Medellín vs Bogotá: Which is the Better City to Live In? Medellin Guru
Medellín vs Bogotá. We compare the two largest cities in Colombia in 18 categories to see which is the better city to live in for expats.

Medellín vs Bogotá: Which is the Better City to Live In?

Subscribe and become a patron to see this content! The future of Medellin Guru needs the help of readers to remain ad free. Becoming a patron costs as little as $3 per month and provides access to all the content on Medellin Guru plus other benefits.
To view this content, you must be a member of Medellin's Patreon at $3 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.
Assist Card Why is the Best Health Insurance for Colombian Visas

Are you planning a trip to Colombia? The right health insurance is crucial, especially when applying for a Colombian visa....

Read More
Travel Insurance Meets the Health Insurance Requirement for Colombia Visas

Colombia requires health insurance when applying for visas, and we look at inexpensive travel insurance that meets the requirement, updated...

Read More
Medellin Guru-Visa Service Providing Colombia Visa Services

Explore Medellin Guru's Visa Services for seamless guidance on colombian visas. Our expert partner expatgroup.co offers comprehensive assistance for expats,...

Read More
Visa Agencies Using the Services of a Visa Agency in Colombia

Using a visa agency in Colombia can simplify obtaining a visa. Visa agencies are well-versed in the requirements and procedures....

Read More

Last Business-Directory

expatgroup.co offiice in El Poblado, Medellin - The best Visa Agency in Colombia

expatgroup.co is a dedicated team of professionals, who provide quality visa services to meet the needs of the expatriate community.

Read More
Luxury Studio1

Modern and spectacular Studio, available for rent in one of the best locations in the city, where you will be...

Read More

Health travel Insurance for expats in Colombia,AssitCard is multinational company dedicated to the provision of international assistance services with worldwide...

Read More

Real estate legal services for foreigners in Colombia: Transferring funds into Colombia, legal analysis and property background check, sales agreement,...

Read More

20 thoughts on “Medellín vs Bogotá: Which is the Better City to Live In?”

    1. Chris M March 5, 2020

      This is a well-balanced article. It can’t be easy for a Medellín partisan to admit that Bogotá is an equally attractive city. 🙂

    2. Hi Jeff

      I’m not quite sure about Medellin being safer than Bogota.
      Bogota has 39 murders per million (464 murders)
      Medellín has 86 murders per million (343 murders)
      by aug 2019

      As you can see, Medellín is twice as dangerous in terms of threat to human life which is the main concern for an expat.


      I prefer Medellin too. Lived in Miami FL. and San Jose CA. also in Bogota for 10 years and been living in Medellin for 11. Warm weather is awesome in Medellín but I wouldn’t bias the facts just because i like Medellin better.

      • Bogota has much higher robbery rates than Medellín. In 2018, Bogotá had a robbery rate of 1,477 per 100,000 inhabitants. But in Chapinero, the rate in 2018 was much higher than the overall city with 8,317 robberies of persons per 100,000 and and Santa Fe had 7,845 robberies of persons per 100,000 – https://medellinguru.com/is-bogota-safe/

        In Medellín in 2018 there were 20,607 robberies of persons. Medellín has a population of 2,214,494 million. So this is a robbery of person rate for Medellín of 930 per 100,000 in 2018 that is much lower than in Bogotá. See the robbery of person count in Medellín in this article – https://noticias.caracoltv.com/antioquia/estas-fueron-las-comunas-mas-afectadas-por-hurtos-durante-2018-en-medellin

        • Chris M March 27, 2020

          Yes, there are too many robberies in Chapinero, but the per resident metric is misleading in this case. During the day, Chapinero is flooded with workers from all over Bogotá, and by night it’s inundated with diners and party-goers from all over the city. Surely, many if not most of the people robbed in Chapinero do not actually live there. The per resident stat is likely the best stat that’s available to you, but in this case it tells a very incomplete story.

    3. I would say the shopping in Bogota is much better than that of Medellin. Bogota is a very much a cosmopolitan city, with stores that cater to a diverse and wide variety of patrons. All the international retailers doing business in Colombia, have presence in the city. I can’t say the same thing for Medellin. Medellin is very much a provincial, second city, whereas Bogota is very cosmopolitan with a global presence. Sure, there are some things that make Medellin more attractive for some people. However, when it comes to diversity and options, Bogota easily wins.

      • I respectfully disagree. Medellín has the largest mall in Colombia and and as many large malls as Bogotá, which a much bigger city. And Bogotá has absolutely nothing like El Hueco in Medellín. So, I put the two cities tied for shopping. And the two cities tied overall if you equally weigh the categories.

