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Medellin Explodes In Popularity Growing 41 Percent Over Pre-Pandemic Arrivals

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Medellin, Colombia has become a massively popular destination for tourists, digital nomads, and backpackers alike, with its tourism popularity growing 41 percent over its pre-pandemic numbers.

It’s easy to see why, Medellin is home to natural beauty, trendy bars, and a welcoming population. The country of Colombia has been plagued by the reputation of Pablo Escobar for decades, keeping it from reaching its tourism potential until now. 

Medellin Skyline

Colombia started to attract digital nomads that would have normally gone to Asia but found themselves locked out of the countries they usually go to. While Colombia still has a proof of vaccination requirement to enter, tourists won't need to bring a negative test or quarantine like most of Asia still requires. They can simply show their proof of vaccination card, fill out an online CheckMig form, and enter Colombia.

For 6 months in 2021, Colombia had removed all entry requirements completely, which also enticed many budget travelers to skip popular Mexico and head south instead. While Mexico has been the indisputable king of tourism during the pandemic, passenger traffic only increased 9.3% from 2019 numbers, while Colombia shot up 41%.

Medellin from Above

Is Medellin Affordable?

The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated. Medellin is less expensive than many comparable U.S. cities. On average, living expenses are 60% to 70% less than the major U.S. cities of Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago. These figures reflect the cost of living for locals in Medellin, but you may find that the cost of living for travelers and digital nomads is a bit higher.

Because of the burst in popularity here, hotels and Airbnb are much more expensive than they were before the pandemic, but still more affordable than many tourist cities. You can expect to spend between $700 and $1000 on an apartment in Medellin for one month, of course depending on size and how far in advance you book it. If you’re looking for a cheaper place to stay, Medellin is home to several hostels as well. 

Medellin From Above

The cafes, bars, and restaurants have also caught on the influx of tourists and have begun charging accordingly. However, you can still have a good dinner and a night out for pretty cheap in Medellin if you look slightly off path. 

The weather in Medellin is a massive plus also, as the city is known as “The City of Eternal Spring” – meaning, temperatures stay a mild 60-80 degrees throughout the year. 

Medellin at night

How Safe Is It? 

This is kind of the elephant in the room when talking about a lot of destinations in central and south America. Years of real-life Cartel activity and portrayal in popular culture have made many people wary of traveling down south.

While cartel activity has mostly died down, parts of Medellin can be a little dodgy at night. Medellin is generally safe for travelers in terms of violent crime but there has been a recent string of armed robberies and petty crimes against tourists occurring as of late 2021. You can check out our guide for safety in Medellin

How Do I Get To Medellin? 

You can fly from several destinations in the U.S. to Medellin. International flights to Medellín land at José María Córdova International Airport (MDE), which is situated in the city of Rionegro, approximately 20 miles east of Medellin. Here are some examples of flights and prices:

New York to Medellin – $273 Round Trip – American Airlines

Boston to Medellin – $291 Round Trip – Spirit Airlines

Miami to Medellin – $146 Round Trip – Spirit Airlines

Los Angeles to Medellin – $394 Round Trip – COPA

Chicago to Medellin – $346 Round Trip – Spirit Airlines

Once you land in Medellin, you’ll be able to get transport to the city center through various taxi options and an official airport bus.  

Medellin could be the spot for you to visit in 2022! It has everything a traveler/nomad could need at an affordable price and is relatively safe for travelers. It might be a good idea to get there soon though, because who knows how big of a destination it could be this time next year. 

Read More:

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How To Volunteer In Medellin, Colombia

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 11th of April 2022

Nice to hear you've been to MDE quite a few times. I lived there from 2007-2012. Visited in 2006 for the first time. And was last there in Feb 2020...right as the CRUISE SHIP COVID story was going on. Got photos of that on TV at El Tesoro Centro Comercial. Maybe I'll send them to you for a chuckle.

