What to Expect from Living in Medellin


Medellin is probably Colombia’s most famous city. This helps explain why so many expatriates decide to make it their homes every single year. Perhaps it’s why you’re thinking about doing the same. If this is the case, you’ll want to know about the following.

The People Are Extremely Nice

People from Medellin (known as Paisas) take manners very, very seriously. This means always offering a warm greeting and always being gracious during verbal exchanges. Anyone who is at least 16 will be accustomed to exchanging such formalities.

Depending on where you’re from, this may take some getting used to. For example, if you’re from the East Coast of the US, these kinds of pleasantries can actually be considered rude or inappropriate. In Medellin, they’re a way of life.

The City Is Extremely Safe

Medellin will probably have to wait several decades before it permanently sheds its image as one of the world’s deadliest cities. Back when Pablo Escobar was in power, the city was often referred to – and treated as – a war zone.

Like any large city, Medellin still has its fair share of crime but nothing out of the ordinary and certainly nothing like the kind that once made it so infamous.

If this sort of reputation is giving you second thoughts about moving here, don’t let it. Again, just practice common sense while out at night and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Economic Stability

Another misconception some people still have is that Medellin is like a third-world country in some places. Although it is definitely not as technologically advanced as cities in the United States or United Kingdom, that is quickly changing.

The Pacific Alliance is just over five years old and is already showing promise. This trading bloc includes Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru and other observer states.

Amongst other things, their commitment is to free trade. Someday in the near future, it may even rival the economy of Brazil. So far, it’s resulted in the integration of member countries’ stock markets and other big changes.

These are expected to give Colombia and its partners greater economic stability and, therefore, bring about even greater advances.

A Small Town Feel

This is a deal-breaker/maker for many. While Medellin is a large city with a population of more than 2.4 million, many expatriates have noted its small town feel. Paisa culture means that just about everyone dresses the same, listens to the same type of music and holds the same cultural views.

Again, if you like Paisa culture, this will give you a very enjoyable small-town feel. Otherwise, Medellin probably won’t be for you.

Dating Is Very Old-Fashioned

Speaking of which, if you’re moving to Medellin as a single man or woman and hope to find true love, just know that dating is going to feel a bit old-fashioned. Men are expected to pick the women up, drop them off and pay for dinner.

Medellin is truly a city unlike any other on the planet. Above, we’ve listed some of its most unique features to make sure you have the information you need to decide if it’s the right place for you.