As Medellín awakens from its long pandemic slumber, you’ll want to be in Centro to see the renaissance first hand, as its plazas fill and its multitude of tiny bars reopen, spilling salsa, vallenato and reggaetón out onto the streets again.
This year, having emerged from an intensive renovation, Centro (aka La Candelaria, the city’s downtown area) has become a haven of leafy boulevards, cycle lanes, community led ‘pocket parks’, with hundreds of new trees planted. But the redevelopment didn’t dent the joyful chaos that defines the heart of Colombia’s second city. You can get a fancy artisanal beer at an indoor market, but still drink it out on the pavement with some salted mango biche from a street vendor. Music will ring out. An alluring mix of second-hand goods will be laid out at your feet. And the buzz very much won’t have gone away.
The perfect day: Grab a traditional calentao breakfast at a café near Plaza Botero, then wander through its huge, glinting surrealist bronzes. Mooch along La Playa, past the magnificently strange Coltejer building and take in the street’s hodgepodge of architectural styles. Head to the House of Memory, a museum of Colombia’s armed conflict that also regularly hosts grassroots protests and events like feminist erotic art festival AEFest. Onwards to La Pascasia for the evening: its ‘improvised electro’ nights are unmissable.
Plan your trip: For Baum Park (one of the region’s best techno parties), which will be back with a vengeance in May 2022. Like before the pandemic, it will be set in the stunning orchidarium of the Botanical Gardens.