So what’s so great about Medellin, Colombia?

Last weekend as Beatriz and I left our apartment at about 11 AM we both stopped, looked at each other and agreed that we were astonished once again by the beauty of the place and the wonderful weather.

Retire in Medellin Colombia

When I taught meteorology at the university in the States we gave a definition of Weather as the condition of the air at any given time. But this Saturday there was a special beauty picked up by the senses that somehow could not be a part of any definition… the feel of the breeze, the smell of the breeze, the speed of the moving air, the de facto temperature of the air in motion and the high clouds focusing the sun coming out between them, the humidity, the density… all gathered and focused to let out a big Medellin “Ahhhh”. Beautiful! It is like that most days, but last Saturday it was even more so.

They call it “The City of Eternal Spring”, a chamber of commerce title if ever there was one. But here it is deserved. Medellin is almost a mile high but being near the equator it has nearly perfect weather. On any day the high temperature is rarely above 80 and never below 72 degrees F. At night it may fall to 65 F. This is everyday all year round. Retire in Medellin ColombiaIt is perfect sleeping weather without A/C or heaters; just open the window or close it, close the bedroom door or open it, a sheet or a light blanket- that’s all you need. The sun is strong at noon and because of the altitude and being near the equator the sun’s rays can be damaging. Cabbies cover their left arms and the women carry umbrellas as parasols. I wear my stylish Panama hat. Younger men are in baseball caps. Short sleeves and jeans are the uniform of the day. We do casual dress year round. A light sweater may be worn on cooler evenings and may be a slightly dressier but still casual outfit for dinner, clubs, concerts, or the opera.

Thunderstorms occur almost daily. They are refreshing and strong mountain storms, “los tormentos” in Spanish. They clear and clean the air like the cool showers they are, and they feed the sweet sub-tropical vegetation with moisture coming each afternoon over the Andes from the Pacific. As quickly as they come they are gone. There do not seem to be any sustained rainy days; just quick short bursts of cooling rains.

Can there be too much of a good thing? There is never any snow or sleet and no dust storms, ice storms, tornadoes or hurricanes. Sometimes I joke with the cabbies saying, “Omigosh, another day in Paradise”. “Yes”, they respond, “But don’t you think it’s a little cool today?” I have to grin. The temperature is 72 degrees with a five mile per hour breeze.

You may have been to Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, the ocean, the islands, the Caribbean, Prince Edward Island, the Rockies, the Rock Bound Shores of Maine, Boston, Florida, New Orleans, Mexico, Montauk, Philly, Chicago. Medellin is something very different.

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  1. I’ve been living in Medellin for the past four years. At first, I loved it. Now, it’s going downhill. First the pluses:

    1. People…Colombia has the nicest people in the world.
    2. Weather – Very warm, but never humid.
    3. Health care – fantastic private and public systems (I’ve used both).
    4. Women – the most beautiful in the world.

    1. More dangerous. El Colombiano published murder rates earlier this week and those in El Centro (downtown) rival Honduras (the country with the highest murders per capita in the world). Earlier this week, a bomb went off a block from my apartment (close to Parque Bolivar). Not a mention in the press about it. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint too. Okay, this can happen anywhere but what differentiates Europe and the US is that the police will do something. Here the police did nothing, not even accept evidence that the robber left behind (every Colombian is fingerprinted so it should be easy to id the suspect).

    2. Expensive – When I look at the prices in the supermarket, it shocks me how much more expensive everything is than in the US. Fruits, veg, and milk are less expensive, but everything else is $$$.

    3. Drug use – okay, the days of Pablo Escobar are long gone. But in places like Envigado, gangs of dealers hang out on streetcorners and police do nothing (for some reason, I’ve been shaken down and asked for my cedula by police more frequently without reason). El Centro, Buenas Aires, Boston, Laureles are increasingly filled with zombies shooting heroin and smoking crack in public.

    In short, Medellin used to be paradise, and for many foreigners who live in El Poblado (Medellin’s Beverly Hills), life is better. But more an more, I see the city as getting more dangerous and more unruly. My girlfriend, who is from El Poblado, agrees and wants to leave the city.

    If foreigners want to experience paradise, Cuenca, Ecuador is the place to go. Better food than Colombia, way cleaner, a lot more quieter, less expensive (about 1/2 of Medellin), great expat community, good bars, and less polluted.

  2. Dave’s comments are wy off base. The city just won the Singapore Prize which is the Nobel Prize forv cfities based on Livability, Potential, Sustainability… and many more such awards. So his experiences are his experiences much of what he said about crime and costs are simply not true. Cuenca??? Yawn.

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