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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Latin America, Mexico, or Central America.
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I went a few years back but wouldn't go again.
Medellin has a similar vibe to southern California. Everything's made of brick and concrete. City looks nice, mild climate. Somehow I didn't get sunburned despite being out long hours in the daytime. For the most part the city's pretty well kept up. Everywhere I went had a pretty safe vibe, but the city definitely has its run-down parts, some can be very dangerous. Water in most major cities is potable, from what the locals said. Food is tasty - I think a good sit-down meal can be had for about $7 or less. Lots of little bakeries to choose from when you're out and about, they're quite cheap. Geographically it's hilly, surrounded by mountains, at high elevations so it's not blazing hot during the daytime, even in the summer.
Hotels there ran from $25-50 per night. Hotels rarely have A/C so if your room catches a lot of sun during the daytime, the concrete absorbs a lot of heat and it will be hot at night. Bring flip flops for the shower if you go - many of the showers floors aren't properly sloped for drainage so you can catch a persistent case of athlete's foot. Hotels normally don't have good curtains to keep out the light - bring a sleep mask or you'll be up at sunrise whether you like it or not. Also, most of them seem to be situated in noisy areas. The people stay up way late and there's traffic and noise early in the morning. Taxis were relatively cheap, I want to say less than $5 will get you most places. The drivers were honest and never tried to rip me off. Take metered cabs - I think the yellow ones were metered.
People were very friendly, many of them will try to talk to you - young men, old men, middle aged and old women, just not the young women. If you at least try to communicate in Spanish they're eager to converse. I actually got tired of so many people wanting to talk to me, just wanted to be left alone sometimes.
The locals mostly look like mediterranean white people - light to tan skin, brown or black hair. Colombia has many black, Indian or mestizo people but they tend to be more concentrated in other areas. Medellin women are good looking. A lot of them have had cosmetic surgery. The locals dress like Californians - jeanswear, flip flops, ball caps, sneakers, sports clothing. Women's fashions are more revealing than in the US. For the most part they're looking for attention and flirting, not a BF, a husband, or a date.
If you're posting that question on here, I assume you want to know more about the women. In summary, not a good place for that. You'll get a better response there than in the US but it's not great in Medellin. Girls there love to go to the club. If you're reasonably tall, young (under 31), athletic, extroverted, mainstream interests/personality with a good mojo and you speak Spanish, you can meet them there. . . if that's not you, don't bother. The clubs are LOUD and there must be hundreds of them scattered throughout the city. You can look online but you'll get a LOT of flakery. Exchange a couple of messages then they disappear. Most of the local women will claim that the local men are players. If someone has more extended ties down there such as retirement, work, relatives or a good network of friends, the situation may improve quite a bit.
The culture there is very externally focused - maintaining an attractive appearance, smiling, interacting with everyone, excitement, having fun. Intellectualism, introversion and deep thinking aren't considered positive traits. Various other people on the board have visited Medellin and most will say similar things.
Things to do: visit the Parque Arvi, a big nature preserve outside Medellin. Visit the downtown. Historic buildings. Try the coffee if that's your thing - Colombia is a major coffee producer. Locals love to tell you about anything if you can communicate with them. Pablo Escobar, the drug kingpin of the 80's, was from Medellin and the locals still talk about it. Try all the local foods, they're cheap and tasty. Hop a bus and travel anywhere in the country, it's relatively cheap. In the north, on the coast, there are some good beaches from what I've read. Whenever I asked about the wilderness areas (Colombia has lots of jungle and mountains) the locals always mentioned FARC (communist insurgents) and the narcotraficantes or drug traffickers. I got the vibe that free hiking was not a good idea.
Most places in Colombia are not as safe as Medellin, some are extremely dangerous. Watch your back especially at night. If you spend any length of time down there you'll get robbed, likely at knife point and maybe at gunpoint. Mostly they just want money, not to beat you up. People will approach you to try to sell you drugs. If you travel cross-country by bus, there are random checkpoints where the military stops the bus and conducts searches. As long as you don't buy/do anything illicit, you should be ok, I never heard about them framing/blackmailing tourists like in some parts of Latin America.
I married (and divorced!) a girl from Medellin and I have been there a grand total of 3 times, no more than a week each time. On each visit, I was out to the clubs a few times, including the day before I got married, on a (very) improvised stag party organised by my ex-wife's boss.
My impression is that yes, it's true that the clubs are loud and the party vibe is high but it's also true that the party mentality of Colombians is much more inclusive and gregarious than that in the US, UK or a Northern European country. Girls go there at least with 2 or 3 of their best friends, sometimes with their boyfriends or husbands. They book a table or a couch and they spend most of their time drinking, talking among one another and occasionally popping to the dancefloor for some sweating.
Any young man who will want to intrude these small social groups, be them girls-only or mixed, has to have a bloody good excuse: be young and handsome, speak proper Spanish, dance like a king and generally outgun the locals in terms of their social and partying skills (which they have aplenty).
The formula of the solitary gringo looking for the solitary girl who is there to get laid, simply doesn't work in Medellin and the rest of Colombia...unless said girl is a prepago, indeed there to get laid in exchange of money.
Based on what I know of Colombian culture from my ex and her family, a young man's best bet is to make friends with a few young locals and get invited to go out as part of their group. Again if you are in the same age range as the guys who invite you, you might get lucky with the odd girl out. If you are in your mid-40s and just looking for sex tourism, I can't think of a worse dating scene than Medellin.
One last, colourful note. Girls in Medellin are beautiful and use plastic surgery extensively (breast and buttock augmentation) but they are culturally morphing into the kind of human type you can easily find in Florida or California: picky, entitled, snobbish, shallow. This is pushing the men aside quite a bit, to the point that it is now quite common to find hot cougars with men 10 or 15 years their junior. The last time I was in Medellin I met a family friend of my ex's, a judge in her late 40s who was unbelievably hot and in shape, for her age. A quintessential MILF. She was with her "boyfriend", a young man called Rafael in her late 20s who, by the look of it, seemed more than pleased to tag along with her.