Medellin is Colombia’s second-largest city and the capital of Antioquia, a Colombian department. The city is located in Aburra Valley, which is in the central region of South America’s Andes Mountains. The city’s metropolitan area includes nine other cities, making it Colombia’s second-largest urban agglomeration economy and population wise – it is home to over 3.7 million people.
Once labeled the “most dangerous city on earth”, the city is now one of the liveliest and most creative cities in Colombia. The city has reinvented itself over the years to become one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Just like Santiago de Cali and Bogota, Medellin is now safer, more fashionable and much wealthier. This makes Medellin real estate a promising investment. This, coupled with other factors like its proximity to forests, bird reserves, plenty of points of interest, and year-round summery climate, Medellin is most definitely a destination to visit when you can.
If you are planning on visiting Medellin, then it is vital that you understand a couple of things to ensure that you have the best time in the city. Here are some sightseeing tips for you to consider when touring different places of interest in Medellin.
Understand the Peso
Colombia’s local currency is known as the Colombian Peso, abbreviated COP$. The currency’s denominations are in mil, which is Spanish for thousand. However, the mil is often not used. For instance, while visiting a Medellin cafe or restaurant, you might notice that the menu lists an item like a cappuccino at $5.000 – in such a case, the cost is 5mil. Currency notes frequently used in the city, and in the country as a whole, come in denominations of 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, and 1,000 pesos.
For the best exchange rates, use cards or visit ATMs
When visiting Medellin and have an international card that has no transaction fees, then consider using it. The great thing is that Medellin, just like a majority of major cities around the world, has plenty of ATMs that accept different international cards; and some cards like Citibank cards offer very good exchange rates at local ATMs. As such, if you have such a card, then there’s no need to worry about paying extra transaction fees, which can be quite hefty at times. Using a card to get cash or to pay for goods and services in Medellin, not only allows you to enjoy better deals but is also safer than walking around with cash in your pocket.
Always Check Your Weather App Before Heading Out
As a tourist in Medellin, it is advisable that you always follow up on the weather before heading out. While the climate in Medellin is generally conducive, there are chances it could change at any given moment. Since you are in a new geographical zone, you can never be too sure. As such, before flying to Medellin, it is important that you consider checking out the city’s future weather forecast and packing accordingly. Once you are there, and depending on the season, you are visiting Medellin, always make sure that you do some reconnaissance on how the day will be before heading out.
One of the important things you should consider when sightseeing in Medellin is transportation. What are your plans on getting from one point to another? Some traveling agencies may only cater for your plane tickets and how you will get to your hotel. But what about moving around once you are there? The great thing is that Medellin has plenty of options when it comes to transportation. Just like all other cities and towns around the world, public transportation is usually the cheapest option you have when it comes to moving around. The great thing is that the city’s metro system is quite good and should be tried out. However, if what you want is some convenience, then consider using a taxi. Alternatively, you could go for a rental; however, this option will generally require you to have a guide to show you around.
Consider Hiring a Travel Guide
While you may have done some pretty intensive research and think you know all there is to know about Medellin, it is still advisable that you consider hiring the services of a travel guide. Since you are visiting a new city in a different country, there’s a lot you might not know when it comes to culture, laws, and traditions. As such, having one could be beneficial as local guides know more about the city than you could ever know. With a guide, getting to understand the history of the city, visiting the best attractions and staying safe (he or she can advise you on which places to visit or trails to check out and which to avoid) is easier than if you did it on your own.
Just because you are a tourist doesn’t mean that people should be taking advantage of you. While locals will try to make a quick kill, consider haggling a bit. You never know, you might just cut a good deal when buying memorabilia and other things.
Security in Medellin has improved considerably over the years, but that doesn’t mean that you let your guard down. While major crime is virtually non-existent in the city, it is still advisable that you take some precautions to ensure the safety of your possessions and of your own wellbeing. The good thing is that most outlawed groups if there are any, are generally located in remote areas. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t come across petty thieves looking to grab whatever they can. As such, it is advisable that you avoid using or carrying flashy jewelry, flaunting your phone on the streets, or carrying wads of cash when out and about.
To have a safer stay in Medellin as you enjoy the diverse cultures, traditions, history and sights the city has to offer, consider following some of the tips outlined here. All the best and happy sightseeing!