but not quite and Medellín. Medellín is the first time I actually had to use a passport to exit the USAIcan tell you that I am not fluent in spanish and I had to rely on my friends that I was traveling with who are native to here for everything. I am not too familiar with the money here and I didnt drive here but that being said I have to tell you that Its January and I am sitting here in an apartmet building in the heart of Medellín and it is a very sunny 80 degrees This place is like heaven I love it here My friends have taken me everywhere from the downtown and the night club life out to the mountains and farms I have been to San Jeronimo, Santa Fe de Antiquoia, San Felix, San Francisco, Santo Domingo Bello, Envigado anda host of other places and I can tell you this place is beautiful. The people here are proud of thier country and are eager to show you it and very friendly and welcoming and just like Mark said the women here are banging. I have never seen more beautiful women in one place at one time Thes women for the most part do maintain thier bodies the mostly have long straight hair Most of them at least half way down thie backs if not longer and very very beautiful and just like Mark said they all have beautiful hands and feet and they all smell good enough to eat and in my experience even though I cant communicate with them that well the women here are very friendly I love it here in Medellin

    • Girls are short and fat on average. The worst I have ever met.
      May be if you are short and fat you may like them, but if u r tall like me u ll be wasting your time. I am here for work, and I hope I never came to this small insignificant city in the middle of the Andes, where people think they are at the center of the world and behave like peasants

      • You have a horrible attitude and that’s probably why you don’t have a successful social life there. Medellin is far from perfect, but is doing pretty darn well and there is so much to see.

        if you don’t get along with the paisas is basically because you don’t speak the language, have social issues or you just have a horrible arrogant attitude.
        Judging by the comment you made. I bet is all of the above.
        Fat girls live all over the world, and not paisa women won’t jump all over your green card and cash like the Brazilians do.

        Mav, your blog is about the most negative thing I have read about Medellin. And I have read a lot. Including Forbes articles. I think you just don’t get the city.

    • I am a USA expat living in Puerto Vallarta. Is settling in Medellin ray or difficult as the first writer suggest? Are you a loner or friendly and the first writer just a jerk who more than likely may not speak Spanish . My other question is how much does it rain in Medellin? I’m thinking about spending the months of July and August there before returning back to college to teach. Thanks Craig

    • Mark, what a beautiful, heartfelt endorsement of Medellin. My husband and I are seriously considering retiring to Medellin. If we plan a one or two week “scouting trip” what do you recommend we put on our itinerary? Are there agents who can show us durnished houses or apartments? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  3. oh Medellin is the city that I actually enjoyed the most out of latin America, I found Brazil very overrated, the locals too mellow almost fake with their friendliness… I appreciate the most honest Colombians, In Brazil people are TOO NICE and it’s usually because you’re a gringa and in a way they are too mellow which is sort of annoying. I guess is just perceptions.

    I am an American girl who speaks a broken down spanish and very quickly I integrated into the local culture and had fun.

    I think maybe you wanted Medellin to be like Buenos Aires or Rio?

    • I really agree with you! I live in Brazil for about 1.5 year now and I underline every word you have wrote! I do share the emotions that Maverick experienced while living in Rio but I think that all his admire of brazilians is a way too exegerated or was strongly influenced just by lucky deal with some Brazilian girls which are indeed probably the most beutiful in the world after Californian and Colombian girls. I am ukrainian or russian by origin, I am in good atletic shape, I do like to party but I have to say that I never had many true friends here in Brazil nor I had wonderful relationships with Brazilian girls. I found people here very tricky, ambitious, egoistic and their culture of friendliness looks like cinema shit – its not real in any way!  Anyway I love reading Mavericks posts an thank you too Kelly for your honest comment! Alexey

    • i am retired and my wife and i are ready to explore south america. It seems all roads(comments) lead to Medellin would you consider medellin a retirement destination? thanks

    • Hi.kelly,how are you? kelly I am from medellin and I transport people in medellin specially from eeuu,whenever you need somebody to transport you or a friend I would be glad of doing in it,thanks,,,,,I apologize for my english,,,,

      • Hello. Alejandro. I will be travelling to Medellin in July or August and looking for someone to take me around. send your info so I can contact you.

        Thank you, Jay

      • I may need your services as I travelling to Medellin in july or August. send me e-mail. thank you, Jay

  4. Great comments.  It’s been two years since I left Brazil, and will need to do a new post with some new perspectives.

  5. I always enjoy commentaries and perspective, such as presented in this post.  The great thing about life, living, and locals is that we each connect in different ways for different reasons.  I own a business in Orlando Florida, with a branch located in Medellin.  I also find the city more ‘organized’, I also feel there are undercurrents of a violent past.  But I also have met and forged amazing relationships in Medellin.  I find the climate near perfect, the culture (business climate) unique, even different than other Colombian cities such as Bogota and Barranquilla.  There is a higher sense of integrity in Medellin from my experience (this is relative to SA), although the business ‘rules of engagement’ require a pretty steep, and in my case, costly learning curve.  I’m in the process of relocating there in August to take advantage of the Free Trade Agreement that is going to create a lot of opportunity.  For me? I like the more reserved conversation, I appreciate the mountains and land locked aspects… for $100 I can be in Santa Marta, San Andres, or any other beach local.  for $100 I can be in Cartagena… or in an hour drive Santa Fe, just north of Medellin.  

    • hey fastresults i have traveled to medellin and i have had really good expirences as well i am orinally from miami an i now live in orlando. please reply i would like to talk to you about medellin and the oppurtunities that are available there.

