We look at 34 Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ) asked by expats visiting Medellín, living in the city and asked by Medellin Guru readers, which is updated for 2021.

Over the past four years I have answered literally thousands of expat questions posted on blogs, Facebook groups and also on this Medellin Guru website and the Medellin Guru Facebook page.

I have seen many of the same questions asked repeatedly, again and again and again. And unfortunately, on Facebook groups, the answers quickly get buried and few people search for the same question being asked before.

So, to help expats get answers to Medellín frequently asked questions we created this list that answers 34 Medellín frequently asked questions.

Note that this Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ) will be kept up-to-date, as is done with every article on the Medellin Guru site. This list was updated in March 2021.

34 Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are 34 Medellín frequently asked questions, in no particular order. Click on any question and you will jump directly to that question in the long article below:

  1. Is a PCR test needed to travel to Colombia?
  2. How to get a PCR test in Medellín?
  3. Does the U.S. require a COVID-19 test for travel to the U.S. from Colombia?
  4. Where can I take Spanish classes in Medellín?
  5. How to get to Medellín from the airport?
  6. Is Medellín safe?
  7. How to extend a Colombia Tourst Visa?
  8. What is the weather like in Medellín?
  9. How to get a Colombia IVA tax refund?
  10. What is the best way to exchange money?
  11. What are the best hospitals in Medellín and Colombia?
  12. How to sign up with Colombian health insurance?
  13. How to find a furnished room or apartment to rent in Medellín?
  14. How to find an unfurnished apartment in Medellín?
  15. How to furnish an apartment?
  16. What is the cost of living in Medellín?
  17. How to buy and use cell phones in Colombia?
  18. What are the best mobile apps to use in Medellín and Colombia?
  19. How to get a Colombian drivers license?
  20. Can you buy computers in Medellín for similar prices to the U.S.?
  21. How to find cheap flights to Medellín and Colombia?
  22. How to find cheap domestic flights in Colombia?
  23. Can I travel with my pet to Colombia?
  24. How to obtain a Colombian visa?
  25. How long does it take to get a Colombian visa?
  26. Which city in Colombia is better to live in?
  27. Where should I go to buy cheap groceries in Colombia?
  28. What Colombian food dishes should I try?
  29. Where can I watch U.S. sports in Medellín?
  30. What are the best Medellín museums worth visiting?
  31. What are the best malls in Medellín?
  32. What are kid-friendly things to do in Medellín?
  33. What are the top Colombia blogs?
  34. How to get to Pablo Escobar’s grave?

Does Colombia Require a COVID-19 Test for International Travelers?

Does Colombia Require a COVID-19 Test for International Travelers?

1. Is a PCR Test Needed to Travel to Colombia?

According to El Tiempo, the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, explained on in June 2021 the guidelines of resolution 777 of 2021, which sets the criteria for the economic and social reactivation of the country.

In an interview with Caracol Noticias, Ruiz revealed that Colombia will no longer request the requirement of the PCR test from travelers, both Colombian and foreign, who enter the country. Also, the CoronApp requirement will be removed.

The bottom line is it will no longer be necessary for travelers to present a negative PCR test upon arrival in the country. This measure began to take effect on June 1, 2021, as confirmed by the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz.

PCR Test: How to Get a COVID-19 Test in Medellín

PCR Test: How to Get a COVID-19 Test in Medellín

2. How to Get a PCR Test in Medellín?

Are you looking to get a COVID-19 test in Medellín? We provide advice and information on places and prices for COVID-19 tests in Medellín.

Coronavirus show no signs of going away in Colombia. Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about COVID-19 tests and particularly about PCR tests needed for international travel.

Note the U.S. will start requiring a COVID-19 test for travelers to the U.S. starting on January 26, either a PCR test or an antigen test.

Whether you need a PCR test for travel, arrived in Colombia without a PCR test and need a PCR test, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone infected, we provide information about obtaining COVID-19 tests in Medellín.

