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 Medellin, a City Full of  Surprises! 
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Medellín, Colombia, has emerged as an incredibly appealing destination for American tourists, drawing them in with its vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and remarkable transformation. Once known for its tumultuous past, Medellín has undergone a complete revitalization, becoming a city celebrated for its innovation, warm hospitality, and rich history, not to mention its affordable prices and value.

 

For Americans, Medellín offers a unique blend of modern amenities and authentic Colombian experiences. The city's pleasant climate, known as the "City of Eternal Spring," is a huge draw, making it a year-round destination. Visitors can explore the city's cultural scene by visiting museums like the Museum of Antioquia or take a stroll through Plaza Botero, home to impressive sculptures by the renowned artist Fernando Botero.

 

Adventure seekers can indulge in outdoor activities like paragliding over lush mountains or exploring the nearby picturesque towns of Guatapé and Santa Fe de Antioquia. Food enthusiasts will delight in Medellín's gastronomy, from traditional dishes like bandeja paisa to its burgeoning gourmet restaurant scene.

 

Moreover, Medellín’s commitment to innovation is evident in its spotless and efficient metro system, public green spaces adorned with art, and the impressive Museum of Modern Art—a symbol of the city’s dedication to art and social change.

And then of course, there is the nightlife.  In addition to its excellent high-end restaurants, Medellin has become a destination for young revelers exploring the techno (or sometimes Salsa!) music found in the many clubs in the hipster neighborhood of Provenza, to many a spot that rivals Ibiza or Mykonos in terms of the international party scene.

 

Safety concerns that once plagued the city have significantly diminished, allowing tourists to explore its beauty with more confidence. For American tourists, Medellín offers a chance to experience a captivating mix of history, culture, adventure, and warm hospitality, making it an increasingly popular destination in South America.

Medical Tourism in Colombia knows Medellin intimately.  Sure, we are famous for our relationships with the best doctors and dentists, but we live here too!  We can set you up with the best restaurants, find the lodgings that meet your needs, get you a great massage or arrange a tour of a nearby colonial town - all at prices so low they will surprise you.

Or take off on your own to explore the City.  Talk with our English speaking staff about what neighborhoods are the most fun to explore, where you can hear the Medellin Symphony, how to catch Maluma's next concert, or how to hike to the top of one of the city's famous lookouts to take in those amazing lights!  We're here to help, support and advise, and to do everything to make your stay here as enjoyable as possible!

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 Places to Visit in Medellin 

Medellín, Colombia, boasts a range of attractions that cater to various interests, making it a vibrant destination for tourists. Some of the top attractions include:

 

Comuna 13: Once a troubled neighborhood, Comuna 13 has transformed into a vibrant area known for its colorful street art and escalators that traverse the hillsides. Guided tours offer insight into the neighborhood's history and the positive changes it has undergone, making it the city's most dynamic block party!

 

Plaza Botero: This square is home to numerous sculptures created by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The oversized, rotund figures are iconic and attract art enthusiasts from around the world.  The Adjacent Museum of Antiochia boasts an impressive collection, including Botero's own collection of exceptional modern artists.


Parque Arví: A nature reserve accessible by an amazing cable car ride, Parque Arví offers hiking trails, ecological walks, and cultural activities. It's a perfect escape from the city to enjoy nature and outdoor adventures.

 

Jardín Botánico: Medellín's Botanical Garden is an oasis within the city. It features various gardens, an orchid exhibit, a butterfly sanctuary, and environmental education programs.  If you're lucky, you'll catch a concert at the amazing amphitheater.

 

El Castillo Museum: This castle-turned-museum offers a glimpse into the city's history and showcases European architecture. The gardens surrounding the castle provide stunning views of the city.

 

Pueblito Paisa: A replica of a typical Antioquian town, Pueblito Paisa sits atop Cerro Nutibara and offers panoramic views of Medellín. Visitors can experience local crafts, food, and architecture.

 

Metrocable: The Metrocable, a part of Medellín's public transportation system, offers breathtaking views of the city.  For about 70 cents you get an amazing aerial tour of the city!

