My month in Medellin had concluded. Did I love it? Or was it just okay? Will I return? Or was it a one time thing? Expensive or good value? What about food, safety, and accommodation? Is the city entertaining? For a triathlete like myself does it have all I need to do quality training sessions?

In my opinion you experience the city differently when you are there for a vacation in comparison to a longish stay of a month and working your normal 9-5 remote job throughout that entire stay. For example, staying at an AirBnB instead of a hotel and cooking food at the apartment instead of eating out all the time, etc.

As mentioned in previous blogs, this was my second time in Colombia and also my second time in South America as a whole. I had been to Cali a year earlier prior to starting this job and once I found out that my job allows its employees to work from a different country for a limited number of days, I jumped on the opportunity. I stuck with Colombia because of its relative closeness to Miami (about a 3-hour flight) compared to other South American countries and also because I knew it a little bit from my previous trip compared to not knowing anything yet of the other countries.

From the start my eyes were set on Medellin because everyone I spoke to, including Colombians and foreigners only had great things to say about this city. Numerous articles online even rate Medellin as the best city to work remotely in South America. 

Not for a split second did I think of comparing and contrasting with other cities. From the start it was Medellin and Medellin only.

I will start with accommodation first since I would say it is the most important component in my opinion when you are staying at a place for more than a few weeks and you spend many hours in it for work. For me, as long as the wifi is strong and stable, it has a decent kitchen, the bed mattress is okay, it has a washing machine, the surrounding area is safe or there is 24/7 security at the gate, and the apartment is clean when I enter, I am good. This apartment checked all those boxes for me and it has a nice view out the small balcony. I give it a rating of 4/5 because it did not have that special factor. I was not expecting that either, but I will reserve the 5/5’s for the places that have something that distinguishes them from the rest.

Now after a month of staying there and talking to a few locals about the costs of apartments I would say that I overpaid a bit. With the cleaning and processing fees it came out to $999. It must be said though that Laureles, where I stayed, like El Poblado, probably the richest area in Medellin, are well known among tourists and expats so that naturally drives up the price. Also important to note is that I booked my stay in late May for the month of July and this place was among the cheapest options available for a decent apartment.

What I would do next time is stay in Belen which is just a little bit south of Laureles. The area is cheaper, but still nice. The pool where I swam at is right there and also the bike shop from whom I rented a road bike. The combination of price and also ease of access to places I frequent often make this area ideal for my next stay and  I would also not wait till May to book an AirBnB during the summer months. I did not do so sooner because I had to wait for the approvals to be able to work out of Colombia.

The food in Medellin and in Colombia itself is great in my opinion. The fried street food you find in many corners is not my thing, but the Colombian cuisine is much more extensive than that. Everywhere you go there are fresh veggies and fruits, and awesome fresh juices that would cost you a small fortune in the US, but not in Colombia. The key in my opinion is finding the great local Colombian restaurants that cater to the locals. You will find complete meals with carbs, protein, potassium, and all the other minerals you need for a healthy diet for a price that makes you realize that it is not even worth it to cook. Once we found a few of these great local restaurants we did not cook again.

Medellin’s transportation system is also very good and especially the metro. There are many metro stations throughout the city and the metro will take you just about anywhere you need to go. If you prefer the convenience of Uber I would not blame you because that is what I predominantly used as the majority of rides were between $2-$4 and just a few above that. 

Another important factor when deciding which city to visit is, what can I do there? Medellin and its surrounding area have a lot to offer. It is surrounded by beautiful nature, a bustling nightlife, a great sports culture, unique neighborhoods, and many fun activities. It is also a city with a great turnaround story. From a place with lots of violence to one that should be on every person’s bucket list.

As far as triathlon training I absolutely and emphatically recommend Medellin as a place to go for training camps. The swimming pools are free, you have mountains everywhere you look and there are tracks you can jump on. Even if you are based in Europe, I recommend you take the long flight over because you will love it. Medellin itself is at 5,000 feet of altitude and you can easily get into the 8,000’s. 

It is a great place to be for the many reasons I have tried to sum up here and needless to say I will be back one day soon.

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