Digital Nomad Trip Report: Medellín, Colombia

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About Me

I’m Giorgy aka the Goofball and I am the face behind G-Extreme Travel! A travel blog tailored for every Cartagena, Colombia lover sharing the same chemical goofiness.

I was born in Switzerland, but I have fallen in love with Latin America.

This is my travel style: I try, as much as possible, to be an undercover tourist, immersing myself entirely in the place balanced with situational awareness, being truly MYSELF, and fearlessly leaving my comfort zone to undiscovered adventures calling me.

+ Pros for Digital Nomads in Medellín

  1. I am a food enthusiast, I am thoroughly enjoying Medellin for its diverse and scrumptious cuisine options. Being a digital nomad here means having an array of restaurants and street food to explore and indulge in.
  2. The city offers a lot while keeping the cost of living low, making it a great choice for digital nomads who want to make the most of their money.
  3. Medellin offers numerous excellent coworking spaces for those who work remotely. Not to mention that the city’s reliable internet connection is fast and ideal for digital nomads.
  4. The vibrant culture in the area adds an extra layer of excitement to the experience, and the locals are incredibly welcoming and friendly, making it easy for everyone to settle in and feel at home.

– Cons for Digital Nomads in Medellín

  1. The one thing that I found a bit difficult at the beginning was the language barrier as English is not widely spoken outside of touristy areas.
  2. As a city, Medellin experiences elevated levels of air pollution predominantly caused by heavy traffic, which can quite often be quite bothersome.
  3. For those used to warm climates, the cooler weather in Medellin can be a bit of an adjustment.

What Was Your Overall Impression of Being a Digital Nomad in Medellín?

My overall impression of Medellin, Colombia was one of complete enchantment. From the moment I entered the valley on the bus and saw the city nestled below, I have been captivated by its beauty and culture. There is a palpable energy in this city, with its vibrant culture that is impossible to ignore.

The architecture and parks are stunning, and the food is delicious! In my opinion, Medellin is a must-see destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in South America. It has something for everyone – from its unique history and culture to the modern amenities of big cities.

The cost of living is also incredibly affordable, making it easy to explore all the city has to offer. And if you’re a digital nomad as I was at the time of visiting, considering a workcation in Colombia, Medellin is an ideal destination with great internet connection and many wonderful coworking spaces.

What Was the Cost of Living as a Digital Nomad in Medellín?

  • Accommodation in the best neighborhoods in Medellin (Laureles, Sabaneta, Poblado, and Envigado): $650 – $900 per month
  • Groceries: $330 per month
  • Dining out: $400 per month (restaurant meals around $25 USD, street food around $5 USD).
  • Transport: $80 per month
  • SIM Card: $25 per month
  • Activities & Entertainment: $150 per month

You can live comfortably for around $2000 per month depending on your needs.

What Can You Share About the Culture in Medellín?

When visiting Medellin, there are certain cultural norms that visitors should be aware of. One important aspect of the culture is respect for elders. It is polite to address people by their title (such as señor or señora) and to always show courtesy when speaking with someone older than you. It is best to avoid discussing Pablo Escobar in public due to the sensitivity of the topic for many locals. Although his life story and notoriety may be interesting, his involvement is part of Colombia’s brutal history that many wish to avoid addressing.

What Languages are Primarily Spoken in Medellín?

While Spanish is the main language spoken in Colombia, English is making its way slowly into the city.

It is polite to begin conversations in Spanish and only switch to English if you are sure that the other person speaks English. So, being familiar with some basic Spanish phrases is a great way to show respect for local culture and customs.

Since my native language was Italian I didn’t have problems picking up fast with Spanish. But I met a few people in Medellin that only knew English, and they managed to communicate with locals and with time improve their language skills.

What was your experience finding, booking, and staying in accommodation?

Whether you are looking for a short-term or long-term rental solution in Medellín, it has become easier with options available on Airbnb or through dedicated long-term rental groups on Facebook.

Airbnb offers flexible booking options, allowing you to choose the length of your stay, whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a trip. This is particularly useful for getting to know an area and finding a more permanent housing option. I personally used this approach to explore the city on my own and determine which neighborhood suited me best.

Locally specialized real estate agents may offer longer-term rental options. However, it is important to have legal professionals review any contracts before signing or committing to a long-term agreement. Therefore I recommend first checking out the Facebook groups specifically dedicated to finding the best value in long-term rentals in Medellin.

What Working Spaces Are Available to Digital Nomads in Medellín?

Medellin is a popular spot for digital nomads due to several reasons, including the availability of excellent coworking spaces (from cafes to featured working spaces. Here are the top places to work:

  • Semilla Cafe & Coworking (Laureles)
  • Open Space (Poblado)
  • Quokka Coworking (Poblado)
  • El Tesoro Shopping Park
  • Centro Comercial Oviedo
  • Centro Comercial Viva Envigado
  • Santafé Mall
  • Pergamino Cafe (Poblado)
  • Delmuri Cafe (Laureles)
  • Hija Mia Coffee Roasters (Poblado)

What is the Food Like in Medellín?

