Want to Move to Medellin, Colombia? I did. Here’s what you need to know.
I moved to Medellin, Colombia alone in January 2020. I had always wanted to travel to South America, and I had heard amazing things about Medellin because of the extremely cheap cost of living and the digital nomad community. Also, the warm weather is amazing and it’s truly a beautiful city in the mountains.
I had an amazing experience and want to share everything I learned in the process of moving there so that you can be informed before you go.
Where Should I Stay?
After much research, I decided on an Airbnb. If I was staying with a group of people, I think there are better options like renting an apartment off of Airbnb, but because I was traveling alone and Airbnb felt familiar, I went with that.
I would suggest booking the Airbnb for a week before deciding to stay long term. I didn’t do this and I didn’t love the home I was in. There is someone that has a few places in Medellin named Alex who I would recommend. I plan to stay at his Airbnbs next time.
I stayed in shared Airbnbs so I always had my own room, but there were other people in the house. I liked it because I met friends that way.
What Part of Medellin is Best to Stay in?
El Poblado or Laureles are the best places to move to in Medellin, Colombia.
El Poblado is where I would suggest. It’s the more touristy part of town and is a great place to start, especially when you’ve never been to Medellin before. It’s more expensive and you’ll find more tourists and English speaking people here. This is where I stayed for the 2 months I lived there.
Laureles is where I would suggest if you plan to move to Medellin long term. If I go back for a longer amount of time, I’d consider living here instead. This is where you’ll find expats who have lived in Medellin for a longer amount of time.
Where Should I Work From?
Ideally, I would have found a place to live where I could take Zoom calls from. When I stayed a few nights at an Airbnb by Alex (referenced above), I could take Zoom calls and his internet was great. The Airbnb that I stayed in for the majority of my trip (~2 months) had bad wifi so I couldn’t take calls there. So if you can’t work from where you’re staying, here are my recommendations.
Pergamino Cafe – I went here every single day. Even on the days when I had to take video calls somewhere private, I still came to Pergamino to work. What I fell in love with more than the coffee, the safe feeling of being surrounded by other digital nomads who spoke English, and the options of seating – inside, outside, or standing, I fell in love with the staff here. They became my favorite people to see everyday, greeted me by name, and cared deeply about me. I’m still in touch with some of them and they truly made me fall more in love with Medellin.
It’s a great place to work with great internet, but it is very loud, so if you have to take important Zoom calls or phone calls, you might want to find a quite place for those.
WeWork – I used my global WeWork membership to access the Weworks in Medellin. I went to WeWork 1-2 times per week. They are located near El Poblado and are absolutely gorgeous. This is where I went when I needed to have Zoom calls.
Is it Safe?
Yes and no. The first person I met in Medellin carried around two cell phones in case they got robbed. But stealing cell phones/money at gun point is the worst that I had heard of. Scary, yes. But if that’s the worst thing that happens, I could handle it.
I was in Medellin for two months, alone. Often walking alone. Often carrying my iPhone and Macbook. I walked often, but tried to stay in after dark if I was alone.
Don’t hold your phone in your hand walking around. Keep everything very secure. Don’t “dar papaya” as they say which means don’t let someone take advantage of you easily. If you’re loosely holding your iPhone in your hand walking around, it’s pretty easy for someone to grab it and run. Don’t make it easy for them to take your stuff. Keep your eyes open, be alert, practice your resting bitch face. You’ll be fine.
How Do I Get Around?
There are a ton of apps similar to Uber that are super easy to use. Uber got shut down while I was there so we weren’t able to use it, but maybe it’ll be working again by the time you visit.
The #1 app I used to get around was Cabify.
Do I Need to Know Spanish?
If you’re in El Poblado, you can probably make it without knowing too much Spanish, but even there, not everyone can speak English. Most people can’t actually. You’ll be okay without it by using things like Google translate and hand signals, but I really needed to know Spanish more than I had expected.
I would suggest taking Spanish classes once you get there. I took 1:1 Classes with Violet.
What About Alllll The Other Things I Need to Know?
Check out MedellinGuru.com. I learned a ton from that website about living in Medellin.
Would I Do It Again?
In a heartbeat. I booked a trip back to Medellin before I had even left. I truly fell in love with the people, the food, and the new experience. If you’re considering a move to Medellin, Colombia, I would highly recommend it.
Follow me on Instagram to follow my adventures and ask my any questions you may have about making the move to Medellin!
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