The digital nomad guide to Medellin, Colombia

Learn about the basics of moving to the city of eternal spring in this digital nomad guide to Medellin, Colombia.

MEDELLÍN WEATHER

Medellin, Colombia, has become a sought-after destination for digital nomads, thanks to its alluring combination of affordability, climate, and culture. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its pleasant weather year-round, it offers a comfortable setting for working remotely.

The cost of living is relatively low, allowing for a high quality of life without breaking the bank. Medellin boasts a vibrant expat community, numerous co-working spaces, and a robust internet infrastructure, making it easier for digital nomads to connect, work, and integrate into local life.

Furthermore, the city’s rich history, friendly locals, and diverse culinary scene offer an enriching experience beyond the workspace. With these features, Medellin stands out as an excellent choice for digital nomads seeking a blend of work and leisure in a dynamic urban setting.

Originally from the UK, I left in 2016 to pursue a different lifestyle. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time, but I knew I wanted to be a digital nomad.

During my first experience as a digital nomad living in Medellin, I taught English online full-time, and travel blogging was my side hustle. Fast-forward to 2020, and I’m now a full-time travel blogger at Claire’s Itchy Feet, and my side hustle is a front-end web design and SEO.

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🇨🇴 Quick Info: digital nomad guide to Medellin

  • Country: Colombia
  • Internet speed: 47 Mbps
  • Power Plug: Type A & B
  • Best neighborhood: La Candelaria
  • Best co-working space: Espacio
  • Travel insurance for nomads: Ekta Traveling
  • 1-br studio in the center: $552 per month
  • Hotel living: $980 per month
  • Cost for 1 meal: $5
  • Taxi cost: $6 per trip
  • Mobile data: $5 per month
  • Co-working space: $191 per month

💃 Personal experience living in Medellin as a digital nomad

I never planned on living in Medellin. I was offered a job as a choreographer in Bogota to create a dance performance for a company there. My contract was one day a week for two months, and in between this, I taught English online, blogged, and explored.

I didn’t love living in Bogota. I found it very difficult. It rained a lot, the pollution was suffocating, and I never felt safe there.

After two months, I was ready to leave Colombia. But I wanted to give it another chance, so I wrote to the Colombia Digital Nomad Facebook group, telling them of my situation and asking if there was another city where I could base myself.

The response was overwhelming, everyone told me I needed to move to Medellin. The other nomads were helpful and advised me on the best areas to live in Medellin, how much rent I should pay, and even where to look for apartments.

Like most countries in Latin America, things move fast. I spent most of my bus ride to Medellin finding apartments and texting landlords to arrange viewings for the next day.

I booked 2 nights in a hotel, planning to find a place to live the day after I arrived, and then move in the following day.

This was the perfect amount of time, and I was settled into my new place just 48 hours after arriving in the city. I also found out there’s just a lot of things to do in Medellin!

Although many great areas exist in Medellin, most digital nomads stick to two main areas, El Poblado and Laureles. If you have a little bit more money, Envigado is also worth considering. Which area you choose will depend on what you are looking for.

I’ve lived in both Laureles and El Poblado; they were very different experiences. Laureles is always my first pick if you are planning on living in Medellin for 3-6 months. The best thing about Laureles is the green space.

It has much more of a local neighborhood vibe compared to El Poblado. There are many cute coffee shops to work from, great nightlife, lots of restaurants, and transport is pretty good, once you get used to it.

El Poblado is where you will find 80% of Medellin’s tourists. It’s full of hostels and nightclubs. The first time I lived in Laureles and often traveled to El Poblado for dance classes and to attend Spanish school.

So this time around as my stay was shorter, I decided to live in El Poblado there to save the daily commute. Although I liked it, and it was very convenient, I preferred Laureles’s vibe.

The alternative to both Laureles and El Poblado is Envigado, which is just beyond El Poblado on the outside of Medellin.

If you prefer to live closer to El Poblado but want to stay out of the ‘Poblado bubble,’ this is a good choice. It’s one of the more affluent areas to live in Medellin, so expect rent to be higher here.

Wifi is pretty strong all over the city, I’ve never had any issues, even when I was teaching. To be sure, though, you can ask to run a speed test when checking out a new place, or take your computer with you and do it yourself when you are viewing.

If it’s your first-time visiting this digital nomad city, these are the most important things to know before visiting Medellin.

💰 Cost of living in Medellin

The cost of living in Medellin is one of the lowest I’ve experienced from being a digital nomad. You can live pretty well here at a fraction of the cost of living in a lot of other places.

