El Poblado vs Sabaneta: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in? - Medellin Guru
El Poblado vs Sabaneta. 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 Sabaneta: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?

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

  1. Jhon Fredy January 24, 2021

    Thanks for your comment about my town ? enjoying me Sabaneta. Blessing From Chicago.

  2. Stephen Ray Lunny September 29, 2019

    This site is an absolute treasure. There’s nothing like it. I am considering a move to Medellin in the new year and I can’t thank you enough for all this comprehensive and frank, fact-driven information. I am a Canadian graphic designer and animator with American clients and work remotely most of the time, After 4 years in Miami Beach, I’m move in love with latin culture than ever and ready to make my next move.

    Choosing a barrio is incredibly daunting, I want a beautiful place with a view and somewhere I can walk out to shops, restaurants and cafes but the way you describe El Poblado makes it seem overpriced (even if cheap my US standards) when compared to other barrios like Sabaneta. I wonder if I can find an upscale place with amenities like a doorman, pool and gym there. I also need reliable (very) high-speed internet to work.

    I don’t know Spanish much yet and plan to immerse myself and go to school there. I have friends in Medellin.

    I visit for a week in November to explore.

    Thanks again for your amazing research and work on this site.

    • Hi Stephen, thanks. Yes, you can find an upscale place in Sabaneta with doorman, pool and gym. Most of the high-rise apartment building have these amenities. Also, many of the apartment buildings in Sabaneta have Claro Internet available, which offers speed of up to 300 Mbps – see our guide to Internet providers for more information – https://medellinguru.com/internet-and-cable-tv/

    • Luis Guevara March 7, 2021

      I lived in Llano grande and Laureles. Llano grande is small town close to the airport. Good Colombian experience. Lots of coffee shops. Little traffic

    • Luis Guevara March 7, 2021

      My wife is Colombian. She has relatives in El Poblado, Envigado, Laureles and Llano grande. If you want to experience Colombian life better, Llano Grande or Rio Negro. Good entertainment, less traffic, good gyms, golf, great Colombian food, less motorcycles, cleaner air,

  3. I must be missing something with Sabaneta. Most people love it but to me the park area is nice to visit but I feel like after a few days you’d be over it. Lunch is more than enough for me. Also to me it seems likes a touristy area. Other than the park area and a mall what else is worth visiting? I’m going to Medellin in November and want to give Sabaneta another chance. Thanks

  4. I’ve to Medellin twice. Spent a total of just over 5 months there.
    Both times I rented a room from a Spanish woman that spoke
    English. This was in Envigado. Although I never spent much time
    in Poblado it was obvious your in the high rent district. Yes this
    is the place to go for nitelife. I was told that foreigners quite often
    ask taxi drivers where they can acquire drugs and prostitutes.
    Not exactly the place I’d like to live. Of course your mileage may

    Envigado is very mundane by comparison. Where I was it was
    quiet at nite. Never seen the cops hassle anyone although they
    are always around. Two cops on motorcycles seem to make
    regular rounds. Being a white north American I paid attention
    if the local police were looking at me. Never once did I notice
    any of them give me a second glance.

    To me Envigado is a nice place. Except not for me. I find it
    crowded.I prefer a smaller barrio. The last time I was there
    I checked out El Retiro a small town on the way to the airport.
    Now, I only spent an afternoon there. Higher up in elevation
    and better air. A decent grocery with prices on par with Envigado.
    Quiet,not crowded and relaxed. The air quality is much better.

    Now I am planning a permanent move to Medellin and retire
    there. I find it’s all about making reliable contacts there. By
    October I will be moving to Medellin. Perhaps permanently.
    Time will tell. If anyone has any thoughts or information that
    they would like to share about living in a smaller town like
    El Retiro I would greatly appreciate ant and all opinions.

    As a side note. While I was Envigado I found what I call an
    exceptional Dentist. I had a lot of dental work done by him.
    Actually, he is an oral surgeon. He does speak decent
    English. Also I used a private driver. This guy knows Medellin.
    I mainly used him to get to/from the airport. He also speaks
    decent English. Both are on WhatsUp. If anyone has any
    questions, feel free to email me.


