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Loving Medellín

I’ve been here for less than a day. But I can already say: I love Medellín.

This city is beautiful, it’s fun, many of its great attractions are free or cheap, and it’s everything Bogotá isn’t.

Bogotá’s streets are a mess of pavement and mud, even in nice neighborhoods. Medellín’s are well paved, even attractive, through all the parts of the city we saw today. Transmilenio, Bogotá’s public transportation system, is better than nothing, but woeful in several ways–speed and comfort foremost. Medellín’s metro is a delight: clean, fast, smooth-running, and just plain pleasant. It’s so comprehensive it includes a gondola-style cable car system up a mountain into one of the city’s poor new neighborhoods.

 

Bogotá is a decent museum city, but really only because of the Museo Botero and the Museo del Oro. Those two are impressive, and the Museo Nacional is fine, but then there’s nothing else. The Museo de Antioquia is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to, a reason in itself to come back to Medellín. I could definitely spend a whole day, or more, back there when I have the time–and I highly recommend the museum to everyone. Bogotá has some public spaces, but nothing special. It has plazas and some parks, including the huge Parque Bolívar. But only Parque Bolívar is worth repeated visits, or visits of several hours–and it’s not central, something a hassle to get to from almost anywhere.

Medellín’s Jardín Botánico is free and beautiful, its public parks (which we didn’t enter today) look gorgeous, and there are numerous other family-style sights and attractions, like the fun and interesting Parque Explora, and the plaza Botero, with over a dozen grand Botero sculptures outside the Museo de Antioquia. Bogotá’s nightlife neighborhoods are fine, but not particularly exciting as neighborhoods: Zona Rosa/Parque de la 93/Zona T aren’t neighborhoods as much as rows of bars and restaurants. El Poblado here in Medellín is a true party neighborhood, reminding me more than anything of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.


Having heard that Medellín was Chicago to Bogotá’s New York, I was prepared to see lots of the ways this smaller city is inferior. But in my first day here, all I’ve seen are ways this second city is better. I’ll be coming back soon. I think I’ll spend much more time here. All of you should come too.

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Comments

Guest
Eduardo Mejia Tuesday, 21 February 2012

I was born and live in Medellin, and believe me I'm very glad that you enjoyed your stay at our city. I recommend you to visit some other places in our city, and some other places, near to our city, such as follows:
PUEBLITO PAISA (@ CERRO NUTIBARA)
CERRO EL VOLADOR (BRING A KITE)
WATER SCREEN AT DOWNTOWN (FROM 7PM-9PM)
PARQUE DE LOS DESEOS
PARQUE DE LOS PIES DESCALZOS
PARQUE NORTE
BOLERA INDER @ BELEN NEIGHBORHOOD
A SOCCER GAME WITH ONE OF OUR LOCAL TEAMS

And just a few minutes away from our city:
LLANOGRANDE
MONTEVIVO CANOPY @ SANTA ELENA
GUATAPE
RIO CLARO
SANTA FE DE ANTIOQUIA

Thank you very much for spreading good news about our country!

Guest
Tad Runge Monday, 05 March 2012

Eduardo
I lived in Colombia in the early 1960s (Peace Corps). Planning a return visit that might include Medellin. Do families rent rooms in their homes?
Your recommendations of places outside Medellin; what makes them special - the scenery, the people, ?
Muchas gracias!

Guest
Daniela Sunday, 01 April 2012

Tad first I think is not very common in our country that families rent rooms in their homes but I am sure you can find cheap and comfortable hostales and hotels. Secondly, what makes Eduardo`s recommendations of places outside Medellín special is, like you said, not only the people but the landscapes and scenaries as well. Personally I think the most beautiful are Guatape and Santa Fe de Antioquia, which are not cities but towns; however, Llanogrande, Santa Elena, Rio Claro in San Luis, which are towns as well, and others are awesome too.
Well I hope you enjoy your return visit!! Welcome always :D

Guest
A Bradford Sunday, 24 November 2013

Tad, you had Thanksgiving dinner with us in Bogota back then. Get in touch?
One of the Bradfords

Guest
Daniela Sunday, 01 April 2012

Peter I was born and live in Medellín as Eduardo, and I just wanna say THANKS A LOT for comming and WELCOME whenever you want. For sure there are a lot of things and places you must see and visit if you come back. For us will be a pleasure to have you here again!!! :)

Guest
Joaco Thursday, 23 August 2012

Good that you liked the city but I don't agree on some things and some others are innacurate. There is much more museums in Bogotá than in Medellín. El Parque Simón Bolívar is indeed very central, it's almost on the geographical centre of Bogotá. The city has also a Jardín Botánico (not too far away from the Parque SB) and I think the Parque Explora in Medellín is based on Maloca and other similar sites in Bogotá. And many areas of Bogotá are very well paved (others not much)

as for "true party neighbours" in Bogotá, I have two words: Universidad Nacional. and I'm sure there is other places, like el Chorro de Quevedo.

Guest
Joaco Thursday, 23 August 2012

oh, and that new trend of giving a lot of weight to public places, cycling roads or parks, or the idea of opening huge libraries -that also are spectacular cultural and architectonical centres- in different areas of the city were ideas that were retaken in Medellín but came to reality in Bogotá first. sorry for bad English

Guest
Luz Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hi!

Thanks for talking so well about our country, but in my opinion your article seems kind of rude. It'll be nicer to talk about Medellin and its charm, but not that way. To compare two different cities seems not a good idea in a country, where competition between regions is very strong, specially between Bogotá and Medellin.

I respect your preference, but both have their thing as well as all regions in the country have it, it's just an identification case.

Regards

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Guest Sunday, 26 October 2014

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