Hotels in Medellín, Colombia
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Hope springs eternal in Medellin, Colombia’s miraculous city of reinvention
Beautiful Colombia’s second city of Medellin entices tourists with tropical parks, pulsating festivals and public artworks plus delectable cuisine and effervescent nightlife. Furthermore, this multisensory metropolis nicknamed the City of Eternal Spring and the City of Flowers enjoys year-round warm weather. It has astonishingly reinvented itself as a commercial powerhouse and tourist destination that basks in a wonderful Andes Mountains valley. Medellin is unforgettably easy on the eye, and just like the city itself, the high-rises reach for the heavens while the most elevated neighbourhoods symbolically cling to challenging gradients.
Immerse yourself in Medellin’s innovative landscape of urban renewal
Boasting new hotels and recently named among South America’s best cities to live in, Medellin’s miraculous turnaround began with improved public transport, which has helped to promote social cohesion. Where a gulf formerly existed between the wealthiest and poorest neighbourhoods or barrios in Medellin, now a shiny network of metro trains has bonded once disparate communities and slashed journey times for commuters and visitors wishing to explore the city’s main sights or its margins. Moreover, the metro system, which is Colombia’s first, integrates seamlessly with a public bike-sharing scheme plus a growing network of trams and innovative cable-cars offering tremendous aerial views and serving previously unreachable areas up the slopes of the scenic Aburra Valley. There’s even a modern, covered escalator that climbs for 380 metres into the western Comuna 13 district, which has become a beacon of positive change. It’s a place where travellers can now enjoy guided walking tours to see its excellent graffiti and first-class murals up close.
Working-class Comuna 1 in the north-eastern suburbs has also benefitted from the arrival of the gondola. At the top of the lift lies the award-winning Parque Biblioteca España or Library of Spain Park, another emblem of Medellin’s urban renewal which opened in 2007. Encased in black slate, this hulking arts and community centre has revitalized a once troubled suburb. Besides being a library, it hosts regular plays and events. Outside there’s a landscaped urban park decorated with street art. Nature lovers can head further up the mountainside from Santo Domingo station by riding another cable-car to beautiful Parque Arví. This exotic mountain wilderness of walking and cycling trails plus lakes and butterfly enclosures is where Medellin’s residents, who are known as Medellinenses, Paisas or Antioqueños, go to unplug and escape the city.
Stir your senses with exotic tastes and vibrant nightlife
Located at 1,500 metres above sea level in northern central Colombia, multicultural Medellin will delight foodies, whether they want local cuisine or prefer sticking to Asian, European and North American restaurants. Local dishes include corn breads called arepas, empanada pasties usually sold as street-food with fillings like chicken or beef, and the typical bandeja paisa, which is a hearty Spanish-style platter of beans, rice, pork, egg and salad. A cup of hot chocolate served with churros dipping donuts is a popular breakfast combination for locals. Colombia’s warm climate and astonishing biodiversity make it fertile ground for tropical fruits so you won’t want to miss the delicious and abundant fruit juices. Check out the food markets where it’s easy to find the freshest papayas, plantains and guavas, to name a few of Colombia’s exotic exports. Another is the superb coffee, which is widely cultivated in the surrounding Antioquia region. Moreover, Colombians are waking up to the global popularity of the coffee shop format, and there are many excellent places to get your freshly-prepared caffeine fix.
Medellin knows how to party. On weekends, many of Medellin’s residents flock to nightclubs, discos, bars and live music venues in the central neighbourhoods, where many popular hotels are situated. Known locally as rumba, this vibrant scene is typically accompanied by a soundtrack of reggaeton, electronica and salsa music, and dancing is a must. Lleras Park is a favourite spot with locals because bars, dancehalls and nightspots surround it. Barrio Colombia has a flourishing brewpub scene, while there are trendy bars in the upscale El Poblado neighbourhood and the nearby Zona Rosa, which are both popular areas with a younger crowd. Don’t forget to sample the local speciality aguardiente. Roughly translated as “fire water”, this anise-flavoured spirit is often served neat.
Discover art, history, museums and fun parks
Medellin has much to offer culture vultures and history buffs who don’t want to stray too far from their downtown hotels. Many of the city’s Catholic churches contain fascinating religious art and showcase different architectural styles. Among the most interesting are the Church of San Ignacio, blending a baroque exterior and a colonial interior, and the Candelaria Basilica beside Berrio Park. Medellin also brims with art on its streets and in excellent museums like the Medellin Modern Art Museum in Ciudad del Rio. The Antioquia Museum in Plaza Botero showcases pre-Columbian, colonial and modern art plus many donations by local artist Fernando Botero. His distinctive and celebrated work depicts voluminous, curvy figures. Twenty-three bronze Botero sculptures sit in the park outside the museum and have become a leading attraction. Another much-loved central park is the Botanical Garden, filled with tropical trees and plants like orchids. At the nearby Parque de los Pies Descalzos, or Barefoot Park, visitors young and old are playfully encouraged to kick off their shoes and pamper their feet by interacting with soothing and reinvigorating textures like sand, mud, water, bamboo and stones.
Price rangefrom S$11to S$1,437
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