After a whirlwind two-month stay in Cartagena, Colombia we moved to a totally different region of Colombia. This region known as the “Land of Eternal Spring” was once the crime capitol of the world. Sadly, that stereotype still lingers and though Medellín, Colombia recently received the honor of being coined the “most innovative city in the world” people all too often still ask about its drug-trafficking past.
If this trip taught us one thing above all others that was to look beyond preconceived notions. The number of people who shared fears about our traveling to Colombia is astounding, and I am so glad we didn’t listen to one critic. We would have missed out on so much had we been led by fear.
In fact, at the point that we are now while writing this, we’ve been to almost 15 counties and never once have we felt unsafe or threatened. We haven’t been robbed or cheated. Neighbors weren’t sketchy and tour guides weren’t out to rip us off. This isn’t to say we visited crime-free countries, of course not. Per usual, we exercised caution, researched a lot to determine housing and travel comforts, and most critically, never decided on the path of least resistance: which would have been not venturing outside of the U.S. at all!
Now, back to Medellín…
Its innovation mixed with the Colombian small-Pueblo-vibe made us feel so at home. People in Medellin clearly have high expectations and pride in their town! Their standards for eco-friendly living and healthy lifestyle choices was apparent at every turn. This city is majorly walkable, marathons are a plenty (my hubby ran one) and biking is king! There were so many wonderful healthy dinning options, too. I’ll surely miss my favorite vegan falafel & hummus salad from Vin&Gretta.
That and all of the following reasons made Medellín one of our favorite stops and a town we called home for over a month (we were offered a six-week housing deal we couldn’t resist):
1. Great public transport (we loved the cheap and easy access and the city had one of the cleanest and safest metros we’ve ever used). This including the amazing cable metro which had us “flying” high above the sites! Our kiddos loved using the Medellín MetroCable.
2. Amazing and varied nightlife venues that opened well into the morning hours (+a bonus Mexican stand with authentic “al pastor” pork tacos).
3. Developed restaurant and shopping delivery services similar to Uber eats (+ crazy cheap Uber all over the city).
4. Beautiful greenery, parks, museums and other public spaces for interactive family time (fully equipped with city WiFi and charging stations).
5. Access to truly scenic day trips (Guatepé specifically was gorgeously scenic).
6. Opportunities to volunteer… There’s no shortage of ways to be in service globally and when we found a program dedicated to enriching the lives of women and children in the most impoverished areas of Medellín we jumped at the chance. We will forever cherish the smiles on those children’s face – the children of Bello, Colombia.
In the end, Medellín was the first place that felt like home especially since friends and family visited us there. If we could take our extended tribes with us all over the world that’s exactly where home would be… time and time again.
Thank you, Medellín.