sabanenta expat neigborhood in medellin

A Detailed Guide To The Top 4 Expat Neighborhoods In Medellin

Favorite Expat Neighborhoods Of Medellín

I feel lucky that my profession allows me some escapism… even if merely mental these days. As we go about our jobs at Live and Invest Overseas, we are constantly launching our minds (and usually ourselves) across borders.

As none of us will be able to get there in person anytime soon, I wanted to share an excerpt from a recent Overseas Living Letter issue by Wendy Howarter, long-time Medellín expat, who gave some fantastic snapshots of her favorite neighborhoods in the city. Please join me on this tour-by-text and get out of your own town for a bit…

Poblado

The largest commune (neighborhood) in Medellín is also the home to the largest percentage of expats: El Poblado. It’s considered the Manhattan of Medellín—the most cosmopolitan and luxurious spot, and the most desirable location for expats and Colombians alike… as well as the most expensive.

With tree-lined streets, al fresco dining of every imaginable type of cuisine, upscale boutique and large mall shopping, and grocery stores rivaling Whole Foods in North America, you won’t want for anything if you live in Poblado.

6 Things To Know About Poblado

  • This is the most elite, luxurious location in Medellín…
  • It features the largest variety of dining options, from sushi to vegan to steak, and the most fine dining opportunities in the city…
  • Many green spaces, parks, and creeks nearby, perfect for people watching…
  • Neighborhoods can be difficult to access due to the elevation…
  • It’s home to the largest population of English speakers and expats in Medellín…
  • It’s hilly and gets steep in places, which can affect walkability…

Don’t Miss In Poblado

  • Shopping: Luxury malls like El Tesoro, Santafé, and Oviedo offer miles of shops, or stroll through the Provenza neighborhood for quaint designer boutiques…
  • Fresh food: Every Sunday the farmers’ market in Parque Presidenta offers the freshest fruits, vegetables, coffee, and more. Or Carulla Fresh Market and Éxito stores provide aisle after aisle of everything you need to create your own culinary masterpiece…
  • Fine dining: For a multi-course, molecular gastronomy experience, make a reservation at El Cielo. Or visit Frutos del Mar where they have been serving the freshest fish and seafood for over 50 years… or maybe try La Provincia for delicious French fare, all at reasonable prices. Barcal, my favorite Colombian-fusion restaurant, is located in Astorga, where I order the wine pairing with each course for a truly special evening…

Laureles-Estadio

On the valley floor, near one of the largest universities in town, Laureles-Estadio offers walkable living surrounded by parks, outdoor eating, and sports facilities. Here, you’re steps away from the Estadio Atanasio Giradot, where the two local teams play.

Prices are lower here than Poblado. There are fewer high-rises and more leafy, residential neighborhoods. The area is anchored by two large parks and the main thoroughfare, known as La 70, features many restaurants, offering mostly local fare and fast foods.

5 Things To Know About Laureles-Estadio

  • There is a public sports complex offering swimming, tennis, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, and soccer…
  • Pontifical Bolivarian University (UPB) offers Spanish lessons for all levels and will help you obtain a student visa to stay in Colombia while you study…
  • The population of this area is only 122,972…
  • The Metro B Line offers easy access to this commune through the handy Estadio station…
  • It was developed in a planned way using innovative urban concepts for the time…

Don’t Miss In Laureles-Estadio

  • fútbol game featuring one of the hometown teams, Atlético Nacional or Independiente Medellín, both members of the Colombian professional football league…
  • Menu of the day lunches for US$3 and walking the residential streets while stopping at small stores to buy your weekly groceries and home needs…
  • Reposteria Astor, a Medellín landmark, provides a sweet place to enjoy a cup of tinto (black coffee) with a slice of decadent chocolate cake…
  • Salud Pan offers a great selection of health food and a restaurant featuring both vegetarian and meat-based dishes. Salud Pan is among the best healthy eating options in Medellín…

Envigado

Technically a separate municipality, this more traditional, working-class community lies directly south of Medellín with a population of 232,900. Sales prices are lower here than Laureles, but the rental rates are higher.

Envigado is mostly low-rise residential with few hotels, hostels, and high-rises. However, this area is growing rapidly and currently has 41 new projects under construction, compared with only 9 new projects in Laureles.