There are many places that provide COVID-19 tests in Medellín and we provide information about testing paces in our article that Medellin Guru readers have reported success and good service.

3. Do You Need a COVID-19 Test to Travel From Colombia to the U.S.?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on January 12 issued an order that will require a negative COVID-19 test from all air passengers entering the United States starting on January 26 — a move it says may help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

To enter the U.S., you will need to be tested no more than three days before your flight to the U.S. departs. Make sure to be tested with a viral test (PCR or antigen test) to determine if you are currently infected with COVID-19.

This used to be 72 hours but the CDC has since clarified what it means by its three-day policy. Their explanation makes the requirement more straightforward for travelers:

The 3-day period is the three days before the flight’s departure. The Order uses a 3-day timeframe instead of 72 hours to provide more flexibility to the traveler. By using a 3-day window, test validity does not depend on the time of the flight or the time of day that the test was administered.

If you have had a positive viral COVID-19 test in the past 3 months and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel to the U.S. instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

Airlines will not permit you to board on flights to the U.S. starting on January 26 if you do not have a required test or documentation of recovery.

Also, we have a popular article about where you can get COVID-19 tests in Medellín.

OLSA International: A Popular Spanish School in Medellín

OLSA International: A Popular Spanish School in Medellín

4. Where can I take Spanish classes in Medellín?

Medellin Guru partnered with OLSA International to offer Spanish classes to foreigners at a competitive price and OLSA is certified for student visas.

We reviewed all the Spanish schools in Medellín and selected OLSA International as our recommended Spanish school partner.

Features of the OLSA Spanish School Partnership:

  • Ability to obtain a Colombian student visa
  • Lower prices for Spanish classes than at Universities
  • Only Spanish program in Colombia based on U.S. University Spanish curriculums
  • Curriculum emphasizes conversational Spanish, so you learn to speak faster
  • Location in Estadio is convenient to two metro stations
  • Owner of OLSA is from the U.S and has 25 years of education experience in the U.S.

White airport taxis lined up at the Medellín airport

White airport taxis lined up at the Medellín airport

5. How to Get to Medellín From the Airport?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions on the big Medellín Facebook groups that I have seen asked 100s of times over the past few years. Some people ask how to get to Medellín from the airport and others ask is it safe to take a taxi or ask about private drivers.

The bottom line is there are seven different transportation options to get to Medellín from the Medellín José María Córdova international airport.

These six transportation options have a wide range in price from 13,000 to over 135,000 pesos ($3 to $35).  We have looked compressively at all six options to get to Medellín from the airport.

I normally use the white airport taxis to get to Medellín from the airport. And I have never encountered a problem in over 60 trips to/from the airport in the past eight years.

In addition, I have used the bus and colectivo taxis several times. These options save money but can take more time in my experience.

Photo of Colombian Police by National Police of Colombia

Photo of Colombian Police by National Police of Colombia

6. Is Medellín Safe?

Medellín is generally safe to visit if you follow some basic safety tips, as you will reduce your risk of being a victim of crime. However, security in Medellín is still a major concern for expats living in Medellín and also tourists visiting the city.

Medellín still has a reputation of violence and drugs to overcome that hasn’t been helped by the popular Narcos series. What many people don’t realize is the timeframe depicted in Narcos was well over 25 years ago and that Pablo Escobar is long dead and buried.

Follow our expat safety tips to reduce the risk of being a victim of crime in Medellín. In our expat safety tips and security article, we also look at 2019 updates on security in Medellín. In addition we have looked at the safest neighborhoods in Medellín

Colombia tourist visa stamps in a passport

Colombia tourist visa stamps in a passport

7. How to Extend a Colombia Tourist Visa?

This is another of the most commonly asked questions on the big Medellín Facebook groups.

Colombia offers instant tourist visas to citizens of many countries that are good for 90 days. These “tourist visas” are really just a stamp in your passport and aren’t really visas.

