Medellin has the fame of being the most dangerous city in the world for its size. It’s a city in a valley with all the poor barrios climbing up the slopes in squatted shanty towns. This means that as far as most of the city goes the bad streets and the good streets seem to tangle together so that in any given direction you’re at risk within 300 meters. The days of the early 90’s when the drug lord Pablo Escobar ruled the city are gone but the legions of assassins and crooks he spawned can still be found.
It is however one of the most interesting places you’ll have the chance to visit with a street life full of colour and drama. In the morning men are laid out comatose on the sidewalk and you can be thankful that you didn’t bump into them the night before. Everyone sells everything everywhere and walking around you’ll almost never see another traveler. A foreigner generates a good deal of friendly attention here.
For the people of Medellin there could be no better place in the world to live and they’re forever asking you how you’re enjoying their Paradise. That kind of enthusiasm is enough to endear you to the place if you could stand the noise and chaos and crime. A good place to take a beer is in the Parque de la Periodista just up from a stroll along the Playa (It’s not a beach). Here you can find a good cross-section of Medellin youth drinking and socialising.
The wealthy live further down the valley in El Poblado and most hardly ever dare to come to the centre. They have their own neighborhood of cool bars and clubs and malls.