We surveyed 300 readers to find out what are the most popular neighborhoods in Medellín for expats. A surprise, we found that El Poblado is not the most popular neighborhood for new expats.

We surveyed 300 Medellin Guru readers by email over a period of two weeks with a short survey with only five questions, with a high response rate.

Our reader survey wasn’t scientific and it wasn’t intended to be. It was intended to survey a random selection of the Medellín Guru reader base to find out what are currently the most popular neighborhoods in Medellín for expats.

I previously surveyed 201 expats living in Medellín back in 2016. The following chart shows the most popular neighborhoods in Medellín for foreigners in 2016.

2016 Most Popular Neighborhoods for Expats (N=201)

2016 Most Popular Neighborhoods for Expats (N=201)

Most Popular Neighborhoods in Medellín for Expats – 2021 Survey Results

The following chart shows where the 300 expats we surveyed in 2021 living in the Medellín metro area currently live.

2021 What neighborhood do you live in, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

2021 What neighborhood do you live in, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

The top five neighborhoods are the same as in 2016, El Poblado, Sabaneta, Laureles, Envigado and Belén, but the order has changed.

In 2016, the second most popular neighborhood was Envigado and in 2021 it is Sabaneta.

It is not surprising that El Poblado remains the most popular neighborhood for foreigners living in or visiting Medellín. In addition, El Poblado is considered the most upscale neighborhood in the city of Medellín.

Other includes other neighborhoods including El Oriente (such as Rio Negro and Santa Elena), Bello, La América, La Candelaria (El Centro), Robledo and La Estrella.

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

El Poblado is NOT the Most Popular Neighborhood for New Expats

However, we found that neighborhood popularity varies by time expats have lived in Medellín. For those here two years or less, El Poblado is not the most popular neighborhood and drops to number four as seen in the following chart.

2021 What neighborhood do you live in - Expats living here 2 years or less, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=144

2021 What neighborhood do you live in – Expats living here 2 years or less, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=144

So, for new expats in Medellín (living here two years or less), our survey found that El Poblado is no longer as popular.

Why? We believe that word has gotten out about the downsides of El Poblado over the past few years.Downsides of El Poblado include a higher cost of living, hilliness making it less walkable and traffic.

Important Attributes of Neighborhoods

We asked a question what things they were looking for in a neighborhood with the ability to select all that apply. The following is the responses:

2021 Looking for in a neighborhood, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

2021 Looking for in a neighborhood, Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

Not surprising, safety was the number one attribute followed by cost of living and walkability.

El Poblado does not fare well in these three top attributes, which is likely why El Poblado is no longer the most popular neighborhood for newer expats in Medellín.

Popular Visas for Expats

Our survey found that three different visas represent the majority (79 percent) of visas out of expat survey respondents living in Medellín.

2021 What visa do you have? Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

2021 What visa do you have? Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

These three top visas (retirement visa, marriage visa and student visa) are the same most popular visas based on the experience of over 320 Medellin Guru readers who received Colombian visas in the past two yours through our visa partnership.

Only 4 percent of the 300 expats living in Medellín we surveyed don’t have a Colombian visa, which means they would be limited to a stay of 180 days per year.

How Long Have Lived in Medellín?

79 percent of expats living in Medellín survey respondents indicate they have lived in the city for at least a year, as seen in the following graphic.

2021 How Long Have You Lived in Medellín? Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

2021 How Long Have You Lived in Medellín? Source: Medellin Guru survey, N=300

What Concerns You Most About Living in Medellín

We also asked readers what concerns them about living in Medellín. The number one concern is now coronavirus.

2021 What Concerns You Most About Living in Medellín, source: Medellin Guru Survey, N=300

2021 What Concerns You Most About Living in Medellín, source: Medellin Guru Survey, N=300

Other top concerns of expats are traffic, pollution, taxes, healthcare and learning the language in that order.

The Bottom Line: Survey Results – Most Popular Neighborhoods in Medellin For Expats

Our short reader survey has some key takeaways:

  1. El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for surveyed expats.
  2. For expats here for two years or less, Sabaneta is the most popular neighborhood
  3. Coronavirus is now the biggest concern of expats living in Medellín.
  4. The retirement visa, marriage visa and student visa are the three most popular visas.

Our short reader survey provided us with a tremendous amount of feedback, over one-third of the respondents had comments.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our short survey conducted via email. Thanks for all the survey responses and feedback! We plan to do a more in-depth reader survey in the future.

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