Short term (1-3 months) in Medellin?

#1

Hello all,

I’m just interested on anyones experience of renting short term (1-3 months) accommodation in Medellin, Colombia.

I had a look on Airbnb of course, lots of places, on the more expensive which isn’t a huge issue… I’m just wondering if in anyones experience it’s better to take a room for a week and shop around when I get there or whether I should just book a month upfront? I recently had a bad experience with Airbnb so not dying to go down that road again just yet if I’m honest.

I’ll be arriving in Medellin from November onwards over the Xmas period and likely through till January, maybe longer. Another friend is coming with me so we could potentially rent a 2 bed apartment, or I’d also be happy in a studio or a private room in a decent house even. I’m thinking El Poblano or Laureles, as we are two girls with limited Spanish.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks

#2

Hi Jodie,

If you haven’t already booked, I’d consider re-routing to Mexico or somewhere else in Latin America. Medellin is the only place in the world I’ve felt truly and daily unsafe as a woman. I had men try to follow me home, block my way into my apartment, scream at me at coffee shops, and try to grab me in line at the bank. I asked a lot of other women about their experiences as well and it sounds like harassment is pretty commonplace.

If you are set on going, I wish you well, but thought I’d let you know my experience because I seriously wish someone had cautioned me. I’ve been all over the world, to every continent, including quite a few places in Latin America and I’ve never ever had such a bad experience anywhere else.

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#3

Thanks for your reply. Alas we have our flights booked already, but only cheap flights from Miami. I’m sorry to hear of your experience, that is troubling. Interestingly I haven’t heard this from others, although I’m aware of the dangers in Latin America in general. I’m thankful that my friend is coming with me but I am definitely a teeny bit anxious about what it will be like. I’m a very cautious person which I hope will help me somewhat, but you really never know!

Thanks for your advice anyway, I definitely am going to read up more before we go as seems like it can’t help to be extra prepared!

#4

Good luck! I hope you have a much better experience than I did. One thing that may be helpful would be staying in Poblado. Laureles - the other popular neighborhood for expats and travelers - is where the majority of my bad experiences took place.

#5

Oh really, funny you should say that as I was really keen to stay in Laureles over Pobaldo! More research required indeed. Thanks for the advice x

#6

I’ve just booked myself to land there in 7 days and too aiming at Laureles owing to the proximity of Estadio (I am keen on lap-swimming). I haven’t got a place booked yet, but will likely blaze my own trail and could share my experiences if you keen on hearing them. Imma bloke, so, putting gender relativism aside, I may not be such a good reference point after all. Well… PM me in 2 weeks time if you keen to hear my fate.

#7

Ah cool. Yeah for sure would be interesting to hear some more in a couple of weeks. Hope things go smoothly for you x

#8

just to back @gigigriffis up, she’s not the only one that didn’t like medellin. i quit my job because i hated being there so much and couldn’t wait to escape. unless you have local connections, airbnb is probably your best bet for short-term. just make sure to negotiate.

#9

Thanks for the input. Sorry to hear of your negative experience, what did you dislike about it so much?

I’m a bit scared now! I read several articles last night after reading @gigigriffis advice. Seems to be a mixed opinion, some people saying they felt unsafe, others saying they felt the danger was akin to any major city…

Would you agree that it’s better to stay in Pobaldo then Laureles? Just there really isn’t much in Pabaldo for the time I’m looking whereas I found what looks like a decent deal on Airbnb on a room in a shared house run by a Westerner in Laureles that looks nice and has good reviews.

Thanks!

#10

I really wouldn’t recommend Laureles. Normally, I would always choose the local neighborhood over where all the foreigners stay, but I think in this case you’re going to by much safer going with the tourist-loved area.; if something does happen, you’re more likely to be near someone who would come to your rescue.

