So, Medellin… my favourite city in Latin America (so far). This guide is going to help you understand what areas to stay in and what types of accommodation options to go for, rather than specifically recommend hostels/hotels (though there are a few).
It’s also not a photo heavy “dream life” kind of blog. Just words and information to help you understand your options and decide what’s best for you.
For what to do in Medellin, check out this blog… Medellin – 16 Things to Do (and 1 not to do)
Tip: Click the location Headings to see on Google Maps where this area is
If you’re looking at Medellin on a map, it’s sort of a long and thin city running through the valley in which it sits. Envigado is an area more to the south.
This area is regarded as a very genuine place to stay if you want to experience Colombian life. It has a real town-feel with its own central plaza, restaurants and bars. Around Christmas time Envigado has the biggest light display – it’s really impressive!
If you’re planning on staying in Medellin slightly longer, this is a great place to get an Airbnb – you’ll get more for your money and you’ll be away from the Gringo rush.
TIP: include neighbouring Sabaneta in your search too. But remember that both areas are quite far South in the city, and so getting to other parts of the city will take longer.
Downtown Medellin is where you can find all of your really cheap dirty hostels/hotels. It’s a great place to stay if you’re on a very short time frame and solely want to see all the sights, and aren’t bothered about upmarket nightlife/restaurants, OR if you’re on a tight budget.
Poblado is the most tourist-centric area of Medellin. It’s famous. People know to come here even before they’ve arrived. This is where Medellin’s party scene is centred by night and by day it’s the place to brunch, coffee and “remote work”. There are a lot of expats living here. Prices are more expensive in terms of accommodation and everyday living (restaurants etc).
This is a great place if you’re in Medellin to party or you want to socialise. Or if you’re here to make a new life, this is where you’re going to become part of the expat scene most easily. If you want to stay in either a party hostel, or a luxury penthouse apartment – Poblado is the place for you! Though bare in mind – it’s more expensive and tends to be quite loud during the day and night around Parque Lleras and Carrera 36.
My Top Picks:
HOSTEL (Party): Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel is a mainstay to the backpacker party vibes – the hostel becomes a club/bar at night. Beware… very noisy!
HOSTEL (Chill): The Black Sheep Hostel is located in the bottom end of Poblado, closer to the Metro Station, where things are more chill and quieter. Black Sheep is nestled amongst a load of large residential family properties and is very convenient for the Metro as well as “central” Poblado. Great chill areas!
CHEAP PRIVATE HOTEL ROOM: Memphis Hostel. I decided I needed some chill time away from the dorms and got myself a private double room for a while. I discovered this hostel, central to the most lively area of Poblado. For it’s location, it’s cheap as chips! It’s basic, a bit tatty around the edges, but the location, the staff and it’s secure feel make this a great choice!
AIRBNB: Around Poblado you’re going to find some of the most touristified (is that word?) & fancy penthouses/apartments with amazing views of the city. If you’ve got the budget, you could stay in real luxury here. Check out Airbnb and see what you can find.
CHEAP “AIRBNB”: If you’re in Medellin for a while, perhaps learning Spanish and so on. Then a great option is to get a room/apartment. I found a wonderful lady called Nora Escobar who manages lots of properties around Medellin (particularly Poblado). She rents apartments whole/by room, all with access to kitchen/common areas/hot showers/washing machine (LAUNDRY FREEDOM!!). Get in touch with Nora to see what she can arrange:
Nora Escobar: +573127628409
LUXURY HOTELS: I’m not the kind of traveller who has the luxury of staying in fancy hotels, but Poblado is a great option for this. Just check out Booking.com and find your perfect bed!
I love Laureles! Located very centrally on a map of the city, this place has less of the tourist/party vibe of Poblado, but with the same upmarket restaurants and leafy neighbourhoods.
Laureles means you’re never far really from anywhere. It is much quieter and chill, but still has some beautiful bars and restaurants to enjoy, and a great coffee scene by day! It’s only a short walk from the Estadio metro station, or an even shorter taxi ride.
You’re definitely going to get more for your money here than Poblado, but it’s still relatively upmarket. So perhaps Estadio, the neighbouring area is more up the street of a budget traveller.
I’d recommend staying in Laureles only if you’re in Medellin for a long while – it’s more a way of life here, chill and an enjoyable place to be!
My Top Pick:
A friend of Noras, Mauricio Rojas manages apartments and rooms etc in the Laureles area and surrounding. He also speaks English and loves Whatsapp. Get in touch, tell him what you’re after and your budget. He’ll point you in the right direction.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Estadio (Stadium) is the area surrounding the Stadium. This area is famous for it’s “Carrera 70”, just simply known as “70”. There are Salsa bars galore, where locals enjoy dancing, cervezas and aguardiente.
This area is central (like Laureles – they share the same metro stop) and has a busy Colombian style “everyday life” feel to it. Things are cheaper here. It’s a perfectly safe neighbourhood, but in some areas isn’t the prettiest. This is the best area for budget-backpacker friendly hostels (as cheap as £4 per night).
There are also a lot of Spanish schools near here (checkout Elefun). Just be warned that if you stay 1 or 2 blocks from “70” you’re going to hear it in your hostel. Staying here is cheap, cheap, cheap and yet you can still walk to Laureles in 10minutes to brunch yourself to death.
My Top Pick:
HOSTEL: Coffee & Peace. This hostel is relatively new and housed within a former home on a pleasant street, one block from Carrera 70. It’s modern, clean and has great sturdy beds with sockets and lights. It’s quite noisy, but for around £5 including breakfast. You can’t go wrong.
Medellin is a big city, there are plenty of other options you could explore for staying here, including:
- Finca (farm); Rent one in the surrounding mountains.
- Barrios; Stay up in the barrios in a homestay for a truly authentic Colombian experience (e.g. Communa13)
- Other areas of Medellin; there are plenty of other areas in the city that you can stay, just check out Booking.com or Hostelworld.com
Let me know where you decide to stay in the comments below? Or any tips for other readers?
Don't forget to check out my "what to do in Medellin" HERE