Also, it is quite easy to extend a Colombian tourist visa to enable staying in Colombia a maximum of 180 days in a year.

Colombia has a relatively new online process to renew a Colombia “tourist visa” stamp. There is no longer the need to go to a Migracion Colombia office to renew a “tourist visa” stamp unless you run into problems with the online system.

We provide a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to renewing a Colombia “tourist visa”.

Photo of Medellín during a pretty day in the city

Photo of Medellín during a pretty day in the city

8. What is the Weather Like in Medellín?

The Medellín weather is a major benefit to living in Medellín and the city earns its nickname as “the City of Eternal Spring” (La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera) with an average year-round temperature of 72.5 °F (22.5 °C).

During the average day in the city, the average temperature usually ranges from 63.2 to 82.1 °F (17.4 to 27.8 °C).

We have a detailed guide to the Medellín weather including monthly temperatures, rain, humidity and sunshine hours. Also, we look at when is the best time to visit.

Getting an IVA tax refund

Getting an IVA tax refund

9. How to get a Colombia IVA tax refund?

One of the downsides of living in Medellín or Colombia is that Colombia has a 19 percent IVA tax (a.k.a. value-added tax or VAT) on many products. This tax makes buying many things in Colombia more expensive.

The IVA tax in Colombia used to be 16 percent but was increased to 19 percent in February 2017.

However, if you are a foreign tourist visiting and not residing in Colombia you can get a 100 percent IVA tax refund for many products purchased in Colombia. And we provide a detailed guide to getting a Colombia IVA tax refund.

Exchanging money in Colombia

Exchanging money in Colombia

10. What is the Best Way to Exchange Money?

As you well know if you come here to Medellín and Colombia you will need to have Colombian Pesos (COP) to use. These Colombian pesos are different than other countries’ pesos, like Mexico’s pesos. And other currencies like the USD or Euro aren’t used here.

Remember when converting or exchanging money there is always a fee for the service. In addition, there is the exchange rate that they offer to give you. This offered exchange rate is going to be less than the current XE.com rate or Bank rate.

This is where they have hidden fees (i.e. if the current XE rate is 3,000 COP but they offer 2,600 COP). That is why knowing the current exchange rate helps you to shop for the best deal.

There are several options for exchanging money including currency exchanges, banks, ATM machines and there is even a mobile app.

One of the best ways for exchanging money with a rate as close as possible to the XE rate is to use ATM machines. And we have a comprehensive guide to exchanging money, receiving and transferring money in Colombia.

Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, the best hospital in Medellín, photo by SajoR

Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, the best hospital in Medellín, photo by SajoR

11. What are the Best Hospitals in Medellín and Colombia?

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked. And no other countries in Latin America were ranked higher than Colombia. So, according to WHO, Colombia has the best healthcare system in Latin America.

In addition, Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

In Colombia, it is possible to have access to world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost compared to the healthcare costs in North America or Europe.

Colombia has 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America, according to a study in late 2019 by América Economia. So, 41 percent of the best clinics and hospitals in Latin America are found in Colombia. And nine of these best hospitals in Latin America are located in Medellín.

In addition, we provide a comprehensive guide to these 24 best hospitals in Colombia, including the nine best hospitals in Medellín.

Signing up for Health Insurance in Colombia

Signing up for Health Insurance in Colombia

12. How to Sign Up With Colombian Health Insurance?

Colombia has one of the world’s best healthcare systems and health insurance is relatively inexpensive in Colombia in comparison to other countries.

One of the reasons that Colombia has such a highly rated healthcare system is due to a new constitution that Colombia drafted in 1991 that made access to healthcare a basic human right to all citizens of Colombia, as well as foreign residents of Colombia.

In addition, Medellín is gaining a reputation as a top foreign retirement location. Health care is important for retirees.

SURA is considered by many to be the best health insurance provider in Colombia. And we have a guide to signing up with SURA health insurance in Colombia and we partnered with an insurance broker who has helped many readers obtain insurance. 

