Medellin : The Complete Digital Nomad Guide

Jardin, Colombia

Table Of Contents


Two dudes grilling

A photo of my buddy Ruben and I at our weekly grills in Medellin (Ruben’s in front, I’m in back)

The 5 Quick Scores

  • Internet Speed – 4/5
    • I ran about 30 wifi speed tests while in Medellin, here are the findings
    • Avg. Download Speed = 137 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 93 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 27 MS*
    • Fastest internet I Got In The City – was at Indie Universe
  • Ease Of Connecting & Making Friends- 5/5
    • This is an incredible place to meet people and make friends both Colombians and other nomads. See my community / making friends section for more details on this.
  • Nightlife – 4/5
    • While there is a lot of nightlife, there are a couple common crimes that tend to happen more at clubs and late at night, but you can have plenty of fun here if you’re aware.
  • Places To Work From – 4.5/5
  • Affordability – 4/5
    • Medellin is a very affordable place to live when compared to the US or western Europe. The city is changing fast and prices are rising regularly, but for now it’s a great value.
A video from Santa Helena, just 45 minutes from Medellin. A beautiful quiet spot up in the mountains

My Favorite Neighborhoods

Laureles – This neighborhood is a great jumping off point for the city. It’s still got more Colombian charm than Poblado (the main tourist area), while still being very easy to navigate (even if your Spanish isn’t so good). This neighborhood actually reminded me a lot of Condesa & Roma in Mexico City, check out my digital nomad guide to Mexico city.

Belen – is right next to Laureles, with a large spectrum of folks living here, you have some neighborhoods with more upper middle class, as well as neighborhoods of folks slightly lower class. You’ll hear significantly less English here, and it may feel more Authentic (whatever the hell that means to you) check out my thoughts on traveling to “authentic” spots here.


Wifi Speed Tests

Wifi Speeds In Medellin Colombia

*Not sure what these metrics mean? Read my guide to getting fast wifi here.


Visas And How Long Can I Stay?

Rules around Visas in Colombia are changing and often a bit vague. The best way to do it is to go to one of the migration offices (preferably outside of Medellin) and ask them directly what you’ll need. You’ll need lots of patience as the workers there can be super apathetic.

That being said, I would recommend trying to get a visa yourself. Visa companies charge outrageous prices and often have no real connections to expedite things (in my experience).

Digital Nomad Visa

With the digital nomad visa you can stay for 2 years in Colombia, and even get a Colombian ID, so you can open bank accounts and do all kinds of stuff. Which makes life easier for sure.

Student Visa

If you enroll in classes to learn Spanish from an institution that the government approves of you can get a student visa! As of right now, it looks like you can stay for a year on this visa, but you will have to find and enroll in a year long Spanish learning program. In the past, a lot of people have taken these visas then never showed up for the classes, I’ve heard anecdotally that Colombia is starting to crack down on ensuring you are actually going to class, but who knows.

How Long Can I Stay On A Regular Tourist Visa?

For a lot of foreigners you can stay in Colombia for 6 months every calendar year. So if you arrive in November you could stay until the new year, then another 6 months after that (since the year changes).

You do need to either renew your visa online every 3 months, or leave the country every 3 months though.


Co-Lives & Where I Stayed

Casa Santa Fe

A video from the weekly BBQ’s we had on the rooftop of Casa Santa Fe
  • OVERALL4.5/5 – I am writing this from Europe, and I’ll actually be meeting up with 2 – 4 of the people I met at Casa Santa Fe next week. I made lots of great friends here, and really love the place.
  • Affordability – 4/5 – Super affordable, at the time of writing this, it’s $25 – $35 per night & ~$550 – $650 per month
  • Wifi – 4.5/5 – Great wifi here, plenty fast enough and stable enough to have video calls all over the hotel.
    • Avg. Download Speed = 88 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 48 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 16 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 4.5/5 – This is a bit smaller of a place, so it does feel a bit more intimate. As mentioned I made lifelong friends here, and I’m sure you can too.
  • Location – 5/5 – prime spot in central Laureles
  • Amenities (Kitchen, Pool, etc.) – 3.75/5 – The don’t have a pool, the kitchen. is smaller and shared which can get a bit cramped.
  • Cleanliness – 4.5/5 – Super clean the whole time I was there

