Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia. It has over 3 million people and is the capital of the department of Antioquia. It’s set in a valley running south to north just under one hour by plane from Bogotá. In 2013 Medellin was awarded the Innovative City of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, outranking rivals New York and Tel Aviv.
Medellín is a vast city built north to south in the Aburrá valley and surrounded on either side by majestic mountain ranges. The wealthier classes live in the well-protected hillside neighborhood of El Poblado and Envigado (SouthEast) and Laureles (West and South of downtown). This is far removed from the action and commotion which are found in the city’s center. There are the busy markets and a thriving street life that make up much of the city’s charm. The city is home to a half-dozen universities, accounting for a vibrant cultural and nightlife scene fueled by thousands of young adults from all over the country. Medellín is also Colombia’s second largest industrial center, and home to factories making everything from designer clothing to trucks. The city’s northern hills are flooded with rural refugees from the ongoing civil war and their ingenuity in making a living is impressive. People sell anything from crayons to guinea pigs to garden earth in the bars in order to make a living.
As a relatively newer city, the architecture has a decidedly modernist appeal, which goes hand in hand with the progressiveness of its residents. Medellin also has the first (and only) Metro system in Colombia. And, for international travelers, Medellín is perhaps most famous for the Botero Museum, whose namesake is one of the most famous modern artist alive today. It is also known for its perfect climate, as witnessed by its nickname “city of the eternal spring”. Enough to make your trip worthy.
Population: City: 2.4 million (2013) Metro: 3.7 million (2013)
Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)
Fun Fact: The people of Medellin are called “Paisas”. The word paisa comes from “Paisano” which means: person from the same country.
For more city info, visit WikiTravel.