I’ve lived in a shared house, an Airbnb apartment, and a hostel. My room in Laureles with maid service 3 days a week and solid wifi was less than $200 a month.

I stayed in a hostel in Poblado for $130 a month for a bed in a 6-bed dorm. Then I also stayed in a studio apartment in Poblado for $400 a month. All of these are budget options, I have friends who have stayed in 1 bedroomed apartment in Laureles or Poblado for $1000 a month which were much nicer, but in my opinion too expensive for what you should really be paying here.

If you book on Airbnb you are likely to pay way over the odds for accommodation. So I recommend 2 things, first look on the Facebook marketplace and ask in the DN groups. Be clear about what you want and where you want to stay.

If you do find something on Airbnb, I like to book it for a week and then negotiate directly with the owner to get a better price for a longer stay.

Transport in Medellin is cheap. Most intercity buses cost around 2500 COP and take you from one side of the city to the other. There is also a metro system that costs around 3000 COP per journey.

To be honest, as my financial situation was much better on the last visit I mostly just Ubered everywhere as it was so cheap. But if you are on a budget then the buses are great. They can be a bit tricky to get the hang of but it will save you a lot of money, and it’s a great way to get to know the city better.

Food is a funny subject in Colombia in general. Eating out is so cheap. If you find a good local place, you can get a huge lunch (menu del dia) for 8000 COP. This will include a soup, a main plate with rice, salad, fries, meat, drink, and fruit.

Supermarkets can be expensive, so buy as much as you can from the markets. The prices are much lower, and the fresh produce is far better.

But if you don’t speak much Spanish, you will need to know how much things should cost quickly to avoid the tourist tax. My normal weekly grocery spend in Medellin was $30-40 USD, sometimes less, as I preferred to eat out.

To have an idea if Medellin’s cost of living is expensive, here’s a comparison to major US cities:

  • The cost of living in Medellin is 206% cheaper than New York City
  • The cost of living in Medellin is $149% cheaper than Los Angeles, California
  • The cost of living in Medellin is 137% cheaper than Seattle, Washington
  • The cost of living in Medellin is 150% cheaper than Denver, Colorado
  • The cost of living in Medellin is 179% cheaper than Miami, Florida

Below are some basic prices for the food, housing, transportation, and more cost of living in Medellin:

ItemPrice
Basic lunchtime menu in the business district$9
Combo meal in fast food restaurant$7
500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast$3
1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk$1
12 eggs, large$3
1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes$1
1 kg (2 lb.) of apples$2
1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes$1
Local beer in the supermarket$1
1 bottle of red table wine$13
2 liters of coca-cola$2
ItemPrice
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) – prime area$1,148
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) – normal area$566
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) – prime area$668
Monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sqft) – normal area$315
Utilities (1 month)$38-$74
Home Internet (monthly)$20
Hourly rate for cleaning help$4
ItemPrice
1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas$1.26
Monthly ticket public transport$39
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km. (5 miles)$8
ItemPrice
Basic dinner out for two in neighborhood pub$15
Dinner for two at an italian restaurant in the expat area $34
1 cocktail drink in downtown club$8
Cappuccino in expat area of the city$2
1 beer in neighbourhood pub (500ml or 1pt.)$3
1 month of gym membership in a great gym$34

🏡 Best neighborhoods in Medellin for digital nomads

Choosing the best neighborhood in Medellín as a digital nomad hinges on balancing work needs with lifestyle preferences. Here are some tips:

  • Connectivity: Prioritize neighborhoods with reliable internet and good access to co-working spaces or cafes conducive to work. El Poblado and Laureles are renowned for their digital nomad-friendly amenities.
  • Lifestyle and Culture: Consider what you want outside of work hours. If you prefer a vibrant nightlife and upscale dining, El Poblado might be your pick. For a more local experience with a strong sense of community, Laureles or Envigado could be appealing.
  • Cost of Living: Medellín offers a range of living costs. Areas like El Poblado are pricier, while Belén and Sabaneta provide more budget-friendly options without compromising the quality of life.
  • Safety and Accessibility: Look for neighborhoods known for safety and ease of access to public transportation, supermarkets, healthcare, and other essentials.
  • Test Before Settling: If possible, spend a few days in different neighborhoods. This firsthand experience is invaluable in finding a place that feels like home, aligning with both your professional needs and personal interests.

