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Visiting Medellin vs Bogota – Top Things You Should Consider

Medellin vs Bogota – Colombia’s top 2 developing cities, Medellin and Bogota, are both deemed as 2 of the best cities in the world for digital nomads. Let’s look at Medellin vs Bogota in terms of things to do, cultural experiences, food, expenses, and other elements that can help you choose which city to stay in for your next visit to Colombia. Read here Cartagena vs Medellin

READ MORE: From Medellin to Santa Marta – How to Get to, From Bogota to Villa de Leyva – How to Get to

Read here how to get from Bogota airport to city center and Medellin airport to El Poblado

City Highlights – Medellin vs Bogota

Medellin has the cable cars, the digital nomad bustling communities, considered as having eternal spring weather, and has so many hip and modern areas to visit.

Bogota, on the other hand, has much colder weather, is considered Colombia’s winter area, and has the art center at the heart of Colombia – with beautiful street art and history of La Candelaria streets, and delicious street food.

The choice between the two can easily come down to the type of experiences you want to have on a particular trip, the things to do, how long you’ll be staying, and maybe what other areas of Colombia you’re planning to visit to see how close or far you’ll be to these places.

SIM CARD AT BOGOTA AIRPORT

I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Bogota airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Bogota. Read here Colombia sim card for tourist and best Colombia eSim

You can find the cheapest Colombia eSim with Airalo Colombia eSim prepaid for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $15 USD with 2 GB data valid for 15 days. For $21 USD with 3 GB data and for $32 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%).

Holafly Colombia eSim for $44 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER coming with 6 GB data valid for 15 days and you can activate with QR Code.

Let’s look at all these elements below.

Language in Colombia – English, and Spanish in Medellin vs Bogota

If you’re looking at spending a lot of time walking around and getting in the thick of it when it comes to conversing and saying hellos to locals, you might see yourself needing some Spanish vocabulary. Apps can easily help with this. If you’ll be spending time with friends and in tourist and digital nomad areas, you’ll see Medellin and Bogota both good areas for you to connect to travelers and foreigners in the city so you can connect and meet English speakers.

BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE

You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review

You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included

Things to Do – Medellin vs Bogota

Things to do in Medellin

Medellin is seen as Colombia’s top digital nomad stop and is the top choice for a lot of digital nomads heading to Colombia – expats, bloggers, content creators, foreigners taking their gap years, and even travelers who just need a few days or weeks of traveling to a new place.

WHERE TO STAY IN MEDELLIN

There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from in Medellin. Accommodation prices can take you around $10-12 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and for more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Medellin. The most popular areas are El Poblado and city center.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN MEDELLIN BEFORE YOUR TRIP WITH BOOKING

Why People Visit Medellin – Medellin vs Bogota

Medellin, although still a big city in Colombia, and deemed not the safest city to travel to in the world, is still popular among foreigners. If this is the reputation of a city, there’s always a good reason for that. Albeit, precautions are needed when traveling in Medellin, this is easily what you need to do in general in South America.

There are certain areas that are popular for tourists and are really safe in Medellin so a trip and even longer stay here is very doable.

Medellin has a good transport system. You can easily go to different parts of the city, despite its size because of the metro, and the weather is highly favorable. Medellin is known amongst travelers as the city with eternal spring. The weather is never too hot, and never too cold.

You’ll see a lot of local architecture and old relics that make Medellin unique and beautiful which adds a lot of spice to your travel experience here. And of course, prices, compared to a lot of digital nomad cities around the world, and prices in Western Countries are cheaper.

With the exception of a few neighborhoods like El Poblado, Medellin is still one of the top choices for travelers looking at comfort and trying their foot at the digital nomad scene, while discovering a new and exotic country, like Colombia.

Let’s look at the things to do in Medellin vs Bogota.

1. Plaza Botero

Plaza Botero in Medellin - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Hometown of the celebrated figurative artist, Fernando Botero, you’ll see a lot of his art in Plaza Botero (named after him). This is one of the main places to see in Medellin, especially if you love art, or you just want to get the first feel of the city, or familiar with Botero’s work and style.

