Saludos from Colombia city-lovers! Today we check in with Florida native Matt Dickhaus who has been living and working in Medellín for the past two years. Here he shares his insider tips to his South American city.

Photo: Matt Dickhaus

Medellín is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Lleras Park to one of the dozens of great open-air restaurants, cafes, and bars.

When I crave fresh mango juice I always go to La Jugosa. Don’t like mango? Try freshly squeezed strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, maracuja, lulo, or orange juices.

To escape from the city I head to Los Salados just 45 minutes outside of town. Here, set beside a large lake, you’ll find numerous picnic tables covered with natural thatched roofs where you can grill your freshly caught fish.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at the city’s Jardín Botánico or Botanical Gardens surrounded by grassy fields, tropical flowers, and a variety of trees.

One of Medellín’s many Botero sculptures. (Photo: Matt Dickhaus)

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with one of the many Botero sculptures downtown.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Ay Caramba in Lleras Park it has to be the nachos which are slathered with cheesy toppings and big enough for two to share.

La Machete is my one-stop shop for fresh, crispy empanadas with homemade salsa and a ripe, local orange on the side to squeeze the juice on top. These empanadas always hit the spot.

Locals know to skip Santa Elena and check out Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Colombian town from colonial times. Located on the top of a small hill, this city square has great views of the city.

For a huge splurge I go to Milagros, traditional Mexican restaurant located in El Poblado.

Photo ops in my city include Botero sculptures, the Metrocable, and Arvi Park. The best vantage points are from the lookout points in Las Palmas.

The most random thing about my city is you can find chickens and horses sharing the street with Porsches.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves mountain biking along local trails, a game of soccer, or kayaking in one of the lakes outside the city.

My city’s best museum is the Modern Art Museum.

You can tell a lot about my city from walking down a city street in the evening. On every corner you’ll find a small store or tienda where people go after work for a coffee, a cold beer, or simply to chat with the neighbors.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they are sporting a green Nacional jersey. The local soccer team is very popular and displaying fan loyalty occurs daily.

A hidden gem in my city is Ciudad del Rio, a small park hidden behind an apartment building. On the weekends you can have a picnic or simply relax in the shade.

Marco Aurelio/My Shot

 

Don’t miss the Medellín Flower Fair in April August, a week long celebration that includes a parade of over 10,000 people dressed in the traditional garb.

Just outside my city, you can visit Guatapé where you can climb 600 steps to the top of a giant rock to get an amazing view of the thousands of islands and lakes that surround the area.

If my city were a pet it would be a horse because although the city is quite modern, you’ll often see horse-drawn carts– carrying fresh fruit, vegetables, or construction materials– sharing the streets with cars.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in a hammock in Montañita, Ecuador.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it has beautiful weather all year round, the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and a bad reputation people should know isn’t true.

Tell us about your favorite spots in Medellín. Leave us the details in the comments section below.

Want to see your city on Intelligent Travel? Copy and paste our list of fill-in-the-blank questions into an e-mail, fill in your answers, and send your responses (with any photos, videos or links) to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org.

[Colombia Guide]

Comments

  1. Serge JF
    Medellin, Colombia
    October 5, 2011, 11:17 pm

    Two small corrections – the Flowers Festival is not in April but between late July and early August and the bad reputation of Medellin based on its astronomical murder rate isn’t totally unjustified: 649 people got killed between January and April 2011. Besides that I really do not understand why you recommend to skip Santa Elena? Watching the silleteros preparing for the Flowers Festival is fascinating and the wonderful Arvi Park is just minutes away.

  2. RyanInColombia
    Bogotá
    October 11, 2011, 12:38 pm

    People should also check out El Tibiri in Medellín; a great little salsa place.

    I wrote about more Medellín-based fun here: http://seecolombia.travel/blog/2011/08/nightlife-in-medellin-top-5-places/

    Ryan

  3. Monica P
    London
    April 12, 2012, 10:47 am

    How can you leave out beautiful Llano Grande! It’s a short drive out of the city but takes you into a whole new magical world! True Colombian countryside, rustic bars and restaurants, artisan crafts… fresh mountain air and amazing scenery! There’s a gorgeous place to stay, called Casa de Maia – http://www.casademaia,com. It’s a traditional finca that’s set in beautiful grounds with a private creek .. a real hidden gem! If you want to escape the usual touristy places then definitely check this out! It’s amazing. I’m so pleased more and more people are visiting this stunning country.. it has so much to offer – like me you’ll never want to leave.

  4. Monica P
    London
    April 18, 2012, 12:19 pm

    How can you leave out beautiful Llano Grande! It’s a short drive out of the city but takes you into a whole new magical world! True Colombian countryside, rustic bars and restaurants, artisan crafts… fresh mountain air and amazing scenery!

    There’s a gorgeous place to stay, called Casa de Maia – http://www.casademaia.com.

    It’s a traditional finca that’s set in beautiful grounds with a private creek .. a real hidden gem! If you want to escape the usual touristy places then definitely check this out! It’s amazing. I’m so pleased more and more people are visiting this stunning country.. it has so much to offer – like me you’ll never want to leave.

  5. Brice
    Colombia
    May 17, 2012, 6:09 pm

    I love Medellin too! Here’s some more information on this amazing gem: http://www.travelingtocolombia.com/living-in-medellin/

    Disfrute! Enjoy!

    -Brice