For what it’s worth, my own experiences and the informal survey I’ve taken of other women indicate Medellin is much worse than other comparable big cities. I’ve been nomading for years and spent plenty of time in big cities and I’ve encountered some harassment along the way, but absolutely nothing like this. Basically, what I’ve found is that literally every woman I’ve talked to - including the ones who like and defend Colombia - has been harassed. Whether you like Colombia or not seems to depend on A) your tolerance level for harassment and B) how bad it gets. It seems that catcalling and street harassment are a best-case-scenario and the women who only experience this low-level harassment seem to like Colombia anyway and just shrug it off as being like any other big city. The women for whom it goes farther–I’ve heard stories of everything from being patted down at gunpoint to being drug down the street in broad daylight by a ponytail to having some stranger grind into your rear end while you wait in line for a gondola ticket–or who just have low tolerance for that shit, we tend to be the ones who hate it there.

#11

An example: one woman who staunchly defended Colombia to me turned out to have been robbed five times during her months there.

Others who defend usually admit they had a man with them most of the time (which totally changes the situation) or they got yelled at all the time, but were able to ignore.

#12

i stayed in envigado. i’d likely stay there again (if someone pointed a gun at my head and said I must go back) but if you don’t speak spanish it would be hard as it is even more local than laureles. personally, i disliked: the crime (someone sticking a gun in your face in broad daylight in the middle of the tourist zone to steal the phone you’re talking on is a shruggable offense), the sex tourism, the fact that girls there get boob jobs for their 15th bdays instead of education (literally. the parents will stop paying for school so the kid can get plastic surgery instead) because a woman’s appearance is much more important than her brains, the pollution, the horrible traffic, the dirt and grime, the shitty food, the expense (it’s super expensive if you want anything resembling a non-shitty life), and so many other things. i’ve been traveling full time for 8 years. i’ve been to dozens of countries. colombia is at the bottom of my list of places to return to.

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#13

i will say, i never really felt in danger. it was mostly that most of the culture as it relates to women is the complete opposite of anything i would find acceptable. plus it was stupid expensive. on par with living in the US without the advantages. so many better options for a fraction of the price.

#14

I spent two and a half months in Medellin this time last year with my wife.

I’m in agreement with @wanderingdev and @gigigriffis, I’m not sure Medellin is ready for solo women travelers or women only travel groups.

But if you are going to go, I would definitely stay in Poblado. It’s more expensive, but the locals are more likely to take care of you there. We made some good friends there. We booked there for the peace of mind (we hadn’t ever been to Colombia before), and the sheer number of other tourists walking around that area make it feel a lot safer.

We joined internations (gross) while we were there because we saw they were taking a day trip to Rionegro to ride some horses (which was amazing if they’re doing it again). We met some awesome Colombian women through internations that my wife stays in touch with. Talking to them is kind of what won us over on Colombia, because talking to them you could see how hard Colombians were trying to change Colombia and fix the problems the others have brought up.

There are definitely places you can find if you want to once you’re in country that will be cheaper, you just have to meet the right people.

#15

I appreciate everyones input, thanks for your messages. It’s funny as my friend I’m going with posted on another group and got nothing but positive messages so I wasn’t really expecting such varied responses, but it’s all good to know. After debating it we decided to stay in a share house of Westerners in Laureles as it suited our budget more and had a huge list of glowing reviews, even from solo women. I did look at accommodation in Pablado but there wasn’t much available for November unfortunately. We booked to stay for 1 month, if we feel unhappy after that we will just leave and go elsewhere, I can only hope our experience is positive!

If anyone else if going to be in Medellin from November onwards feel free to shoot me a message so we can hang out!

Thanks for everyones input.

#16

Haha I’ve heard the same thing about Internations from others! Might be worth looking at though as a way to connect. Thanks for your message

#17

I’ll be arriving in Medellin October 2nd and staying for a few months in Laureles as well, about a block from the university. Also not a lady so my experience may not be relevant, but we’ll see what happens!

#18

Sweet! Would be great to hear what you think of the area once you arrive x

#19

How’s your Spanish?

#20

Mediocre at best. I have decent vocabulary but my ability to understand spoken Spanish is pretty abysmal.

But that’s part of the reason I’m going, since I’ll only be a block away from UPB I plan on taking Spanish lessons there. The airbnb I’m staying at has an English speaking host and appears to be a bit of a hub for travelers, so I’m hoping that will make it easier to get by for the time being as I learn Spanish.