The Top 5 Places to Live in Medellin in 2024 - Medellin Advisors

The Top 5 Places to Live in Medellin in 2024

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As we march into 2024, much has changed in the Aburrá Valley (where Medellín and its surrounding municipalities are located). The influx of both short-term and long-term visitors continues to surge and tourism is relishing its successive years of strong growth (ignoring the pandemic). This year, just like the last, has set the record to beat in terms of foreign visitors coming into Medellín. 

In my opinion, Medellín (and its greater metropolitan area) still retains its magic, thanks to the unwavering warmth of its proud people and the unparalleled beauty of the valley’s landscapes. The city has, however, been forced to rapidly adapt as it evolves, in real-time, into what we see today; a place that attracts an ever-growing profile of people. Everything and everyone, from digital nomads, entrepreneurs, pensioners, and even fans of reggaeton are coming and sharing what is becoming an increasingly packed valley.

So, whether it’s short-term or long-term, where are all these people choosing to live? Let’s have a look at the top 5 places to live in Medellin in 2024 because if you’d have asked 2 or 3 years ago, the answer may have been quite different.

(1) El Poblado: The Heart of Medellin's Urban Elegance

As far as lodging is concerned, El Poblado remains to be the perennial favourite. No other part of the valley lodges as many international visitors as does Comuna 14 (El Poblado). It is also where both the highest number and density of Airbnb listings are provided. So, why is that? What exactly is this neighbourhood, known as the 14th commune of the city, known for?

El Poblado is a highly desirable place to stay due to its upscale atmosphere, lively nightlife, and abundance of green spaces scattered throughout its first-world streets. Even though the word is spreading about other places within the Aburra Valley (which are now in vogue), El Poblado represents the most affluent part of the city, as reflected by its maximum economic strata, 6.

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Colombia is unique in that it breaks down its cities into economic strata (1-lowest to 6-highest)

Some facts about El Poblado:

Perhaps one of the more telling figures about El Poblado, is that it has an extremely high HDI (Human Development Index) of 0.979. That’s higher than Greater London’s! Couple that with a third of the price and you can begin to see how Medellin has steamrolled onto the international stage. When it comes to quality of life, El Poblado is hard to beat, almost anywhere in the world. 

Poblado
For many coming to El Poblado, they're able to secure, objectively, a higher quality of life than back home.

As Medellín continues to absorb more foreign influence, this is immediately reflected within the trendy streets of Poblado. Chic cafes, trendy boutiques, and a plethora of international dining options are all abundant, and fresh with the times.

You’ve also got the Zona Rosa which is where the upper-crust converge to party and dine. El Poblado is home to the best malls in the city, in my opinion. Generally speaking, you can expect some of the best facilities and services that the city has on offer, here in El Poblado.  

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Fine, really fine dining. Your options are plentiful in Poblado.

Here Are The Benefits of Living in El Poblado

  • Best choice for restaurants and dining
  • Very green with beautiful streams of water and green corridors.
  • Vibrancy
  • Lots of opportunities to meet others; abundance of rooftop hostels.
  • Great shopping malls (best in the city)

Here Are The Cons of Living in El Poblado

  • Elevated risk of robbery and theft
  • Density
  • Pollution
  • On a hill
  • Inflated prices

Remember, this is the heart of ‘tourist town’. Any preconceived ideas of debauchery or tackiness;
you’ll find them here if you look hard enough. Unfortunately, not all the city’s visitors are here for the most decent of reasons. Another issue to consider is that El Poblado is where thieves go about their trade. The area experiences the second/third highest rate of theft and armed robbery in the city (after La Candelaria).

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El Poblado is the heart ot tourist town.

There are over 17,000 inhabitants sharing each square kilometre of this neighbourhood. Throw into the mix a bunch of tourists and workers coming into the space and you have what can be a very congested neighbourhood. This also brings higher than normal levels of pollution which can oscillate between amber and red warning alerts.

El Poblado seems to attract the highest number of pensioners and senior visitors, despite being located on the fringes of the valley, which can be very steep and hard to traverse on foot. Other parts of the city are much more accessible/walker-frienly while still offering the great things that Poblado does.

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Traffic is a part of everyday life.

El Poblado is a massive place comprised of various neighbourhoods which have different appeals. It’s not as if every corner of the neighbourhood is dominated by parties and wandering tourists. Here, in a nutshell, are some of the best neighbourhoods that we recommend:

  • Provenza (best place to party and dine)
  • Altos del Poblado (feel like a king at the top of the hill) 
  • Manila (lots of recent investment & plenty of amazing hostels).
  • San Lucas (located away from the heat of Provenza. More relaxed whilst offering the best of facilities).

