07 Nov Why Medellín, Colombia Should Be On Your Travel List
This post is a guest video from our fellow intentional travelers, Dorene and Troy from Travel Life Experiences. Troy and Dorene left their home and their 20-year corporate careers to redesign their life on their own terms. They shared their first impressions of Medellín with one of their wonderful videos (below). Since Jedd and I have been hearing a lot about Medellín from other travelers and nomads, we’ve been thinking about going for a while now. Troy and Dorene’s recommendation have pushed us over the edge. We’ve now booked a month stay in Medellín for Spring 2017, and can’t wait to experience it in person!
First impressions can set the stage for a good or bad travel experience. The first time visiting a new place is exciting, but what makes it even more interesting is when you have no expectations of it at all.
We learned about Medellín, Colombia from other travelers in South America. Their views were nothing but positive, challenging our preconceptions from past news reports that highlighted Medellín as a dangerous city from the 1980s. We had no expectations, as we never saw it with our own eyes, and we knew it was the only way to challenge our views.
From the moment we jumped into a cab and started our descent along winding roads to the basin of the Aburrá Valley, we knew this place was special.
It began with the greeting we received from the cab driver, as he pointed out the attractions and names of the neighborhoods. He shared his love for the parks, shops, and restaurants; we were ready to explore and see more. We made a home for three weeks at our guesthouse in the popular neighborhood of El Poblado, anxious to see more.
Why is Medellín different?
We learned plenty about Medellin during our first stay. Most importantly, it was the knowledge about the major transformation that was happening in the city and its move to a progressive and livable city.
This city faced some of the most intense violence unlike any other city in the world, because of the drug cartels that dominated the area in the 80’s and 90’s. The city government and provincial government of Antioquia saw this as an opportunity. In its worst years, it invested funds into social programs and infrastructure to create and motivate change. New schools were erected, museums and cultural centers were established and the lifeline of the city, the Medellín metro, was built to connect everyone, no matter what socioeconomic status, to access all over the city.
Usually for any business (or city), investing during the difficult times is unheard of, but this notion of improving the city, even in the dark days, was the best decision city planners ever made.
Medellín has not only won awards like the Wall Street Journal’s City of the Year, but it has become a thriving metropolis for entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and start-ups.
The people of Medellín are warm and open. They are so proud of their city, and happy that foreigners are coming to visit. They offer help, assistance and on several occasions have gone out of their way to show off and tell us about their city.
Spots in Medellín that we recommend visiting for your first time:
Parque Arvi – a huge green space at the top of the mountains high above the city, only accessible by the metro cable car system.
Explore the city using the Metro cable car with sweeping views of the Aburrá Valley.
Wander downtown via the Metro to see the fascinating Fernando Botero sculptures, visit Cisneros Square and Berrio Park.
View the neighborhood that has undergone the biggest transformation, Comuna 13, a walking tour of history, strife, and resilience.
Medellín- a New Haven for Entrepreneurs
Medellín has also become a place of opportunity for us, and for many entrepreneurs in tech, video, and start-ups, with surprisingly good internet – better than most internet we’ve experienced in Central and South America.
That 3 weeks in Colombia, when we first recorded our video, turned into living there for four months and we plan to go back soon.
To learn more about Colombia, check out more Travel Life Experiences videos and posts here.
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