 

Guatapé: While not in the city itself, a day trip to Guatapé is highly recommended. Known for its colorful buildings and the massive monolith rock, La Piedra del Peñol, this town offers boat tours, water activities, and stunning scenery.

 

These attractions showcase Medellín's diversity, from its cultural heritage to its natural beauty, offering something for every type of traveler.

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 Comuna 13 
Comuna 13, Medellín's premier, and to many, most exciting tourist attraction, deserves special mention. In the 1980's and 1990's, it was once the impoverished center of the drug wars.  When those ended in the early 2000's, the City integrated globally recognized transportation innovations, including outdoor escalators and cable cars, that allowed the population on the steep hillside to access the rest of the city.   This created a powerful renaissance for the neighborhood, and graffiti artists began painting this history of violence and rebirth on the neighborhood walls.  At the same time, people started coming to see the changes, and local residents, welcoming as all Colombians are, started creating daily street parties with music, drink, food and, it should not be a surprise, dancing in the streets.  Today, the neighborhood is still poor, but increasing economic stability for all its residents is evident everywhere.  If you want a street party like none other, punctuated with local graffiti art telling their story, there's no other place like it.  Let Medical Tourism in Colombia set up a tour for you.  The inspirational memory will last forever.
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 Food and Restaurants in Medellin 

Medellin offers excellent restaurants that offer both local and international food.  First, we'll start with the local cuisine (warning: come hungry).

Antioquia, the region in Colombia where Medellín is located, is known for its delicious and hearty Paisa cuisine. Paisa food is characterized by its rich flavors, generous portions, and a mix of ingredients that reflect the region's agricultural abundance. You may find this food everywhere for shockingly low prices.  Here are some iconic dishes:

 

Bandeja Paisa: Considered Antiochia's national dish, it's a hearty (huge, actually) platter featuring rice, red beans, ground meat, chicharrón (fried pork belly), fried egg, avocado, plantain, and arepa (cornmeal cake). This dish embodies a mix of flavors and textures.

 

Sancocho: A traditional soup/stew made with various meats (chicken, beef, pork), root vegetables like yuca (cassava), plantains, corn, and herbs. It's simmered slowly to create a flavorful broth.  In the countryside it's common for families to gather by rivers and cook Sancocho over open fires.

 

Arepa: A staple in Colombian cuisine, arepas are thick, round corn cakes that can be eaten alone or stuffed with cheese, meat, or eggs. They're often served as a side or for breakfast.


Ajiaco: A chicken and potato soup flavored with guasca (a type of herb), corn, and other vegetables. It's often served with avocado and cream.

 

Empanadas: Fried pastries filled with a variety of ingredients like meat, cheese, or potatoes. They are a popular snack or appetizer.

 

Lechona: A whole roasted pig stuffed with rice, peas, onions, and spices. This dish is a main feature at festivals and special occasions.

 

Pandebono and Buñuelos: These are popular Colombian bread-like snacks made from corn flour and cheese. Pandebono is dense and round, while buñuelos are lighter and fried, often enjoyed during holidays.

 

Paisa food is known for its emphasis on hearty portions, traditional flavors, and the use of locally sourced ingredients, making it a delightful and satisfying experience for anyone looking to explore Colombian cuisine.

For high-end Colombian, American, European and Asian cuisine, here are the top restaurants in Medellin (ask Medical Tourism in Colombia to secure you a reservation!).  Note that this is a small list of what's available, and great restaurants are opening all the time
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El Cielo: A gastronomic experience featuring innovative Colombian cuisine by Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos, world renowned for his creative and sensory dining experiences.  This is often thought of as the best restaurant in Colombia.  Reservations with a deposit are normally required three months in advance.

 

Carmen: A contemporary restaurant offering a fusion of Colombian flavors with international influences, hosted by renowned chef Carmen Angel. It's celebrated for its stylish ambiance and sophisticated dishes made from local ingredients.

 

Oci.Mde: A restaurant by Chef Laura Londoño, known for its creative cuisine highlighting local ingredients in inventive ways.

 

Restaurante Hatoviejo: A place to savor traditional Antioquian cuisine in a charming and rustic setting, known for its authentic flavors and generous portions.