Finding a Furnished Room for Rent in Medellín

Finding a Furnished Room for Rent in Medellín

13. How to Find a Furnished Room or Apartment to Rent in Medellín?

Finding a nice furnished room for rent can take time and there are many options in Medellín.

There is a range of rental rooms available from budget to luxury. And when looking for a room to rent, you need to be patient and may need to see several rooms for rent before you find the perfect one for you.

Also, when an apartment has multiple bedrooms, many times the smaller bedrooms without private bathrooms are the ones for rent. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the room for rent is the best one with a private bathroom, as the owner wants to make more money.

We provide a detailed guide for expats to finding a furnished room for rent in Medellín for budget short-term or medium-term stays in the city, which can be cheaper than hotels or hostels.

In addition, we have a guide to furnished apartment rental prices in Medellín.

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

14. How to Find an Unfurnished Apartment in Medellín?

There are multiple ways to find unfurnished apartments in Medellín including:

  • Websites
  • Real estate agencies
  • Newspaper ads
  • Bulletin boards in grocery stores and other places
  • Walking around neighborhoods

There are several websites that list unfurnished apartments in Medellín. The best of these in my opinion is the popular website Espacio Urbano, which is used by many real estate agencies to list properties for sale or rent. Also, there are literally hundreds of real estate agencies in Medellín.

On the Medellin Guru website, we have a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to renting apartments in Medellín found in several articles, including:

Furniture for sale at Fabricas Unidas in Medellín

Furniture for sale at Fabricas Unidas in Medellín

15. How to Furnish an Apartment?

Since Medellín is a large city with a metro population of about 4 million, Medellín has a wide range of options available for furnishing apartments ranging from ritzy furnishings to budget furnishings. So, the cost to furnish an apartment can vary widely and really depends on your taste and budget.

We provide a comprehensive guide to furnishing an apartment including finding furniture, appliances, kitchen and bedroom items and TVs and electronic.

In our furnishing an apartment guide, I also provided my actual budget for furnishing a three-bedroom apartment in Medellín, with one bedroom set up as an office.

Low cost of living is a major benefit of living in Medellín

Low cost of living is a major benefit of living in Medellín

16. What is the Cost of Living in Medellín?

When looking at the Medellín cost of living, it is important to consider the standard of living, which more than anything will affect a person’s or couple’s or family’s cost of living.

Since I have lived over eight years in Medellín, I am often asked what the Medellín cost of living is. So, with the help of my Colombian wife, we track our expenses every month.

And we provided our actual Medellín cost of living for a couple living in Medellín during the period from January 2015 to July 2017, so you can see how our actual costs of living have changed over a few years. Also, we published an update in 2019 showing that our cost of living in Medellín for a family dropped dramatically even after having a baby.

In addition, we provide 15 tips for living cheaper in Medellín. Furthermore, Stephanie provided her cost of living for a single woman in Medellín.

The Claro store on the third floor in Los Molinos

The Claro store on the third floor in Los Molinos

17. How to Buy and Use Cell Phones in Colombia?

Cell phone services are relatively easy to establish in Colombia for foreigners but there are a number of regulations.

Many mobile providers in other countries like the U.S. have roaming agreements set up in Colombia.

So, if you have international roaming set up on your cell phone from one of these providers it will work in Colombia. However, it will normally be much more expensive than having a SIM with a local provider.

Cell phone operators in Colombia have been rolling out 4G networks over the past several years. So, many Colombian cellphone users now use 4G networks instead of the older generation and slower 3G networks.

The three largest cell phone providers in Colombia are Claro, Movistar and Tigo-UNE. These three providers have a combined mobile market share of about 89 percent in Colombia.

All of the mobile providers in Colombia offer prepaid plans (prepago) where you pay for minutes and data up front and postpaid plans (postpago), which are monthly plans.

