Monday, July 28, 2014
MEDELLIN: SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE, SLEEP CHEAP AT PIERS' PLACE IN LA LAURELES
To stay in Medellin for less than $25 US per night, go to AirBnB and search for Laurales Estadio 23 (Calle 46 #70A) and email Piers.
Laureles is safe, quiet, secure.
Apartment is very short walk to Estadio station for dirt cheap metro train access to entire city.
Nightlife, restaurants, street vendors and true flavor of Medellin within crawling distance along famed La Setanta but somehow, the apartment is very quiet -- so best of both worlds location.
Cheap nearby eats.
Crawling distance of the stadium if you want to catch a soccer, errr, futbol game.
Bathroom/shower kept super clean.
Funky blend of longer term and short term guests at this funky single family house.
Full kitchen plus washer to use for free.
Balcony to catch the mountain breezes while drinking in the sounds of a real neighborhood.
Taxi ride to centro about 6 mil COP (about 3 bucks US) if you're feeling too lazy to walk 6 short blocks to metro station.
Little market in bottom of house directly across the street, open roughly 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily -- has great prices and everything you need such as snacks, beer, soda, bottled water (though Medellin's is 100 safe out of the tap).
Location is in a real middle to upper middle class neighborhood -- you will be walking past everyday people, not tourists. Can't stress enough how important it is to stay local.
Piers saved me at least 60 US round trip by suggesting I take collective bus from airport to center (San Diego), then taxi to his place.
A taxi from airport will cost at least $35 US one way and gets you there no faster than the Piers suggested route, which costs only a couple bucks -- and exposes you to local culture that takes place on a 45 minute bus ride through the countryside and into the city.
Monday, July 14, 2014
MEDELLIN: THE METROCABLE DOES MORE FOR TOURISTS
THAN SIMPLY TRANSPORTING THEM TO PARQUE ARVI
On the way up the mountain, don't just transfer from one cable car station to the next on the way to the mountaintop Arvi Park.
Get out in Comuna Santo Domingo and take a walk around.
This used to be an unthinkable thing.
Not that long ago, the area was beyond dangerous.
It's certainly very, very rough around the edges.
But it represents the real Medellin.
There are more folks scratching out a living in the makeshift bars, shops, restaurants, barber shops and markets of Santo Domingo then there are millionaires in a walled and guarded enclave in El Poblado.
Even in the poverty-challenged hillside comunas, I experienced an amazing vibrancy of life and a resolve to create housing, shops and more out of basic materials.