 

El Herbario: Celebrated for its farm-to-table concept, El Herbario serves dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients in a cozy and artistic atmosphere.

 

Bonuar: This restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a focus on contemporary European and Colombian fusion cuisine, known for its elegant presentation and flavors.

 

Ajiacos y Mondongos: Specializing in traditional Colombian soups like ajiaco and mondongo, this restaurant provides a taste of authentic local flavors.

 

Hacienda Junín: Offering a classic Colombian dining experience, Hacienda Junín serves traditional dishes in a beautiful hacienda-style setting.

 

Café Zorba: A popular spot for Mediterranean cuisine in Medellín, known for its delicious pizzas, pastas, and other Mediterranean delights.

 

Il Castello: A renowned Italian restaurant known for its authentic pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and traditional Italian flavors.

 

The Rooftop by Burdo: Offering a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine (Nikkei), this rooftop restaurant provides stunning views of the city along with delicious sushi, ceviche, and innovative dishes.


El Social Burger: Known for its gourmet burgers and craft beers, El Social Burger offers a variety of creative burger options with quality ingredients.

 

Lucia Cocina de Mercado: A Spanish-inspired restaurant offering tapas, paellas, and other Spanish delicacies in a contemporary setting.


El Cielito Lindo: Serving authentic Mexican cuisine, this restaurant offers a taste of Mexico with dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole.

 

Bonhomia Gelato & Caffé: A spot for Italian gelato and coffee, Bonhomia serves a variety of gelato flavors made with high-quality ingredients.

 

DelaCalle: This restaurant offers flavors from around the world with a focus on street food, serving dishes inspired by global street cuisine.

 

Buda Bar & Grill: Known for its Asian fusion cuisine, Buda Bar & Grill offers a blend of Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese dishes along with a lively atmosphere.

 

El Zócalo: A Mexican restaurant offering authentic dishes like tacos, quesadillas, and traditional Mexican flavors in a casual setting.

 

In Situ: The restaurant nestled within Medellin's Botanical Gardens, this is one of the city's best kept secrets.  Surrounded by lush greenery and serene botanical landscapes, the European menu is one of the best in Medellin (try the White Fish, it's delicious).

Keep in mind that the dining scene is always evolving, and new restaurants emerge while others may change in popularity. Checking recent reviews and local recommendations can help ensure an updated list of the best restaurants in Medellín at the time of your visit.  Or just give Medical Tourism in Colombia a call for our latest favorites!

 Nightlife in Medellin 

Medellín's nightlife pulsates with energy, offering a diverse array of experiences that cater to every taste. From trendy rooftop bars with panoramic city views to bustling salsa clubs and vibrant dance floors, the city comes alive after dark. Call Medical Tourism in Colombia to arrange a tailored, safe, Nightlife Tour unlike any other to suit your tastes.  El Poblado, with its bustling streets, hosts a plethora of bars, clubs, and lounges where locals and visitors mingle over cocktails and lively music. Parque Lleras, the heart of the neighborhood, is a hub for late-night entertainment, offering a mix of upscale clubs and more laid-back venues. The salsa bars in Medellín, especially in the Laureles and Envigado areas, beckon dancers with their infectious rhythms and welcoming atmosphere, inviting everyone to sway to the beat. The city's nightlife scene is ever-evolving, embracing diversity and ensuring there's something for everyone, making Medellín a vibrant and unforgettable destination after sunset.  Need Salsa lessons?  Just let us know.  We'll set you up with the best and most fun classes in the city.

Here's a partial list of some of the rooftop bars and clubs in Medellin:


Rooftop Bars

 

Envy Rooftop: Situated in El Poblado, Envy Rooftop offers panoramic views of the city along with a chic ambiance, cocktails, and live DJs spinning tunes, making it a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.

 

SkyBar Medellín: Located in the Charlee Hotel, SkyBar offers a sophisticated setting with stylish décor, an extensive drink menu, and an outdoor terrace providing stunning views of the city lights.

 

Mansion Bar: Positioned atop the Diez Hotel, Mansion Bar features a luxurious ambiance, creative cocktails, and a poolside setting, perfect for enjoying Medellín's skyline.

