After spending a month in Medellin, Colombia, it is clear why Medellin is a hub for digital nomads in South America. The cost of living is low, the city is small enough to be compact yet large enough to offer many things to do during your off-time, the climate is spring-like year-round and there is a great digital nomad community.
Here is the Women Digital Nomads’ guide to Medellin, based on my stay in the city of eternal springs:
Renting an apartment/a room
I rented my room for a month on AirBnb for USD270 and lived near the Estadio metro station (Laureles), a very popular neighborhood for expats. It was a small room with a private bathroom (the white door in the picture leads to my small bathroom) located next to the kitchen. I shared the house with 4 or 5 other AirBnb guests, most of them are coincidentally digital nomads as well so we had a nice little informal co-working space set up in the living room.
Some of my flatmates moved out of the apartment after the first month due to some issues with our apartment, and they found their new rooms through the Medellin Rooms, Apartments and Expat Info Facebook group.
Expect to pay more if you want to live in Poblado or in the heart of Laureles. Some of my friends were paying USD500 a month for a room in Poblado and Laureles.
The Digital Nomad Community
The best thing about Medellin, in my opinion, is the availability of a large digital nomad scene. A great place to meet other digital nomads is to join the Facebook group Digital Nomads Medellin – you will find events being organized such as lunches/dinners/get-togethers. Medellin Expats is another great Facebook group to join, even if not everyone in the group is a digital nomad.
Eating Out and Groceries
To be honest, I never fell in love with Colombian food. I found the local cuisine to be rather bland and/or fried, and never understood the appeal of the popular Arepa. Bandeja Paisa (see image above) is another popular dish that you can get for 10,000 COP and is found everywhere. Each plate comes with rice, beans, plantains, chicken steak, fried egg, potatoes and of course, an arepa.
If you are craving for something other than Colombian food, Poblado is the place to be. I highly recommend checking out Cafe Zorba for the best pizzas in town and Crepes & Waffles for well… their crepes & waffles. Laureles has many international food places as well, from sushi bars to burger shacks to a Korean restaurant.
For amazing healthy food at a great value in Laureles, visit Salud Pan during lunch and order off the Menu del dia (menu of the day). Price ranges from 10,500 COP for vegetarian option to 14,500 COP for meat options. Confession: I visited Salud Pan almost every day for lunch, and my flat mates routinely make fun of that!
There are many supermarkets and markets in Medellin, and I usually buy my groceries from Exito (a supermarket chain) or Supermercados Jumbo. Supermercados Jumbo is slightly cheaper than Exito, but head to the local fresh markets such as Plaza Minorista for the cheapest prices. Carulla is an upmarket supermarket that stocks health products that are imported, so expect higher prices when shopping at Carulla. Tiendas D1 is a chain of low-cost grocery stores, but don’t expect much variety at Tiendas D1.
Working Out Of Cafes
I only did this once or twice because we had a nice setup in our apartment, but it is common to see digital nomads working out of some popular cafes in Laureles and Poblado. In Laureles, a popular cafe to work out of is Cafe Revolucion. On any given day you will find at least one or two digital nomads typing away in this small cozy cafe. Cafe Zeppelin is another cafe in Laureles that has a nice ambiance, plus they also serve the menu del dia for 12,000 pesos.
In Poblado, you will find many digital nomads working out of Cafe Velvet, however I have been told that the wifi is not quite as fast due to the number of people working out of the cafe. Another option would be the spacious Starbucks along the Golden Mile (Milla de Oro), and tables with plugs are available in the back area.
While I never got the opportunity to work out of a co-working space in Medellin, there are numerous options available in both Poblado and Laureles. Some of the options available are Ondas (Laureles), La Casa Redonda (Laureles), Epicentro (Poblado) and Atom House (Poblado).
There are a couple of options for learning Spanish in Medellin. I was taking private Spanish classes for 35,000 COP/hour and a half, but you can also sign up for Spanish courses at EAFIT University or UPB (Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana).
With the MISO app, I found a yoga studio and a CrossFit box near my apartment in Laureles. I visited Brigada Fitness thrice during my month stay and also practiced yoga once a week at Flying Tree Yoga, a popular and affordable yoga studio in the heart of Laureles.
A great place to work out for free is at the Estadio stadium. In fact, the Estadio complex is one of, if not, the best sporting facility in Colombia. This massive sports facility includes facilities from football courts to outdoor gym, an athletic track to several swimming pools, tennis courts to basketball courts.
Chrys is the creator of Women Digital Nomads. Follow her on Twitter at @thisis_chrys.