Indie Studios

Shot of the front of the building, it has a pretty sweet design
  • OVERALL3.75/5 – Is this my favorite hotel in the world? No, but for the price it is a good deal, it’s well located and has a beautiful view from the top of the rooftop.
  • Affordability – 4/5 – Pretty great value on this one, at the time of writing this $45 per night and ~$600 per month.
  • Wifi – 4/5 – Pretty solid wifi, and they do have wifi in each of the rooms too which is pretty great.
    • Avg. Download Speed = 88 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 73 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 10 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 3/5 – The ability to make friends here is definitely easier than your standard hotel, but I wouldn’t say it’s super easy. There isn’t too much in the way of events / ways to get to know others and it is a pretty large place without much of a welcoming workspace / common area.
  • Location – 5/5 – In the heart of Laureles
  • Cleanliness – 4/5 – Overall pretty damn clean
A shot of the sunset from the rooftop of Indie Studios

Places To Stay – Honorable Mentions

This is a section where I’ll add hotels / places to stay at that I either didn’t stay at, or had a flaw that made me unable to recommend them completely.

Selina Medellin – I do love Selina, and I did stay here for a while, but for the price and the location I wouldn’t say it’s worth it. They were asking for $2,000 a month for a tiny room without windows (see below for video of this horrible spot). BTW, that price is more than I’m paying per month for a Colive in central Paris (check out my digital nomad guide to Paris here). Furthermore that part of Poblado is fun to party in, but to live it’s too much for me.

Indie Universe – This is a new location created by Indie Studios, it looks like it might end up being better than Indie Studios but currently it’s still under construction, so only time will tell.

Jo&Joe – I didn’t stay at the Medellin location, but I did enjoy staying with them at their Europe locations so I’m sure it’s a good one. Their Vienna location specifically was sweet, (check out my digital nomad guide to Austria here).

A video from my room in Selina, Medellin – not at all worth the price ๐Ÿ˜‚

Co-Works & My Favorite Places To Work From

A shot of Semilla

Semilla Cafe & Coworking

  • OVERALL4/5 – Pretty sweet spot, the bottom floor is a cool cafe full of plants and the top floor is a coworking spot.
  • Wifi – 4.5/5 – the wifi was fast enough for video calls no problem. I worked from here for about a month straight every day.
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly. They were also totally cool with me camping out and working from there (my recommendation would be to work inside, as the outside fills up quite quickly, and you may be costing them some money by holding those tables up)
  • Amount Of Outlets – 4.5/5 – Plenty of outlets
  • Amenities (Places to take calls, etc.) – 4/5 – The cowork upstairs has lots of small booths for calls. Downstairs in the cafe you could take calls too, but it is a bit riskier as far as the noise levels go.
  • Location / Ambiance – 5/5 – Beautiful spot, great location
  • Ergonomics (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots)It has a copule spots you can stand up at, a couple different types of chairs. They have some pretty good office chairs in the cowork too.

Bloom Eco Coworking

  • OVERALL4/5 – Killer open air spot up in the hills surrounded by trees.
  • Price4/5 – Pretty good prices for sure. See prices below
Bloom Eco Coworking Pricing, Medellin Colombia
  • Wifi – 4/5 – Super fast, reliable internet
    • Download Speed = 185 MBPS
    • Upload Speed = 179 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 54 MS
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 4/5– Plenty of outlets
  • Location / Ambiance – 4.5/5 – The ambiance is killer, it’s open air surrounded by trees!
  • Ergonomics – 4/5 (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots)they had a good mix of seats and spots. you could stand at too

