36 Hours in Medellin, Colombia (Medellin VIP Style)
This month marks the 1-year anniversary of the critically acclaimed New York Times special report which contained a video that helped spread the word of Medellin’s renaissance. The article and video, both titled, 36 Hours in Medellin, brought hundreds of tourists to the city of eternal spring and our goal is to help bring hundreds for a first and even second visit.
The New York Times main objective was to reiterate everything that was said about Medellín since it’s “Most Innovative City” accolade in 2013 and not only did The Gray Lady manage to give potential travelers the chance to give Medellín a second look, but it also helped provide a possible itinerary. This time around, Medellin VIP wants to create a 36-Hour Itinerary focused not so much on Touristy diurnal activities, but instead, a nighttime voyage hitting every major activity the city has to offer.
1. 8 P.M | STROLL AROUND PROVENZA AND DINNER AT OCIO
Most people that visit Medellín are immediately enamored with the city’s vibe, people and overall feeling of happiness (which happens to be contagious). A good way to really feel all of this is to take a walk around the provenza part of the Poblado sector. Located just three blocks from the bustling Parque Lleras, Provenza is a residential sector with a barrage of hipster bars, exotic restaurants and a great deal of cool spots to hit up once the weekend gets closer.
A quick walk around the area whether you’re a single traveller or part of a group will show you how once the sun sets, the small boutique shops and cafes close while the bustling restaurants begin to see both tourists and locals getting out of work looking for a trendy spot to enjoy a late dinner.
Right on Via Jardin which is a street over from Via Provenza you’ll find Oci, a modern architectural and design masterpiece, a hipster’s wet dream of a restaurant whose very facade depicts a very unique blend of both new and old architectural tendencies. With food being a stunning combination of local cuisine with long and slow cooking times as their specialty, Oci chef and Owner Laura Londoño (a local with experience working in top restaurants all over the world) has managed to have her concoctions permeate the Paisa culture and in just 2 years become one of the top restaurants in the city. The restaurant seats about 100 people and be sure to book ahead of time because this place gets packed. Try their beef roast, slow roasted for 12-hours glazed with lime-flavored chili pepper (we’ll let that sink in).
2. 10:30 P.M | BENDITO SEAS AND LADIES NIGHT
After what can only be called an amazing dinner, we suggest the gang take a quick stroll down to the Parque Lleras area of Poblado. On your way down you’ll notice that the trendy bars that were just setting up before dinner are now booming with both locals and tourists alike looking to begin the weekend right then and there.
Walk down to Parque Lleras, make a right and head over to Calle 10A until you reach a small local spot known as Bendito Seas. Known for its Open Bar/Ladies Night on Thursdays, Bendito Seas will have a long line of eligible females looking to mingle and dance the night away.
The establishment, although small, is decorated in classic paisa memorabilia, features an open bar until 1 am. All you can drink Vodka, Medellín Rum, Aguardiente and beer. Entrance fee is a laughable $40,000 pesos ($14 USD) which gets you to the open bar. The service isn’t too good but who cares when you’re surrounded by beautiful women and copious amounts of alcohol.
A common mistake tourists make is thinking swarms of women will surround your table and want to hang out with you just because you’re from out of town. Learn basic Spanish, basic dancing skills and you’ll find this might be the case.
3. 2:00 A.M | FASE DOS AND INTRODUCTION TO THE MEDELLÍN STRIP CLUB SCENE
If you find that you want to explore the city a little more (i.e you struck out) why not leave Bendito Seas once the Open Bar has been lifted and hit up one of the two most popular strip clubs. Fase dos.
One of the most common questions people ask is, why Fase dos and not La Isla Girls Club? Allow me to explain. La Isla is the city’s most popular strip club in terms of quality of strippers and variety of alcohol. However, girls at the La Isla can be seen a little more stuck up and not as friendly as the girls found over at rivaling club, Fase Dos. We also want to leave the best for last.
Anywho, once you leave Bendito Seas, grab a cab right outside the club and ask the driver to head over to Fase Dos. A 5 minute drive and less than 3 dollars later and you find yourself at a large, 1980s Miami style nightclub that kinda resembles Rainforest Cafe but believe me, this isn’t a kid-friendly ambiance. With surgically manipulated breasts and butts to and fro this might be the right place to end your first night in Medellín.
The entrance fee is just $10,000 ($3.50 USD) and although their alcohol isn’t too varied, you’ll definitely get a bang for your buck, no pun intended.
4. 2 P.M | ATVS IN MEDELLIN
You don’t have to tell us how the evening ended because chances are, we already know. If you’re feeling up for it and your group is made up of 8 guys or less, we have a very cool daytime activity in Medellín that we know you’ll enjoy. ATV Tour up in the Mountains. The town is called Rionegro and it’s where the airport that you landed in is located. Two minutes from the airport one of our associates has a small ATV company that we discovered a few years ago. He offers 4-hour tours through swamps, forests, mountains, dirt roads and even a small village.
The tour is long but believe me, time will go by flying once you witness the picturesque landscape, mingle with locals up in the village, catch your own lunch up in a small body of water and eat chorizo up in the mountains with people that have probably only seen Americans when they hear the ATVs pulling up.