In Colombia, the IMEI numbers of all Colombian cell phones used in the country must now be registered. When a mobile provider in Colombia encounters a non-registered IMEI, it will send a text message to the user to register the IMEI of the cell phone or it will be deactivated. You have a maximum of 20 days to register the IMEI or it will be blocked.

We also have a comprehensive guide to buying and using cell phones in Colombia.

Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia

Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia

18. What are the Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia?

Mobile apps can help you better navigate Medellín and the country of Colombia, find the best restaurants, chat with friends, make translations, order taxis and much more.

We provide a curated list of 21 of the best and most popular mobile apps to use when traveling to and living in Medellín and Colombia.

In the past couple of weeks, I have used these apps to message friends, call my family in the U.S., order home delivery of food from local restaurants, order taxis, translate a few words, find a new restaurant to try out and helped a taxi driver find the best route to an address.

Colombian Drivers License, courtesy of Colombia’s Ministerio de Transporte

Colombian Drivers License, courtesy of Colombia’s Ministerio de Transporte

19. How to Get a Colombian Drivers License?

The rules changed in Colombia in 2017 and even if you know how to drive you are now required to take classes to get a driver’s license in Colombia.

If you are a tourist visiting Colombia without a visa you can use your valid driver’s license from your home country along with your passport to drive in Colombia. So, there is no need for getting a Colombian drivers license. But this is now reportedly limited to a maximum of three months.

I obtained a Colombian drivers license previously without having to take classes. But since I received my license, the rules changed and you are required to take classes. So, it is now more difficult and more expensive for a foreigner to get a drivers license in Colombia.

We have a guide to obtaining a Colombian drivers license in Medellín or other cities in Colombia.

Also, be careful about posts in English on the Internet about Colombian drivers licenses, as every article I have seen looks to be out-of-date or incomplete.

Apple computers on sale at Falabella in Medellín

Apple computers on sale at Falabella in Medellín

20. Can You Buy Computers in Medellín for Prices Similar to the U.S.?

For lower priced computers and tablets, Colombia exempts the 19 percent IVA tax in Colombia, which helps make these items priced similar to in the U.S. But higher-end computer and tablets will be more expensive in Colombia due to the high IVA tax.

In addition to the IVA tax exemption, Colombia has been putting in place free trade agreements with several countries, which has helped reduce the costs of computers, tablets and other electronics in Colombia over the past several years.

We provide a detailed guide to buying computers and tablets in Medellín and Colombia where it’s possible to find lower end computers and tablets for prices similar to the U.S.

JetBlue A320 at Fort Lauderdale airport with Avianca plane in background, photo by Maarten Visser

JetBlue A320 at Fort Lauderdale airport with Avianca plane in background, photo by Maarten Visser

21. How to Find Cheap Flights to Medellín and Colombia?

The bottom line is that you should buy international flights to Medellín and Colombia in advance to save money. Ideally you should buy airfare about three months in advance for normally the lowest airfares.

But not everyone can buy that far in advance. So, try to buy at least five weeks in advance for lower airfares. And if you fly on Tuesday and Wednesday the airfare will normally be cheaper.

Prices for airfare from the U.S. to Medellín and other cities in Colombia for non-peak months can normally be found for under $350 roundtrip from Florida. And airfare can be found for under $450 roundtrip from other East Coast cities and under $550 roundtrip from West Coast cities.

From Canada, a good price for airfare is under $550 roundtrip. And from Europe a good price is typically under $700 roundtrip. Finally, from Asia, you will likely be paying over $1,200 roundtrip.

There are many flight options and we have tips to save money on international flights when traveling to Colombia.  And we took a detailed look at how to find cheap international flights to Medellín and Colombia.

Avianca Airbus A318 at Medellín airport, photo by Andrés Ramírez

Avianca Airbus A318 at Medellín airport, photo by Andrés Ramírez

22. How to Find Cheap Domestic Flights in Colombia?

Domestic airfare can be quite inexpensive in Colombia making it relatively cheap to travel between the major cities in Colombia.

