Wondering if Medellin Colombia is the right digital nomad destination for you?
There are different reviews written about Medellin Colombia as a digital nomad destination and before coming here, we were not sure whether it will be the right place for us.
We read big hypes about the digital nomad community in Medellin and negative remarks about safety.
We don’t agree to many conclusions about Medellin as digital nomad destination. That’s why we decided to share our honest opinion about being a digital nomad in Medellin.
We hope that our experience will help you decide if Medellin is the right place for you to live and work remotely.
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Medellin for digital nomads in a nutshell
Medellin is often referred to as the digital nomad hub of South America. We spent a little over 1 month in Medellin and we loved our time living and working remotely in this vibrant and lush city!
Medellin is the perfect combination of work and play – proving a good infrastructure for digital nomads while never coming short of things to do and events to spend time outside of working hours.
The low cost of living make it a digital nomad destination in which you can enjoy yourself with little money.
We felt safe throughout our entire time as digital nomads in Medellin. That’s why we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Medellin as a safe digital nomad destination, if you take the usual precautions.
The only major minus point we see for Medellin as digital nomad destination is a rather inactive digital nomad community. At least that’s how we experienced it. Despite of Medellin’s reputation as the digital nomad destination of South America, we had more difficulties meeting other digital nomads as compared to other nomad destinations.
1. We felt safe as digital nomads in Medellin
It’s no secret that Medellin is looking back at a dark past of violence and terror. In the 90s it used to be regarded as the #1 most dangerous place in the world!
The more amazing it is to see what an incredible transformation the city has undergone in under three decades, thanks to political reforms, educational and social urbanization programs.
Medellin didn’t feel unsafer than any other city
We were made aware that we should be careful of pickpockets, especially when going to crowded places in the center of Medellin. Locals even have different levels of alertness for pickpockets: Papaya level 1-5! We learnt that during our Free Walking Tour in Medellin.
We always paid attention to our bags and luckily, we never had any problems.
In general, we never had a situation in which we didn’t feel safe in Medellin. We felt safe walking around Poblado, Laureles, and other parts of the city during day and night. We just always made sure to stay in areas that are busy and never linger out to dark lonely alleys.
For moving around longer distances, we used the Cabify app and always had friendly and reliable drivers.
What is the situation with drugs in Medellin?
You might have read that there are still a lot of drugs in Medellin. Well, let’s put this statement into perspective.
There is no doubt that Colombia is still the major producer of cocaine. However, looking at global drug consumption, Colombia doesn’t even make it onto the list of the Top 20 countries with the highest drug consumption.
Locals don’t use cocaine. It’s produced for international export.
Wherever you go, it won’t be long until you will hear “Cocaine? Marihuanna?” But there is a reason why street dealers are approaching tourists: they are typically the ones buying…
2. You get good value for money as digital nomad in Medellin
Whether a place is cheap or expensive to live in can be of course subjective and will depend on how much you’re usually used to spending. Plus, a big portion of your cost of living will depend on your typical standard of living.
- Do you like eating out every day?
- Are you going for fancy coffee and beers every day?
- How comfortable do you like to stay?
This kind of stuff.
To help you decide if Medellin is a cheap or expensive digital nomad destination based on your personal budget, below is a list of our expenses.
We would describe ourselves as budget to medium price range travelers. We are not the type of digital nomads that would stay in bunk beds while traveling but we don’t mind going for cheaper food options. Take that as an example to make a judgement how similar your budgeting is to ours.
- Two rooms apartment in Provenza, Poblado: $1110 USD / month
- Set lunch menu incl. soup, main dish, and juice: $3 USD
- Dinner out: from $5-10 USD
- Coffee: $1.80 USD
- Beer: $2 USD
- Internet sim card: $10
- Metro: $0.50 USD one way
Little disclaimer about the apartment price:
We came to Medellin after a longer stretch of traveling and staying in budget accommodations. So we wanted to treat ourselves with a nice and homey place in Medellin. We picked our apartment in the heart of the best location in town, surrounded by countless stylish restaurants, bars, and cafes. It was a 24/7 security guarded complex and we were staying on the 14th floor with amazing view. So let’s just say, there are cheaper options available.
We booked our apartment via the Whatyawant Agency. They have amazing options and are reliable. This is the listing of our apartment in Provenza.
3. Internet and wifi is always in Medellin
The internet infrastructure is very good in Medellin and you won’t have any issues finding high speed wifi for doing your work wherever and whenever you want.
Working from home in Medellin
Most apartments on Airbnb are equipped with high speed internet. Medellin has a large influx of expats and retirees. Therefore the housing infrastructure is accommodating the comfort and connectivity needs of the international community quite well.
