One, two, cha cha cha… welcome to Medellin. Colombia’s second city has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. It was once considered to be the private fiefdom of Colombia’s drug lords. Medellin emerged phoenix-like from the drug wars and became a major economic and cultural hub. It’s very welcoming to entrepreneurs.
Medellin is surrounded by the Andes in the Aburra Valley. It’s a very striking setting. Medellin has rapidly developed. It’s very much a city on the rise. It’s also finding a new identity in popular culture separate from its past: Madonna and Medellin native Maluma sang a duet about the city in 2019. Now is a great time to visit as the city still retains its quirky, faded charm. Medellin is likely to become more gentrified in the coming years.
Located in Medellin’s Old Quarter, Plaza Botero is a large park by the Museum of Antioquia. It features 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero Angulo. He’s a Medellin local and he’s probably Latin America’s most famous living artist. His sculptures depict people on the larger side, connecting them to some of the oldest surviving artworks – early depictions of mother nature come to mind. He’s a distinctively Colombian artist.
Head into the museum itself and discover many more of Botero’s artworks. You’ll see many of the finest contemporary Colombian artworks at the Museum of Antioquia, including murals by Pedro Nel Gomez Agudelo.
One of the most popular districts in Medellin, especially for tourists, this is where you’ll find most of the city’s nightlife. Medellin has become something of a hipster magnet. After all, it’s cool, it’s in the mountains, the coffee is great and it’s kind of edgy. You’ll see many of the hipster adventurers in El Poblado.
It’s the most tourist-friendly part of the city so it’s a good place to start your adventure in Medellin. You’ll find some of Medellin’s best hotels in El Poblado, not to mention restaurants, boutiques and shopping malls. It’s the most westernised part of the city.
Most of Medellin’s gay bars can be found in El Poblado. Bar Chiquita is a good place to start your gay night out in Medellin. It has colorful, campy decor. You can have a drink on the terrace and keep and eye out for some hotties – there are so many in Colombia.
Donde Aquellos is also a good choice, especially if you’d like to pull. It’s open every day while Bar Chiquita only opens from Wednesday to Saturday. There are three gay clubs in Medellin – events and opening hours can vary so check their socials.
Although not in Medellin itself, Guatepe is just 44 km away and easily accessible by bus or taxi. It’s well worth an early morning day trip. Guatepe is a colorful Colombian town. It exudes charm. You’ll definitely want to have an Instagram moment in Guatepe.
The buildings are painted in a rainbow of colors – it’s all rather camp. Enjoy a cup of strong coffee in the square and do some people watching. It’s a great place to enjoy a slower pace of life. You can do a day trip and the head back to Medellin. It’s worth spending a night in Guatepe though. As it’s a popular vacation spot for Colombians it can be a tad more pricey.
The Medellin metro is impressive and the locals are proud of it. It’s very efficient and it symbolised the rise of Medellin after the drug wars. It was built in 1994 and made the city far more accessible. People could leave their neighborhoods and travel easily and safely. It encouraged economic activity.
You can travel on the metrocable too. It links the settlements on the hillside with the city. You can take a panoramic metrocable ride to Arvi Park. It’s a very scenic ride over the rooftops. The route from Medellin to Arvi Park opened in 2010. The park is huge and ideal for a bit of respite. It’s one of the best tourist attractions in Medellin. You can follow various trails, including the Pre-Hispanic Trail and discover settlements from before the Spanish conquest. There’s also a market to explore by the entrance to the park. You can also take a trip from Arvi park to the little town of Santa Elena for a spot of lunch.
by Alex | On: Gay Medellin