Centro Comercial San Diego in Medellín - Medellin Guru
Centro Comercial San Diego is a popular mall in Medellín with over 230 shops. It's also reportedly the oldest mall in Medellín and the oldest mall in Colombia.

Centro Comercial San Diego: A Guide to Medellín’s Oldest Mall

Centro Comercial San Diego claims to be the first Western-style shopping mall that was built in Medellín and also the first shopping mall built in all of Colombia. San Diego mall first opened on November 3, 1972 with only 54 stores. It has expanded since that time to where it now has over 230 stores.

San Diego mall is an open-air mall. This is similar to some of the malls in San Diego, California – which may be a reason why this mall in Medellín is named “San Diego”.

Inside the "open-air" San Diego mall

Inside the “open-air” San Diego mall

History of Centro Comercial San Diego

A group of Antioquenos led by Rodrigo Mora Montoya, Sergio Londoño Uribe and Rodrigo Restrepo P conceiving the project for Centro Comercial San Diego, the first shopping mall in Colombia. The founders of the mall claim that the mall helped change the buying habits of consumers and also helped stimulate the creation of additional shopping malls throughout Colombia.

The mall project promoted urban development south of the city, allowing the development of first commercial and then many residential areas near the mall.

After opening in 1972, the mall has expanded four times. So, it now has over 230 stores. The fourth expansion reportedly added the food court on the second floor and additional parking spaces.

In 2010, the larger Premium Plaza mall opened a few blocks south of San Diego Mall. But San Diego mall still remains popular and only has a few vacancies. Premium Plaza mall also had a few vacancies the last time I was there.

The Shops in Centro Comercial San Diego

The anchor tenants of the mall are Alkomprar, Exito and Falabella. In addition, the mall has over 230 shops and businesses of all types.

The shops and businesses in the mall include banks, male and female fashion, children’s and youth clothing, footwear, jewelry, sporting goods, photography, stationery, furniture and decoration, lingerie, opticians, beauty salon, travel agencies, restaurants, fast food places and a playground.

Similar to many other malls in the city, it also has a currency exchange – Cambios y Divisas, which is local 2287 in the mall. The Banks in San Diego mall include Bancolombia, Banco de Bogotá, Colpatria and Davivienda.

The mall also has 120 offices in a tower where you can find many doctors, dentists and other professionals. And on the top floor of the tower is the Cardiology department – CES  Cardiology San Diego.


Alkomprar in San Diego Mall

Alkomprar is like a small Best Buy selling appliances, audio equipment, cellphones, computers, televisions, mattresses, motorcycles and other electronics. In addition, they frequently have sales.

Most noteworthy, Alkomprar frequently has sales that are advertised in fliers. You can pick up the fliers in the stores and they also sometimes have people handing out their fliers in the malls.

Typically, the sales include some televisions with up to 45 percent off, some computers for up to 35 percent off, some appliances for up to 35 percent off and some cellphones for up to 40 percent off.

You can also find Alkomprar in several other malls in Medellín including Florida Parque, Los Molinos, Mayorca and Puera del Norte. In addition, there is an Alkomprar store in Rionegro at San Nicolás mall.

Entrance to Exito in San Diego mall

Entrance to Exito in San Diego mall

Exito Supermarket in the Mall

Exito is a large supermarket chain in Colombia that also sells appliances, electronics, clothes, home furnishings, kitchen items, and many other things. An Exito in Colombia is similar to a Walmart in the US.

Exito has 26 of its large grocery stores in the Medellín metro area. It also has some smaller Exito local markets. In addition, Exito owns the Carulla grocery store chain, which has several locations in Medellín.

If you shop frequently at Exito and/or Carulla you should sign up for Puntos Colombia, which is a program that used to be known as Puntos Exito. Puntos Colombia is a frequent shopper program where you accumulate points for each purchase. You can use these points to purchase items in the future.

To sign up for Puntos Colombia you just need a Colombian cedula ID. And it’s essentially like getting 1 percent cash back on your purchase that you can use for future purchases. With the program you get 1 punto for every 700 pesos in purchases. And that 1 punto is worth 7 pesos.

