El Poblado vs Laureles: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in? Medellin Guru
El Poblado vs Laureles. We comprehensively compare two neighborhoods popular with expats in Medellín in 8 categories to see which is a better place to live.

El Poblado vs Laureles: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?

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25 thoughts on “El Poblado vs Laureles: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?”

  1. Jeff,

    Another great post, many thanks. And to the community commenting, really grateful for your thoughts and insights. As Jeff said some of this is personal preferences so even the criticisms help validate and inform out thinking. We are looking forward to saying Hi and thanks at the meetup next week (Aug 6, 2019, Tuesday), see you there.

    • Hi Steve, thanks. See you at the Medellin Guru meetup on August 6.

  2. John, thank you for this information!

  3. Great article, thank you. Leaving Poblado for someplace less frenetic and less “Gringo” is constantly on my mind. Does anybody know someone who can do the legwork of finding me a particular type of apartment in Laureles?

    • We used Juan Camilo, What’s app +57 316 833 4225. Honest reliable! We highly recommend him, driver, tour guide, relocation assistance, sign up for your health insurance, lease an apartment, help with visa , and opening a bank account. See his reviews on Facebook.

    • Saw that you were looking for a place a little over a year ago. I am considering coming for a month and trying it out this Summer if Covid permits. Im thinking of Laureles as it sounds slightly quieter, but curious as to where many English speaking people might reside. I dont speak Spanish yet so it might be helpful to have some Americans near for guidance. Is Air BNB the best route for short term like that or are their better options where you dont get ripped off? I was thinking of around $500 per month, but would want something pretty decent. Thoughts on best ways to go about it?

      • @ Chris: I have no experience with Airbnb, but considering where to stay I absolutely advise you to stay at El Poblado if you don’t speak Spanish yet. In El Poblado you will feel much more comfortable, as much more Colombians there speak a little English. In Laureles in fact nobody speaks English, so as long as your Spanish is not basic yet you definately better stay in El Poblado for now.


        • Geoffrey March 1, 2021

          Unless of course your preference runs to avoiding gringo types & English speakers at all costs in favor of the total immersion concept. Lots of travelers feel that way and they’re not shy about letting the world know about it. Personally I enjoy speaking my native English because for half my life I’ve been in a Spanish speaking environment so I like to keep up with both languages…which I can do quite nicely here in Laureles. There are more English speakers in this neighborhood than you might think.
          Sandra is right on point though about customer service being pretty much limited to Spanish.

  4. Thanks for the mention, Jeff! We agree with most of the comments here and have no regrets about choosing Laureles. More than once, we’ve gotten out of a taxi in El Poblado and walked the rest of the way just to avoid being late to appointments. Parts of Poblado feel too dense and claustrophobic for our taste, but there are still some really pretty areas there; e.g. the Provenza neighborhood and Parque La Presidente. We’re glad we can have the best of both worlds!

  5. geoffrey July 24, 2019

    One thing good about Laureles is that the noisy part with the bars is mostly confined to one street; La 70 and even that is raucous only at the North end close to the football stadium. As you head South along 70 closer to the university and especially on Sundays you’ll see families strolling into brightly lit places like La Jugosa for a juice or ice cream treat. On Halloween the kids in their costumes will storm into the shops demanding treats with a memorized little speech. It’s hilarious.
    The rest of the barrio West of 70 is still the Goldilocks village atmosphere I enjoy.
    I’ve lived more than half my life in a Latin American context so am not a total immersion kind of guy. I like to be around English speakers too. Plus I’m a city boy. After two years in a small town in the central highlands of Mexico I realized that I needed a bigger city so I came here. It’s okay.

    • Again, thanks for your insights. Hope to bump in to you here in Laureles!

  6. I agree 100 percent. Poblado was wonderful in 1975 when it was an artist haven filled with coffee houses and quaint shops and art galleries and cool locals. It Reminded me a little of old time Sausalito. No longer. It is a sprawling mini city filled with overpriced everything and lots of tourists. Definitely not the reason I came to Colombia. The further away from Tourists. TOURIST TRAPS and beer halls the happier I am. Poblado is finished in my book. Honestly most of Medellin has lost its charm. It’s the 2nd largest city in Colombia and reminds me of Manhattan. Crazed speed demons walking Driving and rushing around like mindless chickens. Time to fund a kinder, Gentler retirement spot. For the meanwhile Laureles is by far a much better choice but it is quickly becoming a clone of Poblado. Too much noise and bars, just easier to traverse.

  7. Richard July 24, 2019

    El Poblado is overpriced gringolandia with Parque Lleras and Provenza overrun by gringos in shorts. Choose El Poblado if you want the comforts of home like Starbucks, Burger King and McDonalds and more gringos. Choose Laureles of you want more of a local Colombian experience and a neighborhood that is very walkable.

