Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide

Laureles is a vibrant neighborhood in Medellín that should be on your itinerary . As Medellín’s lesser-known cultural hub, it’s more low-key compared to El Poblado. I stayed here for a month and I can tell you that Laureles-Estadio is one of the top destinations to experience the city’s charm. If you don’t believe, that’s fine but TimeOut magazine also touted Laureles as one of the coolest neighbourhoods to visit in 2023.

From the bustling stadium that is home to Colombia’s beloved soccer team, to colorful streets perfect for unwinding with a bottle of aguardiente, and avenues lined with green parks and striking brick buildings, Laureles Medellin Colombia offers plenty of options for those wanting to really experience Medellin’s urban culture.

Originally a working-class area established in the 1940s, today’s Laureles is synonymous with middle to upper-class living. Stretching across the urban landscape south of Avenida Colombia, west of Autopista Sur, north of Avenida 33, and east of Avenida 80 are upscale establishments and restaurants, which is a stark difference from what Medellin was once known for.

Laureles Medellin Overview

Laureles, also known as Laureles-Estadio or la Comuna 11, is a trendy spot in Medellin. It has every reason to be one: it’s right in the heart of the city and it’s right along the eastern edge of the Medellin River, just south of El Parque Natural Cerro. With around 120,000 people living here, it’s its own bustling little city, covering almost three square miles.

I was surprised to find out that Laureles is made up of 15 different neighborhoods, each with its own vibe. From the lively streets of Estadio to the peaceful corners of Florida Nueva, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget about La 70, a popular nightlife spot in Laureles, which comes alive at night with restaurants and bars. I’m personally not a night owl nor do I enjoy going to bars, but friends I’ve met on the way highly recommend going to La 70 for a lively evening.

And finally, there’s Estadio Atanasio Girardot, home to Medellín’s favorite soccer team, Atletico Nacional. We watched many exciting playoff matches here during our month-long stay in Laureles.

As you wander through Laureles, keep an eye for intriguing sights on the streets. People watching in Laureles outside a cafe is not a bad way to spend your afternoon. If you want to venture a bit further, you’ll also find that even areas just a bit outside of Laureles can offer hidden gems.

Best Time to Visit Laureles

cartagena vs medellin

If you’re already convinced that you should come to Laureles in Medellin, Colombia, your next question may as well be, “Okay, when’s the best time to visit Laureles then? ” Medellin is known as “the city of eternal spring,” so you won’t find extreme temperatures here. Expect a mix of rain, clouds, and sunshine most days—and trust me, the weather is quite lovely!

If you prefer drier weather, visit between December and March, with January being the driest month. Keep in mind though that that’s also high-season, so things might be a bit more crowded.

On the flip side, the wettest days in Medellin fall between April and November, especially in October. However, I’ve been here from April to August, which are considered off-season months, and barely saw any rain.

So, when’s the best time to visit Laureles? Honestly, it depends on your budget and your schedule! If you have a tight budget, you might want to consider the rainy season. Here’s a tip: if you want to catch Medellin in full bloom, don’t miss the annual flower festival in August!

Our Favorite Things to Do in Laureles

Of course you want to experience everything there is to experience in Laureles, so I’m listing all the things I think are worth doing when you’re in Laureles.

Atletico Nacional Football Match

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Love football? Great. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just enjoy catching a game, you’re in luck because the soccer stadium is just a short 30-minute stroll from anywhere in Laureles.

One way to know when a match is coming up is to walk around the streets. If you notice people sporting the local team’s jersey, then it’s almost a surefire sign there’s a match fairly soon. If you’re interested to watch the match, just swing by the stadium’s merchandise shop and you can get yourself a ticket. One thing to know is there are two teams that play here. You don’t need the other team but know that Atletico Nacional is the one to watch out for (I may be biased here).

Salsa Dancing

Maybe you’re not into sports but you like dancing. If so, Laureles has got you covered, especially if you’re into salsa and bachata. Swing by El Tibiri bar on a Thursday night or hit up Son Havana on a Friday or Saturday if you’re looking for a place to either learn the basic or just enjoy yourself on a full night of dancing. My buddy and I were regulars during our stay in Laureles, and we’d stay there for hours just dancing the Thursday night away.

Parques del Rio

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There’s a new park just along the river banks and it’s a great place to take a break from the busy streets of Laureles. Parques del Rio has plenty of spots to stretch and jog in this green space.

