You'll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier group of paisas than those who live in Medellín. Warm and welcoming, their disposition can be as sunny as the year-round spring-like weather. The locals have a reputation for being hardworking, but that doesn't mean they don't like to cut loose. The city has a vibrant nightlife scene and the party can go on late into the night.
When to Go
Well deserving of its nickname, the City of Eternal Spring enjoys a temperate climate all year, although the daily temperatures vary widely between the warmer city center and the cooler hillside neighborhoods. Dress in layers and pack an umbrella, as spring showers are ever present especially in its two rainy seasons that fall from September to December and March to May.
Each August, the fragrant smell of fresh-cut flowers fills the air during the week-long Festival of Flowers, which celebrates the city's thriving flower industry. The event culminates with the signature Flower Parade, when local people, known as silleteros, carry elaborate, and heavy, floral arrangements through the streets on their backs. Traditionally, silleteros refers to the highlands peasants, who strapped chairs to their backs to carry produce—and sometimes people—down the mountain into the city.
What to Eat
Bandeja paisa makes it possible to savor the flavor of the Antioquia region in one calorie-dense meal served at traditional restaurants known as a fondas. The typical dish includes heaping portions of different meats served with red beans, rice, plantains, fried eggs, avocados, and an arepa, the ubiquitous Colombian corn cake served with every meal of the day.
Souvenir to Take Home
Experience the thrill of the hunt at local flea and craft markets, where vendors sell everything from traditional handicrafts to haute couture. The San Alejo Market, held on the first Saturday of the month at the Parque Bolívar, ranks as a favorite. Several high-end boutiques stocked with creations by up-and-coming fashion and home-décor designers can be found especially in the barrios of Laureles and El Poblano.
Sustainable Travel Tip
Medellín may be the second largest city in Colombia, but it leads the nation in providing efficient and modern public transportation. With the combination of elevated trains and a growing number of urban cable-car lines, the metro system offers a quick, affordable, and scenic way to get around.
Once the most dangerous barrio in Medellín, Comuna 13 is now one of the city's most visited. The colorfully painted buildings of the neighborhood cling to the hillside like soggy Fruity Pebbles in a cereal bowl. Capture some great photos of the area's urban art anywhere around the outdoor escalators, which turn a steep 28-story climb into a short six-minute ride.