Saludos from Colombia city-lovers! Today we check in with Florida native Matt Dickhaus who has been living and working in Medellín for the past two years. Here he shares his insider tips to his South American city.
Medellín is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Lleras Park to one of the dozens of great open-air restaurants, cafes, and bars.
When I crave fresh mango juice I always go to La Jugosa. Don’t like mango? Try freshly squeezed strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, maracuja, lulo, or orange juices.
To escape from the city I head to Los Salados just 45 minutes outside of town. Here, set beside a large lake, you’ll find numerous picnic tables covered with natural thatched roofs where you can grill your freshly caught fish.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at the city’s Jardín Botánico or Botanical Gardens surrounded by grassy fields, tropical flowers, and a variety of trees.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with one of the many Botero sculptures downtown.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Ay Caramba in Lleras Park it has to be the nachos which are slathered with cheesy toppings and big enough for two to share.
La Machete is my one-stop shop for fresh, crispy empanadas with homemade salsa and a ripe, local orange on the side to squeeze the juice on top. These empanadas always hit the spot.
Locals know to skip Santa Elena and check out Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Colombian town from colonial times. Located on the top of a small hill, this city square has great views of the city.
For a huge splurge I go to Milagros, traditional Mexican restaurant located in El Poblado.
Photo ops in my city include Botero sculptures, the Metrocable, and Arvi Park. The best vantage points are from the lookout points in Las Palmas.
The most random thing about my city is you can find chickens and horses sharing the street with Porsches.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves mountain biking along local trails, a game of soccer, or kayaking in one of the lakes outside the city.
My city’s best museum is the Modern Art Museum.
You can tell a lot about my city from walking down a city street in the evening. On every corner you’ll find a small store or tienda where people go after work for a coffee, a cold beer, or simply to chat with the neighbors.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they are sporting a green Nacional jersey. The local soccer team is very popular and displaying fan loyalty occurs daily.
A hidden gem in my city is Ciudad del Rio, a small park hidden behind an apartment building. On the weekends you can have a picnic or simply relax in the shade.
Don’t miss the Medellín Flower Fair in April August, a week long celebration that includes a parade of over 10,000 people dressed in the traditional garb.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Just outside my city, you can visit Guatapé where you can climb 600 steps to the top of a giant rock to get an amazing view of the thousands of islands and lakes that surround the area.
If my city were a pet it would be a horse because although the city is quite modern, you’ll often see horse-drawn carts– carrying fresh fruit, vegetables, or construction materials– sharing the streets with cars.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in a hammock in Montañita, Ecuador.
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it has beautiful weather all year round, the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and a bad reputation people should know isn’t true.
Tell us about your favorite spots in Medellín. Leave us the details in the comments section below.
Want to see your city on Intelligent Travel? Copy and paste our list of fill-in-the-blank questions into an e-mail, fill in your answers, and send your responses (with any photos, videos or links) to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org.