What is life like in Medellín? Well, if you’ve been reading about “the City of Eternal Spring,” then you probably already know about its perfect weather and high-quality, affordable healthcare.
It’s true that every day is spring-like in Medellín. Daytime highs in the upper 70s F to low 80s F and evening temperatures dipping down to the mid-60s F let you enjoy an outdoor, active lifestyle no matter what month the calendar says. Whether it is walking in the city’s many parks, riding your bicycle through the quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods, or soaking up the gorgeous mountain scenery while taking a hike, there is always the perfect weather for your favorite outdoor activity.
As for the city’s excellent healthcare, eight of Medellín’s hospitals rank among the top 43 in all of Latin America. One of these is accredited by the Joint Commission International, the gold standard in world healthcare. Also, foreigners with a cédula (national ID card) are eligible to sign up for health insurance at rates significantly lower than those in the U.S.
But that isn’t all that life Medellín has to offer. There are plenty of other great things about living here that you might never learn about in your research. Many of these secrets are generally only known by the people who have decided to make Medellín their home.
So let’s change all of that, and reveal what’s under Medellín’s veil of mystery. Here are some aspects about living here that you may not have heard about yet, but that will keep you both entertained and involved in this amazing Colombian city:
1. Culture Galore
With 3 million residents, Medellín is a good-sized cosmopolitan city which offers a multitude of cultural events and venues. Many of the 30 universities that are scattered around the city have their own theaters on campus that host plays, concerts, and dance performances that are either free to the public, or require a small admission fee.
Medellín is also the host city for several international festivals. Professional performers come from all parts of the globe to participate in the events. The Tango Festival is held in June in various venues around the city and all events are open and free to the public. For five days you can enjoy adult and children’s dance competitions as well as singing competitions. And, not only do you get to listen to amazing music and watch mesmerizing dancers, you can kick up your heels and join in too.
If jazz is more your style, then Medejazz will keep you busy for 17 days from late September into early October. International performers converge on the city to give concerts, lectures, and workshops. Some of the events are free to the general public, while other concerts require paid admission.
2. Fashion Hub
Medellín is the host city for ColombiaModa, Latin America’s largest fashion event, similar to New York’s fashion week. Each July the city attracts thousands of people from all over the world to attend the three-day event that is so much more than just runway shows. In addition to watching nearly 500 Latin American designers showcase their latest lines, attendees can sit in on lectures and workshops to learn about the latest trends in fashion, marketing techniques, and how to constantly reinvent the industry.
It takes fabric to make clothing and Colombia is at the forefront in the textile industry too. Medellín kicks off every new year with Colombiatex, Latin America’s most prestigious conference for textiles. This three-day fair goes hand-in-hand with fashion week, with exhibitors demonstrating the latest fabric trends, production machinery, and accessories and trimmings.
3. A “Foodies” Heaven
Medellín is a cornucopia of food options at prices far below what you’d pay in the U.S. From shopping for your own fresh produce at farmers’ markets and meats at the local butcher, to eating at five-star, white linen tablecloth restaurants, and everything in between, Medellín has you covered.
A week’s worth of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market near your home will run you about $10. You can get four filet mignon steaks, cut to order at the local butcher, for less than $15.
If you’d rather eat out, your options are almost limitless. Local dishes such as ajiaco (a chicken stew) or bandeja paisa (a plate filled with rice, sausage, egg, avocado, beef, arepa, and chicharron) will leave both your stomach and your wallet full.
While restaurants are all over the city, there are a few buena mesas (restaurant clusters) that allow you to stroll up and down a couple of blocks and make your choice by the aroma that grabs you. Ethnic restaurants serving Italian, Thai, German, Spanish, Japanese, Indian, and Arabic dishes, as well as the steak, burgers, or pizza that you crave from home, are in the buena mesa areas of Parque Lleras/Provenza, the Manila neighborhood, La 70 (70th street in the Laureles neighborhood), and in Envigado.
A storage warehouse in the Ciudad del Río neighborhood is now home to Medellín’s first gastronomy market. Enjoy delicious food, a fun atmosphere and a little history at the Mercado del Río. It is a great place to have lunch, dinner, or drinks with friends.
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