Best cafes for digital nomads in Medellin
If you like to mix up the scenery of your home office and treat yourself to working while sipping on the best quality coffee in the world (yes, it’s as good as they say!), there are plenty of amazing cafes to choose from in Medellin!
Especially in the barrios Poblado and Laureles you won’t go far without stumbling over cute and stylish cafes with wifi and often other digital nomads sitting behind their laptops.
Our favorite cafe with great wifi and a good atmosphere to work in Medellin was Pergamino in Poblado Provenza. We had our best coffee in Medellin there, and the seating area is spacious, luminous, and with strong wifi.
Best tourist sim card in Colombia for digital nomads
There are three main telco pre-paid providers in Colombia: Movistar, Tingo, and Claro.
When we checked, all providers had similar offers and prices and we eventually decided to go for Claro. We had good experiences with Claro in terms of reliable coverage across Colombia, so we can recommend them.
Getting a sim card and internet package in Medellin is quite easy. Both sim cards and top ups are sold in kiosks, and we didn’t even need to show our passports.
We got our sim card in a little telco outdoor kiosk in Avenida El Poblado, close to Parque El Poblado.
4. There are good options for coworking in Medellin
Whenever we stay for a longer period of time at a location, we like to check out the coworking spaces of a place. We made some of our best connections in coworking spaces while traveling and we love to finding out about fun events and workshops among the entrepreneurs and digital nomad community of a destination.
We visited a handful of coworking spaces in Medellin.
While some coworking spaces offered fun social events like free salsa classes or bar hopping tours, there were not a lot of events organized in general. Also, we didn’t find any educative events, presentations, or workshops, which we found a pity because we had great experiences of learning valuable things for our business as well as connecting with experts in different areas.
Still, coworking spaces are a great place to see digital nomads and expats in their natural habitat. Although, interaction needs to be enforced, as everyone is usually sitting glued to their laptops…
Here are our favorite spaces for coworking in Medellin for digital nomads.
CBox Coworking, Poblado
A 10 minutes taxi ride from Provenza in Poblado is CBox Coworking in Medellin.
It’s a brand new coworking space for local entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and digital nomads. It’s made in a cool industrial style, has a rooftop area, and is very spacious. You have an open kitchen with free coffee, tea, and water, and snacks for purchase. They also have an office pet – lady dog Lulu!
They have hot desks starting from $30,000 Colombian Pesos per day, and you get discounts for reservations of more days.
If we had to choose, CBox would be our favorite pick for coworking in Medellin.
Casa Redonda, Laureles
Our top choice for coworking in Medellin in the Laureles area is Casa Redonda.
Casa Redonda is a much smaller coworking space than CBox and a totally different vibe. It’s more intimate, more artistic with colorful paintings on the wall, and it has the feel of a cool homey loft.
The community of Casa Redonda was more international, which was great to make digital nomad friends.
CBox and Casa Redonda have a business alliance (Circular Coworking Group) and buying a pass in either one of the coworking spaces allows you to use the other one as well. We like changing our work locations once in a while, so we loved this concept! Plus, the staff is super fun and friendly.
The third coworking space in Medellin we recommend is Selina in Provenza, Poblado.
Selina is both a coliving and coworking space, so meeting other travelers and digital nomads is guaranteed if you stay here.
Their official coworking space is small but offers sufficient seating options. They have a modern industrial style, although we found the space a little dark. Besides the coworking area, you can use their cafe and bar area to work.
If you would like to stay at Selina, they offer studios and apartments with private and shared facilities like kitchen, bathroom, and common spaces to hang out in. While we didn’t live in Selina we heard good feedback from the members of a nomad tribe of the Nomad Academy, who we joined for a hackathon there.
In their coworking space they have a little garden with amazing river view (and sound!) and they feature a yoga room and sleeping room too for the occasional digital nomad nap!
5. We hoped to meet more digital nomads in Medellin
Before coming to Medellin, we were excited to meet a bunch of other digital nomads from different countries and make new professional connections and friends.
Unfortunately, it was a little bit difficult for us to find easy access to the digital nomad community in Medellin.
Many internationals are longterm expats (often American retirees) and people that moved to Medellin without a deadline. Our true meeting of internationals was at a Medellin expat community event organized by the Medellin Guru. Besides that, we met another handful of international’s digital nomads during a free salsa class at Dancefree.
We hoped to meet digital nomads in the coworking spaces in Medellin. There surely were some but these were often glued to their laptop screens. We joined a bar hopping tour of Circular Coworking, in which we met a lot of fun (but mostly local) entrepreneurs.