5. 7 P.M | DINNER AT CARMEN
In another must-do Medellin Activity we suggest hitting up one of Colombia’s most discernible restaurants and one of the pioneers in fine dining in Medellin.
Carmen restaurant owned and operated by an American and Colombian couple has been featured in every major American media outlet that has had the privilege of visiting Colombia. Don’t worry, though, the restaurant is mostly frequented by local socialites and the term “tourist-trap” doesn’t apply here.
From delicious cocktails such as an amazing old-fashioned, a wide array of wines from Chile, Argentina, France and Spain to spectacular starters and entrees using fresh, local ingredients, Carmen never ceases to amaze (even the capricious of foodies). Try a Lulo-Mojito with their Korean Tacos to start. For mains why not try their Bahia Solano dish which is a delicious Amber-jack fish with a plantain crust served over coconut risotto and a bottle of Santiago Ruiz Albariño.
6. 9:30 P.M | CHUPITOS AND PARQUE LLERAS
Once you knock off Carmen from your bucket-list you’ve pretty much hit the two best restaurants in the city and again, you’re ready to hit the town.
After dinner the best option would be a pre-gaming session while you watch the streets get packed before the party really begins. Many opt to pre-game back at the apartment but why? You have streets that you don’t see everyday and a barrage of small bars where you may sit outside and gaze upon the talent that gives the city the rep of the city with the most beautiful women in the world.
A block over from Parque Lleras you’ll find a shot bar known as Chupitos which is always packed and where having a shot is the only reason why people go. The crowd is varied but the music is reggaeton and girls love to congregate outside this place.
Stick around for a bit as things begin to get interesting as the streets get full.
7. 11 P.M | RIO SUR – SIXTINNA
Once you’ve had enough of Parque Lleras, the next spot we need to hit up is Rio Sur Shopping Center.
Before you say anything, no, we’re not going shopping for souvenirs. We’re going to a miniature mall that on the top floors has two of the city’s most popular nightclubs for the city’s elite.
Sixtinna is located on the 7th floor of the Rio Sur mall and getting there will require a 5-minute cab or Uber from Parque Lleras.
To enter the club you must pay a $25,000 ($9 USD). The music at Sixtinna is EDM some reggaeton and warning, this place is frequented by models so you might find the future Mrs. (enter last name here). There are always famous local DJs, a wide-selection of drinks and the possibility for an amazing time.
8. 1:30 A.M | LA ISLA
You know we couldn’t create an informal nighttime itinerary without incorporating a trip to arguably the happiest place on earth.
La Isla is located high up in the mountains where even the weather drops a good 20 degrees on any given night.
The club usually has about 100 women on deck roaming the tables waiting for men to buy them drinks and engaging in what can only be construed as small talk that ultimately leads to a dance.
Be careful with buying girls drinks and keep an eye on your tab because if you’re on your own and your response to Spanish is nodding your head, at the end of the night you’ll find yourself scratching your head wondering what’s’ going on.
9. 1 P.M LUNCH AT LA HACIENDA
We’ve noticed you haven’t had an authentic Colombian meal since you’ve been here. For that reason we recommend that at about noon you head over to La Strada which is located just 5 minutes from Parque Lleras. Here, on the second floor you’ll come across a small, traditional looking restaurant known as La Hacienda.
La Hacienda is a typical Colombian restaurant with the restaurant itself decorated as an old-style town back in the 1800s. The plates are authentic and you can’t leave this place without trying their famous bandeja paisa plate.
The dish contains, beans, rice, plantain, fried egg, ground beef, chorizo, blood sausage and chicharron. It kept workers full all day and it can do the same for you. The perfect amount of carbs and grease to absorb the previous night’s helping of Aguardiente.
10. 2:30 P.M | PABLO ESCOBAR TOUR / MEDELLIN CITY TOUR
We often recommend this tour to give you the tourist the chance to learn that the recent transformation this city has undergone in the last 10 years, didn’t happen overnight.
This tour is a great opportunity for fans of the hit Netflix series Narcos to learn the real story that is vaguely told in the series and see the sites you already know about.
The trip is a private tour told by a local who lived in the city at the time and knew his way enough around to realize what specific buildings were owned and operated by the once venerated and hated kingpin.
Visit the neighborhood and house where he was born, jail where he incarcerated himself (and was caught playing soccer with the guards), cemetery where he’s buried and house where he was shot down. All while discussing the public’s then view of Escobar and what the general public thinks of him now.
WHERE TO STAY IN MEDELLIN
Looking for the perfect apartment is a matter of knowing the amenities your group requires and having enough time to let us work. You’re going to want an apartment close enough to the action that you can walk to but far from noise so you can get a good night’s sleep. You’re going to also want a place that you won’t be bothered by cops or landlords if you decide you have a little party back at your place. Nothing too crazy, of course, but keep in mind that there are a handful of places that will call the police on you after 10pm.
LOGISTICS AND EXECUTION
Now that you have a possible itinerary, all you need now is someone to put everything into place and keep everything organized so all you have to do is worry about having fun. Safety, convenience and satisfaction will all be taken care of by your Medellín host at Medellín VIP. With a full time host starting at $200 per day, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be without one.
How would you spend 36 Hours in Medellin?