Here are the best neighborhoods in Medellin for digital nomads, foreigners, and expats:

1. El Poblado

  • El Poblado, Medellin
  • Safe, modern amenities, vibrant social scene
  • Higher cost of living compared to other neighborhoods, can feel isolated from the traditional Colombian culture due to its expat-heavy population

El Poblado is Medellín’s premier upscale district, known for its lush greenery, modern high-rises, and vibrant nightlife. Historically a residential area for the wealthy, it has evolved into a bustling hub of activity, filled with luxury apartments, malls, and some of the city’s best dining establishments. It’s the embodiment of urban sophistication in Medellín.

For digital nomads, El Poblado represents the pinnacle of convenience and lifestyle in Medellín. Its abundance of coworking spaces, high-speed internet, and expat-friendly environment make it an ideal locale.

The neighborhood’s safety and upscale amenities offer a comfortable and efficient base for working remotely.

El Poblado boasts excellent access to Medellín’s city center and other key areas via the Metro system, with the Poblado station serving as a primary gateway. Proximity to landmarks like Parque Lleras and Medellín’s Golden Mile means that culture, entertainment, and business are never far away.

2. Laureles

  • Laureles, Medellin
  • Balanced lifestyle, cultural immersion, affordability
  • Less English spoken, which may require better Spanish skills; nightlife is more subdued than in El Poblado

Laureles is a charming, residential neighborhood known for its tree-lined streets, art deco architecture, and a more laid-back atmosphere compared to El Poblado. It’s a sector that combines the tranquility of suburban life with the convenience of city living, making it a favorite among locals and expats alike.

Laureles is a perfect neighborhood in Medellin for digital nomads seeking a balance between work and lifestyle. The area’s numerous cafes and coworking spaces offer serene environments ideal for productivity. Its community vibe and affordability, alongside the cultural immersion it offers, make it a top choice.

Located centrally, Laureles offers excellent connectivity to the rest of Medellín. It’s well-served by the city’s efficient bus routes, with easy access to the metro for reaching downtown and other landmarks. Estadio Sports Complex and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana are notable nearby attractions.

3. Envigado

  • Envigado, Medellin
  • Authentic Colombian experience, peaceful environment
  • Fewer expat-oriented services, longer commute times to city center compared to closer neighborhoods

Envigado, once a separate town, retains a distinct character with its traditional paisa culture and community-oriented vibe. It’s a neighborhood that blends the charm of Colombian heritage with the amenities of modern life, featuring colonial houses, local eateries, and bustling plazas.

Envigado is ideal for digital nomads seeking an authentic Colombian experience without sacrificing convenience. Its residential nature ensures a peaceful work environment, while the presence of cafes and coworking spots caters to the needs of remote workers.

Envigado enjoys good connectivity to Medellín’s city center and other neighborhoods through the metro and bus services. It’s home to Parque Envigado and the bustling Calle de la Buena Mesa, known for its restaurants and bars, offering a mix of local culture and leisure.

4. Sabaneta

  • Sabaneta, Medellin
  • Affordable living, strong community vibe
  • Further from city center and major expat hubs, requiring more effort for socializing and networking

Sabaneta offers a glimpse into the slower-paced life of smaller Colombian towns while still being part of the Medellín metropolitan area. Known for its large park, Parque Sabaneta, the neighborhood exudes a strong sense of community, with local markets, traditional festivities, and close-knit neighborhoods.

For digital nomads, Sabaneta presents an opportunity for deep cultural immersion at a more affordable cost. The area’s growing number of coworking spaces and internet cafes, combined with its relaxed pace, make it a conducive environment for focused work.

Though further from the city center, Sabaneta is accessible via the Medellín metro system, ensuring easy travel to and from the city’s heart. The neighborhood itself offers a self-contained experience with local shops, parks, and eateries that capture the essence of Colombian life.

5. Belén

  • Belen, Medellin
  • More affordable than more central neighborhoods, strong sense of local culture
  • Fewer English-speaking residents, which might challenge non-Spanish speakers; less polished than areas like El Poblado, reflecting a more authentic but less upscale experience

Belén is a dynamic and diverse neighborhood in Medellín, characterized by its mix of residential areas, commercial zones, and green spaces. With a history that spans several decades of urban development, Belén offers a more authentic slice of Medellín life, away from the more tourist-centric areas. Its mix of traditional homes, modern apartments, and vibrant local culture make it a unique place to explore.

Digital nomads will find Belén appealing for its lower cost of living and authentic community feel. The neighborhood is home to various local cafes and coworking spaces, providing ample opportunities for work and socializing. Its genuine vibe allows for a deeper cultural immersion and understanding of the local way of life.

Belén’s location offers strategic access to both the city center and the outskirts of Medellín, with good public transport links, including buses and the metro. Notable spots within Belén include the expansive Belén Park and the Universidad de Medellín, which contribute to the area’s vibrant atmosphere.

