With only three months left of our trip; three more countries to visit and a fraction of our budget left, it was time for us to start moving a bit faster meaning we ended up staying in Medellin for only four days. But each day we used and made sure to go out and see something; we didn’t take our usual lazy approach.
First, I will mention how insane the bus ride was from Bogota to Medellin. I was not prepared for a super windy road and then added to that was the next level driving done by our bus driver. He actively nearly got into three crashes and after the third did a little prayer. I couldn’t believe it, he, the driver, who is fully in control and could driv slow, overtake less, especially on corners, etc, was praying to God. This did not help with my nerves. But lucky we made the journey all in one piece!
We stayed at the Lucia Central hostel; it had great prices, wasn’t in the tourist area and had amazing reviews. The hostel was great, we got a private room for $50,000 COL and it was close to the tram so we could get around easily. The staff were also incredibly friendly and made us feel completely at home.
Our first day here, one of the staff members took us out and we explored the general area. Walking around the market stalls, picking up a subway/transport card (very necessary to get around the city). It wasn’t anything too exciting but was great to just walk and explore.
On our second day we went to Museo; Casa de la Memoria where we got to learn a little about the Colombian history and where the danger and violence stems from. It was only small but they had art installations making it engaging and interesting. It had a mix of English and Spanish which was nice. In the afternoon we then decided to visit the more tourist zone of El Poblado; because where our hostel was wasn’t the prettiest area we wanted to see what the tourist area had to offer. It was weird. We walked up and into the area and found that we felt as if we had just stepped into Toronto. Fairy lights, fake plants and stickers decorated the path as the millions of ‘fancy’, ‘hipster’ restaurants traced the side walk. We found vegan ice cream at Sharbets Gelato and a Chinese food hole in the wall where we shared over priced noodles and dumplings.
On our third day we went to Comuna 13. I had mixed feelings about visiting this Comuna. It is very famous for managing to change so fast and so spectacularly. It used to be one of the most dangerous areas in Medellin, full of gangs, violence and drugs. But it turned itself around and has now become a massive tourist attraction for its street escalators and graffitied walls. I felt weird visiting this area because I didn’t want to stare at the poverty, because there is still plenty in the area. However, after going and exploring the main tourist part it was really interesting to see how it had built itself up. It also had some shock value to see the thousands of houses lining the mountain; houses made of tin, holes for windows.. it was eye opening. And I think by sticking to the area designated for tourists it means you are helping and supporting a community instead of running around where you don’t belong.
And that was all that we managed to fit into four days here (one day included the travel, so I guess this is more of a three days in Medellin..). This city was a lot less ‘colourful’ than I pictured. But that could definitely have something to do with staying in a less touristy area; however, I loved the area we stayed, the hostel as I said was amazing and the surrounding food options were incredibly cheap.
Thank you for reading this blog post! I had a great time in Medellin, and although it was short we got to see pretty much everything we wanted to. We ended up skipping the day trip to Guatape but had heard mixed reviews so decided to not go to save the budget and time. If you enjoyed this post feel free to check out my previous posts about Bogotaand Villa de Leyva.