(2) Envigado: Suburban Charm with City Access

For those seeking a perfect balance between city life and tranquillity, Envigado is a gem. This suburban oasis is praised for its tree-lined streets, local markets, and family-friendly atmosphere. With excellent public transportation options, including the Medellin Metro, Envigado seems like the best choice for those who want a more ‘chilled’ Poblado experience.

Although technically located outside of the city, it is a separate municipality that borders Comuna 14/El Poblado. It offers the same quality of life, with access to the same abundance of high-end facilities, such as gyms, healthcare, clinics, restaurants etc.

Top de los mejores barrios de envigado para vivir

Despite how close it is to El Poblado, it retains much more of a local community vibe and boasts some of the lowest crime rates in the entire Aburra Valley. Envigado might not be as ‘happening’ as places such as Poblado or Laureles, but it contains all of the trappings of a fantastic, residential area.

Envigado is blessed by its ‘back garden’ which comprises the valley’s greatest ecological reserves. If you prefer peace over party, nature over glitz and glamour, Envigado may be the choice for you. It is growing in popularity amongst nomads and families who desire a peaceful, balanced day-to-day experience. Furthermore, the community feels more present in Envigado than it does in Poblado. As such, you may get receive a more ‘authentically’ Colombian welcome. 

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Envigado boasts some of the largest ecological reserves within the Aburra Valley. They are accessible and majestic.

In terms of lodging options, you have the multiple-storey apartments like you do in Poblado. The skyline between Envigado and Poblado is blended, making it difficult to notice when you’ve left the one for the other. 

These higher-rise apartments are found in the heights of Envigado (up in the mountain). There you’ll find residential buildings among the highest economic strata (5-6). Remember, this has financial implications as you will pay more for utilities.

Down the hill and closer to the basin of the valley, however, is where you’ll find the actual town of Envigado. The homes in that area are more traditional and limited to 2-storeys. The average estrato is around 3.5. In this area you won’t find any hotels or much short-term visitor infrastructure (except for Airbnbs).

Up in the mountains = more luxury resembling Poblado. However, there is less of a community feel here. You are also far away from the town which is where the emblematic park is. It is also not ideal for walking around in the heights of Envigado because of the tough incline.

Here Are The Benefits of Living in Envigado

  • Lower crime rates (amongst the safest places in the valley)
  • Residential
  • Largest ecological reserves in the city
  • Less noisy than Poblado
  • Good transport links (bus and metro)
  • Community feel
  • Access to facilities and everything you could want
  • Affordable
  • The option between traditional or modern

Here Are The Cons of Living in Envigado

  • Lack of nightlife (may not be a con)
  • Hills (not ideal for walkers)
  • Traffic into the city can be heavy.
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The Parque de Envigado had a facelift in late 2019 and is the community hub.

Envigado is relaxed and authentic

Unlike El Poblado which is highly towards tourism, Envigado is a chilled place where you you can escape the hustle. A common complaint about El Poblado is that foreigners feel they are targeted. Not necessarily maliciously, but foreigners are often given the gringo price and seen as an opportunity to make money. You likely won’t have this issue in Envigado. Instead, you’ll be able to blend into the community and enjoy the pace of life that is synonymous with many Colombians.

We recommend checking out the parque principal de Envigado for people walking, delicious menu of the day options, and plenty of commerce activity. It’s hard not to love, but then again, it isn’t for everybody. We find that it is more appreciated by retirees and those who experience less FOMO (fear of missing out).

envigado is a great place to live in medellin

(3) Laureles: The Coolest Neighbourhood in The World

First and foremost, we’ve written extensively about this amazing neighbourhood. Have a read here.

Laureles is probably our top pick of places to stay in Medellin and it’s not just because it’s in vogue. In case you didn’t know, this neighbourhood was featured at the top of a prominent ranking by Time Out, giving it the title of the Coolest Neighbourhood in The World for 2023.

Laureles had long been the neighbourhood that people would discover after first settling down in El Poblado. What would follow was often a “eureka” moment where they’d realise they’ve stepped foot into somewhere potentially better than where they started. 

That’s changed nowadays though as many are skipping out on El Poblado entirely in favour of this authentic, yet fully specced out section of the city. 

Laureles is a great place to live in medellin
Laureles is what it is thanks to unique and careful urban design back in the 1940 and 50s. It is named after the species of laurel tree which you can see in the photo.

Laureles is the second favourite place for international visitors seeking out accommodation, after El Poblado. 

Having said that, its appeal is growing amongst digital nomads who are choosing Laureles for its centrality, sense of community, and accessibility.

Laureles offers all the trappings of a great neighbourhood; all the things you’d find in El Poblado while remaining more authentic and less like a “gringolandia” as locals sometimes jokingly call Poblado. 