    • Stanley Lundstrom March 5, 2020

      Hi Marvin.
      I am very interested in the Medellin area and feel I would want to live in a less populated area. Maybe Sabaneta or even Retiro, Rio Negro near the airport. I have never visited Colombia and certainly have to put boots on the ground before any decision would be made. It sounds like you have the same interests in where to reside in Colombia. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
      Thank you,

    • Luis Guevara March 7, 2021

      I lived in Llano grande and Laureles. Llano grande is small town close to the airport. Good Colombian experience. Lots of coffee shops. Little traffic

  5. You really stepped in it now Jeff. Comparing El Poblado to anywhere is going to bring out all the critics. “El Poblado is not the REAL Colombia”…lol. I happen to like both areas for many of the reasons you point out. I will say that it’s easier to get around Poblado if your Spanish is a bit iffy like mine is. However, I do admit it’s easier to get around the quiet flatlands of Sabaneta when you want to do just about anything or everything else. I can see a new expat living in El Poblado for a time, learning a bit more of the language/cultrue and then moving to somewhere like Sabaneta. My visits to Sabaneta lead me to believe it’s definitely more of a family communa. A bedroom suburb so to speak. That’s great if your married and/or have kids. However, if you’re a single person with a go-go lifestyle and money to burn, you’ll probably want to be near the action. In which case El Poblado may be your best spot. As my old man used to say, “Son, that’s why they make Fords and Chevy’s”

    I get a real kick out of these comparisons. Great write-up!

    • Thanks, yes, the article brought out several critics of El Poblado. You are correct, Sabaneta is good for a family. And if you want nightlife you don’t have to go all the way to El Poblado – there are small fondas in Sabaneta and several places in Envigado plus the popular Dulce Jesús Mio disco is nearby in Itagüi where you rarely see foreigners.

  6. I am in Medellin now. The view presented on AirBNB has a building blocking it. I contacted AirBNB some of the pictures were deleted.

  7. Sabaneta easily beats El Poblado. El Poblado is expensive, is very hilly and has too much traffic. The largest and best mall is no longer in El Poblado it’s Viva Envigado in Envigado and Mayorca in Sabaneta is my second favorite mall. I live near Mayorca mall and I never go to El Poblado anymore as there are plenty of restaurants in Sabaneta and Envigado and plenty of shopping.

  8. Joseph July 27, 2019

    I agree with this article and the comments. El Poblado is overhyped and is not the real Colombia. El Poblado is the most expensive neighborhood and has too many hills and too much traffic. But the gringo real estate firms like Lifeafar and Casacol continue pushing El Poblado. There are so many other neighborhoods in the metro area that are cheaper and let you experience more of a local life. I much prefer Sabaneta and Envigado and Bello.

  9. Awesome post. El Poblado is overpriced and the traffic is horrible. Sabaneta is much cheaper and a much better place to live. I live in Sabanata and rarely go to El Poblado. In fact I try to avoid El Poblado. Hope you do one of your Medellin Guru meetups in Sabaneta.

    • Hi Paul, thanks. Yes, we do plan to have one of our meetups in Sabaneta.

  10. Nice article and thanks for the crime stats. El Poblado get all they hype and is pushed by the gringo real estate companies. El Poblado is too hilly with way too much traffic. No way I would want to live there. Also I don’t like Parque Lleras with the drugs being pushed and all the working girls and gringos in shorts. Parque Sabaneta is so much nicer and is a great place to go for a beer.

    I also looked at Laureles, which I liked and I also like Envigado. But my favorite is Sabaneta where I decided to live and I love living here. Sabaneta is cheaper than El Poblado, Envigado and Laureles. And Mayorca is a huge mall so no need to go to the malls in Poblado or Envigado. And I can walk everywhere in Sabaneta. More gringos should get out of El Poblado and find the real Colombia instead of the fake Westernized Poblado.

    • I agree with you, El Poblado is Gringolandia and not the real Colombia. Any expat that lives there is not embracing the Colombian culture found in other neighborhoods in the city. Everything is overpriced in El Poblado and you can find cheaper elsewhere in the city. Plus El Poblado has too much traffic and is too hilly.

    • stanley lundstrom November 7, 2019

      I am looking to become an ex pat and looking at Colombia specifically Medellin. Sabaneta sounds ideal. Must put boots on the ground!!

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