 

Terraza Ayahuasca: This rooftop bar in El Poblado offers a relaxed atmosphere, live music, and a diverse selection of drinks, making it a popular spot for socializing and enjoying the city views.

 

Sixttina Rooftop: Found in the heart of El Poblado, Sixttina Rooftop offers an upscale experience with a sophisticated ambiance, premium drinks, and occasional live music events.

 

Clubs:

 

Bendito Seas: A vibrant club in El Poblado known for its lively atmosphere, energetic music, and diverse crowd, catering to different tastes in music across multiple dance floors.


Fahrenheit Discoteca: This club offers a mix of electronic and Latin music, attracting a young and energetic crowd, making it a go-to spot for dancing and socializing.

 

Vintrash: Known for its eclectic mix of music genres and fun ambiance, Vintrash draws a diverse crowd and hosts themed nights throughout the week.

 

Salón Amador: A popular spot for electronic and alternative music lovers, Salón Amador hosts both local and international DJs, offering a more intimate and edgy club experience.

La 
Chiquita: A popular LGBTQ+ spot to hang out before going to the club.  Known for its over the top decor and drag show later in the evening.

 

These rooftop bars and clubs not only provide stunning views and lively atmospheres but also contribute to Medellín's vibrant nightlife, ensuring an unforgettable experience for visitors seeking entertainment after sunset.

 Nearby Colonial Pueblos 

If you're planning on staying in Medellin past the recovery period from your procedure, the surrounding colonial towns of Antiochia are not to be missed!  They are bits of old Colombia with gorgeous colonial architecture nestled into the Andes mountains.  The laid back lifestyle, incredible vistas, and drinking great coffee at a local cafe are the perfect way to relax.  There's also coffee plantation tours, rafting, horseback riding, boat rides, swimming holes, water falls, hiking and all sorts of outdoor activities amidst spectacular scenery if you're ready to get out into nature!
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 Guatape 

Just three hours from Medellin, Guatapé is a colorful and charming town that captivates visitors with its vibrantly painted buildings and breathtaking natural surroundings. Its most iconic attraction, La Piedra del Peñol, a massive monolithic rock formation, offers panoramic views of the region from its summit, including the massive reservoir that surrounds the town. Visitors can climb the 740 steps to the top, rewarded with stunning vistas of the surrounding lakes, islands, and rolling hills. The town itself is a canvas of art, with every building adorned in bold, intricate designs known as zócalos. These colorful bas-reliefs depict the town's history, traditions, and local life. Guatapé is a haven for water enthusiasts, offering boat rides, kayaking, and jet skiing on the reservoir. With its captivating architecture, stunning views, and outdoor activities, Guatapé offers a perfect blend of culture, natural beauty, and adventure for travelers seeking a memorable Colombian experience.

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 Jardin 

Jardín is pretty much everyone's favorite colonial town.  About four hours from Medellin and nestled in the heart of Antioquia, it is a picturesque town exuding colonial charm and natural beauty. Known for its colorful streets, adorned with vibrant buildings and adorned balconies, Jardín transports visitors to a bygone era. This quaint town is surrounded by lush landscapes, coffee plantations, and verdant hillsides, offering a serene escape from bustling city life. Visitors can explore the town's historic plaza, adorned with a majestic basilica and lined with cozy cafés, where locals and travelers alike gather to savor the town's relaxed pace and warm hospitality. Jardín captures the essence of Colombian rural life, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its beauty, rich culture, and breathtaking natural surroundings.
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 Santa Fe de Antiochia 

Santa Fe de Antioquia, a charming colonial town just a short distance from Medellín, offers visitors a glimpse into Colombia's rich history and architectural heritage. Known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and picturesque plazas, this town invites tourists to step back in time. The main square, Plaza Mayor, is adorned with a majestic cathedral and surrounded by quaint cafes and shops. Visitors can explore the town's numerous churches, admire the historic bridges like Puente de Occidente, and take in the serene atmosphere while enjoying the warmth of the local community. Santa Fe de Antioquia is a delightful destination for tourists seeking tranquility, cultural immersion, and a taste of Colombia's colonial past.

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