Expect to see people walking their dogs or people doing their afternoon yoga by the grass. It’s a nice place to chill in the afternoon with friends or go people watching. Although I have to admit that while the park is nice, the river beside it isn’t the cleanest but Medellin is making some efforts to make their rivers also a tourism highlight.

Before I also forget, if you find yourself in Medellin come December, find some time to enjoy the spectacular Christmas decorations lighting up Parques del Rio.

Food Tour

In any city I visit, I make it a point to do a food tour. After all, good food speaks volumes about a city’s culture. Let me tell you, it’s one of the best experiences I had in Medellin! Real City Tours offers an awesome Laureles food tour for just 100,000 pesos (that’s about 20 USD).

With this tour, you get to sample 10 delicious Colombian foods and snacks while learning all about their history and culture. One of its stops is Cielo Tostado, a café that quickly became one of my favorites in Laureles.

Theatre and Comedy

Arts and culture are huge aspects of Medellin’s personality, so you shouldn’t skip their theatre and comedy shows.

Teatro Barra del Silencio is one of the top spots to experience the arts culture of Laureles and Medellin. Established back in 1982 by mime enthusiasts at UPB, it’s now a hotspot for weekly performances. If you’re worried about the language barrier, don’t be. Their performances is enough to tell you the story, plus points because you’ll be more acquainted with the Spanish language.

If you prefer comedy over all other genres, head over to Teatro de Laureles on Avenida Nutibara. With 250 seats, it’s the perfect spot for comedy nights. This might be one where you should at least have some basic understanding of Spanish to appreciate the art and humour behind their jokes.

See Laureles Artistic Side

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

There’s also another popular art form in Laureles, and you don’t need to go too far to see them. Fundación Aburrá is a small museum where you’ll find a rotating collection of nearly 3,000 pre-Hispanic era statues and art pieces—definitely worth a visit! Tucked away in a white building just a block north of the bustling Avenida San Juan, this small museum is a true hidden gem.

If you’re a fan of modern art, don’t miss the open-air graffiti and mural gallery near Estadio Atanasio Girardot. With 13 vibrant and Instagram-worthy pieces inspired by the local sports culture, it’s a feast for the eyes!

Getting Around Laureles

Laureles is very, very walkable. It helps that Medellin has a very mild temperature hovering in the low 20’s all year round. Lush green trees line the quiet streets of Laureles—perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Compared to other neighbourhoods in Medellin, Laureles does not have cable cars or trams, but that’s a good reason for you to go outside and walk around.

Medellin Metro

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Getting around Medellin is easy, they have a train system called Medellin Metro. Their trains are clean and sleek, and they offer a convenient way to explore the city. Compared to other metro systems in larger cities, metro stations in Medellin are among the top ones I’ve tried. Aside from being clean, they have attendants to help ease the flow of traffic and guide tourists who are looking for directions. They really did a great job in making their public metro the best option for transportation.

While you can’t use it to travel within Laureles itself, it’s handy for journeys to El Poblado or other parts of Medellin. Taking the train is a great way to beat the traffic although, with Uber fares being so affordable, it’s often just as convenient to hail a ride.

Encicla Bike

Another way to get around the city is through Encicla bikes. It has a good coverage of Medellin, especially in Laureles. You can rent these public bikes and you can leave them in stations throughout the city. You can use these public bikes for free for up to an hour at a time.

The sign up process is fairly simple, you just need to signup on the Encicla website and register with copies of your passport and a personalized travel card.

Ride-Sharing Apps

I’m a big fan of public transportation but if you ever find yourself in a tight timeline, a ride share is a better option. Medellin has plenty of options like Uber, Cabify, DiDi, and Indrive. Personally, I’ve found Uber to be the most reliable, but during rush hour, it’s worth checking out multiple apps to snag a ride.

One thing I learned while there is that it’s considered impolite to slam car doors in Colombia. So, be sure to close them gently to avoid a ding in your Uber rating.

Taxis

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Sometimes, especially in the rush hour, it’s really hard to get an Uber. An alternative is to flag down a yellow taxi in Laureles. They’re pretty much everywhere, and they’re usually just as cheap. While there’s a slightly higher risk of running into issues compared to using Uber, it’s a solid option if you’re confident in your Spanish and seasoned in your travels.

Best Areas in Laureles

By now, I’ve already established that Laureles is THE neighborhood to stay. But where in Laureles should you visit? Let me list the top spots.