Santa Lena – Laureles

  • OVERALL4/5 – They have a bunch of room upstairs for remote workers, and they’re totally cool with you hanging out for a while. They have a great selections of coffee, teas and food as well.
  • Wifi – 4.5/5 – the wifi was fast enough for video calls no problem. I worked from here for about a month straight every day.
  • Service & Friendliness – 3.5/5 – Pretty standard service for Colombia, so you may be waiting for a bit.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 4.5/5 – Plenty of outlets
  • Amenities (Places to take calls, etc.) – 2/5 – This really is a cafe first, not a cowork. The place isn’t super loud so you could probably pull off some video calls, but the background noise may be a bit high.
  • Location / Ambiance – 5/5 – Beautiful spacious spot, at a great location
  • Ergonomics (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots)Couches and chairs, the chairs aren’t crazy ergonomic though.

Pergamino Cafe – Laureles

  • OVERALL4/5 – Open air beautiful spot with really high-quality coffee.
  • Wifi – 4.5/5 – the wifi was fast enough for video calls no problem. I worked from here for about a month straight every day.
  • Service & Friendliness – 4/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly, you order at the desk upfront so no need to wait for a waitress.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 3.5/5 – Not a crazy amount of outlets
  • Amenities (Places to take calls, etc.) – 2/5 – Just like Santa Lena this is a cafe not a cowork, so not too many amenities
  • Location / Ambiance – 5/5 – Beautiful open air spot, easily one of my favorite cafes in all of Colombia
  • Ergonomics (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots)Nothing too great here, the chairs are comfortable but not incredible for your back.
A shot of my office while in Jardin, a couple hours from Medellin

Places To Work From – Honorable Mentions

This is a section where I’ll add co-working places / places to work that I’ve heard a lot of good things about, I either didn’t make it to the place, or I went and personally didn’t like it. In service to you all, if the place seems to have enough buzz, I will still share it.

WeWork – I didn’t work from here, but I do have some buddies who use WeWork. Their memberships give you access to locations around the world, and start at around $250 a month.

Cafe Revolucion – Pretty cool little spot, particularly for meeting other foreigners, a bit small but I did work from there quite a bit.


Finding Community / Making Friends

A photo of my mom and I with my girlfriend her family and friends. Colombians are really easy to make friends with, it’s super common to make a friend out of a 5 minute conversation.

Interested In Building Community As A Nomad? I interviewed 9 other digital nomads to come up with a complete digital nomad guide to building community, check it out!

Online Groups & Pages – to ask questions, find friends, find meetups

MDE Community – This group collects and shares the most active Medellin groups that are open to Spanish and non-Spanish speakers. Lots of great groups to be found in this link.

There are a lot of really active Facebook groups (below) posting both events and with people posting everyday. However, in my experience, there is a lot of arguing on these pages ๐Ÿ˜‚

In Person Meetups

  • For language meetups
    • WOLA posts every day in their Whatsapp group with multiple language meetups happening that day around Medellin. Great group to be part of, here’s a link with all their links.
    • Gringo Tuesdays – not my favorite meetup, way too much English speakers here so it’s tough to get a lot of Spanish practice haha. But it is wildly popular.
  • Weekly Mens Circle At Selina – this group was huge in my making friends and building meaningful connections in Medellin. It was started by a great dude, my buddy Oliver who runs a great Ayahuasca center near Medellin. I don’t believe they’ve updated this Facebook page in years haha, I would contact Selina to ensure that the groups is still happening every Tuesday if you’re curious about it.

Transportation

San Carlos Colombia On A Bicycle

A shot of my favorite form of transportation, taken up in San Carlos a couple of hours from Medellin

  • Getting Around
    • Metro – they have a pretty solid infrastructure of metros and buses, which a lot of locals use to get around. Here’s a guide on how to get a metro pass as a foreigner.
    • UBER. -While it’s technically illegal, it’s easy to get Ubers here and outside of biking would be my recommended way of getting around.
    • Local taxi’s – In general I don’t like local Taxi’s from Norway to the Philippines I’ve had taxis trying to charge me outrageous prices for trips. While I did have one taxi driver give me back counterfeit bills one time I did generally have good experiences with taxi drivers here.
    • Biking! – This is going to come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following me for a while but I preferred getting around on bikes here. While this city isn’t nearly as bike friendly as a lot of European cities, biking is huge in all of Colombia, especially Medellin and all of Antioquia. Many years you’ll see Colombians finishing in the top 10 of the Tour De France, and cycling is a very serious sport here.
      • Unfortunately, I didn’t find any good spots for affordable bike rentals, but since I’m going to be living in Colombia for 6 months of the year moving I bought a bike at Decathalon, there are lots of online spots to buy used bikes at as well (for example mercado libre).