Apart from Botero’s work, which is spread in the plaza, you’ll also see the Museum of Antioquia and the Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe.

2. Experiencing Medellin’s Metro Cable System

Visiting Medellin vs Bogota - Top Things You Should Consider
Image via Wikimedia / Bernard Gagnon

Medellin has one of the largest Metrocable system in Latin America used as a transport system, second only to La Paz, Bolivia. This is a very interesting move in Latin America which helps people have access to a lot of communities in mountainous areas.

As a tourist, it’s a crazy beautiful experience and once you’d surely love to try!

3. Comuna 13 – Medellin vs Bogota

Comuna 13 - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Just reopening a few years ago, Communa13 is a once deemed dangerous neighborhood in Medellin because of all the drug cartels and violence is now a viable city for locals to live in. The neighborhood, only accesible by cable car, is one of the main spots to visit in Medellin, and you can easily visit it with a guided tour.

A guided tour will let you experience going around the neighborhood with a knowledgeable local who can explain to you the history of the neighborhood, the relevance of all the street art around the area, and a lot of cool facts. You’ll get to experience to converse with a lot of locals as well there.

4. El Poblado

El Poblado in Medellin - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

El Poblado is the most popular neighborhood for digital nomads to stay in. Full of restaurants and good hotels, bordering from hip hotels to luxury stays, you can easily stay here and mingle with a lot of foreigners who come to Medellin to party, meet new people, and to explore the city. Since it’s a foreign area, expect prices to be a little bit higher than when you’re going around the local area.

5. Parque Explora

Parque Explora - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Parque Explora is a Science Museum in Medellin Colombia that you will love to visit if it’s transformations in Medellin that you wanna see and learn about.

6. Catedral Metropolitana de Medellin

Catedral Metropolitana de Medellin - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin
Image via Wikimedia / Jorge Mario G. Mazo

Catedral Metropolitana de Medellin is a Catholic Church in the city of Medellin that you may wanna visit if churches and these architectures are something you love to see.

7. Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe Uribe

Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe Uribe - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin
Image via Wikmedia / Kamilokardona – Medellin vs Bogota

8. Museum of Antioquia

Museum of Antioquia - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Also seen in Plaza Botero is the Museum of Antioquia, so if you want to see more of Botoro’s art (like the one above) and Pedro Nel Gómez, another prominent Colombian artist, you should visit this museum.

Things to do Outside Medellin

Visiting Guatape – Medellin vs Bogota

Guatape - Things to do outside Medellin - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Guatape is one of Colombia’s most beautiful towns, and easily accessible from Medellin. You can visit from Medellin to Guatape for a day trip or as your next visit from Medellin.

Guatape is known as one of Colombia’s most beautiful towns with colorful umbrellas and prehistoric architectural designs of the houses and hostels and it’s an out-of-town visit you shouldn’t miss.

In this photo above, you can see the El Peñol Rock, one of the main hikes to do while in Guatape.

Things to do in Bogota – Medellin vs Bogota

Bogota Urban City - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Bogota, Colombia’s capital has a population of more than 8 million people. It is a huge city, and known for the name, The Fridge. This is because Colombia is cold whole year round with a weather that averages between 7-19 Celcius, depending on the month of your visit. So yes, this can be surprising if you are thinking a visit to South America means hot weather!

WHERE TO STAY IN BOGOTA

There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from especially in La Candelaria area. Accommodation prices can take you around $10-12 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Bogota.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN BOGOTA BEFORE YOUR TRIP WITH BOOKING.

1. La Candelaria – Medellin vs Bogota

La Candelaria, Bogota - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Bogota, being Colombia’s capital, has one of the oldest and richest histories in Colombia, which is easily seen in the architechture. You will love seeing all the buildings in Candelaria and it’s like stepping back in time.

2. Graffiti Tour

Graffiti Art Bogota, Graffiti Tour Bogota, Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Bogota is full of graffiti work and artists, and you’ll see this a lot around the city. You can get a guided solo tour or group tour to see what the top graffiti’s are of some popular and budding artists in Colombia.