Bolivariana and Florida Nueva

Bolivariana is home to the famous La 70 strip, buzzes with energy, especially around the Estadio metro station and soccer stadium. It’s lively and vibrant, drawing in a younger crowd. Adjacent to it is Florida Nueva, which roughly has the same vibe as Bolivariana but less busy and hectic.

I stayed in Florida Nueva during my stay and I did not regret it, it’s close enough to where the hip spots are but not as noisy. For accommodation, you’ll find plenty of options along La 70, often at a more budget-friendly price, though with fewer frills. If you prefer a quieter vibe, make sure to head towards the south end of La 70.

Central Laureles

Central Laureles is the nicest part of Laureles. It is similar to El Poblado, where you’ll find fewer budget options but more upscale hotels.

Being at the centre meant that Central Laureles is the first option for travelers looking for accommodations, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of international restaurants to choose from, along with fancy bars and familiar chains like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and KFC. Plus, there’s no shortage of things to do, from chilling in the parks to browsing art galleries or hitting up the mall.

North Laureles

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Similar to Central Laureles, this area is predominantly residential, with streets lined with neat houses and well-maintained condo buildings. A good reason to stay here is that it has easy access to the Atanasio Girardot soccer stadium.

Being just a stone’s throw away from the games and the buzzing nightlife around La 70 means that it can get busy in this area. Plus, most hotels in this area cater to soccer fans, offering vacation apartments perfect for families looking to catch a match and explore the nearby bars and restaurants.

That’s not all—North Laureles also offers convenient access to the metro, parks, sports complexes, and the Obelisco shopping mall.

East Laureles

To be honest, East Laureles is not my top pick. In my experience, this neighborhood has a different vibe compared to the rest of Laureles. When I first explored Los Conquistadores, it felt like a whole other area. While it’s not particularly unsafe, it’s considered the least safe barrio in Laureles. Plus, there’s not much lodging options here, except near the university. So, if you’re looking for a place to stay with the Laureles charm, you might want to explore other areas.

Belén

Belén is another communa just south of Laureles. The border zone in northeast Belén has a vibe similar to Laureles and is worth considering.

In my opinion, northeast Belén feels suburban, just like Central Laureles. It’s not overcrowded and boasts plenty of local bars, cafes, and gyms. One of my favorite spots here is La Unidad Deportiva de Belén Andrés Escobar, featuring an extensive outdoor gym, play area, and Olympic swimming pool.

Sure, hotels might be a bit scarce in this area, but you can still find some great rental apartments.

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

La Castellana and La America

La Castellana and La America are technically separate from Laureles, but they share a similar vibe. La Castellana sits in the southwest corner, somewhat isolated from the rest.

In my experience, both areas are very residential and suburban. But here’s the thing—I wouldn’t recommend staying here. It’s not about safety or cleanliness, but rather the distance from everything else.

Getting to nightlife, bars, cafes, the soccer stadium, and public transportation could easily take up to an hour. Plus, there aren’t many hotels or rental apartments here anyway.

Laureles Accommodations

There’s no shortage of accommodation options in Laureles. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or as a digital nomad, you’ll find plenty of affordable and cozy accommodations waiting for you.

Laureles Hotels

From budget-friendly options to more upscale choices, there’s something for everyone. Here are my top picks for hotels in Laureles.

Hotel Casa Laureles

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Hotel Casa Laureles offers a stylish and elegant experience with 4-star amenities. Guests are welcomed by a charming courtyard adorned with hanging plants and an opulent lobby featuring dark olive pillars and marble floors. Rooms boast turquoise wallpaper, wooden furniture, and floor-to-ceiling curtains, along with minibars and cable TV. Select bathrooms feature baths for added luxury. A full buffet breakfast, including world-renowned Colombian coffee and regional treats, is served daily and can be enjoyed in-room or on the terrace.

Hotel Indie Universe

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Hotel Indie Universe, offers convenient access to local attractions like Laureles Park and Plaza de Toros La Macarena. This 4-star hotel features a tour desk and amenities including a terrace and a 24-hour front desk. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Rooms are equipped with desks, with selected rooms offering kitchenettes with a fridge and stovetop. Bed linen and towels are provided in every room. Guests can enjoy a continental or American breakfast during their stay.

Laureles Hostels

Considering a short stay in Medellin? Hostels in Laureles might just be your best bet. With several options available, you’ll have ample opportunities to socialize and connect with fellow travelers. While Laureles may not have as many hostels as Poblado, there are still some excellent choices to explore.

