Visas: Travelers receive a 90-day tourist visa, which can be extended another 90 days per calendar year. Nationals of some countries, including most of Western Europe, the Americas, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, don't need a visa to enter Colombia.
Local transportation: Most travelers will find the metro and taxis sufficient to get around the city.
Taxis are cheap and plentiful. All taxis have meters, make sure they use them (unless from the airport, there is a prix fix of 70,000 pesos). The meters start at COP 2,700 and the minimun fare is COP 4,600. You can hail cabs anywhere. Uber is also available in Medellin and is usually slightly cheaper than hailing a taxi, except during surge periods.
Buses also service the city, the majority of routes originate on Av Oriental and from Parque Berrío. Buses stop running around 10pm or 11pm. Bus cost about COP 1,800 and require exact change.
Where to buy a SIM card: Colombia has three main telcos and several smaller mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that use one of the main networks: Claro, Movistar and Tigo. Claro is the largest telecommunications provider in Colombia, and has the best network coverage. Go to a Tigo, Claro, or Movistar store to sign up for a data plan or buy a SIM card. Prepaid (Prepago) SIM cards cost around $2 and calls are less than $0.10 a minute. Contract (postpago) phones are a cheaper option but you will need a Colombian ID to sign the agreement.
Popular areas: Poblado (upscale and expat-friendly restaurants/bars), Laureles (popular with expats, cheaper than Poblado)
Popular food: Ajiaco (soup with chicken, potato, corn, avocado, sour cream and capers), Bandeja Paisa (Colombia's national dish - platter of steak, pork crackling and chorizo sausages served with rice and red beans), Sancocho, Fritanga, Empanadas, Churros
Things not to do: Don't use ATMs on the street as you might be watched and robbed later on. Instead, it is wise to use ATM machines in a mall (Spanish: centro comercial), then take your time walking around a bit.
Situated in a beautiful valley, Medellin is a bustling city of 3 million people and is the second largest city in Colombia. The city is suffused with an undefinable but distinctive charm, which will immediately grab you.
Most people know Medellin as the most dangerous city in the world back in the 80s and 90s, back when it was the home of the drug lord Pablo Escobar and the so-called Medellín Cartel who virtually took over the city during that time. Since his demise in the mid-1990's, the cartel was disbanded and the city rebounded tremendously. In the last 20 years, Medellín has undergone a huge transformation. In addition to big improvements in public safety, there’s been a huge surge in urban development projects and public transportation.
Women digital nomads should know that as Colombia is still a country with a "macho" mindset, women might be the subject of lewd comments, cat-calling, or whistling.
Medellin has a thriving digital nomad community. The city is full of free wifi - all the malls, restaurants, cafes etc offer a free service, even public spaces are being given the free wifi treatment. El Poblado (The Village) is still the most popular place to live for foreigners, but this means that it is also the most expensive place to live. You should expect to pay anywhere from 2 million COP ($780/€700) for a small apartment or around 800.000 COP ($313/€280) for your own double room.
Medellin is generally a safe city for tourism, depending on the part of town you visit and the hours (like most other cities) and is much safer than in previous years. The well-protected hillside neighborhood of El Poblado and Envigado (SouthEast) and Laureles (West and South of downtown) are safer neighborhoods with many expats. The poorer neighborhoods in the north-east and north-west of the city should be avoided at both day and night to avoid trouble. Most of the downtown area (or centro) is best avoided at night. A common expression in Colombia is “no dar papaya” or don’t give opportunity.
Medellin weather is famous for being spring-like year around. April to November are the winter months and produce the most rainfall.
Coworking Spaces in Medellin
Cafes with wifi
Don't want to work at a coworking space? Check out these cafes with wifi instead.