        But to each his own. Everyone has different priorities.

    4. Winston October 8, 2018

      With regards to the public transport, many Paisa friends and clients of mine have actually said they prefer the Transmilenio over the Medellin Metro. The main reason is the metro only has 2 lines and most places in the city you cannot reach and still need to drive/taxi/bus. Transmilenio covers most of Bogota and more convenient in their opinion.

      I have taken both, and I’d think both are “overcapacity and people are packed like sardines during rush hours”. Also the Medellin Metro doesnt have air-conditioning and is hot as hell especially during mid day. I’d say there are no winners. Both are losers. Both cities need to invest more in infrastructure.

      • Well, I also have several Rolo friends in Bogotá that hate the Transmilenio and prefer Medellín’s metro. Also, the Medellín metro system is more than 2 lines, as it is more than the 2 train lines. Look at the map here – https://www.metrodemedellin.gov.co/Portals/1/pdf/g-mapa-esquematico.PDF.pdf?ver=2017-03-02-075732-720. It’s an integrated transportation system that also has a tram line, 4 cable cars lines and 2 elongated bus lines. Plus there are hundreds of metro feeder buses with integrated metro fares where you can go many places in the metro area even as far north at Barbosa and as far south as Caldas on metro buses.

        Agreed that the Medellín metro is over capacity during rush hour. But Medellín is investing in more infrastructure – they are currently adding 2 more cable car lines and another elongated bus line and more trains plus expanding the Poblado metro station. And they have plans to add another tram line on 80 for better coverage in the western part of the city.

      • I also have been on both and in my opinion, Transmilenio is much more over capacity than the metro in Medellin. During rush hour on the Transmilenio it is so completely jam packed you can’t get off the buses. Passengers at stations don’t give the right of way to departing passengers so it is nearly impossible to exit in my experience. In Medellín at least the passengers at stations do give the right away to departing passengers. Also, Transmilenio doesn’t go everywhere in the huge city of Bogota and there are many places where you would need to catch a local bus or taxi.

        I much prefer the metro system in Medellin.

        • JOHN WINTERBOTTOM February 5, 2019

          Thanks for an informative article.

          I agree that Medellin metro is better than transmilenio. It’s less crowded during rush hour, (TM can be insane), but also people in Medellin seem to be friendlier and more polite. None of the aggressive pushing and shoving I have seen in Bogota. Another thing; the view when riding the metro and especially the cable cars can’t be beat, (except for the view of the Medellin river in the South of the city – ugh)

    5. Hi Jeff, i have read a couple of your articles and really enjoy them for being accurate and a great tool for getting to know Colombia. On this particular article I feel compelled to make a suggestion on your international School options. Please review Marymount School, Vermont School as well, these are exceptional schools you should consider including in your article. I’m happy to help you with that.

    6. Brock Canner September 14, 2017

      Jeff, would love to see more about Cali, If you can compare it to other cities even better. I know it has the best hospital in Colombia. According to you. I hear for a smaller town the nightlife is really great.
      Cheers, Brock

    7. Interesting if you are open to more categories I have a couple
      1) Safety for cyclists (as a means of a to b as opposed to leisure
      2) Flatness for those who have problems with hills – my late Gran in the UK chose her retirement destination partly on this criteria
      3) Ability to get to interesting places in Colombia by driving or on a direct flight.
      Bogota has flights to Yopal, Leticia but Medellin has flights to Choco so no idea which wins.

      Have you ever thought of looking at Popayan?

      • Hi David, thanks. Those are some good additional category suggestions that I’ll consider adding for future city comparisons. Popayan is really too small, so not much interest I have heard of from expats.

      • Misael L López Cepeda July 10, 2019

        Hi, I am from Bogotá it is relative safer for cyclist bogota, also Bogota is more flat so it is better for cycling

    8. Brock Canner September 12, 2017

      Thanks Jeff, great comparison of both cities. All things considered I’d prefer to live in Medellin. I prefer warmer weather.
      Cheers, Brock

      • Hi Brock, thanks! I also prefer the warmer weather. Bogotá is a bit too cold for me. But some expats I have met prefer that.

    9. Good article Jeff.
      I disagree with your assessment on shopping.
      Bogota wins hands down in the shopping category.

      • Joe, I disagree with you. There are so many shopping options in Medellin also. But I have seen a few stores in Bogota that you can’t find in Medellin like Louis Vuitton, but who needs crazy priced bags.

        Jeff, this is a nice article comparing the two cities. Thanks!

    Comments are closed.

    Join the networking group in Colombia on Facebook and Whatsapp Channel