The Wandering Paisa Backpackers Hostel

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Conveniently situated near Medellin’s Metro and the vibrant “LA 70” party zone, The Wandering Paisa offers an authentic cultural immersion. Dedicated to showcasing Paisa culture, the hostel ensures a safe, comfortable stay with diverse activities. Accommodation includes quality bunks with privacy dividers, orthopedic mattresses, and under-bed lockers. The hostel boasts six renovated bathrooms, round-the-clock hot water, and new computer workstations, ensuring a serene experience for guests. No wonder it was our go-to place to stay.

Rock Hostel Medellin

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Rock Hostel, situated near Medellin’s bustling Avenida 70, aims to provide a home-like atmosphere for guests. The location offers easy access to bars, restaurants, exchange offices, and supermarkets, making it ideal for exploring the city. Opposite the hostel is the Atanasio Girardot Stadium, offering opportunities for various sports activities and attending concerts and soccer matches. Additionally, guests can enjoy free Latin rhythms classes every Friday evening with a renowned dance instructor.

Oasis Hostel

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Located in the heart of Laureles, Oasis Hostel offers a unique experience with convenience at every turn. With a commitment to providing a welcoming environment, the hostel aims to make guests feel valued and at home. Their mission is to ensure visitors fall in love with Medellin, offering assistance to create unforgettable experiences. Accommodation includes new semi-orthopedic mattresses and outlets for each bed. A rooftop terrace fosters socialization, while a spacious lounge and balcony provide relaxation and productivity spaces. The well-equipped kitchen allows for meal preparation, complemented by free Wi-Fi and abundant real plants for fresh air.

Laureles Co-Living

If you’re a remote worker or a digital nomad, you can easily find a vibrant community. Co-living hotels might be worth considering especially if you’d like to meet other people. With dedicated workspaces outside your room, you’ll have the perfect balance of social interaction and focus. We didn’t stay at any of the many co-living options, but from our research, Indie Studio – Creative Coliving is the place to be.

Where to Eat in Laureles

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Let’s dive into some local favorites in Laureles, these are the top places if you want local Colombian cuisine:

Parrilla Dejame Q’ Te Cuente: Located in Laureles, they serve up mouthwatering Colombian dishes like plato tipico and lengua en salsa criolla (beef tongue in creole sauce).

Chicharron City: Craving chicharron? This spot offers a variety of fried pork belly delights, perfect for sharing with friends over their Trilogia platter.

Mondongo’s: A local gem for Antioquian and Colombian classics, try their sopa de mondongo and ajiaco for a taste of authentic flavors in a vibrant atmosphere.

Cucayito Cocina Costeña: Indulge in Costeño cuisine with dishes like sobrebarriga asada and sancocho de rabo. Don’t miss their daily specials for a something new.

Mi Bunuelo: Satisfy your cravings with delicious bunuelos, reminiscent of fried bread balls with cheese. Pair them with cheese sticks, empanadas, or egg arepas for a tasty treat.

J&C Delicias: Dive into the staple of Medellin, arepas, with a variety of savory toppings to choose from. Whether it’s breakfast or a snack, J&C has you covered with their wide selection.

Nightlife in Laureles

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Looking for a night out in Laureles? Here are some hot spots to check out:

Son Havana: Dance to live music and sip cocktails at this iconic salsa bar. Don’t miss their dance classes on Wednesdays and stay updated with their Instagram for the latest events.

Fidelina: A lively bar/restaurant with unique decor and a wide selection of cocktails and beers. From pasta to burgers, their menu has something for everyone to enjoy.

Bogotá Beer Company: Known for its craft beers, BBC offers a taste of European-style brewing. While they don’t serve food, you can bring your own snacks to pair with their brews.

El Tibiri: This hidden gem is a must-visit for salsa enthusiasts. Located on Carrera 70, it’s a popular spot for dancing the night away. The place to be every Thursday night. This was my go-to place for salsa dancing.

Along Carrera 70: Explore the diverse dining and entertainment options along La 70. Whether you’re craving Italian, Chinese, or local cuisine, you’ll find it here. Don’t forget to check out the nightlife scene with bars offering live music and discotheques for dancing.

Gyms & Fitness in Laureles

Here are some great options to maintain your fitness while traveling:

Estadio Atanasio Girardot Stadium: A large sports complex with facilities open to the public. From athletics stadium to tennis courts, there’s something for everyone here.