Domestic airfare in Colombia used to be quite a bit more expensive when I first started living in Medellín over eight years ago. But domestic airfare prices dropped when discount airline VivaColombia started service in 2012 in Colombia, which is now known as VivaAir.

So, it’s now possible to find cheap flights between cities in Colombia due to more competition.

If you book in advance it’s possible to find cheap flights in Colombia for domestic destinations. We recommend booking your domestic flights in Colombia at least two weeks in advance to find cheap flights. Even further in advance you can frequently find even cheaper flights.

Over the past four years I have flown domestically over 25 times in Colombia to over 10 different cities and I never paid more than $150 round-trip. And most of these trips cost less than $100.

But every one of these flights I booked two or more weeks in advance. For cheap flights it is very important to book in advance to lock in cheaper fares. And we have a guide to finding cheap domestic flights in Colombia.

Travel with a Pet to Colombia

Travel with a Pet to Colombia

23. Can I Travel With My Pet to Colombia?

It is relatively easy to travel with a pet to Colombia. You can travel to Colombia with a dog, cat or other household pet with only a few requirements.

Colombia does not require an import permit for personal pets from any country. And there is no pet microchip required for Colombia.

Within 10 days of travel, an accredited veterinarian from the country of origin must complete a veterinary health certificate for your pet. If you are traveling from the U.S. or Canada, the veterinary health certificate must also be endorsed by the USDA in the U.S. or CFIA in Canada.

In the U.S, this veterinary health certificate is the APHIS Form 7001. And Canada has a trilingual Animal Health Certificate in English, French and Spanish that should be used.

In the U.S., the USDA has APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Offices in all the states where you can get health certificates and rabies certificates endorsed. Note that this endorsement should be from the state you a traveling from to Colombia.

In addition, we provide a comprehensive guide to traveling with a pet to Colombia with more details.

Colombian visas are relatively easy to get

Colombian visas are relatively easy to get

24. How to Obtain a Colombian Visa?

Questions about visas are some of the most common questions asked by expats. And Colombia made a major change to its visa policies in December 2017. So, many sites on the Internet have out-of-date information about Colombian visas.

I have seen so many different types of questions from expats about visas over the past several years. Questions have included: what are the different types of visas, how to obtain different types of visas, documents required, the process to get a visa and how to get a cedula after receiving a visa.

So, on the Medellin Guru site, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:

We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:

  1. Retirement visa
  2. Marriage visa
  3. Investment visa
  4. Resident visa
  5. Work visa
  6. Student visa
  7. Visitor visa

Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:

In addition, we have a guide to Colombia tourist visas and how to extend a tourist visa. Also, we have a guide to renewing passports in Colombia.

Furthermore, we have a guide to how apply for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services and has helped over 480 readers with visas and passport renewals..

All of our Colombia visa articles were updated in 2020 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2021. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.

How Long to Get a Colombian Visa? Colombia Visa Processing Times

How Long to Get a Colombian Visa? Colombia Visa Processing Times

25. How Long Does it Take to Get a Colombian Visa?

Colombian visa processing times: we looked at how long it takes to get a Colombian visa and what percentage of visas are approved in Colombia.

According to ExpatGroup, the visa agency we partnered with, before the pandemic, the Foreign Ministry took five business days to provide an initial response to any visa application submitted online.

According to this visa agency, it can now take 15 days or more to receive an initial response to a Colombian visa application submitted online.

However, the Foreign Ministry continues to respect a maximum of 30 calendar days for visa applications to be closed with one of these responses:

  1. A definitive response of approval
  2. Inadmission or denial
  3. Tacit withdrawal due to lack of documents or sue to lack of time analyzing information provided, resulting in the foreigner needing to apply again.

So, it is important to have good advice when applying with a Colombian visa.

Over half of visa applications in Colombia do not have sufficient documentation when originally submitted. So, the Foreign Ministry asks for additional documentation making the process take more time.

We recommend using a visa agency that is experienced in submitting Colombia visa applications instead of doing it yourself.  This will help ensure you visa application has all the required documents.