Laureles is a unique neighbourhood because of its distinct European design. The entirety of the neighbourhood, also known as Comuna 11, circles around the focal attraction which is the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB).

best places to live in Medellin

Although the circular design still confuses me to this day, it is what makes Laureles… Laureles.

It’s not just that though. Each street is lined with trees and vegetation which showcase the excellence of the climate and the richness of biodiversity in this part of the world. The abundance of greenery just makes you feel good. Sometimes I don’t even notice it, but I know, on some level, it’s probably making my day better. And even though each street is greener than your average park back home (at least in the UK), Laureles is packed with colourful, sociable parks. Regardless, it’s probably not the greenery that’s attracting loads of people to stay in Laureles. 

Instead, it may be the fact the neighbourhood is brimming with international restaurants, high-end boutiques, modern co-working spaces, and amazing coffee throughout. All of which at a very reasonable price. That’s not to say it doesn’t have the traditional spots though; the menu of the day places; the “Mom and Pop” shops… it’s all here in Laureles. 

Best places to live in medellin 2024

If you enjoy good nightlife, that too is here in Laureles with the famous street, La 70. If sporting events are popular, Laureles is home to the stadium of Atletico Nacional. In that same space, you have public access to all the possible sporting facilities you could want, including Olympic swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, a skatepark, an outdoor gym, etc.

Time out coolest neighborhoods laureles e

One significant advantage Laureles has over El Poblado is that it is entirely flat! No hills! See, I always wondered why pensioners and elder ex-pats would opt for Poblado and have to endure those nasty steep walks just to go to the local shop.

The fact that Laureles is flat means that you’ll see many more casual cyclists. You’ll see locals walking around the place and likely get familiar with the sight of them. It opens up the community. It also means everything on offer within the neighbourhood feels so accessible and easy to get to. It cultivates a more communal and sociable experience. Great stuff!

All this is even more impressive when you keep in mind that we are in a valley, 1,500m above the sea…

Finally, another slightly less significant benefit of Laureles over Poblado is that it is better connected to the rest of the city as it is centrally located.

Here Are The Benefits of Living in Laureles

  • Walkability
  • Uniqueness (circular/European design)
  • Greenery and parks
  • Digital nomad infrastructure
  • Great accommodation
  • Gastronomic diversity
  • Nightlife
  • Sport facilities
  • Proximity to the rest of the city
  • Community feel
  • Nightlife
  • Accessibility (its flat and walkable)

Here Are The Cons of Living in Laureles

  • Elevated risk of theft
  • Spanish is more essential (not necessarily a bad thing)
  • Night-time noise
  • Potential need for A/C
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Let’s quickly run through some of the cons of Laureles:

You will feel safe in Laureles although you should remain vigilant. Thanks to its perceived wealth and easy accessibility, thieves operate in the area. Joint with Poblado, Laureles contends for the number 2 spot for theft and armed robbery in the city. That’s not something you want to compete for.

Also, expect night-time noise whether its loud neighbours or noisy motorbikes. This is hard to escape in Medellin in general. Laureles, too, deals with the same issue of sound pollution.

Finally, given that Laureles is located within the basin of the valley, it experiences some of the highest temperatures (although the differences aren’t massive). As a result, I’ve seen people complain over the years with many even opting to install an a/c unit. I’ve personally never felt this was necessary but each to their own.

(4) Belén: Medellin's Up-and-Coming Hub

Belén, otherwise known as Comuna 16. If Laureles is finally making the rounds in 2023, it’s only a matter of time until Belén follows suit in the subsequent years. Belén delivers all the trappings of an amazing place to live: culture, nature, food and accessibility.

Belén, known as Bethlehem in Spanish, is located on the southern border of Laureles and covers a territory of 8km². It also shares borders with the corregimiento de Altavista and Itagüí.

Comprised of 22 unique neighbourhoods, it is kind of like living within a city within a city. The particular atmosphere in each of these 22 places can vary massively, but they are all bursting with character and community.

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Belén feels far more diverse than El Poblado and Laureles in that it accommodates a broader range of economic strata. Some parts are flat, others are (very much) not. You’ve got signs of ‘gentrification’ in some areas, and absolutely no signals of it elsewhere. You’ve got everything from 13-storey buildings to traditional homes dating back 40/50 years or more.

Prices are not jacked up like they are elsewhere. Belen is located in the centre of the valley and so is well accessible. It’s also one of the few places where you can get true peace at night without the noise and party!

