Medellín or Bogotá: which city is for you?


International visitors are finally catching on to Colombia.

You could spend years exploring its mountain valleys and sprawling beaches, taking vigorous hikes and thrilling road trips, savoring a zesty culture born of its Afro-Caribbean, Indigenous and Spanish communities. 

And then there are its cities – dynamic centers of business, magnets for the arts and examples of urban regeneration looked to by planners around the world. Among Colombia’s urban areas, Medellín and Bogotá stand out. But what if you had to choose just one to visit? We asked two Colombia-based contributors to…go to town on arguing for their pick.

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There’s no place like Medellín

Alex Egerton is a journalist based in the rural Zona Cafetera, south of Medellín – but travels to the city regularly for a bit of big-town action, like watching a game of football or getting something fancy to eat.

If you plan on visiting just one city on your Colombia trip, it has to be Medellín.

There’s no other city like it – not just in the country, but around the globe. Medellín’s transformation from the troubled epicenter of a narco empire to a modern, innovative metropolis is nothing short of remarkable. But there’s so much more to the city than just a reformed image and a new sense of security.

Only a fraction the size of Bogotá, Medellín punches well above its weight. It’s a friendlier and more fun city than the capital – and way easier to get around, too.

A man performs at Botero Park during the Hip Hop Festival, Medellén, Antioquia, ColombiaIn Medellín’s neighborhoods and leafy parks, there’s always a party going on © RAUL ARBOLEDA…

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