The rare gem untouched by touristsJanine Gates ▼ |
Medellin is Colombia's second largest city and the capital of the Colombian state of Antioquia since 1826. It is situated in the Aburra Valley some 1500 meters above sea level surrounded by green Andean mountains and the Medellin River which flows through the city. The city is called "The City of the Eternal Spring" with a reason - the climate is subtropical with temperatures from 15C to 30C during all 12 months of the year, and the average temperature is 22C.
Since the law forces cleaned the city some ten years ago, a huge amount of money went in construction and in making the city pleasant place for living and that gave the great results. Today Medellin is a very lively and modern city surrounded with beautiful nature and with a nice people willing to show and explain you everything. The true rise of tourism actually started just 10 years ago, so in Medellin it's not a cold industry but more a lovely way of being nice to foreign guests.
When you come to Medellin you can choose from a range of staying, from low-cost place to expensive executive-class hotel rooms. The high-class hotels are situated in the El Poblado neighbourhood, the city's exclusive financial, business and tourism centre. Hotels and guest houses in rural surroundings may be your choice if you like more quieter environment away from the centre of the city. However, those quiet place as very near, just a half an hour from the centre, so it's possible to mix business and pleasure very easily.
The best way to see the city is the bus tour around which lasts for a whole day. Or, forget Pablo Escobar and dark times and take a metro, it goes from station to station and don't worry: the subway will take you right to the entrance gates of the parks in the Touristic Circuit and to Parque Norte, the city's attractions located near the Planetarium of Medellin, so you can't find yourself in an unknown area.
Medellin is the only city in Colombia with a metro and the first city in the world to extend a metro with metrocable. The view to the city - unforgettable. There are many things to be seen in the city of the eternal spring and this time of year is probably the best. During December the whole city is one big celebration which lasts until January 6th. You may attend cart race at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium and even be one of the contestant, and if you are into something easier you may visit the Antioquia Museum and the plaza Botero where the natives show their sculptures.
There are many parks in the city and around the Lleras Park and El Poblado (also known as Zona Rosa) you will find many good restaurants with great food. You may go down to the botanical gardens where you can enjoy in festival of birds and flowers, and if you like closed spaces there are many clubs and more than 3000 shopping malls. Parque Lleras, the liveliest part of town situated in El Poblado, the wealthiest district of the city, is the centre of nightlife, bars and restaurants in Medellin. During the day that's a fantastic place to find a good lunch and at night that's a crowded place with a nightlife like that in the New York City.
There is one thing you should not miss: dancing clubs. The city is full of salsa, merengue, cumbia, and vallenato dancing clubs, and you certainly must experience the tropical rhythms if you want to say that you were in Medellin. ■