It’s home to my favourite neighbourhood in the whole city of Medellin, Conquistadores. Conquistadores is very quiet, well-groomed and home to some older, but luxurious multi-storey apartment blocks. If you’re looking for a long-term place away from the mayhem but still well-connected and able to offer all the amenities you want, then perhaps Conquistadores has you covered.

It is also situated between two incredible public spaces: Cerro Nutibara (Pueblito Paisa) and the recently constructed Parques del Rio. Great places to take the family or walk the dog for example. 

Apto conquistadores

Located in what feels like a different world but still within the same Comuna is Loma de Los Bernal. This is another neighbourhood in Belén that I lived in and can praise.

Loma de Los Bernal is located on the fringes of the western valley so it isn’t flat and walkable like Conquistadores. It is, however, embedded within the nature of the mountain and incredibly green as a result. You’ve got the popular hiking trail, Cerro de Las Tres Cruces at your doorstep there, too.

Again, this is away from all the hustle and bustle and the lodging in the area consists of gated complexes (known as “conjuntos”).

It should be noted however that you have some very low-income communities surrounding the area and so it is not for everyone!

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Loma de Los Bernal is located at the foot of the famous Tres Cruces hill. One of my favourite places to live in Medellin, personally.

Here Are The Benefits of Living in Belén

  • More traditional 
  • Strong sense of community
  • Affordability
  • Accessibility and centrality
  • Lower crime rates than Laureles and Poblado
  • Family-orientated
  • Green spaces
  • Lodging options (apartments, homes, etc).
  • Blossoming neighbourhoods
  • Diversity
  • Home to Los Molinos Mall

Here Are The Cons of Living in Belén

  • Smaller expat community (possibly a plus)
  • Nobody speaks English (possibly a plus?)
  • Not too many international restaurants, chic cafes, etc.
  • No Metro station.
  • Some desirable areas are surrounded by highly undesirable areas
  • Hills in certain areas
  • Predominately residential (could be a plus?)
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(5) Llanogrande: Cream of The Crop Outside The Valley

Located within the greater municipality of Rionegro, Llanogrande offers the most luxurious and upscale properties in the entire country. Expect with that though the price tag to match. Technically, this is outside of the greater Medellin metropolitan area and is located right outside the Aburra Valley. We include it on this list though as it is widely considered an extension just outside of its borders. It is very close, like a 45-minute drive. It is located very close to the international airport of José María Córdova which serves the metropolitan area.

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Llanogrande is where all the elite and well-to-do of Medellin society either strive to make or already have their home. Karol G, Maluma and J Balvin – Latin America’s three biggest artists, all have properties in Llanogrande. 

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Llanogrande means the great flats because it sits on a plateau directly to the east of the Aburra Valley. It is approximately 2,080m above sea level (500m higher than Laureles). 

Here Are The Benefits of Living in Llanogrande

  • Scenic surroundings
  • Superior air quality to the valley/metro area
  • Being amongst the ‘upper-crust’ of society
  • Greater safety
  • Less population density
  • Incredible amenities/facilities/restaurants/local services
  • Cooler weather
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Proximity to airport
  • ‘Bragging rights’

Some notable benefits of being in an exclusive area are access to great restaurants and facilities. Even though the area is newly developed, the government have invested heavily in infrastructure such as the Oriente tunnel which was integrated in 2019. Everything is new and modern.

Given its separation from the city, you are less exposed to impoverished areas. Llanogrande is regarded as a relatively safe area.

Despite being known as the “great flats”, is shaped by green rolling hills. Llanogrande is very picturesque, as you’d imagine.

It goes without saying that if you are looking for luxury housing then this is as good as it gets.

A potential pro or con of living in Llanogrande is the climate. It is cooler but there are also fewer hours of sunshine than in the valley.

Llanogrande strikes me as a great place to raise a family. Perhaps not somewhere I’d consider if I were single and in my 20s.

Propiedades llanogrande principal
Llanogrande oozes exclusivity

Here Are The Cons of Living in Llanogrande

  • Fewer hours of sunshine
  • Less street life
  • Greater need for a car (although public transport is also good)
  • Less of a down-to-earth community feel (which is what makes Medellin so great)
  • 45-minutes from the city
  • Expensive

Conclusion

There we have it, our personal list of the best 5 places to stay in Medellin. Remember that this represents a tapestry of neighbourhoods, each with its unique character and appeal. Whether you prefer the cosmopolitan ambience of El Poblado, the suburban charm of Envigado, the timeless elegance of Laureles, the up-and-coming energy of Belén, or the tranquil retreat in Llanogrande, rest assured there’s something for everyone. As the city continues to evolve, these top five places offer a glimpse into the diverse and exciting lifestyle options that Medellin has to offer in 2024.

If you need any help regarding lodging or a place to stay, do not hesitate to get in contact with our team!

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