3. Street Food Tour

Street Food, Bogota - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

You will love Colombia’s street food scene, and in Bogota City Center, it’s very popular to have the food walking tours. Go around the city and experience local life while tasting some of the best food in the city.

4. Visiting Sanctuary of Monserrate – Medellin vs Bogota

Monserrate - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

Monserrate Hill is Bogota’s highest point which has a Cathedral. Sitting at more than 3000 meters, from here you can have an exemplary view of the city. It’s also a nice hike to do, and easily added to some of Bogota’s famous walking tours. Just make sure to prepare for some possible altitude sickness (from light to heavy) as Bogota already stands at 2000 meters and you can get sick without some preparation.

5. Plaza de Bolivar / The Bolivar Square

Plaza de Bolivar - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin

If you love Bogota, you might just love pre-historic Colombian architecture which is very visible in its main plaza – Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota.

6. Museo Nacional de Colombia

Museo Nacional de Colombia - Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin
Image via Wikimedia / Peter Angritt

In Bogota, you will see the National Museum of Colombia or Museo Nacional de Colombia. If you love art and history, and loves learning deeper into a country’s culture from it’s old relics, you will love this. This is Colombia’s biggest and oldest Museum.

7. Museo del Oro / Gold Museum – Bogota vs Medellin

Museo del Oro, Gold Museum -  Medellin vs Bogota, Bogota vs Medellin
Gold Museum, Bogotá, Colombia – Image via Wikimedia / Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)

If you’re into museums, you might also want to visit the El Museo del Oro or Museum of Gold which houses 3400 pieces of gold and all of it from prehistory Spanish era – now that’s both precious and historic!

Things to d

ATMs and Cash in Colombia – Medellin vs Bogota

The official currency of Colombia is called Colombian Peso (COP). And $1 USD=4000 COP. ATM’s are available and it is also advisable to withdraw as much as you can because of fees for foreign cars. The maximum amount that you can withdraw will be around 600K-1200K COP depending on the bank. Click here to check the exact change rate.

Bank Fees for Foreigner Cards in Colombia – Medellin vs Bogota

Most of the banks in Bogota and Colombia will charge fees for foreign cards in Colombia. Check the list below with the exact fees for foreign cards in Colombia and how much money are you allowed to withdraw in Colombia with every bank.

BankAmount Allowed And Fees
Colpatria900K COP Withdraw And No Fees
Pichincha800K COP Withdraw And No Fees
Banco Caja Social700K COP Withdraw And No Fees
BBVA300K COP Withdraw And No Fees
CorpBanco400K COP Withdraw And No Fees
Davidienda400K COP Withdraw And No Fees
Citibank1200K COP Withdraw And 15k COP Fees
Bancolombia900K COP Withdraw And 15k COP Fees
ATH400K COP Withdraw And 10k COP Fees
Servibanca750K COP Withdraw And 15k COP Fees

Final Thoughts on Medellin vs Bogota – Which City Should You Visit

We have to say that the choice is your personal preference. We know, this might be the answer you don’t want to here.

For us, we loved our stay in Bogota more than Medellin, although this is due to us liking architechtural neighborhoods and street food. We love the tours in La Candelaria, and walking in the plaza eating street food and getting the famous Colombian coffee, and walking around Chapinero area, or the fancy district in Bogota.

The biggest (and only) caveat of Bogota for us is the weather. It’s just too cold for us, and can be too cold for you as well. We really have to wear appropriate jackets for the cold weather in Bogota, so if that’s a deal breaker for you, look at visiting Medellin.

If you’re looking to connect to a lot of digital nomads, party in El Poblado, and visit Comuna 13, you might want to see Medellin.

If you have time for both, we’ll have to say they are both worth your visit for sure!

Hope you enjoyed this article and let us know what you decide in the end. Comment below if you have questions.

Feel free to use our links for discounts. By using our links, you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys. 

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!