Want to stay fit & eat healthy while traveling? Check out my guide to diet fitness while traveling here!


What I Drank / Nightlife

Some 2am Smirnoff chugging on a Tuesday night

Bogota Beer Company

These guys have incredible beer, and locations all over Medellin. I do believe they’ve been bought out by A/B In Bev (a massive international beverage company)

I particularly love the Macondo beer

Parce Rum ~$40 USD per bottle

This rum is a great one! One of the founders is American, so it’s not 100% Medellin, but dammit it is good!

Drink Reviews W/ A Redneck From My Time Here

This is from my Drink Reviews W/ A Redneck Series. Which features me drinking and reviewing alcohol from around the world. Sometimes I’m with others, sometimes I’m by myself, sometimes I compare the drinks to romantic interests. Check it out!

Quireme Mezcal Drink Review

Check out my review of Aguardiente Antioqueno arguably the drink of Antioquia (the state that Medellin is in)

Check out my review of Tape Tuza – some hardcore stuff ๐Ÿ˜‚

NightLife

Poblado / Provenza

  • Parque Poblado – This is a happening spot, and fun to drink at on the weekend. Mix of tourists and Colombians.
  • La House Provenza – This place is located on Carrera 35, a hoppin spot for partying. These guys have a couple of different floors with different music.
  • Masaya’s Rooftop Bar – Chill spot with a great view. I don’t recommend the cowork here as the wifi was horrible, but the rooftop is killer!
  • Canalla Medellin – Super cool open air spot
A shot from Masaya’s Rooftop, beautiful

Laureles / Belen

  • Carrera 70 – This is a loud super busy spot, not for everyone but it is interesting to check it out one night.
  • Panorama Rooftop Bar – Pretty sweet rooftop bar in the heart of Laureles
  • Plazoleta Villa de Aburrรก – This is actually where I met my now girlfriend generally any day of the week later in the afternoon you can come to this plaza, get a beer from one of the convenience stores, and hang out in the plaza. You may be the only foreigner though.

Exercise / Outdoors

Want to stay fit & eat healthy while traveling? Check out my guide to diet fitness while traveling here!

Guatape, Colombia P

A shot of El Penon De Guatape, a massive rock you can climb not far from Medellin

Nature

Medellin is surrounded by beautiful mountains and hiking trails. It’s a paradise for people who love both big cities and outdoors (like me).

Los Tres Cruces – This is a pretty steep, but shorter hike right in Medellin.

Cerro Tusa – This was probably one of the most intense hikes of my life, super steep and super beautiful, check out the video below.

Hiking Cerro Tusa

A shot of my hike from Cerro Tusa – read my guide to the hike here

Exercise

SmartFit Gym – I use these guys all over latin America, and you can buy a year long membership for all of their locations all over latin America. You can also get month to month memberships as well at any of their Medellin locations.

Flying Tree Yoga – Admittedly, this place can get a bit packed but it is a great yoga studio offering classes in both English and Spanish in Laureles.

Get On A Bike! – Either buying a new one, or looking for a used one on mercado libre. There is a ton of great challenging biking in and around Medellin.

Some shots of me cycling around Medellin

Want to stay fit & eat healthy while traveling? Check out my guide to diet fitness while traveling here!


๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ Want to stay up to date on my journey?

Or – Looking For Regular Digital Nomad Content & Inspiration? ๐Ÿ™‹โ€โ™€๏ธ

Follow Me On Instagram – @officialdigitalnomadlifestyle

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: