Where to stay in Medellín, Colombia 2021: Top spots for any travel style & budget
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When it comes to looking for where to stay in Medellin, there are several areas of the city that visitors tend to flock to. In my opinion, the best places to stay in Medellin differ greatly depending on the vibe you’re looking to get, but luckily there’s something for everyone. I’d whittle it down to 4 areas of the city that are safe and have enough going on: El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, Belen and Envigado/Sabaneta. All of these barrios are favourites of the many expats and digital nomads in Colombia, so you won’t stick out too much as a foreigner. This accommodation guide is going to take you through where to stay in Medellin, Colombia, and the best places to rest your head in each neighbourhood. Whatever your budget or travel style, there will be plenty of options here for you.
After you read this guide to the best places to stay in Medellín, Colombia, you’ll also enjoy:
Everything I’m about to recommend as where to stay in Medellin is situated in a safe area by Colombian standards. However, you still do need to be really cautious of your surroundings and make sure you’re not making any rookie traveller errors that put you at a higher risk of being targeted. Despite being the most affluent and most highly guarded, El Poblado still falls fouls of Sitting Duck Syndrome, as all thieves and opportunists know that it’s the place rich foreigners head to and feel like they’re super safe in. Be wary of streets that feel too empty and quiet, and always get a registered taxi on your way home at night. Don’t miss out on my 32 safety tips for South America, you’ll find lots of useful advice there to keep you out of harm’s way when you stay in Medellín.
In terms of where not to stay in Medellín, you’ll probably want to avoid the very centre, like San Antonio. Lots of the homeless population there have substance abuse problems and things get rough during the day, let alone at night. Obviously don’t put yourself out in the comunas, though the chances of finding accommodation out in the most impoverished hills are fairly low.
Best places to stay in Medellín, Colombia:
1. El Poblado
Stay in El Poblado for: luxury living and wild parties amongst like-minded travellers
By far the most popular of the best places to stay in Medellín is El Poblado, a leafy barrio that’s home to some of the most affluent citizens in Colombia. Its high-estrato safety measures like extra security patrols, swanky places to stay and the booming bars and restaurants of Parque Lleras in the barrio’s centre have made it the top tourist answer for where to stay in Medellin. El Poblado is the one of the best places in Medellin for nightlife, with Parque Lleras offering rooftop DJ sets to underground ballpits. The barrio is actually quite large and gets hilly quickly, so whether you are there for the nightlife or not, sticking close to Parque Lleras is a good shout.
The danger of El Poblado though is that other than to go to Comuna 13 for a fascinating history lesson on the impact of the cartels and civil war, people tend to end up staying put in this idealised barrio, and never experiencing the more real side to Medellin. I feel this is one of the reasons that travellers rave about Medellin as if it’s the most perfect city on earth, when in reality there are some pretty dark sides to it. Just keep that in mind when deciding on where to stay in Medellin.
Want to know the best places to stay in Medellin’s El Poblado neighbourhood? Here we go…
For backpackers: There are so many options for backpackers here! El Poblado is definitely a bit of a South American Mecca for travellers. My top choice would be Los Patios Hostel for its incredible rooftop views, but Selina Medellín is hugely popular with digital nomads for its excellent co-working space.
For glam-packers: Again, this area is pretty swanky, so there are lots of higher quality accommodation options if you’re not adverse to spending a little more. Check out this suite with a jacuzzi.
For honeymooners: What’s surprising about El Poblado is just how many places to stay here offer private hot tubs, but then again given the area’s reputation for gross foreign men to find a subservient, hyper-sexualised young wife (their words, not mine) maybe it all makes sense. You may as well take advantage of the spoils with your nearest and dearest, so don’t miss out on a romantic stay at Rooftop Oasis. I also find this designer flat in Parque Lleras gorgeous at every turn.
For ballers: Ok, let’s go top drawer. El Poblado has some pure insanity when it comes to high-end accommodation, and one of the most ridiculous I’ve come across is this luxury loft. However, I’d say the most famous of place to stay in Medellin is The Charlee Hotel. A suite here won’t actually set you back by that much when you consider the quality you’re getting, and its rooftop bar is the place to be for sunset.
Stay in Laureles-Estadio for: normal, everyday life with a spicy bar scene
Laureles-Estadio is probably my favourite of all the best places to stay in Medellin. The name can be a little confusing, as this barrio is made up of a load of smaller areas, one of which is called Laureles, and another Estadio. It’s mostly residential, but no doubt the heart of Laureles-Estadio is Carrera 70, or La Setenta, which is a main street lined with local-feeling bars, restaurants and dance clubs. It’s a great way to jump into Medellín’s nightlife without feeling like you’re in a backpacker bubble. La Setenta is bright, it’s tacky and it’s always a tonne of inexpensive fun. On Mondays, I recommend joining in with the quiz night at Barrio Central. You might win yourself some craft beers!
For an area that’s known for its nightlife, Laureles-Estadio is surprisingly chilled during the day. Things get very suburban just one block way from La Sententa, so you won’t lose much sleep due to the bars nearby. Estadio is also home to the football stadium, which lights up on match days.
And the top hotels and hostels to stay in Laureles-Estadio, Medellin are…
For backpackers:Laureles Medellín Hostel is simple but it’s clean and has a fantastic atmosphere for backpackers. Closer to the action of La Setenta is The Wandering Paisa, which is more set up for mingling if that’s what you’re after.
For glam-packers: Well, would you look at Apartamento 4C, a lovely little apartment in a great part of the Laureles-Estadio area.
For honeymooners: You can find a perfect little home away from home in Origen Local Suites. The food in the restaurant looks bloody amazing, too.
For groups: It’s penthouse o’clock! Check out this 10-guest apartment with rooftop pool, jacuzzi and plenty of room for activities.
For ballers: Hmmm there’s not so much for you here if you like to splash the cash. Stick to El Poblado.
Belén just has a certain charm to it. It’s still very much an urban area, and always alive with crowds of people shuffling from one shop to another, but stepping into its main plaza at the end of the day could have you believing you’re in a pueblo out in the Antioquian countryside. Old men meet to sip aguardiente from plastic cups, couples dance in the square and artisans sell their wares. The barrio isn’t massively affluent, but it doesn’t feel unsafe. A few minutes’ walk from Parque de Belén is a large shopping centre to get lost in and fill up on Crepes & Waffles (mmmmmm…). In Belén, you can kind of forget you’re in one of Colombia’s hottest cities for North American & European tourism.
So where are the best places to stay in Medellin’s Belén neighbourhood? Let’s check them out…
For backpackers: International House is actually a little out of Belén in the nearby neighbourhood of Rosales, but at starting prices of $5 USD for a 6-bed dorm and amazing shared hotel areas, it’s 100% worth including here.
For glam-packers: Take things up a notch in Quintero’s Place, a studio apartment with a much larger feel to it.
For honeymooners: Get a sparkling little space to yourselves in this cutely-decorated 2-bedroom apartment in Belén.
Stay in Envigado or Sabaneta for: an escape from the bustle of the city
These two are is the furthest out of the best places to stay in Medellin that I’m recommending. Envigado and Sabaneta are technically separate areas, but I’m bunching them together for their similar vibes. They’re right down south of the city, and many would say they don’t count as being in the city itself, but they’re still connected to urban life since they both sit at the end of Metro Linea A (max 22 minutes to Poblado). They just have a great modern small town feel. The streets are mostly clean and quiet, but they each have a centre with a little activity to them – a handful of shops, cafés and restaurants. The standard of living tends to be pretty good. The population is almost entirely local with a few expats here and there; tourists don’t often venture this far down unless they really enjoy the more peaceful places to stay in Medellin. These are increasingly popular areas for a slice of the quiet life at very reasonable prices.
So where to stay in Medellin’s southernmost recommended areas?
For backpackers: There aren’t any hostels down here, but there are still cheap places to stay, such as this private bedroom in a lovely flat.
For glam-packers: I mean, this modern duplex apartment looks like it’s straight out of an interior design magazine, don’t you think? It’s very beautifully priced, too.
For honeymooners: Get right out into the romantic Envigado countryside in Casa Raices, an eco-cabin hotel.
For groups: 8 guests is about as large as you can find in these areas, and with its big pool Mantis Sabaneta does the job nicely.
For ballers:This luxury villa is a little up in the hills in between Envigado and Sabaneta, but boyyyy is it worth the journey up. Colombiana models presumably not included.
And there we have it! All the best of where to stay in Medellin, Colombia! Now that you’ve reached the end of this post, don’t miss these relevant guides to help get the most out of your stay in Medellin: