Where To Stay In Medellin: The 4 Best Areas (Safe & Fun)

Choosing the right place to stay in Medellin is key to getting the most from the city. Poblado is the most popular choice and with good reason but it is worth considering other options depending on the experience you want, your budget, your plans and the time you will spend here.

I have lived in Medellin for almost 15 years, renting apartments in Poblado, Laureles, Floresta, Belen, Buenos Aires, Belencito, El Rodeo and Santa Lucia. I loved my time in Poblado but I recently chose to move back to Laureles. There are pros and cons about every part of the city. I will talk through my 4 favorite options to help you choose what is right for you.

Map safe and fun areas in Medellin
Map of my 4 favorite safe and fun areas in Medellín

Key Takeaways

  • Poblado: Easy access to the airport, a huge range of hotel and hostel options, good transport links, top quality bars, restaurants and clubs, plenty of small cafes, multiple large modern malls.Prices are much higher than elsewhere, you can feel disconnected from the rest of the city, there isn’t the same sense of community and there are a lot of tourists.
  • Laureles: A neighborhood with smaller streets surrounded by main roads plus two metro stations to the South. Bars and clubs on La 70 and 33 with small cafes, restaurants around the two central parks. More of a local community feel while still modern, comfortable and well-maintained. More of a mix between houses and apartment buildings. Close to the stadium and Atanasio sports complex.
    At night it can feel very quiet and you need to take care walking at night. You will initially get lost in the maze of similar streets plus the good public transport options are all close to the north end of the neighborhood.
  • Envigado: A municipality of Medellin which borders Poblado but retains a more relaxed community feel. Viva Envigado is an excellent mall, Buena Mesa is a street with great restaurants and there are super views and natural parks up the hill. Really friendly and welcoming people.
    Prices have risen sharply over the last few years and it is no longer the significantly cheaper alternative to Poblado. The metro is close to the river but up the hill traffic can be bad and transport options are more limited.
  • Sabaneta: A municipality of Medellin towards the end of the metro line down south. It is only 15 minutes to Poblado on the metro but it has a very different, small-town feel. Prices are significantly cheaper and it combines the modern amenities of the huge Mayorca mall with small restaurants, stores and bars. It is like living in the country but still close enough to enjoy everything Medellin has on offer.
    Getting home late at night can mean long, expensive Uber rides. There are fewer hotel options available and the nightlife is fun but far more limited. It can be made to work but in some ways is much less convenient.

Poblado – Best area for bars, views, restaurants and an easy life

Poblado, Medellín

Poblado is the most expensive area of the city but also the most popular with tourists and expats.

The neighborhood runs up the hill from Aguacatala to Poblado metro stations with the lower areas with easy access to the main highway and with spectacular views as you head up the hill.

This is also the first neighborhood you will reach when arriving from the international airport and head down Las Palmas Avenue.

Poblado has multiple big, modern malls such as Santa Fe, Oviedo, El Tesoro and Vizcaya, plus Monterrey which is close to the station and excellent for discounted electrical goods.

Provenza, Parque Lleras and Manila are areas of Poblado filled with bars, clubs and restaurants. You can also find some larger clubs and excellent restaurants on Las Palmas at the top of Poblado, with superb views over the city.

Poblado is filled with cafes and the neighborhood is quite varied. If you head south towards Los Balsos, a steep road at the edge of Poblado, you will find some very quiet, peaceful residential areas with high apartment buildings.

Patio Bonito is an area of Poblado which generally has older apartment buildings while Manila has mostly terrace houses with taller apartment blocks mixed in. Both have good access to the metro while Manila is a short walk up the hill to Parque Poblado, Parque Lleras and further up to Provenza.

Parque Lleras was once the place to be in Poblado but has declined in popularity massively thanks to a rise in prostitution and drug sales in the square. Parque Poblado is more relaxed but Provenza, a pedestrianized street full of bars, clubs and restaurants, has become very popular.

Poblado is the most expensive but it is also more varied than you would first think. I had never planned to live in Poblado but once I did for work I found it hard to leave.

It is convenient, comfortable, peaceful in most areas and close to everything you would need.

You will feel a little disconnected from the rest of the city but it is definitely a comfortable place to stay.

Pros of Poblado

  • There are wonderful views over the city from many parts of Poblado
  • You have a really good selection of malls nearby with all the amenities you could want
  • Has excellent restaurants, rooftop bars and a good range of clubs
  • The neighborhoods are mostly very clean and well-maintained
  • Close access to the airport at the top and two metro stations at the bottom
  • There is a stronger police presence and security is generally good
  • On Sundays, the main street is closed for running, cycling and exercising which is a lovely way to spend the morning

Cons of Poblado

  • There isn’t really a community feel to Poblado in the same way as elsewhere in the city
  • Almost every Colombian in Poblado drives which means traffic can be really bad at rush hour. The metro is good at the bottom of the hill but public transport is limited higher up.
  • Depending where you live, you may find yourself surrounded by more foreigners than Colombians which can make connecting with local culture harder.
  • While the most serious crime is far less prevalent in Poblado, you do have to be careful for pickpockets and robberies given it is the richest part of the city.
  • Parque Lleras and the surrounding areas now feel increasingly uncomfortable with prostitutes and drug dealers looking for foreign customers.

Main Things to Do and See in Poblado

  • Enjoy the amazing views from rooftop bars, miradores (viewing spots), Las Palmas restaurants.
  • Visit the range of huge, modern, comfortable malls to shop, eat and enjoy the entertainment on offer.
  • Eat at some of the best restaurants in the city with a wide range of local and international food
  • Party in Provenza, a street full of music and energy which has become popular with some of the world’s biggest music stars such as Karol G and Bad Bunny.
  • Exercise outside in the green spaces and go for a jog on the Sunday ciclovia

My Favorite Accommodations in Poblado

  • The excellent value option: Los Patios Hostel (from USD $20 in a 4-person dorm)
    There are dozens of high-quality hostel options which are cheaper but if you want something really special Los Patios is a real experience. Beautiful design, nice rooftop pool, dance classes, workout sessions, coworking space. This one has the lot.
  • The most Instagrammable: The Somos Beats Hotel (from USD $96 a double room)
    Somos is a really cool hotel with a stylish industrial feel. The rooms are really comfortable plus there is a great rooftop bar with DJs and a ground floor cafe.
  • The best location (In the heart of Manila): Vita Hotel Boutique (from USD $43 a double room)
    This very clean and well-maintained hotel has a nice roof terrace and is nicely furnished. The price is pretty good and it is very well located in the Manila area of Poblado. You will be in a more traditional residential neighborhood with fewer tall apartments and hotel buildings with lots of smaller restaurants.
    The metro station is a short walk down the hill and you are still comfortable walking distance to Parque Poblado, Lleras and Provenza up the hill.
  • The most luxurious (and not overly expensive): The Click Clack Hotel (from USD $149 a double room)
    With cutting-edge architecture, excellent service and beautiful, open space Click-Click is a very popular option in Poblado. The bar is great, the pool has a beautiful view from the rooftop and the rooms are stylish with a superb layout.

Laureles – Best area for a central location and a mix of everything

View over Laureles

After Poblado, Laureles is the most popular area to stay for tourists and expats in Medellin. The neighborhood is predominantly residential with two circular parks surrounded by bars and restaurants. Most of the roads are fairly small with Avenue La Nutibara cutting through the middle.

Laureles is surrounded by major roads which have bars, clubs, stores, supermarkets and provide quick access to other parts of the city. The 80 runs along the top, La 33 cuts down the left, San Juan to the right and the very popular 70 at the bottom.

La 70 runs between the UPB University and Estadio station, which is close to the 45,000 capacity stadium and the Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex. The Atanasio Girardot has multiple football pitches, swimming pools, beach volleyball courts, a baseball stadium, a large gymnasium, speed skating rink and many other amenities. All of this can be accessed for free, as well as the pool and sports pitches at Unidad Deportiva Belen, a short walk from the 33.

Laureles has a mix of everything. Aside from the 70 street, most of the neighborhood feels lived in but not busy or overwhelming. There are a mix of high apartment towers and two or three-storied houses across Laureles. You will find everything you need and there are plenty of nice cafes and restaurants.

I would recommend Laureles as a place that is comfortable and well-maintained but also closer to Colombian life. There are a good number of foreigners here but generally, they mix with the locals more and it is easier to connect with the rhythms of the locals.

Pros of Laurels

  • Laureles is perfectly located with easy access to main roads, the highway and metro
  • There is a more traditional local feel and it is easier to connect with the community
  • While the 33 and 70 streets have plenty of bars and clubs, much of Laureles is very quiet and peaceful
  • You are within walking distance of superb sports facilities which are available for free
  • Plenty of quaint local restaurants, cafes and bars to discover
  • Prices are still high by Medellin standards but much less so than Poblado with many affordable, furnished apartments available

Cons of Laureles

  • There are plenty of trees but not as many open green spaces as other parts of the city
  • Walking alone at night can be a little dangerous given how quiet can be and that it is just five or ten minutes on a motorbike to much poorer areas of town
  • With streets circling out from the central parks, it can be really confusing and expect to get lost quite a lot in your first few weeks
  • The neighborhood is quite large and while there are multiple metro stations to the north, public transport options closer to the 33 street are more limited
  • You won’t find Laureles as polished and pristine as areas of Poblado, it has a more lived, local feel which some may find less appealing

Main Things to Do and See in Laureles

  • Party on La 70 or La 33 in the busy mid-size, two-storied clubs and large bars. Prices are generally cheaper than Poblado but there are some really nice spots.
  • Enjoy a big game at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium. Both Atletico Nacional and Independiente Medellin used the municipal stadium. On match day La 70 will be packed with fans drinking and singing before and after the game.
  • Find your favorite hidden gems in Laureles, with hundreds of small bars, restaurants and cafes across the neighborhood
  • Live an active life by playing sports, swimming and exercising at the extensive free facilities on offer in and around Laureles

My Favorite Accommodations in Laureles

  • A perfectly located hostel: Baku Hostel (from USD $12.21 in a 6 people dorm)
    The brightly painted hostel is perfectly located on a residential street between the popular 70 full of bars and the first part of Laureles which is surrounded by nice restaurants. The staff are friendly and the space is very comfortable.
  • A large modern hotel with good restaurant: Inntu Hotel (from USD $67 a double room)
    Inntu is perfectly located alongside the park in Laureles which is surrounded by Italian, Peruvian, Japanese and Colombian restaurants. The large hotel has a fresh, clean design with good onsite restaurants and great views of the city.
  • A comfortable escape from lively 70: Hotel Dorado La 70 (from USD $53 a double room)
    Hotel Dorado is situated close to the Estadio metro station, the Atanasio Giradot stadium and sports complex amidst the clubs, bars and restaurants of 70 Street. The large hotel is nicely decorated with balconies in most rooms and a well-equipped gym. Opt for a room on a higher floor if you have the choice to escape the noise of La 70.
  • The most stylish and luxurious hotel: Living by Armóniko (from USD $135 a double)
    Armóniko is well situated alongside the park and has great views of Medellin. The rooms are designed with a very contemporary, stylish warehouse feel. Some rooms have big balconies overlooking the city.

Envigado – Best area for great food, community and culture

envigado medellin
Envigado, Medellín

Envigado was a small town separate from Medellin but with urban expansion South, Envigado has now become an adjoined municipality. In 2016 they formally joined the Metropolitan Area of Valle de Aburra, connecting formally with Medellin.

Traveling along Avenida Las Vegas the only way for many to notice they have crossed a border is that the street lights have a black and yellow stripe in Medellin and a green and orange stripe in Envigado.

It is a walking distance from the southern end of Poblado down to the central Parque Envigado in the center of the municipality. You will see hundreds of people walking or jogging this route on the weekends during the ciclovia.

Envigado has the benefit of close proximity to Poblado but it still retains a close-knit community feel. I have found the local people to be more friendly and open, there is still the sense that generations continue to follow the same traditions, despite all the growth and changes.

The main park sits in front of the Santa Gertrudis which was built in 1859. Around the park, there are small stores as well as some bars and restaurants. It has some of the hustle and bustle of downtown Medellin but is far safer and less intimidating. There aren’t any major safety issues walking in the area at night if you are careful.

Envigado has a metro station and alongside is Viva Envigado, a huge mall with hundreds of stores, an excellent cinema, small-sided football pitches and lots of restaurants. There are some tall apartment buildings close to the border with Medellin and further up the hill but much of the municipality is two or three-story traditional houses.

There is a street known as Buena Mesa in the Mesa area of Envigado which is filled with very good restaurants offering a mix of local and international food. The restaurants are generally designed with classical style and are simple but elegant inside.

Envigado has its own football team that plays at the Polideportivo Sur Stadium and their youth teams play at the stadium in the neighborhood of El Dorado. Envigado is a smaller team but has a world-class reputation for developing and playing dozens of future national team stars such as James Rodriguez, Juan Fernando Quintero, Yaser Asprilla, Jhon Duran etc. The club is known as the “cantera de heroes” or the “quarry of heroes”.

You won’t find any big nightclubs but there are some lively bars close to the park and it is definitely a fun place to go out in the evening. The people are friendly and you will find a decent range of bars where you can quickly become a familiar local.

Up in the hills, you can enjoy great views of the city and there is the El Salado Natural Park which has zip wires across the top of the trees.

Pros of Envigado

  • Envigado combines modern amenities with a more traditional small-town feel
  • You are very close to Poblado but with more community and local culture
  • There are some very good local restaurants and Buena Mesa Street has a range of consistently quality options
  • Generally, Envigado is very safe, there is a mix between modern apartment blocks and traditional local houses but both areas should be OK if you take care
  • As you go up until the hills you can feel the fresh area and within a short bus ride you are surrounded by nature

Cons of Envigado

  • Envigado was once a much cheaper alternative to Poblado but prices close to the border have risen rapidly – you can still make a saving but prices are now comparable
  • You are starting to move away from downtown Medellin, Laureles and the northern half of the city is quite a distance
  • The west side of Envigado is close to the highway and the metro but as you go up the hill you will need a car or to rely on unpredictable bus services
  • Driving in Envigado can be stressful, there are a lot of one-way streets and rush hour traffic heading up the hill can really slow you down

Main Things to Do and See in Envigado

  • Go shopping, enjoy some lunch and watch a movie at Viva Envigado
  • Have a swim in the river and then dry off on the zipline in El Salado Natural Park
  • Watch future footballing superstars at the far more intimate Polideportivo Sur Stadium, home of top-flight professional team Envigado FC.
  • Grab a beer in the Parque Principal and soak in some local culture
  • Crack open some aguardiente (local firewater) at a bar and have a dance

My Favorite Accommodations in Envigado

  • Private double room in a house shared with 5 others: Pandora’s House Coliving (from USD $13 per night)
    Pandora is a family-owned house that offers coworking space and has 6 bedrooms. The hosts take excellent care of their guests, they offer language exchange activities, there is a shared kitchen and the bedrooms are comfortable with en suite bathrooms. The location is also great, close to small cafes but also very close to the big Viva Envigado mall. You can book on Airbnb here.
  • A well-located and very comfortable option: Arame Hotel (from USD $52 a double room)Arame is a clean, well-maintained hotel which is walking distance to Envigado park, the metro and Viva Envigado. The hotel has a small gym, breakfast is provided and the design is nice and practical.
  • A large luxury country house in the hills: Hotel Casa Madero (USD $36 a double room)Casa Madero is a big, beautiful country house with a classic design and big gardens. It sits up on the hills very close to the border between Envigado and Medellin. The location is a 15-minute drive north to Poblado Park and a 15-minute drive south to Envigado Park.
    The price is incredibly affordable for an amazing hotel and restaurant but you will need to take an Uber to get there as public transport is limited.
  • An elegant luxury option between Envigado and Poblado: York Luxury Suites (from USD $112 a double room)This wonderful hotel is situated on the border between Envigado and Poblado, on Avenida Poblado. The hotel has outdoor green spaces, a gym, rooftop terrace and a big pool with great views of the city. The suites are really nicely designed and there is a great restaurant on site.

Sabaneta – Best area for a traditional, small-town feel just 15 minutes from Poblado

Sabaneta, Medellín (Photo credits: Reg Natarajan via Creative Commons 2.0)

Sabaneta is the new Envigado. 

If you are looking for cheaper accommodation, a more relaxed feel, open spaces while retaining access to Medellin on the metro, then Sabaneta is for you.

The municipality sits between Sabaneta and La Estrella stations at the end of the metro line further south past Envigado. Before the urban expansion of Medellin, Sabaneta was a small village a fair journey south of the city but that is no longer the case.

The metro makes getting to Sabaneta quick and easy plus there is very little traffic on Las Vegas Avenue or the highway once you get past Envigado. It is usually quicker to get to the western side of Sabaneta from Medellin than it is to get up to the hills of Envigado.

While much of Sabaneta has a traditional, classic Paisa (someone or something from the Antioquia region of Colombia) feel, there are also some big modern additions. Mayorca Mega Plaza is a huge mall to the north of the municipality. It has hundreds of stores, lots of nice restaurants and everything you would expect.

Sabaneta also has two of the best small football stadiums in the region with modern, high-quality astroturf pitches and elevated stands overlooking the field. Both can be reserved for free plus there are community tournaments. You will also find public swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts and speed skating tracks.

The central park has a beautiful white church which is very similar to Envigado. Up the hill you will find some of the best views of the city with popular restaurants which attract visitors down from Poblado. La Octava Maravilla (the Eighth Wonder) is one of the best.

Many of the bars and restaurants are designed in the traditional “fonda” style with lots of wood, a covered entrance and tables filling the venue. You can enjoy local favorites such as bandeja paisa with a bottle of rum and some songs. Sabaneta really gives you the classic feel of Medellin, a growing city which was once dominated by farming culture and traditional values.

Sabaneta is close enough to Medellin to mean you are connected but also has its own distinct feel. Prices are also far, far cheaper. You can get a nice modern apartment in Sabaneta for the price of a simple house in one of the poorer areas of Medellin.

Pros of Sabaneta

  • Sabaneta is still easily accessible to the center of Medellin and it is just 13 minutes to Poblado on the metro but it has a more relaxed feel of a small town
  • You are surrounded by green mountains and always a short distance from fresh air and beautiful views
  • Prices are still far lower in Sabaneta than Poblado, Laureles and Envigado
  • Generally, Sabaneta is very safe and you won’t have to worry if you are sensible
  • You really get a few for classic paisa culture and there is a real community

Cons of Sabaneta

  • While the metro is quick, you are a long way from Poblado and it can be a slow, expensive Uber ride home after a night out
  • The small-town feel is charming but you may prefer to be closer to the action
  • The main areas are nice but if you venture beyond you may find it isn’t as pristine and well-maintained as Poblado
  • There are some really nice bars but it is more singing to accordion music with a bottle of rum in your hand rather than grinding the night away to some wild reggaeton

Main Things to Do and See in Sabaneta

  • Head up to one of the nearby “miradores”, a term for bars, restaurants or meeting points with excellent views over the city, to enjoy an evening with fresh air
  • Go for dinner and a film at the cinema in Mayorca Mega Plaza
  • Visit a traditional “fonda” to enjoy some guarro (local slang for aguardiente) and a dance with the friendly locals
  • Join a football team and play in the competitive INDESA league with games at some of the best pitches in the region
  • Count the millions of pesos you are saving by heading out beyond the big tourist areas

My Favorite Accommodations in Sabaneta

  • The comfort and flexibility of your own apartment: Praia Apartaestudios (from USD $29)
    Opting for a rented apartment can be a great option if you want your own space and the chance to cook from home. Praia for example has a fully stocked kitchen, flat screen TV, bedroom and an en suite bathroom. The design of the room is really nice and this can be a great, affordable option.
  • Clean, comfortable central hotel: Hotel Portón Sabaneta (from USD $48 a double room)The hotel is centrally located in Sabaneta, close to the central park and a 12-minute walk to the metro station. Rooms are simple but clean and with everything you would need plus air conditioning. They have free Wi-Fi and breakfast is included.
  • Modern, stylish option close to the metro: Distrito 21 Hotel (USD $37 a double room)Distrito 21 is a modern, sleek, fashionable hotel with an industrial feel. The hotel offers breakfast free of charge and is conveniently located close to the metro station. Reservations can be made on their website here.
  • Quality hotel in a perfect location: Fairfield by Marriott (from USD $195 a double room)The Fairfield is located very close to the Mayorca mall and just on the border with Envigado. The hotel has the quality you would expect from a Marriott with buffet, American and vegetarian breakfast options included.


Medellin is the most incredible place I have ever visited and I am sure you will have a great time whatever you choose. All of these options will provide you with a safe, comfortable place to stay and allow you to explore the entire city and region of Antioquia.

Whether you opt for the tranquility of Sabaneta or the vibrant energy of Poblado, I am sure you will have an amazing time.

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