🤝 Connecting with digital nomads in Medellin

Connecting with digital nomads in Medellin, I found was very strong back in 2018/19, but things have changed a lot over the past 2 years. Firstly things have shifted a lot from Poblado to Laureles and Envigado. Poblado used to be full of Coworking spaces and meetups.

But every place I went to was closed and Selina was the only co-working space still open. Selina is great, but it’s at the top of the hill in a not so convenient location if you live at the bottom of the hill. I found myself mostly working at home, or in Starbucks.

The wifi was good there, but you will need to buy something every 2 hours to keep using it. According to their website, WeWork will be opening a coworking space soon, but I couldn’t find any details about when it will open or its location.

Laureles has 2 co-working spaces now, but it also has a lot of cafes catering to digital nomads. The most well known are Café Cliché, Naturalia Café, Café Revolución, and Rituales.

Most of the events I saw advertised were also advertised here. I feel like this is probably the best place for nomads living in Medellin right now if you want to get involved with the community.

Envigado is just behind Laureles. They have a WeWork as well as one other coworking space. I didn’t see so many events advertised, but there does feel like there is a shift in people gravitating here from Poblado.

The best way I found of connecting with other digital nomads is on Facebook. For women, join the Expat Women in Medellin group. It’s a lovely supportive group and there are many Digital Nomads and remote workers in there.

There are some other Facebook groups, but they aren’t always the most positive environment to ask a question in. Join Digital Nomads Colombia and Digital Nomads Medellin.

But be warned there can be a lot of negativity and these groups can be dominated by a lot of offensive comments and posts from men. I won’t go into it too much. But I don’t engage in these groups much. They are good for searching for information though.

📶 Internet speed in Medellin, Colombia

The thing that threw me when I first arrived in Colombia was that there was nowhere to buy a Simcard in the airport. Turns out Colombia has strict rules about buying sim cards.

To register a new one you will need to phone a number and enter a lot of details including your passport. For any non-native Spanish speaker who has tried to call Claro you will understand this is no simple job!

To get a sim card in Colombia I recommend going into a phone shop. They will take care of the registration and top-up for you. If you don’t speak Spanish, it’s also easier to just go into the shop each time you need to top up as on most plans you top up and then you need to buy a packet with the top up, it’s confusing so to keep it easy, just go in and get them to do it for you.

Let them know you need data and they will add a packet that is mostly data. I always go with Claro and the packet included free WhatsApp, Facebook, and some other social networks. The other big phone network is Tigo.

The reason for all the security is to deter phone theft. I found this out the hard way when my phone was stolen, my Colombian friend helped me report it and I was able to shut down my Colombian phone and transfer the credit to a new sim. So although it’s a pain, it’s nice to know you can do this.

As a backup, I personally always travel with a Travel Wifi device. If I’m having wifi issues it’s a great alternative and I’ve even been able to use it to teach.

In my experience hostel wifi in Medellin can be on the slow side, which is to be expected. Coworking spaces are your best bet if you need solid wifi in a climate-controlled environment (Medellin can get very hot!).

But there are many cafes that have solid wifi and they don’t mind you working for a few hours as long as you keep topping up your coffees. Most digital nomads living in Medellin I spoke to choose to work from home most of the time because of the closure of the coworking spaces.

☕ Medellin cafes with strong wifi

Cafes in Medellín are nice and diverse, offering everything from trendy, modern designs to cozy, traditional spaces. Many feature beautiful interior decorations and are known for their high-quality coffee, reflecting Colombia’s rich coffee culture, alongside delicious local and international cuisine.

Working in a cafe in Medellín is a popular choice for many, especially digital nomads and freelancers. Most cafes in the city welcome individuals looking to work, providing free Wi-Fi and power outlets.

Additionally, being in a city that takes its coffee seriously, you can expect excellent brews to energize you. However, it’s always good etiquette to make regular purchases and not to occupy tables during peak hours if you plan to stay for extended periods.

These are the best coffee shops in Medellin for digital nomads:

Pergamino Cafe

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Cafe Velvet

  • Cra. 37 #8a-46, El Poblado
  • 8 AM – 6 PM
  • from $1-$5 USD
digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Rituales Café 

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Café Zeppelin

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

All Day Café

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Vibras Café

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Café Cliché

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Cariñito Mío Café

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Délmuri Coffee

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

El Laboratorio de Café

👩‍💻 Co-working spaces in Medellin

Medellin is home to a variety of co-working spaces, catering to the city’s growing community of digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. These spaces are spread across key neighborhoods and offer modern amenities and a conducive environment for productivity and collaboration.

