Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia after the capital Bogota and provides a home for a population of 2.5 million people. The city was once widely known as the most dangerous city in the world, caused by a drugs wars with Pablo Escobar in the main role, a drugs baron and philanthropist who was killed in 1993. Medellín has since then made incredible progress and now has a global status of being one of the best cities to live in South America, comparable with Barcelona and Lisbon in Europe! It is also named the Silicon Valley of Latin America!
The city Medellin
Medellín is located North West of Colombia in the state of Antioquia. The city is in the Aburra Valley and is characterized by the surrounding mountains. Most of the city is accessible with the metro connection, but the steep hills have not always provided everyone with easy access to the city center. Therefore, back in 2004 the first ever cable car in Latin America was opened. Although its main purpose is transportation for the locals, it’s an easy way to get an incredible birds-eye view of the city.
You are gonna love this one. The weather in Medellín is warm the whole year with an average day temperature of 27.8 degrees Celsius. Since it’s located near the equator, the temperature does not vary that much which gives it a springlike climate all year; that’s why the nickname of Medellín is ‘The City of Eternal Spring’. Medellín has many beautiful parks and hills to enjoy yourself and explore the city.
Colombia has one of the most biodiverse fauna in the world with about 10% of all global species found in Colombia. This is due to the perfect weather conditions, temperature, humidity and sunlight. It’s not only for students the perfect country, but also for plants and animals.
The culture of Medellin
The culture in Medellín is strongly linked to the Paisa culture, which has a Spanish background that is traditionally Catholic, entrepreneurial, hard-working and famously hospitable. They are known to speak quickly, love music and parties, and smile easily. If there’s one thing that makes the city go crazy, it’s soccer. Everyone will wear the local jersey and support their team until the early hours in the night. With the famous Medellín derby, the whole city is all weekend long about soccer.
Of all inhabitants of Medellín, only 61,3% is actually born there while 38% is coming from other parts of Colombia. Only 0,3% is an international, so it’s fair to say that they are not quite used to seeing foreigners that live in Medellín yet.
Before going to Medellín it’s always good to know some customs before being called a Gringo (foreigner not from a Spanish country) after the first minute after your arrival.
Greet with a kiss
Wear pants, not shorts
You can drink the tap water
Do not obey the queue
Traveling in Medellin
When going to Medellín you should be prepared to discover all the beautiful sites it has to offer. Bring your sunscreen and a few friends, this may take a while. Because the city is located almost 1500 meters above sea level in a valley, the city is surrounded by tall green mountains. This provides dozens of parks and plazas all around the city.
The top travel spots definitely include the Metrocable that goes all the way up the hill and provides a clear view over the city. Other destinations are Plaza Botero, Parque Arvi, Comuna 13, El Poblado and if you have the opportunity you should try to visit a football match, and if your timing is right, go to the Medellín derby. One of your travel highlights if you are studying or doing an internship in Medellín is Guatape. It’s a town near Medellín with the typical colorful facade on the buildings and ‘La Piedra’ that’s a climbable rock of 200 meters high and gives you an amazing view as shown on the picture below. Don’t be afraid to travel alone in Medellin, even solo female travelers have taken the opportunity to experience the city.
The cost of living in Medellin
The cost of living in Medellín is on average higher than the rest of the country, but still lower than most of Europe. Let’s go over some of the costs. Food: Basic lunch menu with a drink 3.79 EUR Big Mac Meal 4.54 EUR Basic dinner for two 14 EUR Housing: Single student room 200-300 EUR Internet 8Mbps 21 EUR Clothing: 1 pair of jeans 44 EUR 1 pair of sports shoes 74 EUR Transportation: 1 liter of gas 0.65 EUR Monthly ticket public transport 29 EUR 8km taxi trip 5.72 EUR Entertainment: 2 tickets to the movies 8 EUR 1 beer in neighbourhood pub 1.69 EUR
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