  6. I bet maverick is some ugly white nerdy man who only got touched by pretty colombianas when he pulled out some cash hahaha colombia has improved thanks to president uribe and i mean extremely improved we have cities filled with cash that literally makes some american cities look like shit Cartagena, San Andres, Baranquilla, Cali, Bogota, and Medellin all have what you need. Good Schools, Gorgeous women who arent flaky you troll face dick, white colombians (for those who think we are dark mexicans), Malls that destroy american malls, Tech around the city that should make any geek happy like internet cafes on every block and rentable portable modems for laptops, Clothing is something we like a lot we dress so fucking awesome compared to most ugly bland americans, and we party so incredibly that im sure you always get drunk and fall asleep before the fun even starts, we are also very humble and love god so what can i say colombia in 10 years will stomp on almost every latin country and most countries world wide and dont say shit about colombia and drugs we made them but you euro and american cocks used them and if colombia backed out mexico and bolivia would jump in but not as strong as colombia we are true gansta not like the dumb black people in america that think they are “G” hahaha yeah okkk and white people now fear black people its hilarious i saw a black women yelling at a white girl over how much space she needed to put a coin into a vending machine what happened the white chick was scared as hell and the black chick took advantage of her fear and i see this daily in colombia whites and blacks bearly mix but we respect each other and are equals just give colombia 10 years we will see if your dumbass white boy mind opens up and FYI brazil does not have the worlds hottest women you think that cause all the pretty ones are exported out into the modeling world but think about whats left behind a bunch of ugly dark skinny women that look like indians hahaha colombianas are almost all pretty making a larger overall of beauty kicking the worlds ass in hot women pwned!!! 

    •  Why the hostility?  I mean some of your points are great… why resort to interspersion with such crassness… yes to some Colombian cities that are amazing, both modern and some of the best preserved colonial cities in the world, yes to gorgeous woman who are genuinely nice, yes to Colombians taking ‘care’ of themselves physically, yes to city planning… but hard to get past your anger.

    • LOL, colombia is the best, it has the best thing ever, the greatest people, the most technologically advanced, basically the greatest people/country on the planet…oh by the way we’re really humble too…

      I loveee colombia more than anything (I’m american) but this guy is a true penis wrinkle

    •  wow you are a clueless moron!  i bet like most colombians you have never left colombia correct???  you say that americans are ugly and bland and that colombians are the best looking and best dressed with the best malls???  well im sorry to say but although the colombians WANT to be the best dressed they CAN NOT BE because these so called best malls in the world that you have first of all are waaaaaaay overpriced , second of all they only carry childrens sizes because the tiny little colombian men with their little braces on their teeth and little “rattail” hairdo are too tiny to wear mens clothing sizes.  and the tiny little cloths that you do have look like things that we americans threw away back in 1980!! hahaha  pink and green hideous looking preppy striped polos for example?way too tight?  please get a clue.  also JMP please get a clue about food!  whats with the horrible bland white rice and white potatoes??  they have no nutrition and no flavor, you need to learn about sweet potatoes and brown rice! sorry but brazil is much better, i used to live there, the people are more open to international ideas there and are not terrified and shocked when they see foreigners like the colombians are.  also please whats with the mayonaise and the corn on pizza??? ugggggghhh    hahaha   sorry i just had to rant, after all i was sooooo bored here after having such an amazing time in ecuador and brazil!  later guys

    • JPM, I am sorry but your comment speaks for itself… you need to learn how to communicate with people without insulting them! I hope the rest of the Paisas are not so much agains Euro-Americans who just consume drugs, have ugly girls and an old shopping malls …. 🙂

  7. Hum, you must be ugly, or boring. And that is why you didn´t get any sex. I mean, if paisas girls didn´t care about you… (they love gringos), you must be, well, plain ugly.

  8. Ye my gut instinct about cities where you have alot of beautiful women [i got the same deal here in australia] is you can do very well if u meet girls through an “inside job”. Some local guy has to intro you into his group. A great way to do this is to meet local colombians before u arrive there in your home countries. I’ve built up many bogotana and paisa connections here in australia. They come to study english here and r mostly from the upper echelons of colombian society. Social network game should make Medellin [and colombia in general] a very different proposition.

    Just curious how u earn a living while spending so much time overseas?

  9. I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro, lived in NYC for many years than moved to Tampa ,Florida for the pass 7 years, the weather in Florida is great but Tampa suck as the same as Medellin except Tampa has great beaches. Now I’m about to move to Colombia and Medellin is my pit stop, I totally agree with you. The city is just like I big suburban, nothing special, but if you ever in Colombia again you must visit the Pacific of Colombia, specially a place called, El Valle, Bahia Solano, just 1/2 hour from Medellin. Great people, beautiful nature, awesome surf, whale watching and more. You re right, there isn’t nothing like Rio, Brazil. Later….

  10. What about Guadalajara, what are the women like there, any information on nightlife, the men, what it’s like living there?

  11. Wow! I really don’t know how to respond to comments labeling Medellin as being a city without soul, without charm because that is exactly why I have returned over twenty times within the last seven years with plans on retiring there in the future. I am aware we all have different experiences as well as enjoying our own personal interest. Medellin changed my life by becoming more open to new experiences after being exposed to new adventures by the overwhelmingly generous and friendly locals. I will point out that I speak fluent Spanish and have participated in many enjoyable conversations with complete strangers on the elevators to/from my hotel/apartments when in town. Sorry to hear you did not enjoy your stay, as many others have truly come to love this great city in Colombia.