In Medellín’s co-working spaces, you can expect well-designed work areas promoting focus and creativity. They often feature high-speed internet, comfortable seating, private meeting rooms, and communal areas for networking.

Many also offer additional services such as workshops, language exchange events, and coffee. The environment is typically international, attracting a diverse group of professionals.

This fosters a vibrant community where ideas are shared and collaborations are formed while providing a glimpse into the local startup ecosystem and digital nomad culture.

Here are the top 5 co-working spaces with Medellin with price range from $150 USD per month for a dedicated desk:

medellin digital nomad

NOI Coworking Medellin

  • Cl. 17 #43 F – 287 43F-287, El Poblado
  • open 24 hours
  • $14 USD per day
  • Discounted rates on 10, 20 or 100-day passes
medellin digital nomad

Cbox Coworking

  • Cra. 37 #8a-46, El Poblado
  • open 24 hours
  • from $209 USD per month
medellin digital nomad

CoWorking Inspira- Sede Belen Malibú

medellin digital nomad

Co-Work Latam El Poblado

Quokka Coworking

🏠 Medellin apartments for digital nomads

Finding housing in Medellin as a digital nomad can be a relatively smooth process, thanks to the city’s welcoming attitude towards remote workers and abundant resources available to help you settle in.

Medellin offers a variety of neighborhoods popular among digital nomads, such as El Poblado, Laureles, and Envigado, each with its unique charm and amenities​​​​.

Several coliving spaces are designed specifically for digital nomads, offering not just a place to stay but also a productive work environment and a sense of community. If you are into co-living, here are the top 3 best co-living accommodations in Medellin:

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

International House Co-Living

  • Cl. 32B #66c-6, Medellín, Belén
  • from $17 per night
digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Indie Studio

  • Cra. 71 #3-17, Laureles
  • from $24 per night
digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Barcelo Coliving

  • Cra. 77B #47 – 92, Laureles
  • from $74 USD per night

For those on a tighter budget, areas like Envigado and Laureles offer more affordable living options compared to El Poblado. Sometimes, better deals can be found once you’re already in the city, allowing you to explore different neighborhoods and housing options before making a long-term commitment.

If you are planning to stay for more than one month in Medellin, it’s better to rent a 1-week apartment or co-living first and then go around when you are here. You will definitely find something better if you are here in person.

For apartment rentals in Medellin for 1 month, you can check out the following. This is suitable for those who want privacy and don’t want to co-live with other digital nomads in Medellin:

digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Loma Verde Aparthotel

  • Cl. 11 #30A 117, El Poblado
  • from $114 per night
digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

The Somos Flats Laureles

  • Cq. 1 #68 86, Laureles
  • from $53 per night
digital nomad guide to medellin colombia

Alcazar de Oviedo

  • Cl. 6 Sur #43 A – 254, El Poblado
  • from $79 USD per night

🤹 Pros and cons of living in Medellin as a digital nomad

As with any digital nomad destinations, there are some pros and cons on living in Medellin as a digital nomad. Read them carefully and check if Medellin is the right digital nomad destination for you:

Pros

  • Affordable Cost of Living: Medellín offers a relatively low cost of living compared to many Western countries, allowing digital nomads to enjoy a higher quality of life without overspending.
  • Pleasant Climate: Known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Medellín’s weather is mild and pleasant throughout the year, making it an ideal environment for those who prefer a comfortable climate.
  • Vibrant Expat Community: There’s a strong and welcoming expat and digital nomad community in Medellín, making it easier to find networking opportunities and social connections.
  • High-Quality Internet Access: The city is well-equipped with reliable and fast internet, a crucial factor for digital nomads who depend on connectivity for their work.
  • Cultural and Recreational Opportunities: Medellín offers a rich cultural scene, including festivals, museums, and culinary experiences, alongside beautiful natural surroundings for outdoor activities.

Cons

  • Safety Concerns: Despite improvements, safety can still be an issue in certain areas of the city. It’s important for newcomers to be aware of their surroundings and follow local advice.
  • Air Pollution: At certain times of the year, Medellín can experience high levels of air pollution, which might be a concern for individuals with respiratory issues.
  • Language Barrier: While there is a growing expat community, Spanish is the primary language, and not knowing it can be a barrier in some situations.
  • Traffic Congestion: Like many large cities, Medellín can suffer from traffic congestion, especially during peak hours, which can affect travel times.
  • Adaptation to Local Culture: While the local culture is rich and inviting, some nomads may experience a culture shock or find certain local customs and business practices challenging to navigate.

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