Medellin is no longer the "City of Eternal Spring." It certainly has spring like climate for quite a few months I imagine...but it ain't what it used to be. Some bad air pollution in Feb when I was there. More hot days and heavy downpours. Maybe I'll send a photo of the air pollution. The air smelled different too - of course, pollution.

Lots more traffic (Especially motorcycles), air pollution, etc...and due to "Climate change."

The early-mid 2000s was a "Golden Age" for MDE. Leaving the Escobar cocaine past behind (Yes, it still transits / controlled from there I know) and people were still more "innocent" so to speak.

But like many places in the world..."progress" and "modernity" and "population increase" and "technology" have altered things too much.

The girls weren't anywhere near as attractive in 2020 vs 2007-2012. But then I've changed a lot on the inside as well.

At least from my perspective.

But you can't know what you didn't experience necessarily. But maybe you can relate to other places you know. My home town area here in WA State has changed tremendously... for better or worse. A lot of that change in just 10 years.

There's a concept of ocean degradation called SHIFTING BASELINES. That's apt for MDE.

Some places were the same...have you heard of PARQUE ECOLOGICO in ENVIGADO? Easily accessible by metro/bus.


Monday 11th of April 2022

All aboard the chester express.


Monday 11th of April 2022

Just as a matter of transparency, and to avoid any false impression that readers might have by reading this article, the statistics provided comes from only one airport operator (ASUR) and only covers passenger traffic from this operator which is the South East of Mexico (excluding major airports like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey), one airport in Puerto Rico, and 6 airports in Colombia (excluding major airports such as Bogota and Cartagena). Just like with Covid, when being bombarded with statistics, one needs to investigate and look at the sources, to make sure that those numbers aren’t cherry picked, which they mostly are. Also the title is misleading as it implies that Medellin grew 41% over “ pre-pandemic arrivals”. First, the 41% does not apply to Medellin, but to all the 6 airports operated by ASUR including Medellin. Second, this 41% only applies for the month of March of 2019 vs March 2022. I was one of the visitors who took the opportunity to travel to Colombia last year when the government lifted the entry requirements for 6 months only to be reintroduced this year (they did the same back in 2020). I visited both Bogota and Medellin. I found the economy in disarray with empty hotels and empty restaurants. Their vaccine mandates were useless as I was always allowed access in private ran businesses despite not being vaccinated. Clearly they were desperate for my money. I don’t see things changing for the future as long as the government keeps going on with their Covid circus.


Thursday 2nd of June 2022

@Christian, Medellin is shit now compared to what it used to be.. All the losers have been perving out on youtube street walk vids of Lleras for 2 years straight and now that things are opening up they have flooded the city (Poblado). You are totally right about cherry picking statistics, they do the same with the crime stats too, which are up a ton. The former mayors are under investigation for skewing and hiding the real numbers for the sake of tourism, crime is through the roof and the clueless vloggers who never step foot out of LLeras/Poblado just love to talk about how "safe it is!!" (I lived in medellin for years and people literally wouldn't believe all the things i've seen happen there)


Monday 11th of April 2022

@Kashlee Kucheran, I was there in December. Maybe that is why.

Kashlee Kucheran

Monday 11th of April 2022

Empty hotels and empty restaurants? That is certainly not our experience.

We went 6 separate times, staying for a minimum of 10 days each time, since August 2021, and Medellin was packed full of local and international tourists. We actually had to get used to making reservations because all the restaurants we went to, whether a hole in the wall or a nice trendy place, were ALWAYS full. If we couldn't make a reso, we had to start eating at like 5 or 6 in order to get in, and multiple this by over 90+ nights in different seasons.

We stayed in different accommodations, sometimes a hostel like Rango or Masaya, and sometimes a nicer hotel like the Dan Carlton or Du Parc, and they were also full. We had to move rooms on multiple occasions because the same room wasn't available for our entire stay.

The city is absolutely brimming with tourists and the restaurants and hotels are absolutely packed, as are the shopping malls and tourists attractions.