    I lived a short while in El Poblado but quickly got tired of the traffic and hills. I moved to Laureles where it is much more walkable and a much cheaper place to live.

  8. I felt trapped in money pit Poblado. Filled with nuevo rich snobs. I much prefer being here among more down to earth types. In the end so many of us expats think we know it all here in Medellin and in Colombia. Come to find out we are guests in a very compliacated culture. It takes a lifetime to really understand this country and this continent. Poblado is not.Colombia. might as well live in los angeles.

  9. Very useful info. Thank you

  10. Charles July 22, 2019

    Very helpful. Are robberies usually in one form or random? For example, targeting people alone on a quiet street with a knife. Are robberies carried out by gangs, like how pick pocket gangs work? If you hand over what the robber wants do you usually come away unscathed? I know the tips about avoid being robbed, just interested to know what to expect if it happens. Thanks.

    • Hi Charles, thanks. Some thieves target people alone on a quiet street. I have talked to several expats that were victims of robberies on quiet streets. Also, sometimes robberies happen by two on a motorcycle that pull up next to a car or taxi at a stop or someone on the street. That’s why they sometimes ban passengers on motos. Also, some thieves are opportunistic such as seeing a foreigner brandishing a smartphone or expensive camera – I have talked to several expats that have experienced their cell phones being stolen and two that had expensive cameras stolen in El Centro when they had them out taking photos of tourist spots.

      Pickpocketing and purse snatching is common in some public places, particularly at events and on the metro during rush-hour. Distraction is frequently the strategy, so be alert and keep an eye on your belongings. Also, be aware of your surroundings when using your cellphone, as cellphones are the most commonly stolen items in the city.

      If you hand over what a thief wants you greatly reduce your risk of injury. Never resist if you are a robbery victim. Many homicide victims in Medellín resisted robberies. It’s not worth risking your life for some money and/or possessions. Don’t try to be a hero.

      See our safety tips in this popular article – https://medellinguru.com/medellin-security-safety-tips/

  11. geoffrey July 22, 2019

    The apartments in El Poblado have some breathtaking views and as soon as you begin the ascent up from the valley floor the temperature cools down considerably to something clean and refreshing. At night at a roof-top gathering the sparkling urban views produce a feeling that is spectacular. If you live in Medellin and are retired like me you can pick your days and times to go there. I wouldn’t want to live there but it ain’t nearly so bad once you clock the place. It’s a shame though, that the criticisms listed here are spot on.
    I set myself up in Laureles instead. It’s just big enough, walkable enough and lots cheaper especially for an unfurnished apartment and there are some nice mountain views once you get up near Nutibara Ave. Beneath the surface there is an unmistakable international flavor that is not immediately apparent; different types of residents and visitors from abroad.

    • Geoffrey, great comment, thanks.. We are in the process of retiring to Laureles and your insights validated our feel of this beautiful place too. The last point you made about the international diversity was a bit of a new awareness for us, but spot on in our opinion. On our trips here we met lots of friendly Colombian resident, but also French, UK, US, Spanish, German, Japanese and Australian nationals. The building we are buying in has us (US) and one resident from the UK, everyone else is Colombian. Perfecto pensamos! 🙂

      Plus, like you said, a short cab hop to Poblado and everything one can enjoy there.

  12. Nice article. El Poblado gets all they hype but its expensive for Medellin and too hilly and has way too much traffic. I wanted to experience more of a local Colombian living experience so looked in other neighborhoods. I also don’t like Parque Lleras in Poblado with all the drugs and working girls.

    I looked in Laureles and liked it and I looked in Envigado as well. But I decided to live in Sabaneta where it is even cheaper than Laureles and Envigado. Also, it’s only a 10 minute metro ride from Sabaneta station to Poblado station. So, it’s easy to get Poblado when I want to go to a restaurant there.

  13. Cheaper, flatter and less congested in Laureles. Always liked Laureles. If I had to live in the Aburra Valley again it would be Envigado, Sabaneta and the Laureles…in that order

  14. The traffic in Poblado has turned that section of town into an absolute nightmare. Medellin never was built for this population explosion and has made getting around there during business hours to be a complete nightmare. It took me 30 minutes to travel 3 blocks in a taxi last week. Laureles is less congested. In my opinion Poblado has seen its day and I would not live there under any circumstances unless i never had to leave my apartment during normal daytime hours.

    • amit k July 22, 2019

      who in their right mind sits in a taxi for 30 mins when they can just walk the 3 blocks? lol

      • I have a heart conditon. Is that a good reason mr. Lol. With gringos like you here we are in big trouble.

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