Medellín is a foodie paradise (aside from the fact that you won’t find as much seafood as on the Caribbean coast)! You’ll find a great variety of local flavors to choose from, ranging from traditional Antioquian cuisine to international favorites. Traditional dishes like Bandeja Paisa (a hearty platter of rice, beans, chorizo, and other meats), arepa con queso (cheese-filled corn cakes), and mondongo (tripe stew) are popular in the city.

You might even be surprised to find international restaurants from all over the world. For fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, there are plenty of grocery stores to choose from. But, I’ll suggest you do as locals do, go to the many local markets that offer a variety of items including meat, cheese, and pastries. Not to forget that the city has to offer a lot of street food vendors throughout the city, offering a perfect and cheap meal to eat on the go.

You might be surprised, but people with restrictive diets, would find something suitable for themselves too! It’s indeed possible to find vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options too. Because there are several dedicated restaurants catering specifically to these diets.

What is the Visa Situation for Digital Nomads in Medellín?

When entering Colombia, you will receive a 90-day (3-month) visa-free stay. You can extend this stay once, giving you a maximum of 180 days.

Keep in mind that it is not entirely legal to leave Colombia after a 6-month stay and return for another 6 months. This practice is considered a gray area, and while some people take advantage of it, it is not guaranteed to be legal.

At the end of 2021, Colombia introduced a new digital nomad visa that allows remote workers to stay for up to two years, which is longer than many other digital nomad visas that typically only offer a one-year stay. This is beneficial for “slowmads” who prefer to stay in one location for an extended period of time. The visa is specifically for digital nomads and isn’t the same as a work visa. It’s a good option for those interested in living in Cartagena as a digital nomad, despite the program being fairly new.

What’s the Connectivity Like in Medellín?

As a digital nomad in Medellin, you won’t have to worry about slow wifi speeds. Medellin has some of the fastest wifi speeds in all of South America and is a top choice for digital nomads. This is due in part to Colombia’s reputation for having some of the best wifi connections on the continent. Generally, in most accommodations, cafes, restaurants, and coworking spaces, you can expect speeds of at least 20 Mbps.

In my experience as digital nomads in Medellin, TIGO offers a 30-day plan with 10 GB for $30,000 COP ($8 USD) while CLARO’s plan for the same duration offers 12 GB for $40,000 COP ($11 USD). Avoid being locked out of your phone, purchase your SIM card only from an official Tigo or Claro store located in a mall. It is not recommended to buy new SIM cards from other shops or vendors on the street. If you do, you may have to deal with the hassle of contacting the main office to have your phone unlocked. And remember that you must provide your passport when purchasing a SIM card in Colombia.

What is There to Do for Fun in Medellín?

Explore the many parks in the city such as Parque de los Pies Descalzos, Parque Norte, and Arvi Park.

Visit the Botanical Garden, where you can admire over 500 species of plants from around the world.

Spend a day at one of Medellin’s iconic cable cars, taking in the stunning views from high above the city.

If you’re looking for a cultural experience, take in some of Medellin’s vibrant street art. Stroll along the narrow cobblestoned streets of La Candelaria, marvel at the graffiti-covered walls in the Comuna 12, or take a guided tour through Barrio Triste. After dark, Medellin comes alive with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.

Enjoy drinks at a sleek rooftop bar overlooking the city skyline, or make your way to one of the city’s lively salsa clubs. There are also plenty of live music venues, theater shows, and comedy clubs for those looking for a more relaxed evening.

P.s. you can even check out the beautiful colorful Guatape city, well known for the huge penol rock and the artificial lake built nearby.

What is the Social Scene like in Medellín?

If you’re looking for a vibrant social scene with plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make friends, Medellin is a great place to be! Whether you’re looking for cultural experiences or just want to hang out and enjoy some good food and drinks, there’s something here for everyone. Medellin is known for its friendly and welcoming culture, making it easy to make new friends or meet up with old acquaintances. There are plenty of social activities to enjoy in the city – from salsa classes and beer tours to BBQs on the roof and outdoor movie screenings. It’s also a great place to connect with other digital nomads, as there are several networking events and workshops held regularly. Make sure you check out websites like Meetup and Couchsurfing for local events and activities.

What’s the Weather Like in Medellín?

It’s recommended to visit Medellin between December and March for the most sunny days and the lowest chance of rain. Avoid visiting from April to May, and from September to November if you plan on exploring the city which are considered the wettest months of the year. Especially in April when Easter week happens, a lot of Colombian people take the week off for exploring the rest of the country and it might become pricy and crowded in Medellin as well.

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