More than half of Colombian visa applications typically require additional documents. And 1.7 percent are denied and 13.7 percent are inadmissible. That mean 15.4 percent of visa application were not successful and 84.6 percent were approved. This reportedly is a lower approval rate than prior to the pandemic. 

Medellín vs Cuenca

Medellín vs Cuenca

26. Which City is Better to Live In?

May expat questions have been about which city in Colombia is better to live in. So, we have published several popular city comparisons that compare living in cities in Colombia:

Each city has positives and negatives. The best place to live is the best place to live for you. Everyone has different priorities. The only way to know which place is the best for you is to spend time there.

We also compared Medellín to some other popular places in Latin America and the rest of the world for expats to live, including:

27. Where Should I Go to Buy Cheap Groceries in Medellín?

There are several alternatives to the big box grocery stores in Medellín like Exito and Jumbo with cheaper prices in Medellín. In addition, we have a detailed guide to grocery shopping in Medellín with tips for saving money on groceries.

I have met many expats that primarily shop at Exito or Jumbo or even Carrula. But there are cheaper options available.

On the Medellin Guru site, we looked at Tiendas D1, Justo & Bueno, Makro, PriceSmart  and small tiendas where it is possible to save 20 to over 30 percent compared to Exito and Jumbo for many items.

We also looked at Plaza Minorista, which has seemingly unlimited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables for good prices.

By comparing prices and shopping at discount stores, it is possible to save substantially on your grocery costs compared to shopping at Exito and Jumbo.

We were able to cut our grocery costs by over 30 percent compared to buying at Exito by shopping smart and buying more products at the discount stores.

Bandeja paisa at El Viejo John in Sabaneta

Bandeja paisa at El Viejo John in Sabaneta

28. What Colombian Food Dishes Should I Try?

Colombia isn’t well known around the world for its cuisine and Colombian food. But there are a number of delicious traditional Colombian dishes that are worth trying. We looked at 15 traditional Colombian food dishes you should try in Colombia.

I have heard some foreigners call Colombian food bland and I agree with that description in regards to the bland arepas commonly used as an accompaniment for Colombian meals. But there are many other ways to make arepas, some of which I like.

The bottom line is that Colombia has a diverse cuisine with many dishes that are tasty to many foreigners, which are worth trying. In addition, we have looked at the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín.

Furthermore, we looked at 30 exotic tropical fruits of Colombia and 9 Colombian street food options you should try.

Ay Wey Bar & Grill, one of 6 popular sports bars in Medellín

Ay Wey Bar & Grill, one of 6 popular sports bars in Medellín

29. Where Can I Watch U.S. Sports in Medellín?

There are many places in Medellín where you can watch the Super Bowl and other major sporting events and games from the U.S. like NFL, NBA and MLB games.

We looked at 6 popular sports bars in Medellín that have a total of 13 locations in Medellín where you can watch U.S. sporting events.

But the bottom line is that sports are popular in Colombia. So, there are many other places in Medellín where you can watch international sporting events.

Best Museums in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley

Best Museums in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley

30. What are the Best Medellín Museums Worth Visiting?

Medellín is home to many excellent museums. And on the Medellin Guru site we comprehensively looked at 25 Medellín museums including museums in other municipalities in the Aburrá Valley to find the 12 best museums in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley.

In addition, these 12 best museums in Medellín were also reviewed in detail in separate museum articles on the Medellin Guru site.

Best Malls in Medellín

Best Malls in Medellín

31. What are the Best Malls in Medellín?

Paisas love to shop and Medellín has many shopping malls. We looked at 23 of largest malls in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley to find the 14 best malls in Medellín.

But Medellín has many more (seemingly countless) small centro comericals throughout the metro area that tend to only have small tiendas. But we couldn’t possibly look all the small centro comericials in Medellín, as there are just too many of them.