  12. Look I am going to try and paint an objective view of Medellin since I lived there 3 years until I moved an hour away out of the city to LLano Grande. I am currently planning to leave Colombia for what I feel are very good reasons. First off be honest guys the only reason foreigners are visiting Medellin is for the women. If you cant accept that then you are being delusional. Set this aside and let me talk about the negatives. First the pollution is some of the worst in Latin America. Diesel dirty fuels and factories are pumping what would be considered in American highly illegal into the air which because of geography is trapped for all the inhabitants to breathe being surrounded on all sides by tall mountains. 2nd Colombia has some of the highest taxes in Latin America on everything imported including Cars, food, makeup well most everything. A Basic jeep wrangler will cost you 50,000, in the states 24,000 plan on paying double or more for anything first world. Plane tickets double to fly back to Usa, or anywhere out of the country example 1,000 to fly to Guadalajara from medellin, 350 same ticket from California. 3. I have been robbed at gunpoint, I was robbed by a so called Colombian friend as well and my girlfriend witnessed an assassination in front of her, if you have not hear of someone getting mugged you either do not have many friends or dont get out much. Generally people live in third world countries to save some money. My experience has been if you live like you would in America, eat good foods, have a nice car, travel, workout, etc it costs more in Medellin then every other country I have been to in S America. Please dont reply nonsense like I am crazy unless you do live in Medellin or Colombia and live like an American and not like a local. To the guy that think Colombian guys are great and their culture etc this is truly funny. Most all Colombian guys cheat on their gf, wifes etc, it is so rampant it is ridiculous with my dentist asking my gf out and he is married, colombian friends of mine making moves when I am not around. We just got off a cruise and nearly a dozen colombian guys all married were trying to sleep with my Mexican friend who joined us. Colombian guys are truly homely compared to the women, short, skinny, dark eyes. However Colombian women wear makeup, girldles, extensions and many are operated on to attract men. Really Medellin is the land of the 6 average but not ugly girls. Truly stunners remain the top American and Euro Women I am talking our best vs Colombian best not fat Cow American women. Anyways that is my rant, I am only stating the negatives after living in colombia over 5.5 years, one other thing it is hard to open a bank account, buy a car, rent a house, get a visa harder then any other country i have ever been to compared to Mexico or Panama you would think they dont even like Americans its so hard, especially after the Usa saved Colombia from the Farc with billions and billions in gifts of arms and training the handouts continue with 7 usa bases in Colombia

  13. Pretty solid article that pretty much sums up my sentiments as well. I always enjoyed my visits to Medellin. When I moved here with my GF about six months ago, I began to realize that Medellin seriously lacks in diversity. Yeah, it’s a nice place, but you really hit the nail on the head with the small town mentality. Everything is pretty uniform and it is difficult to see another side of the city. My GF and I are leaving for Bogota next month and everybody always asks me why I am leaving. I tell them Medellin is like the. pretty girl with no personality. I i will take substance of style any day of the week.

  14. Medellin is nothing. is like a small village with 3 millions living around it … that’s it.
    There is no culture, ppl just enjoy drinking and eating ..
    I guess they need to drink to have sex with these fats girls ..
    Even prostitutes are ugly.
    The only beatiful are the 5% european bloded girls who are normally very reach and quite difficult to approac since live in the unida serrada and never gets out. I hears some of these super rich ppl just visited the down town once in their life .. becasue they are scared to live the military fort ..

    The city is ugly, no beautiful place to walk around , no parks.
    Just mall full of short fat ppl …

    The only foreigner who like medellin girls are old fat guys who are take advantage by some smart ugly teen from the barrio ….

    If you dont pay ofr everything they ll nver go out with you .. this is paisa love
    Medellin is the best city of the world!!!!!!

    • You comment speak for yourself… you seem like a superficial and ignorant person.
      First of all , let me tell you that I’m from that small village MEDELLIN and I’m 100% proud of it.
      We have culture and we are very cheerful and kind people but we dont let anybody bring us down like you are trying to do.
      I’m a european blooded girl becuase my physical appearean its more European then Latino. I have light brown hair , big brown eyes , very light skin and I’m in shape . And its not true that pretty girls like me dont go out . I love to go out with my friends , go to the mall , go to party to Lleras and I enjoy my life to the fullest. Maybe you were unlucky and just met women not that pretty and fat like you said but generally girl from here are stunningly beautiful . I’m consider myself a very beautiful gal and I’m sure that if you saw a pic of me you would regret what you are saying. We have fame for being pretty and we are very pretty girls . Maybe you are upset because you couldnt get hot women over here or because women of your country are not that pretty so you have to let us down to feel better about your bad experience here because hot girls didnt notice you.
      And about that only fat old guys like Colombians . NOT TRUE AT ALL. a lot of young foreigners (between 24-30 years old)have approached to me and they have told me that they like Colombian women because of their exotic beauty and their great and cheerlful personality. So dont talk trash about my city and dont generalize because I have a lot of young and hansome foreigners friends and they love Paisas girls.
      peace :*

  15. i have also enjoyed the culture and people of medellin. i have frequently referred to them as the Latino Irish. Perhaps the closeness of the high society and the rest of society is too close together for our maverick who seeks a particular relationship to adapt to the truly diverse culture of one city. It’s culture is truly immense. From Botero to regular and frequent festivals. I’m simply amazed that anyone could imagine the people unfriendly or non-international.

  16. I think everybody is biased and Maverick and some who say Medellin is ugly are just telling a bunch of lies. Medellin is a very nice the weather in the afternoon can reach 30 degrees or less and during cool nights can go down to 10 degrees. Medellin is not monotonous, the city has the only metro system in Colombia, it has many amusement parks especially for going to swim. There is a big lake close to the city in Guatape. An Santa Fe de Antioquia has a lot of history and gorgeous architecture. Actually Bogota is more brick color, because Medellin’s architectue is more diverse and resourceful. Arvi Park is an anormous forest where you can go to picnic or hike. This park is giant, has the same size of Medellin, so I don’t know if Mavericj has really gone to Medellin, because he just tell many things that are false. IN Poblado there is a rainbow bridge which swifts color every minute. Many lies from this many envious Maverick . Here are some pictures of Medellin so you see I am really unbiased. http://www.skyscraperlife.com/city-versus-city/73925-medell%EDn-colombia-vs-maracaibo-venezuela-5.html

    • But Maverick wrote that there are maybe three, four things to see and admire in Medellin. Just like you did 😉 Actually nothig special. Ok, let’s add the last one – massive parties.