5 Things To Know About Envigado

  • Envigado has its own fútbol team, Envigado Fútbol Club, which sometimes plays at the stadium in Laureles-Estadio…
  • It’s famous for keeping the paisa traditions and architecture intact with a high standard of living…
  • It’s home to the largest shopping mall in Colombia—Viva Envigado—featuring hundreds of stores, a modern cinema, an amusement park, and several food courts…
  • Some suggest the name comes from the large trees that were found in the area and used for rafters (vigas) in home construction…
  • Rural Envigado was originally inhabited by wealthy Spanish families whose prosperous residences and farms produced food for all of Antioquia for 150 years…

Don’t Miss In Envigado

  • Salado Ecological park, located in rural Envigado, features nature trails and light food options. You can test your skills on the canopy rope course, climbing wall, skateboard park, or outdoor sports complex…
  • Otraparte is a cultural center and museum dedicated to Colombian writer and philosopher Fernando González, who was born in Envigado…
  • The recently remodeled Parque Envigado, featuring a tiled plaza anchored by the immense Iglesia de Santa Gertrudis (Church of Saint Gertrude), draws families, men playing cards, musicians, and a tremendous Christmas lights display…
  • La Calle de Buena Mesa (literally the street of good table) is a grouping of streets lined with a great variety of restaurants including a 50s-style burger joint, Peruvian delicacies, Spanish paella, burgers, pizza, steaks, and more…
  • The indoor market where locals shop for meat, eggs, spices, grains, fruits, juices, textiles, live birds, and much more…

Sabaneta

The smallest municipality in the country at only 15 square kilometers, Sabaneta is known as the Vallecito de Encanto, the Charming Little Valley. Although it’s small, it’s growing. This working-class town maintains a traditional vibe, especially in its town square, and is the most affordable neighborhood on this list.

Sabaneta borders Envigado on its southern edge. With a population of only 54,650, you might be surprised to learn that Sabaneta has 43 new construction projects underway, most of which are high-rise residential towers.

5 Things To Know About Sabaneta

  • It offers the lowest prices to buy and rent an apartment of the neighborhoods I recommend mostly because of the affordability, however, some of the homes here may not be acceptable to all expats…
  • You’ll find fewer expats here, and you’ll hear little English. However, it’s quickly growing in popularity among expats looking for a more traditional, authentic experience…
  • Your dining options are limited to mostly traditional Colombian food and chain restaurants. Similarly, nightlife consists of traditional bars, not the high-end clubs and restaurants you’ll find elsewhere…
  • The majority of Sabaneta is flat and therefore easier to walk around the neighborhoods. However, you can find steep hills on the edges of town…
  • Being a smaller town, Sabaneta also boasts a lower overall crime rate…

Don’t Miss In Sabaneta

  • Its main plaza, which hosts one of the best Christmas lights displays in Medellín. This family-friendly area is surrounded by excellent traditional restaurants, one of which sells the largest buñuelos (fried balls of dough and cheese) around…
  • La Barquereña Culture House is home to a music school, symphonic band, dance classes, plastic arts, comics, caricature, folk art, and a theater. Art exhibitions featuring artists from Sabaneta and national and international contributors change monthly…
  • Enjoy some of the best authentic Mexican food at El Sombrero, a small, brightly decorated cantina just off the main plaza…
  • Mayorca Mega Plaza shopping mall features 400 shops divided into an outlet area and an upscale, name-brand section. You’ll also find a modern movie cinema and extensive food courts. Access this mall from the Metro A Line, at the Itagüí station…

* * *

If Wendy’s quick tour has piqued your interest on Medellín, be sure to join us for our fast-approaching Live and Invest in Colombia Virtual Conference.

This June 10–12, from the comfort of your favorite spot at home, you can join our team of Colombia experts and expats as they walk you through the best lifestyle and investment opportunities in Medellín and beyond.

Remember, too, that thanks to a weakened peso, U.S. buyers have significant buying power in Colombia right now.

You’ll find out more about how to take advantage of your currency discount when you join us online for our only Colombia-focused event of the year.

Kat Kalashian

Posted in Live And Invest Overseas Confidential.