Blogs from Medellin, Colombia, South America

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South America » Colombia » Medellin January 2nd 2014

Day One - 27 December 2013 – Friday – Flight from Aruba, Caribbean to Medellin, Colombia. We awoke a few times in the night, a little worried that we might miss our early morning flight. We got up just before 5am (had to wake a receptionist), checked out and drove to the airport. We checked in for our flight and then returned the rental car. We had to wait for someone to show up for work (supposed to arrive at 6am, got there around 6:30. A manager-type man was in the office early but he wouldn’t check the car back in. ‘Just leave it,’ he said). That is Aruba. Short flight to Curacao, twenty minutes. Then the flight to Medellin, less than two hours. Local bus into town. Glimpses of the mountains surrounding the city in ... read more
Medellin Colombia I 014
Medellin Colombia I 018
Medellin Colombia II 009

South America » Colombia » Medellin December 15th 2013

Where to stay in Medellin? There are lots of choices as Medellin is a large metropolitan city. My first choice is always to locate an apartment in the area of the city I will spend most of my time exploring and whenever possible access to public transportation. Luckily for me Medellin has many options along those lines and at affordable prices. I have had great success locating homes or apartments using the website www.airbnb.com across multiple countries. The website again proved its worth with a 2 bedroom apt in a quiet part of Poblado for an average night stay of under $50US. The building, furnishing and appliances were all modern and in good working order. The security was excellent and the view outstanding as I was on the 24th floor. The apartment building was situated high ... read more
From apt entrance
Liv-Dining room
View from Balcony

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 26th 2013

After another bumpy ride through the mountains we arrived to Medellin, the capital of the Antioquia departemento. Nowadays Medellin is peaceful, but it used to be the most dangerous city in the world 20 years ago, when the gangster king Pablo Escobar terrorized it. Today most of Pablo Escobars heritage has been wiped out; instead the presence of the other famous son of Medellin, Fernando Botero, is much more visible with statues in several places around the city. We had our hostel within walking distance from the city center, so our first morning we decided to stroll there. Our initial positive impression changed once we got to the smelly river separating our peaceful neighborhood from the city center, after that we entered a shady looking part of the city that apparently acts as an open door ... read more
Medellin - Botero among flowers
Medellin - the govermental square
Medellin - pillars of light

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 17th 2013

I have struggled on whether to share this topic with everyone. You see I decided to purchase private salsa lessons during my time in Medellin. Cali style salsa is popular here and is a form of salsa I have little exposure to. It looks wonderful when performed by those who know it and “feel” it. Others like myself, look like chickens prancing around the barn yard. Hence, my dilemma on sharing video of my early attempts at the local variety of the dance. I found a dance studio recommended by several sources in my neighborhood of Poblado. It’s called “Santo Baile” and the owner/instructor is Mayra Cutiva. She is a professional dancer and is from Cali. In the beginning I thought it would be difficult to concentrate around her (I wonder why?) but she has developed ... read more
Entrance
Class room

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 15th 2013

After a week or so of city life I decided to explore an area on the other side of the mountains. The countryside of Antioquia is where many families in Medellin have a vacation house or “finca”. The ones I saw from the highway came in all economic strata. Some are very humble and others like fine homes. The area around Rio Negro is where I made my first foray outside the city limits. The route my private car and driver took did not go past many farms. I saw mostly fincas and some ranches with horses and cows. The cows seemed more the dairy type than the beef type. The countryside was stunning with green hills and mountainsides shaded by trees I did not recognize. I hope to learn more about the plant life found ... read more
Queareparaenamorate
Open Kitchen
oven

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South America » Colombia » Medellin November 11th 2013

Food can be as much of an adventure as diving, hiking or whitewater rafting. Quality food at affordable prices are prevalent in the more local type restaurants. I have always enjoyed a mix of the “refine” and local grub. Luckily for me Poblado has international cuisine so I was not too far from personal favorites. Pizza, steak, swarmas and such can be had with little effort. I even found "good enough" Cajun grub in the adjacent barrio, Enviago. Breakfast, I tried to keep within the local variety, usually consisting of beans and rice, a good portion of round steak or pork, eggs, juice and the all-important Colombian accompaniment to a meal, the arepa. Now arepas are the local equivalent of tortilla or bread rolls consumed with a meal. They are made from corn meal and can ... read more
Milagros
Naan
Milagros bar

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 10th 2013

As some of you are aware, I have begun travelling to Medellin, Colombia in late 2013. So far, I have spent almost 3 weeks over 2 trips with a third trip planned for this New Year’s 2014. The holidays are claimed by many locals to be a beautiful time to visit the “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera” or "City of Eternal Spring". An enduring term, given to Medellin by “Paisas” (local people from Medellin and surrounding area), my experiences so far does justify the nickname as the city’s climate is spring-like. Moderate temperatures with late afternoon showers that disperse after a few hours seem to be the norm in the city. Medellin is in the green “Aburra Valley”, on the Central Andean mountain range at a height of 1,538 meters or 5046 feet above sea ... read more
metrocar
metrocable
medellin-cable-car-view-

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 10th 2013

The city is broken up into many barrios (neighborhoods) which I belive are really municipalities. I only been able to explore a few and plan on expanding my efforts to the lesser traveled (by tourist) barrios in the future. Poblado is the principal tourist area and therefore the wealthiest part of Medellin. It has a large commercial/retail zone interspersed with residences like most urban cities of Latin America. Most residences are condo towers. The streets are landscaped with trees and parks, big and small, which allow for an abundance of shade during those warm sunny afternoons. Walking around this barrio is considered safe but you should always keep your street smarts engaged. Sidewalks, nature trails and creeks are numerous in the neighborhood and I recommend exploring them if your time allows. The number of cafes, bars ... read more
Mulata-Oh yea!
Poblado cafe
Poblado Park

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 6th 2013

So, I have found out a little more about this Colombian city that may be of interest to you. Due to city planning rules requiring that public art be part of any new construction, central Medellin has become a fantastic open-air art gallery. The Metro here, also known as Metro de Medellin, links north and south, east and west, as well as rich and poor. We found that out today on our Metro ride. It is very reasonably priced, three of us rode round trip for less than $5 USD. They say Medellin is the Paris of South America. To some extent, I agree, as the women are more stylish here than in Ecuador. The textile industry accounts for one third of Medellin's employment. Labels from Brooks Brothers to Oscar de la Renta are made here. ... read more
Medellin delicacies

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 6th 2013

They say the beauty of their women, warmth of its people, and gorgeous flowers allows Medellin to attract like a magnet. Personally, I vote for the beauty of the women. The people of the region are called paisas, perhaps due mostly to their proactive spirit and hospitality. They say that loving life on the street and exaggerating colorful stories keeps their spirits high. We shall find out. First, let's address the food issue. Here are some of their traditional dishes: Bandeja paisa: Traditional Antioquia dish with beans, ground beef, egg, rice, plantain, chorizo sausage, pork cracklings, arepa and hogao (a sauce based on tomatoes and onions). Mondongo:A soup based on tripe, pork, hen, and cassava, and flavored with cilantro. Sancocho: A soup based on chicken, potatoes, and plantains. I see a problem already. None of tha ... read more
Medellin neighborhood
Hard to believe 40% poverty




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