El Muro Escalada Deportiva: An indoor climbing gym with routes for climbers of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find some nice routes here.

Magnum Gym: A no-frills gym that focuses on weightlifting. If you prefer pumping iron to cardio, this is the place for you.

Free Workout Park in Belen: Just a short walk from Laureles, this free outdoor gym offers a variety of workout machines and a running track. Perfect for a full-body workout.

Flying Tree Yoga Studio: Join daily yoga classes in English or Spanish, or participate in teacher training programs. A welcoming community for yoga enthusiasts of all levels.

Laureles Digital Nomads

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

For digital nomads and remote workers seeking a lively yet fairly affordable destination, Laureles in Medellín, Colombia, offers a balance of work and play. With a Digital Nomad Visa, remote workers can extend hassle-free while enjoying a variety of accommodations tailored to remote work. From co-living spaces to hostels with dedicated coworking areas, Laureles caters to our nomadic lifestyle. At one point, Czarina and I considered making Laureles our homebase but opted to just go with the regular visa-free length allowable for Canadians like us.

The active digital nomad community in Laureles provides ample networking opportunities. Medellin has been on nomads’ radars for quite a while now so there’s a lot of events and meetups to find valuable connections. Plus, there plenty of options for language courses, enabling me to improve my Spanish while immersing myself in Colombian culture.

Laureles Co-working

Laureles buzzes with locals and expats tapping away on laptops in cafes and co-working spaces. Remote work culture is very much alive here. There’s a lot of cozy cafes and dedicated co-working hubs, with most having reliable internet connectivity. Semilla, a popular co-working space, boasts a bustling atmosphere and private workspaces that is ideal for focused productivity.

Best Cafes in Laureles

Semilla Cafe: With a dedicated coworking space, Semilla Cafe offers ergonomic workstations and fast Wi-Fi, making it perfect for productivity. Plus, it hosts regular meetups, fostering a vibrant community.

Rituales Cafe: Nestled in Laureles, Rituales Cafe offers a serene atmosphere and reliable Wi-Fi, ideal for focused work sessions. The friendly staff and delicious coffee enhance the remote work experience.

Delmuri Cafe: Known for its lightning-fast internet, Delmuri Cafe is a cozy spot in Laureles, perfect for Zoom calls and uninterrupted work sessions.

Safety in Laureles

Laureles, Medellin, is generally safe, but it’s wise to remain cautious, especially at night. Taking standard safety measures, like staying in well-lit areas and avoiding isolated streets, ensures a secure experience.

Grocery Shopping in Laureles

Laureles Medellin Colombia: The Best Travel Guide -

Food Shopping: Unicentro Shopping Mall in Laureles offers a convenient shopping experience, including groceries and other essentials, along with entertainment options like cinemas.

Supermarkets: Laureles boasts several supermarket chains, including Exito, Euro, and Carulla, offering a variety of products at different price points. Tienda D1 provides affordable snacks and household items.

Local Tiendas: Supporting local corner stores not only benefits the community but also offers fresh produce at reasonable prices. These tiendas often source directly from farmers, ensuring quality and supporting local economies. This is my go-to option every time I travel. It allows me to practice my Spanish while keeping my grocery bill a bit cheaper.

Plaza de Mercado la America: This bustling market offers a wide array of fresh produce, meats, and fish at competitive prices. Visitors can also sample authentic Colombian dishes at food stalls and explore a variety of exotic fruits unique to Colombia.

Health Food Stores: For health-conscious travelers, Laureles features excellent health food stores like Vita Integral, offering a diverse range of products including tempeh and tofu for nutritious eating options on the go.

Finishing Thoughts on Laureles Medellin Colombia

Laureles, recognized as the coolest neighborhood globally by Time Out Global Magazine, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Formerly known as a retiree’s haven, it has evolved into a vibrant hub for urban travelers, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, investors, and adventurers. It offers a harmonious blend of modern amenities and traditional charm, making it an ideal place to stay when in Medellin.

Beyond its appealing co-living spaces, diverse international dining options, and exceptional coworking facilities, Laureles boasts a wealth of cultural and recreational activities. It’s situated in a central location plus there’s efficient transportation infrastructure that makes it easy to go around not only within Medellín and Antioquia, but throughout Colombia.

Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant nightlife or seek solace in its shaded streets, Laureles caters to a wide range of travelers. When in Colombia, find the time to stay in one of the world’s coolest neighborhoods, Laureles.


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