Where to Stay in Medellin, Colombia

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The Best Places to Stay in Medellin – Tips and Advice

  • Which areas in Medellin are best?: This will depend largely on whether you want a lively, party vibe or something a bit more on the quiet or cultural side of things. Some regions of the city are obviously more suitable for young singles or couples than those with families for instance.
  • If you are looking for the central, touristy areas then you’ll definitely want to head in the direction of El Poblado, which is undoubtedly the most buzzing neighborhood in the city.
  • If you’d rather skip that and find something a bit more on the quiet or cultural side then you might consider Laureles, with its avenues of lush fauna and brick structures.
  • La Candeleria (also known as Centro) is closer to a few of the city’s historical landmarks.
  • Then there is the more authentic, local neighborhood vibe of Belen to consider.
  • Due to the excellent transportation network in the city, wherever you stay you will still be in range of accessing many of the various leisure activities in and around the city. The Metro and MetroCable allow ease of access between the lower city and the mountainous regions. You can ride the cable car to the forested reserve of Parque Arvi, which contains historical pre-Hispanic ruins, or climbing the huge granite massif Piedra El Penol for amazing views including lakes. A few hours south of Medellin you can find the gateway to Columbia’s coffee country in Manizales.
  • Staying in Medellin on a budget: If you choose to stay in El Poblado then the lower-key residential areas tend to offer accommodation that is much cheaper than in the central tourist areas. If you want to go the hostel route then you’ll be pleased to know that Medellin has around 100 of them. There are also a fair few budget hotels around the El Poblado and La Candeleria regions. And although you can find a few in Laureles, this is generally a slightly more upmarket area of Medellin. The Centro area also has a fair selection of accommodation more suited to travelers on a budget, which may have something to do with its reputation for being a little on the shady side after hours (probably due to the fact that it has a red-light district).

As the capital city of Columbia’s mountainous region known as Antioquia, Medellin has more than a few interesting areas to stay in. The city is located in the somewhat narrow Aburra valley, but is connected to the surrounding barrios that all have impressive views of the scenery below (by an equally impressive Metro system).

The backdrop of the city is an amalgamation of high-rise buildings and the jagged peaks of the mountain range. Remote neighborhoods in Medellin rise up into the steep hillsides, in what is in many ways one of the densest cities in the world. Thus it is a lively and vibrant environment packed with commercial, entertainment, and leisure areas. Each neighborhood has plenty to keep you occupied in its own way in the ‘City of Eternal Spring’.

Due to the mountainous terrain that surrounds the city, you will find that Medellin has a great climate, with warm temperatures that remain reasonably moderate throughout the year – as does the cost of living.

There is still some pollution in the city though, so when you are considering where to stay in Medellin you might want to weigh up the odds of hiking around the nearby hills versus spending all night partying in the huge array of bars and clubs that the central areas of the city comprise.

Medellin is a modern and fast-paced, densely-populated city, which can be a bit much for some people. Yet it can be balanced out by leaving the packed areas behind and escaping into the hills for an afternoon either on foot or by MetroCable.

Medellin Neighbourhood Guide

1. El Poblado

el poblado

El Poblado is a large district in Medellin, with the central region being the place to head if you like your nightlife on the lively side.

The nightlife in El Poblado has been described as some of the best on the planet, and there is certainly a huge plethora of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in the city. That’s not to say that you won’t find it a great place to be in the daytime either though. 

As far as the range of eateries and retail outlets go, you’ll find vibrancy and diversity, with people from all walks of life frequenting them during the day, although a large proportion of them are visitors.

Needless to say, this particular section of Medellin is sometimes on the crowded side, but it’s an ideal place to stay if you’re looking to socialize with other travelers. 

Central Poblado has its fair share of restaurants that are reasonably cheap and authentic, but you’ll also find plenty along the lines of fine dining options. 

Obviously eating towards the high end of the range will work out way more expensive, but you can expect excellent service as well, especially in the more luxurious hotels.

Hotels in El Poblado

Hostels in El Poblado

AirBnB in El Poblado

2. Laureles

laurele

Laureles is a safe bet if you’ve never been to Medellin before. Here you’ll encounter a slightly greener neighborhood than El Poblado, offering similar avenues in terms of amenities but with more of a local, toned-down vibe. 

There’s also more of a prevalence of smaller cafes and restaurants than loud bars and clubs, and Laureles carries a distinctly more cultured vibe, even at night than many of the central districts of Medellin.

That’s not to say that you can’t find any nightlife around the neighborhood – indeed there is an area (La 70) catering specifically to just that. But it’s not quite as widespread as in other areas and is easier to leave behind once you’ve had enough liveliness for one night.  

Laureles’ Estadio Atanasio Girardot complex also happens to be the place to find Medellin’s major football stadium and home to the country’s 2 most popular soccer teams. And even the surrounding streets near the football ground are pleasant enough to sit and enjoy a meal and a bottle of wine, although if you are not that big on crowds you might want to avoid the La 70 region on game days. 

Although it was a working-class neighborhood back in the 1940s when it was first founded, Laureles is definitely more of an upper-middle-class neighborhood these days, meaning that accommodation is quite a bit more on the expensive side.

There are a few budget and mid-range options to be found, but high-end hotels are the main option.   

You’ll also find the artistic side of Medellin in and around the various art galleries and art museums, along with a dynamic theatre scene.

One downside of this otherwise ideal neighborhood is that it is a little bit further out from the major public transit hubs, which means taxis or buses may be more of a requirement unless you are energetic enough to make your way around on foot! 

Hotels in Laureles

Hostels in Laureles

  • ($$) Hotel Palmas Del Estadio 2 · 2.2 km from La 70, 5 km from Pueblito Paisa, 4 km from airport
  • ($$) Hostal Rich · 150 m from La 70, close to Plaza de Toros La Macarena, Laureles Park and Estadio Atanasio Girardot
  • ($$) Experience Medellin Hostel · Restaurant, bar, shared lounge and garden, 2.7 km from La 70 and 4 km from the airport

AirBnB in Laureles

3. La Candeleria

la candeleria

La Candeleria, also known as or Centro, is what might be considered the downtown district of Medellin. It’s an area of the city that has something of a shady rep due to the fact that it is probably not quite as developed or upmarket as the usual tourist hot spots.

It is becoming more popular though, especially for those seasoned travelers who have no problem overcoming the stigma of red-light districts and such like. The name comes from its central location, which means if you stay here you can easily access anywhere else in the city.  

La Candeleria is, however, the area of the city where some of the most important historical landmarks are located. You’ll see this in the daytime from the abundance of walking tours around the streets, as participants are guided through local cultural hot spots such as Plaza Cisneros, Plaza Botero, Antioquia Museum, and Casa de La Memoria. These local landmarks are also in close proximity to the Medellin Metro. 

Hotels in La Candeleria

Hostels in La Candeleria

AirBnB in La Candeleria

4. Belen

belen

Belen has all the charm and authenticity of Laureles, but with the proximity to public transport that you would find in other central areas. This is a place with an air of the middle class, although it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, so it doesn’t quite have the classy vibe of Laureles. And like Laureles, Belen started out as a working-class neighborhood, but it’s a safe area of the city to stay in.

Although Belen is actually one of the most conveniently located districts in Medellin as far as Metro access goes, you’ll also find a wide expanse of natural space in the area.

It provides quite a contrast, and a spot of relief if necessary, from the densely-populated areas like El Poblado. Its central park is a great place to while away an afternoon in the mild Medellin weather, and you can find plenty of hiking and cycling opportunities in and around the surrounding trails of the small hilly region known as Cerro Nutibara, which has an authentic-looking replica village at its summit. 

You will find plenty of options in terms of accommodation in Belen. Even though it is quite close to Laureles, it isn’t necessarily just about high-end hotels in this stretch of Medellin.

There is certainly plenty of choices when it comes to very reasonably-priced hotels and plenty of affordable apartments. Here we show the 2 closest hostels to the Belen region. 

Hotels in Belen

  • ($$) Hotel Ayenda Loft 32 · 1.5 km of Pueblito Paisa and 2 km of 70 Avenue
  • ($$) Jardin De Laureles · Near Laureles Park, Ecotourism Park Arví and Belen’s Park, 2 km from Olaya Herrera airport
  • ($$) Casa Rozales · Close to Belen’s Park, 2.6 km from Pueblito Paisa

Hostels in Belen

AirBnB in Belen

Final Thoughts

Medellin is a fairly buzzing place that has come on in leaps and bounds since the days when it had a somewhat questionable image and reputation. It is developed enough to service tourism from the world over in terms of accommodation, leisure, and entertainment while retaining a touch of uniqueness garnered from its location and geographical disposition.

The Metro System does a fantastic job of keeping all the different aspects of the city and its lofty surrounding areas well-connected, and this is something that adds to the diversity of the experience of staying in Medellin. Whether you are an all-night party animal, a lover of coffee and culture, or an intrepid hiker who loves views – you will undoubtedly find something in Medellin to ensure a great holiday and travel experience.

Best Hotels in Medellin by Type

  • The Hotel Dann Carlton is one of the best bets in Medellin when it comes to luxury hotels if you are OK with its location in central El Poblado – excellent facilities, views, 3 restaurants, and a quality spa
  • The Jardin De Laureles is a great value for money choice due to its price and location in a fairly cultured region of Medellin
  • If you are looking for cheap and cheerful then you really can’t say fairer than the Hotel Premium Plaza in La Candeleria, especially if you like a location with a touch of character
  • The Ayenda Seven Inn is a great choice for a family hotel with its family rooms with terrace and excellent location in Laureles
  • The Inntu Hotel in Laureles is a popular romantic choice for couples with its oversized beds, modern rooms, and rooftop garden views of the city from a scenic and cultured neighborhood