Exito frequently has sales on appliances, TVs and other electronics. Jumbo is another chain of big box stores like Exito that also frequently has sales. If you are furnishing a place, make sure to check out the sales at both Exito and Jumbo.

Entrance to Falabella at San Diego Mall

Entrance to Falabella at San Diego Mall

Falabella Department Store

Falabella is a large U.S.-style department store that sells a wide range of items including appliances, clothing, computers and electronics, furnishings, furniture, sports equipment and many other things. In addition, you can find many imported brands at Falabella.

Falabella is based in Chile and reportedly has over 90 department stores located in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.  In Colombia, Falabella has 25 stores located in 11 cities. And in Medellín, Falabella only three stores, which are located in the San Diego, Santafé and Arkadia malls.

Also, Falabella has its own credit card, CMR Falabella, with more than 5.5 million cardholders in Latin America.

You can sometimes find good prices on computers in Falabella. For example, I purchased an iMac in the San Diego Falabella store a few years ago for less than the cost for the exact same model listed on Apple’s website at the time. The iMac was on sale and taxes and import duties don’t apply to lower costs computers in Colombia.

Falabella is also a good place to buy higher thread-count sheets that can be difficult to find in most other stores in Medellín.

McDonald's on the first floor at San Diego mall

McDonald’s on the first floor at San Diego mall

San Diego Food Options

San Diego Mall has several locations with food in the mall. There are over 25 fast food places and restaurants in the mall.

There is small food court in the on the first floor inside the entrance to the mall near the entrance to Falabella. There is a McDonald’s here and a few other places. Inside the mall you will find a Frisby and a few other places to eat on the first floor.

Second floor food court at Centro Comercial San Diego

Second floor food court at Centro Comercial San Diego

On the second floor is a food court with over 20 fast food places including Kokoriko, Mis Carnes, Montolivo, Qbano, Sr. Wok, Subway and several others. And above this are a few restaurants on a small third floor.

Children's play area with a large sandbox in the mall

Children’s play area with a large sandbox in the mall

On the first floor of the mall there is also a popular children’s play area with a large sandbox. You’ll typically see many parents here with their children.

How to Get to Centro Comercial San Diego

Centro Comercial San Diego is located in La Calendaria (El Centro) along Avenida Poblado a few blocks north of Premium Plaza mall.  The mall is also located on one of the access roads to the José Maria Córdoba Airport. Some expats I have met think San Diego mall is located in El Poblado, but it’s actually in La Calendaria.

San Diego is easy to get to on the Medellín Metro. It’s located about four blocks from the Exposiciones metro station on Line A. It’s only about a five-minute walk east from the metro station to get to the mall.

Furthermore, any taxi driver in Medellín will know where San Diego mall is located. It’s also typically easy to catch a taxi at the mall with a line of taxis usually lined up at the mall.

Line of taxis at San Diego mall

Line of taxis at San Diego mall

Also, if you drive, San Diego mall has over 1,400 parking spaces available.

Colectivo taxis at the Texaco gas station next to San Diego mall

Colectivo taxis at the Texaco gas station next to San Diego mall

In addition, the white shared airport taxis to José Maria Córdova Airport depart from the Texaco gas station that is next to San Diego mall. Furthermore, some of the airport buses from José Maria Córdova airport stop at a bus stop across the street from San Diego mall.

Address: Calle 33 # 42B-06, Medellín

Telephone: +57 (4) 448 0624

Website: http://www.sandiego.com.co/

Hours: For most shops in the mall the hours are Monday-Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm; Friday and Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm and Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm. But Exito and Falabella are open an hour later on Monday to Thursday and on Sunday. And the main food court on the second floor is typically open 30 minutes later than the regular shops.

The Most Popular Malls in Medellín

Several readers of Medellin Guru have asked for information about the malls in the Medellín metro area.