  17. If prices in Medellin are truly western in this El Poblado neighborhood, why on earth would i choose to live there over a city such as Barcelona or Madrid? These cities are 10x more beautiful, there are gorgeous women, plus gorgeous foreign women love to travel to places like Barcelona because of the beach, architecture, shopping, nightlife etc…its pretty easy to meet attractive women in Barcelona. I never hear of hot Russian girls taking a trip to Medellin, but i certainly do see them a lot in Barcelona. Seems like you’re locking yourself into the locals only. I haven’t been to Colombia but i fear a decent percentage are stumpy chicks with huge fake guns, with a very small percentage being truly hot. I favour cities with some diversity.

    • Maverick

      August 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Comparing Medellin to Barcelona is like comparing a Yugo to a Mercedes Benz.

      It’s like comparing living in your father’s basement to living in a Penthouse facing Central Park.

      • I agree. But given the prices in El Poblado, why wouldn’t one just head to Barcelona? You can rent places for USD1000/mth or much less if you get a shared apartment. I don’t get the allure of paying western prices to stay in a much lesser city. heck, you can stay in a hostel for similar prices. i doubt the women in Colombia compare to the overall scene in Barcelona. The Colombia appeal must be for small town North Americans who get their first taste of the wild. I see so many guys arguing that its a good city, with nightlife, restaurants, perfect weather, etc. Compared to what?? Tuscaloosa?

  18. Colombia Is so diverse its is all about mixing it up…

    2 months in medellin, 1 month in cali, a week in bogota, 2 weeks in the coast, back to medellin another month, coffee region for a week, barranquilla etc etc

    But yes so much time in medellin I have formed the same opinions, monotone thats why you need to leave and come back and using it as a base.

  19. César Augusto Murillo Hoyos

    September 13, 2013 at 5:57 am

    It is a pity that you think that about my city.

  20. Well, after hearing the ranting about how beautiful “my country is” from biased people . i think my wife and i might choose another destination to look for our retirement spot. we need good weather and friendly people. i partied enough in new york city to last me a lifetime so tell me why should i choose a city where almost EVERY PERSON that spends enough time their gets mugged. C’MON MAN still a third world shithole with a little outside money starting to repair years of poverty I DON’T THINK SO for all those who told the truth thanks you saved me some plane fare . NOW to find the right spot i will just keep my eyes and ears open and mouth shut adios

  21. Life in Medellin is not for everyone. Me personally I love it there, I lived there for two years and some change back in the early 90s when violence was king of the day. One thing to remember about Medallo is the following when comparing to other cities in the world: One: Medellin is/was the #1 city for refugees seeking escape from the guerrila groups and narco terrorists. Most of the refugees are hard working campesinos who would have much rather stayed on their little parcel of land and squeaked out their existance honestly and with no help. Hence the country charm. Two: This city has overcome some of the most horrific episodes of violence, murder, petty crime and oppression, not only from guerillas, narcos, organized criminal groups, and common petty thieves, but also civic leaders. Medellin is less than ten years removed from these sufferages, and look at the leaps and bounds she has taken. I bet Barcelona, Buenos Aires, etc., etc., could never recover in that short of time, sure the hell not Rio crime captial of SA. I have been to RIO a few times, and never felt safe. Don’t get me wrong Medellin has her faults, but where doesn’t, oh yeah one place the garden of eden.

    As for nothing to do, then you don’t have any imagination what so ever, pristine montain forests, a freakin’ nature park the size of Rhode Island, four major soccer teams in a ten mile radius, historical railroad tours, ziplines, base jumping, festivals and carnivals out the wazoo, ten theaters with always soemthing going on live performances, plays, etc, museums (could use some work I will admit), shopping, parks galore, (explora, jardin botanico, norte, etc). And last but cetainly not least over one hundred small towns and municilpalities to day trip/weekend to.

    I find the people of Medellin to be very helpful and go out of their way top make you feel welcome, after they understand you are not “in it for something”. IMO Paisas are weary at first (due to past events), but they warm up very quickly, and are fast to lend a hand with anything. Take a moment to talk to people and you will be surprised at what you receive in return. Are there better places to live than Medellin, pretty sure, because we all have our preferences, gustos y desgustos. I plan to split my time in retirement between Medallo and my country the good ol’ USA. Bueno that’s my two cents, nothing more. So I leave you with a Ave Maria, purisima ‘ome!

  22. Honestly , I think your post its not true at all but I respect your opinion. I’m a girl from Medellín and I’m proud of it. about the people that aren’t friendly haha you’re wrong. In every part of the world you will find cool people as you’ll find mean people too but generally here people are very kind and cheerful and we treat foreigners pretty well. My city has beautiful mountains , nature , the nightlife is pretty cool full of cheerful people but sometimes foreigners are not used to our vibe for party so they complain about it … just relax a bit and learn about the culture of a different country. If you dont like its fine but its not nice making post talking bad about a city you visited. I saw some comments above and I laughed cause I think these guys who wrote the comments are ignorants. Colombian women are beautiful … at least we are not all the same . there are a variety of races : white caucasians , latino type , black , tanned girls… it depends of the region. we are stunningly beautiful and here almost all girl are in shape and we have great bodies. of course there are fat girls as well but not a lot though.
    I just want to clear things up ;).

    • Having just read Maverick’s article , all i can say is different people experience life differently according to their particular circumstances.

      While you( maverick) expressed your views quite eloquently, as have some of the people who posted responses to your article, I would like to suggest that in any given locale in the world, there are people who may be experiencing positive events and people who may be experience negative events.

      Perhaps those who are experiencing good things may have had the good fortune to be in a position to thrive in that environment, good for them, and those who are experiencing less exciting experiences may be disadvantaged in their circumstance in some way and for those I wish them some happier days ahead.

      I can tell you point blank that for me it is my favorite place in the whole world. I love the people , the culture , the food , the music, all the beautiful exotic nature all around. And even though there are negatives too , not to be denied, the way I see it the good far outweighs the bad. Cheers.