If you want to make new friends in the digital nomad community, our advice is that you should be very proactive.
6. Poblado is not as touristy as many say
Before booking an apartment for our month in Medellin, we did extensive research on best areas to stay in Medellin for tourists and digital nomads. Our most important criteria were safety and fun factor.
Based on the recommendation of different blogs, we decided to go for Poblado in the sub-area Provenza. We were very happy with our choice, but looking back, we would give you the following advice.
Stylish Provenza in Poblado
Poblado is undoubtedly the first choice for most tourists and expats in Medellin. It is the richest part of town and has a tons of restaurants, cafes, and cute boutique shops.
In Poblado, Calle 10 and Parque Illeras are described as the most touristic hot spots. However, based on our opinion and the stories of many locals, Parque Illeras has become very trashy over the last years – thanks to trashy tourists unfortunately. Nowadays, it’s a hotspot for people who want to find drugs or company for the night. Although the area itself is still beautiful, it doesn’t have a great charm to it. So in our opinion, don’t stay there!
We stayed in Provenza in Poblado, which is the new hip part of Poblado, and where you will find a lot of affluent Colombians going out for drinks and dinners. It is very modern, has a lot of outdoor traces to enjoy warm evening drinks, and it’s incredibly green. Jungle green! In our opinion, it is the most beautiful part of Medellin, and we would always return back to it.
Many digital nomads that we met in Medellin told us that they started in Poblado and moved then to the Laureles barrio.
Laureles is the upcoming part of town, which is cheaper and less hilly than Poblado – making it more comfortable to walk in.
We visited Laureles a couple of times to stroll around and to work in the coworking space Casa Redonda.
While we can’t say how it is to live there, we liked the atmosphere of Laureles. It also had more (and cheaper) supermarket options than in Poblado.
7. You’ll never get bored in Medellin as digital nomad
Medellin is a large city and there are a ton of things to do in your free time in and around Medellin!
Medellin is not a city you visit for its sights, but experiencing the atmosphere, learning about the rich and interesting culture and history, enjoying the coffee, exploring new restaurants, finding markets and events – that’s what makes Medellin fun.
People are friendly and talkative. It’s a super lively city that won’t let you ever feel bored. In fact, we had so many things on our bucket list, that we got a little under time pressure towards the end of our stay.
If you like any of the activities below, Medellin is your place!
Try delicious coffee
The coffee of Colombia deserves its reputation and you can find many cafes of excellent quality and so many different ways to brew coffee!
Don’t make a mistake, though! The traditional and most sold coffee in Colombia is cafe tinto. It’s what locals drink and it’s the coffee made from the “bad” coffee beans that didn’t make it for export. Fun fact!
Discover new restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops
Medellin has a great hospitality culture and countless restaurants of international cuisine. The weather is very pleasant and people love to sit on terraces outside, chatting, having drinks and eating greasy snacks. You will love the vibe!
Stroll around lush Poblado
From the moment we got to Poblado, it felt like a tropical jungle in the midst of a town. Seeing the green and hearing the water of the streams is so relaxing!
Learn about Medellin’s dark past
Join the Free Walking Tour and get inspired by the transformation of the city. You’ll explore the most iconic buildings and places of Medellin and will get lots of goosebump moments when listening to a local telling the stories of the past.
Explore the history of Communa 13
Once of the most dangerous places in Medellin, Communa 13 is now open to the public and home of many street artists.
Take free salsa classes
There are free weekly salsa classes available at Dancefree. They are fun and a great way to socialize with locals and foreigners!
Visit beautiful nature
One of our highlights is visiting the incredible lakes and cute town of Guatape. After traveling for over 1.5 years, we didn’t expect too much from seeing “another” lake. Oh, we were so wrong! It’s one of the most beautiful sceneries of our entire time as digital nomads and 100% worth it.
Conclusion of being a Medellin digital nomad
Medellin was our first digital nomad destination in South America and we couldn’t have made a better choice!
It’s a perfect combination of getting emerged into South American traditions and culture while enjoying a lot of comfort and a good infrastructure for living and working remotely.
There is great availability of internet and wifi, many cafes and coworking spaces to work in, and a lot of things to see and do in your free time. People are friendly and we always felt safe.
Medellin has the reputation of becoming the digital nomad hub in South America. However, despite joining coworking spaces and events, we didn’t find it as easy to meet other digital nomads as in other popular digital nomad destinations like Bali, for example. That was for us the only downside of Medellin.
We hope that this guide to Medellin as a digital nomad destination helped you to make a decision whether Medellin is the right place for you. If you have any questions that remained open, let us know in the comments!