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The city of Medellin, Colombia has become a widely popular destination for tourists, digital nomads and backpackers alike, with its tourist popularity growing 41 percent compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
It’s easy to see why Medellin is home to natural beauty, trendy bars and welcoming residents. The reputation of Pablo Escobar has been plagued by the country of Colombia for decades, preventing it from reaching its tourism potential until now.
Colombia is starting to attract digital nomads who would normally go to Asia but find themselves trapped by the countries they usually go to. While Colombia still has proof of a vaccination requirement to enter, tourists will not need to take a negative test or be quarantined like most countries in Asia still require it. They can simply show proof of their vaccination card, fill out an online CheckMig form, and enter Colombia.
For 6 months in 2021, Colombia eliminated all entry requirements altogether, also tempting many budget travelers to skip popular Mexico and head south instead. While Mexico was the undisputed king of tourism during the pandemic, passenger traffic increased only 9.3% from 2019 figures, while Colombia jumped 41%.
Is Medellin Affordable?
The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated. Medellin is less expensive than many similar US cities. On average, living expenses are 60%-70% lower than in major US cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago. These numbers reflect the cost of living for locals in Medellin, but you may find that the cost of living for travelers and digital nomads is a bit higher.
Because of the wide spread here, hotels and Airbnb are much more expensive than they were before the pandemic, but they are still more affordable than many tourist cities. You can expect to spend between $700 and $1,000 on an apartment in Medellin for one month, of course depending on the size and how long you book in advance. If you are looking for a cheaper place to stay, Medellin is home to many hostels as well.
Cafés, bars, and restaurants also attracted the influx of tourists and started charging accordingly. However, you can still have a good dinner and a night out very cheaply in Medellin if you look a little off the track.
Medellin’s weather is a huge plus too, as the city is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ – meaning that temperatures stay moderate from 60 to 80 degrees throughout the year.
How safe is it?
That’s kind of the elephant in the room when we’re talking about a lot of destinations in Central and South America. Years of real cartel activity and its portrayal in popular culture has made many people wary of traveling south.
While cartel activity has mostly faded, parts of Medellin can be a little dodgy at night. Medellin is generally considered safe for travelers in terms of violent crime, but there has been a recent string of armed robberies and petty crimes against tourists occurring in late 2021. Check out our guide to safety in Medellin
How do I get to Medellin?
You can travel from several destinations in the United States to Medellin. International flights to Medellin land at Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (MDE), which is located in the city of Rionegro, about 20 miles east of Medellin. Here are some examples of flights and prices:
New York to Medellin – $273 round trip – American Airlines
Boston to Medellin – $291 round trip – Spirit Airlines
From Miami to Medellin – $146 round trip – Spirit Airlines
From Los Angeles to Medellin – $394 round trip – COPA
Chicago to Medellin – $346 round trip – Spirit Airlines
Once you land in Medellin, you will be able to reach the city center with various taxi options and the official airport bus.
Medellin might be the place to visit in 2022! It has everything a traveler/backpacker could need at an affordable price and is relatively safe for travelers. Getting there soon might be a good idea, because who knows how big a destination this time next year could be.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions It can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your citizenship and/or any changes to travel requirements prior to travel. Travel Off Path does not endorse travel against government warnings