  23. Medellin is a wonderful city filled with incredibly friendly people. It is a must visit for any traveller and may be a great place to live for many expats. Keep in mind how subjective a permanent place of residency ranking is however. There is no universal ranking since everyone is biased by their own set of needs and filters. Just go. Rent a place for a few months and get a feel for yourself. I found Medellin captivating. I ran into some gringo resentment but laughed it off with other surrounding Colombians. I would definitely return for a visit but there are just too many other destinations to experience.

  24. Medellin is paradise for about a month. But it gets real old, real fast. The air quality is disgusting, and that’s no small drawback. The women are beautiful, but not as beautiful as so many people say. Also, the whole city is plagued with bad traffic, and everyone is about money, especially the women. If a girl is very attractive, she’s with somebody with money, that’s an absolute fact. It’s a city full of prepagos. But the views and the mountains are very nice.

  25. P.S. all these guys talking about how great it is, are mostly sex tourists, who couldn’t pull an attractive chick in the US to save their lives. It’s amazing how many old, disgusting, overweight sex tourists there are in Medellin now, it’s like Thailand.

  26. Man I can’t believe I’m hearing so much hostility from people who’ve traveled the world and are supposed to embrace all the diversity of this beautiful planet.
    We have to share our experiences and let others do the same. I was born in Medellin, Antioquia moved to NYC at the age of 13, worked in Mexico and married a Russian girl. Let us all comment about whatever we want to, there’s no need to compete about who has the best girls, malls etc. that is childish and unnecessary.
    By the way I think the best city in the world is New York City LoL.

  27. “we are also very humble” – well if you are, you can add Bipolar to the list as well bc you’re acting like a fucking arrogant moron right now

  28. For the first time I find someone with the same opinion on this city as mine. I stayed there 5 days and it was 5 days too long. Exploring the city I couldn’t think of any word to describe Medellin. Apart from soulless. No idea what all this hype is about. I gladly returned to Bogota. Yes, without metro system or warm weather. But with a soul instead.

  29. This meat head Maverick must have been a real loser to have not been in friendly circles.Plus have you ever heard of the rainy season; sheesh what a maroon ah moron!I bet this dud never left the hotel he holed up in.
    Best metro system best water great climate great people great museums great parks great medical and dental great fruits and vegetables great open air markets eclectic blending of old and new and the traffic actually moves and its super inexpensive oh and the best looking woman anywhere. This is from a non city dweller that hates most cities. Ill take Jardin Colombia to live any day but as for a city Medellin is tops in my book for long or short term.

  30. Hey so i am doing a report on Medellin and i was wondering were people who lived in the rural shower? and why they shower there

  31. I am a Texan, looking for a place to retire early and live comfortably on about 5k+ USD with 3% yearly increases for inflation over 30 years or so. Knock on wood; that’s my plan. I also have funds to buy a place outright and not impact my budget. Panama City and Medellin are on my visit-list this year. I spent a couple of months in Costa Rica and it was very nice to visit… but it was lacking in too many ways as a new home candidate, i.e.,San Jose and Jaco areas. Talk about places full of fat gringo slobs, rummy-eyed, pervy con-artist/loser Americans; sheesh & lol! Of course there are GREAT people too, but I digress. Thank you, Maverick. Your post and the varied responses it generated has been enlightening. It reminds me of the old adage that there are three sides to most positions; ;the protagonist, the antagonist and the truth. In spite of the negatives herein expressed, I really am looking forward to spending a few weeks in MDE. I plan to live joyfully and party respectfully with the Paisas. Hopefully I’ll find it a more refined and sweeter version of “pura vida”. 🙂

  32. James, great article.
    What you describe about Medellin is spot on.
    I have lived in the city for 2 years, and feel your description is accurate. And like you say, the longer I am here, the more complex the city becomes. The ‘nice-sities’ you describe on the elevator, ‘buenas dias’, ‘feliz tarde’, etc, had me thinking it was the kindest city I had been, for at least my first couple of months. But, like you describe, people do not converse or beyond the nice-sities, which I have learned is due to their complete lack of trust of one another.

    The income inequality is the worse in Latin America, and is evident by the Medellin cast system of labeling all by estratos.

    The air quality is just as poor as Bogota, and on some days worse due to its valley, and due to poor vehicle emissions. The water is laden with pesticides and chlorine, yet the government tells the people it is one of the best in Latin America.

    The city boasts about the Facebook contest they won for being an innovative city, but Medellin lacks an ounce of plentiful sophisticated that we see in innovative cities such as Amsterdam, San Francisco, London, and Seoul. Sidewalks are converted to parking for cars, and bikes become targets for busses and taxis.

    Every local will ask the question and provide the answer before you can respond, “Do you like our city?…..it is beautiful.” When asked how many cities these question-answer types have traveled to outside of Medellin, the response is usually zero. But, they believe the propaganda they are fed on a daily basis by the government controlled media.

    Medellin has the worse income equality in Latin America, poor environmental quality, and many scars leftover from the narco years, which include a complete distrust of one’s neighbor.

    The Medellin people are kind and rich in culture, and for this reason maybe justify a 3 day visit. But, unless you are a male sex tourist or looking for cheap drugs, travel dollars are best reserved for Brazil, Peru, or Argentina.

  33. Isnt Medellin largely subsidized by the drug cartels?

  34. Ok well I lived in Medellin for 2 years and a total of 10 in Colombia. I have traveled all over the world. I do see what Mav is talking about and he is not wrong about a lot of it. Colombians are very proud people and if you want to get on their good side adopt beliefs that Medellin is the best of everything and you will be welcomed completely with open arms. Bring up the fact that their buildings, transit, museums and malls fail in comparison to the best in other countries and your out.

    This has always been a mystery to me and how Colombians and Paisas feel they have to be the best at everything. When in reality the true treasure of the Colombian person has nothing to do with their cities and malls and what not that they pump up defensively.

    Colombia is full of survivors and hard working beautiful people many who live with horrible things in their past and present but still put a smile on their face. There sense of community and respect for freedom is unmatched in the world. You can not keep a Colombian down and this is evident of how they go about the world. Always being enterprising, always learning their host language, always being their best they can in whatever situation they find themselves. I have lived in some pretty bad areas of Colombia, places your tourist will never go and that sense of community was the strongest anywhere. You don’t want to hook up our water? Fine we will do it ourselves and get it for free! That type of human spirit is alive in a place where survival at times has been something you could never take for granted rich or poor.

    A Colombian is a loyal friend to you if they are your friend. Many people get used because they are usable. They are in it for self gain and will never be accepted by Colombians. But when you give of yourself it comes back. I owe my life to Colombians who risked theirs to save mine.

    I live back in the US now but having lived all over the world no other place stays with me like Colombia. It is difficult to say why and so I guess people pick a superficial reason like a museum. People please if you think Colombian museums compete with large US city museums you have never seen them and have no perspective to go on.

    You can take your nice streets and your beautiful scenery and I will take a cup of coffee with a friend or two or one or two that I just met breathing the bad air while laughing and feeling like I belong to something in Colombia any day. I have tried so to find Colombian spirit and community in the US and it just does not exist.

    The one problem with Colombia that I have is all these idiot sex tourists and peso rich low class people that visit and think the people should kiss their asses. I miss the Colombia when the entire world was afraid to go there. I know this is selfish but for a gringo like me it was a better place. If I could change my skin and not be a gringo I would live there today hands down. But for me paradise has been corrupted. I think if the writer of this had seen it in the 80’s or early 2000’s like me he would have loved it as the true jewel of Colombia would have been found more easily without the makeover of recent years hiding the true beauty of Colombia. Which is the Colombians themselves, rich poor they are the best and the worst people in the world and I love them forever!

  35. Interesting view of the city. I didn’t not stay very long but I found it to be one of he friendliest cities I have been in.

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  37. So, my lady???

    mavericktraveler. com/the-top-cities-to-live-in-latin-america/

  38. An interesting city with soul that you should consider to add in your live abroad project, is Thessaloniki, Greece.

  39. I am a 56-year-old New Zealander who married a Colombiana from Medellin in November 2015. We live in Bello, just to the north of Medellin. I have been to Medellin/Colombia four times previously and have travelled throughout the country. I agree with a lot of the comments here but Medellin does have a lot to offer: The weather is fantastic (sure it rains, but where doesn’t that happen?}; housing is by and large inexpensive; the cost of living generally is much cheaper than my home country; public transport is both efficient and ridiculously inexpensive and, yes, the people tend to be a little reserved until you break the ice. I miss the wide, open spaces in the city itself; I miss not being able to go to the beach (I lived five minutes from one in NZ and took it for granted). But there are parks, as noted here, close to the city – all readily accessible. And, hey, the beer’s so damned cheap!!!! Not to mention the avocados. Every city has its pluses and minuses – whether Medellin really has a soul, I’ve yet to discover. I am having fun finding out. There are upmarket but concrete-jungle-like neighbourhoods here just as there are brick-house-jungle-like neighbourhoods. It’s all part of the social fabric of the city. Where I live are many, many lower-middle-class families just getting on with their lives. I like certain parts of Bogota, I love Santa Marta on the coast, and Tolu, to the south of Cartagena. But Medellin wins in terms of climate, attitude, pride, football and its desire to continue to progress from the issues that plagued it in the 90s. Just as the country is trying to do with the peace progress. Colombia, and Medellin, are earning attention and praise from many commenatators for their transformation. For now, both are my home – give it time and Medellin will win you over.
    MA

  40. I agree with Maverick in most of the stuff he wrote. I’ve been living in MED for two years (July 2016) and it is very limited city and can not be compered with any e.g. European city and not even with Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile which I know. And please do not start with having metro (anyway is not having enough wagons) or teleferico. These are an absolutely normal things in most of the European cities and not only this (regular urban transport as are trams, buses, trains, trolleybus that run according to fixed time table and not like here where nobody knows which way the bus goes and what time is arriving to bus stop, not talking about space inside of bus where a baby stroll can not fit due to lack of space inside of chinese or indian buses and zero safety rules while driving bus as if it was on F1 racing circuit).

    People – Limited in making friends. People are very conservative and talk only within their group or their family. It does not matter for which reasons if it is security, etc. but they simply do not. Even after meeting some people they do not follow, call, invite for a beer as it is in Europe. They are in distance from you. Those they talk to you might be going for some advantage to get out of you, etc. Distrust is a hugh in here and after a while it is very annoying to be checking everything and all the time. After living 7 years in Barcelona, 5 in the UK, 1 in Holland and coming to MED is like getting a slap in the face. People are busy with chasing the money for either just surviving (the poor ones and tiny middle class) or getting richer and richer (doctors, etc.) It is not an exception that some people have more than one job. For this reason it is nearly impossible to find a friend in the bar, restaurant, cafe while having a pint of beer or glass of wine as in Europe. Reading book is very uncommon in here and people normally have very little knowledge of what is going on behind their city border not speaking of national border. Also for a luck of money for traveling abroad. Telenovelas are running 24-7 and this telebasura as Spanish call it is a beautiful example of what is going on in here. The Cast or Class system does not help at all because only few % of population have an access to good quality education with vision of best jobs that are being reserved for them by their families, etc. You have to be well connected to get what you want otherwise sorry and good luck to you! Hard work does not matter. Barrios like Poblado, Sabaneta, etc. are places without souls where people living behind fences are not even talking among themselves and many of them think they belong to Royal family is nothing to be excited about. Everyone is for himself and rest of the people is an air to him. Poorer areas are probably better in this way. People do not walk in here and are one of the most comfy I have ever seen in my life. Going for shopping one milk in distance of one km by taxi is nothing unusual. Maybe because rich drives the car and poor walks…. nobody wants to look like poor jajaja Most of the people do not follow the rules (traffic, queueing in the shop, etc.) such a basic thing for some other nations. This so called Anomy is a typical for Colombia and behind this (mentality incl.) we can see the reasons why this society is not functioning as it should be.

    Architecture and infrastructure – Center of MED is horrible place and it looks more like Chinese industrial complex than city. The old buildings that were not torn down are just a sad memory of more interesting past times. Lack of green parks, libraries, cultural places, cycling and jogging ways, wide pavements safe for all people are definitely missing. With present pace of constructing building all around MED (2016) I give to MED five to ten years before its transport completely collapses for the reason of lack of roads and too many cars. High rise buildings of Sabaneta, Poblado, etc. are nothing to be admired except of some few interesting ones. I am missing here a typical Colombian architecture of houses with balconies, etc.. Laureles more interesting for its residential houses that reminds me old times. The rest of MED is simply not nice. It is one cube, uneven, chaotic, building site where from less ugly barrio we go to worse one and another slightly better one, etc.

    Getting out of the city – if not in your own vehicle it is not pleasant. Buses are driven by crazy drivers that do not care of what is going on behind their seats where passengers are praying for the safe trip. All the places around the city and further on are private. If you want to breathe a fresh air you have to pay for the entrance in one of the parks as is Comfama, etc. Otherwise running a risk of being robbed, your car stolen, etc. Lack of touristic ruts, waking paths, etc. is obvious. Parque Arvi is my favorite park near MED and happy to go there anytime I can. Peajes (tolls) are expensive and do not reflect the quality of the road we pay for. Many of the roads in Antioquia are ready to destroy your car with their holes, stones, fallen trees, etc. No trains! Traveling by land is a nightmare for the reasons above and travel time. To go to 250km distant Pereira it takes astonishing 6 hrs! Lack of dual carriageways, bridges, tunnels, viaducts, etc. makes the comfortable traveling a dream.

    Contamination – of air from traffic and factories makes the Valley Aburra not pleasant place. Pico y placa does not help and most of the cars carry only one person. Sharing a car does not exist for safety reasons, etc. So we will not see the car sharing services as we know them from Europe, USA, etc. People still see the car as a untouchable status and no one except of them can use it.

    Weather – statistically in Medellin rains more than in Easter Ireland and has much less sunny days than Barcelona, Southern France, Southern Italy, Greece, etc.

    Wages and living – it is an expensive place to live and for most of the Colombians it is a matter of surviving in here. Those who do not make over 5 million pesos monthly can not expect of having middle class style of life of an European person (living in safe place, traveling once a year abroad, going to restaurants, going for trips during the weekends, having wine or beer every other day in bar, going to cine or theatre, going for skiing, etc.). That is why most of the Colombians are saving a whole year for visiting their families during the Xmas or Easter.

    If someone who does not know Medellin asks me what to see here I would frankly say except of Feria de las Flores that happens only one week during the year, I DO NOT KNOW.

    Criticism does help to open eyes to people.

  41. Maverick, nice posting. Seems the most seasoned travelers, like yourself, see Medellin for what it is.
    After work relocated me to Medellin for three years, I could not be happier to be back home in California.
    If one statement sums up Medellin, it is, “ignorance is bliss.”
    99% of Paisas have never had the luxury of traveling beyond their valley and seeing the best the world has to offer (Paris, Napa, Hawaii, Rome, Bali, London, San Diego, etc). Every Paisa taxi driver tells you how amazingly gorgeous their city is, but when questioned about where else they have traveled to, their answer is always the same — nowhere! (not even Bogota)

    Medellin is a third-world city and we should not expect much from it.
    There is a high incidence of violent crime (this is why you are warned to never use your phone in public)
    All locals will warn you to not trust anyone, never. (fact is, if you loan someone money, you will never see it again because their word means nothing)
    Medellin ranks the worse in Latin America for income inequality, gender equity, corruption, and air pollution.
    Although, Colombia has all the diverse food ingredients of Peru, there is no culinary creativity in Medellin.
    There is no arts scene.
    There are zero city parks. The places they call a park, are actually concrete plazas (i.e., parque de luces). People end up going to a mall instead.
    The transportation system is crappy. They feature a slow, overcrowded, north to south, tram. But, I can travel faster by bicycle.
    The thing they call the Medellin river, is nothing more than a polluted concrete canal that runs down the middle of the city.
    The things they call bibliotecas (library) have no books (i.e., bibioteca espana)
    The main tourist attraction is the santo domingo gondola and comuna 13. If your thing is, poverty-tourism, then you might like it.
    The air is horrible. The Medellin pollution is the kind that will kill you quickly, loaded with dirty industry and old diesel busses. Medellin has 5x the pulmonary disease compared to Bogota.
    No one is able to have an intelligent discussion. Eventually, your mind will turn to mush living in Medellin. Unless, your thing is sitting around drinking coffee and saying ‘buenos dias’ to each other. If you ask a question that requires thinking, don’t expect an intelligent answer. PISA ranks Colombia last for problem-solving ability.

    Why go to Medellin? It is a sexual city with hot girls are willing to sell their ‘company’. And, cocaine is legal and very pure (from what I hear).

    Medellin should sell itself for what it is, a huge party, cheap girls, and easily available drugs.
    If a guy is from Mississippi, Oklahoma, El Paso, Baton Rouge, or a Jacksonville, and has no better reference, then Medellin could be a great city. Again, ignorance is bliss.

  42. I’m living in Medellin for the year and the whole reason I chose the city is I found people incredibly welcoming and helpful. Even with my brutal Spanish (I’m here to learn more) I’ve engaged in long chats with taxi drivers and bar owners and felt more than welcome.

    Friends of friends of friends have invited me out and welcomed me into their homes.

    I do believe there is something to your statement that Medellin’s violent past has closed some people off to each other but compared to most of the world I feel the Latin American culture and passion shines through. There’s no doubt Colombia is still developing as a country so comparisons to Western Europe will of course show Medellin’s defects but it is exactly that energy for development and entrepreneurial growth that I enjoy so much.

    The previous comment from James says there are “Zero City Parks” and I can’t help but wonder if we’ve visited the same cities. My first weekend here I went for a 2 hour hike to a swimming hole in Parque El Salado and it was a $3 taxi ride from my apartment in El Poblado. There is also Parque Arvi, Parque Natural Regional Metropolitano, the Botanical Gardens, Parque Ecológico Lago Los Patos and others.

    I’ve only spent a month here so after a year perhaps I’ll have a different perspective but thus far I’m in love with Medellin.

    I guess experiences are what you make of them…

  43. I going this blog post while searching for something about Colombia. I lived in Bogotá and have travelled pretty extensively in Colombia.

    That being said, this not so subtly veiled racist, misogynist, and ignorant views expressed in these comments are disgusting. It is a known fact that many American and European men live or visit Colombia, Medellín especially, for sex tourism. I’m disappointed that all that seems to matter here is how “authentic” a place and people are in a city (like you would know) and how good looking the women are. This thread personifies what it means to be an ugly American and why people abroad may be reticent to open up to Americans, especially men.

  44. At first I was upset reading half of the comments. But after giving it some thought, Medellín is better off without you shallow folks.

    Have you ever thought that people don’t open up to you because your attitude stinks. If this article deters you from visiting, good. We don’t need you self absorbed and superficial people here. Stay away. For those who get it Medellin is paradise. We don’t need a beach. We don’t need skyscrapers.

    I read somewhere on here that Paísas are serious people who are rarely seen joking. This couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. I’m convinced the majority of you expats are living near el Poblado in a gated residential building away from all the real fun. I really feel sorry for some of you because Medellin is one of the most awesome places and part of what makes it so great is that nothing you gain is tangible.

    The contagious energy here is unmatched. Making good friends takes time like anywhere else but when you have friends in Medellin they will treat you more like family.

    Of course we have issues like any other major city across the globe but overall this a great city to live not visit. Look around everyone is smiling and happy with less than half the resources of those writing in this thread.

    Now for the women. Rio may be the only place that rivals as far as looks are concerned and that’s because they’re half naked on the beach. The women here aren’t easy. Most don’t care about you’re money and think you smell.

    I could go on for days about this but I rather not. I’m glad Medellín is still a hidden gem that people are still a bit skeptical about visiting. Go to Barcelona where the locals can’t stand tourists and will send you off in the wrong direction when asked for help.

    Humildad Ante Todo.

  45. Thanks Mav. for the sketchy report on Medellin. It won’t do to have all those hyper-drive blog posts bragging up the beauty of the city and its Paisa inhabitants which could attract more hoards of extranjeros from Up North making moves on these hot Colombianas and making it more competitive for us Expats enjoying the delicious aromas of these local latinas.
    Thanks for helping to keep the lid on too much good reviews or publicity advertising this destination and its beautiful women.

  46. There’s at least 2-3 MAJOR issues with Medellin that you left out that I KNOW you must’ve noticed (but I don’t blame you for not writing it – would be offensive to hear the truth).

  47. I lived in Cartagena for 5 years and then Medellin for two years. I completely agree with your comments. My parents came to visit and felt the same way. During my time, I only met 5-6 locals who were not either standoffish or friendly just to get some benefit from me. The Medellin culture is very closed, proud, provincial. Cartagena is a totally different animal. It has fantastic colonial architecture and a fun, friendly local Caribbean culture. The food is also much better, and you can walk most places. It is also safer.

  48. Well, when you visit a city, you appreciate it for its uniqueness whether you´re visiting San Cristobal in Chiapas or Medellin Colombia. If you are the type of a person who expects to find Barcelona every where you go, do not waste your time visiting third world countries… After living in the States for several years and coming back to this “little town” called Medellin. I can see why Americans fall in love so easy with its little streets and the little people, maybe because while being in the richest country of the world people at the hotel where you are paying 1.000 USD per night are not generous enough to give you a free cup of coffee, or may be because the lady at the bank will treat you like shit unless you have more than 1 mill in your balance. Yes those little things make the big difference. Cause cities are not just buildings or streets, but cities are made by people. My ex husband fell in love with Medellin since the first day, he said he was never treated with such respect and consideration, and that´s the main reason to come to Medellin, not because of the exotic women but because of those little things that people do, to make everyone feel they are welcome.

    • Dear Melusa, I guess the blog of Maverick exists to help people to make a right choice and to see the things as they really are. Our lives are about choices aren´t they? And posting my opinion is I guess the right of mine. You can´t blame the voters of Trump for voting for him ´cause it is their democratic choice. So my choice is to wright how I see this city. But it all depends on what you are looking for I guess. You, I guess, are single woman who is just passing by and likes the diversity but from your comfy status of being holder of one of the WEST citizen passport that enables you anytime move back to your home country. Me, on the other hand, I am a father of two recently born who is seeing after three years of living in MED things a bit differently. You see, traveling is one thing but living another. Providing for your offsprings a safe and healthy environment, affordable education, health care and living, clean and healthy environment, places to relax, open mind society, etc. are one of the things you wish for your kids. You see, for these things we have to fight and one of the thing is to write and talk about them. If we just shut up and pretend that everything is a marvelous then with most probability nothing will change. And history is a full of changes for good thanks to people who were saying what they thought, isn´t it? Enjoy Medellín!

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  50. Who goes to Medellin expecting to find a multicultural place like NYC?

    (BTW NYC is a dump, the nastiest, rudest, most racist people I’ve ever come across are from there).

    I visited Medellin in the 70’s, it was a big sleepy town, then came the 80’s and Escobar and the city became virtually isolated. The city opened up again to the world in the early 2000’s and with that came the economic growth and the boom it’s experiencing.

    It is transcending from big town to big city. You gotta give it time!

    Don’t go there yapping about the lack of Thai food, or missing NYC because Medellin has virtues NYC does not have!

    Enjoy being a laid back city, with a laid back culture, with a laid back people.

    If you want to be in an expensive, tired, multicultural dump, where everyone acts as if they’re movie stars, then by all means go to tired London, Paris, NYC.

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