So, we have provided up-to-date guides to the 14 best and largest malls in the Medellín metro area in a series on this website:

  1. Viva Envigado – one of the newest malls in the Aburrá Valley located in Envigado, which is reportedly the largest mall in Colombia
  2. Santafé – one of the largest malls in Medellín located in El Poblado
  3. Mayorca Mega Plaza – a popular mall in Sabaneta with several outlet shops
  4. El Tesoro – Medellín’s popular mall with a view in El Poblado
  5. Premium Plaza – one of Medellín’s largest shopping malls with entertainment on the third floor
  6. Puerta del Norte – the largest and most popular mall in Bello
  7. Arkadia – the newest mall in Medellín and the nicest mall in Belén
  8. Los Molinos – the oldest Western-style mall in Belén
  9. Oviedo – the oldest mall in El Poblado.
  10. San Diego – the oldest mall in Medellín.
  11. Unicentro – the largest and most popular mall in Laureles-Estadio
  12. Monterrey – Medellín’s technology mall in El Poblado
  13. Florida Parque – the only Western-style mall in the Robledo comuna in Medellín
  14. La Central – the only Western-style mall in the Buenos Aires comuna in Medellín

Also, we included San Diego mall in our article about the 14 best malls in Medellín.

Centro Comerical San Diego

Centro Comerical San Diego

The Bottom Line: Centro Comercial San Diego

Centro Comercial San Diego is a nice mall that is considered a landmark since it’s the oldest mall in the city. So, almost every local in the city knows where San Diego mall is located. And if you like open-air malls it’s worth a visit.

One drawback of this mall is that doesn’t have a movie theater. But the nearby Premium Plaza mall within walking distance has a movie theater.

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 August 20, 2018 to reflect the change in Exito’s frequent shopping program that has changed from Puntos Exito to Puntos Colombia.

Editors note: updated on October 6, 2018 to add the new Viva Envigado mall.

Editors note: updated on November 14, 2019 to add the Arkadia mall, which is the newest mall in Medellín.

Medellin Real Estate 2023 Property Buyer's Guide for Foreigners

This blog offers comprehensive insights into purchasing real estate in Medellín for foreigners, detailing the procedural steps and typical closing...

Read More
Continental Assist A vital ally to apply for a visa in Colombia

Applaying for a visa for Colombia requires reliable travel insurance, and Continental Assist is your key ally in this process....

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

Last Business-Directory

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More
Logo Continental Assist

Continental Assist is an American firm specializing in providing international travel health insurance for expats in Colombia. With over 35...

Read More

7 thoughts on “Centro Comercial San Diego: A Guide to Medellín’s Oldest Mall”

    1. Mario Suarez February 21, 2018

      Hi Jeff,excelent professional article about San Diego mall, I shop every month there and I allways find good prices on many items there,also if you are in Poblado Ave , POBLADO,the Sabaneta bus line will take you there in 10 minutes for about 2000 cop,,you should exit the bus at the bus stop for Casino Rio only half block from San Diego Mall`.Jeff another beautiful mall that I love is Mall El Tesoro, in Poblado and I will be happy to know the history of this commercial gem in your future articles about this amazing city.Thanks.

      • Hi Mario, thanks! I do plan to cover El Tesoro mall in a future article on this site.

    2. My buddy loves to take the Rio Negro airport shuttle from there. He says he seldom waits long and the price is much less than by taxi.

    3. David Williams February 20, 2018

      Falabella is a good store. I bought a computer there early this year that was on sale that was cheaper than I saw on Amazon for the same model. I also bought some good sheets there on sale. So watch for their sales that you can see on their website.

      • Hi David, yes, Falabella has some good sales on computers, sheets and other things fairly frequently. I bought good sheets on sale there several times.

    4. Nice article about this mall in Medellin. I like this open air mall as I’m originally from San Diego. And I met my Colombian wife at San Diego mall 3 years ago.

    5. I live near San Diego mall and agree its a nice mall. I shop at the Exito there and go to the mall frequently. Falabella is a nice department store and they sometimes have good sales.

    Add a Comment

    Your email address will not be published.

    4 + 3 =

    Join the networking group in Colombia on Facebook and Whatsapp Channel