However, we also looked at El Hueco, which is a shopping area in El Centro in Medellín with reportedly over 80 small shopping centers and some of the cheapest prices in the city in thousands of small shops.

Water ride at Parque Norte in Medellín, photo courtesy of Parque Norte

Water ride at Parque Norte in Medellín, photo courtesy of Parque Norte

32. What are Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Medellín?

Some expat families are now visiting Medellín and even living in Medellín with kids. And some expats married to Colombians have kids. So, I am starting to see more questions asking about kid-friendly things to do in Medellín.

There are many kid-friendly things to do in Medellín. Some of the obvious and popular ones are the Medellín zoo, Parque Explora and Parque Norte.

On the Medellin Guru site, we have looked at 17 of the top kid-friendly things to do in Medllín and nearby. And we plan to look at more kid-friendly things to do.

Top Colombia Blogs by Expats

Top Colombia Blogs by Expats

33. What are the Top Colombia Blogs?

Colombia has a growing number of Colombia Blogs by expats, as the country continues to attract foreigners.

The Colombia Blogs by expats now cover several different cities in Colombia and also provide different expat perspectives. We all experience Colombia differently and may have different interests and different ages.

We look at a total of 27 Colombia Blogs comprehensively including the 7 top Colombia Blogs by expats in English that are still actively publishing, 3 Colombia Blogs in other languages and 17 Colombia Blogs that are no longer active (no longer publishing). Also, we identify 11 Colombia Blogs by expats that have been taken offline.

In addition, our guide to the top Colombia Blogs by expats is updated monthly.

Pablo Escobar’s grave site in Medellín

Pablo Escobar’s grave site in Medellín

34. How to Get to Pablo Escobar’s Grave?

Unfortunately, this is a common question from expats visiting Medellín. Pablo Escobar’s grave site in Medellín has become a tourist attraction in Medellín due to the popular Narcos series and the notoriety of Pablo Escobar.

The popular Narcos series has created demand from foreign tourists visiting Medellín who want to see Pablo Escobar’s grave and other sites related to Escobar. So, several Pablo Escobar tours now exist that will take you to Escobar’s grave and other sites.

Pablo Escobar’s grave is located at Cemetario Jardines Montesacro in Itagüí. If you do visit Pablo Escobar’s grave, show some respect for the victims and the Colombian people. Keep in mind that Escobar is long dead but is still a sensitive subject

Also, we have a detailed article about Pablo Escobar’s grave with directions, which I say is an unfortunate tourist attraction. We also look at seven alternatives to Pablo Escobar tours.

In addition, Narcos was popular but has a number of problems. There are some good alternatives to Narcos and we look at 13 of the best Colombian movies and series.

The Bottom Line: Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We hope this Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list is helpful for many expats. The answers are based on my over eight years living in Colombia and over four years being a blog writer about Colombia and writing for several other publications.

In addition, this list of Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will be updated with additional questions as more questions are asked by expats.

Also, the answers to the questions in this Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will be kept up-to-date. Things change quickly in Colombia and a goal of the Medellin Guru site is to keep all the content on this site up-to-date.

If you have any questions that aren’t in this Medellín Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list, please let us know in the comments below. We will try to answer all questions.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on October 13, 2018 to add “How to receive mail from the U.S. in Medellín?” to the FAQ.

Editors note: updated on December 22, 2018 with new 2018 Colombian hospital rankings.

Editors note: updated on May 8, 2019 with updates to several questions and added a list of questions at the top of the article with links to jump directly to questions in the long article.

Editors note: updated on September 8, 2019 with updates to several questions on the list to keep them current.

Editors note: updated on October 29, 2019 with new 2019 Colombian hospital rankings.

Editors note: updated on February 2, 2021 with current information and added two questions about PCR tests.

Editors note: updated on March 20, 2021 with current information and added a question that a COVID-19 test is needed for traveling to the U.S. from Colombia.

Editors note: updated on June 8, 2021 with information that a PCR test is no longer required to travel to Colombia.

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