What is the best neighborhood in Medellin? This is the question that comes up again and again, on YouTube channels and FB groups. Invariably some of the veteran expats who’ve lived in Medellin will declare that El Poblado or Laureles is the coolest, most ex-patty (yeah I made that word up), place to go.
In a lot of cases, they would be right.
If you enjoy the super modern, cosmopolitan big city, Miami-like type of location with the hustle-bustle of high traffic, high-rises, upscale apartments and condos, restaurants and supercharged nightlife with all the amenities of the U.S., then El Poblado and Laureles are definitely the neighborhoods for you… However, there is a hidden treasure amidst all this modern atmosphere.
The Hidden Treasure – Sabaneta Revealed
There is a small, quaint, typical Colombian town tucked away just south of Medellin.
It’s called Sabaneta!
This charming barrio (town) is hugely family-oriented, flat, walkable and not as touristy as El Poblado and Laureles. However, more and more expats discovering this authentic Colombian hamlet.
You won’t find Starbucks on every corner, or high-end boutiques, but you will find outdoor cafes and restaurants, with Latin music swimming through the air.
Better brush up on your Spanish because very few people speak English. This is where you need to pull out your Google Translate and use hands and feet to communicate. That said, the people in Sabaneta are very friendly and always open to lending a hand.
Everything You Need – Without Being Touristy
Everything is centered around Parque Sabaneta, with its large, majestic white church in the middle of the city, surrounded by trees, and fountains with plenty of restaurants and shops. The park comes alive on the weekends filled with families, vendors, music and events brimming with activity.
Even though it’s the smallest municipality in Medellin, Sabaneta touts the largest shopping mall, called Mayorca, which has over 400 shops and everything you could possibly need.
One thing I enjoy most about living in Sabaneta is the walkability, especially compared to El Poblado.
There are several bike stations around the barrio, which allow you to take advantage of the bike lanes to get around easily. Along with the three metro stations and plenty of buses, there is a need for a car in Sabaneta.
This quaint Colombian town is experiencing a housing boom, however. New construction of apartments is springing up everywhere. As for now, the cost of apartment living is far less expensive than El Poblado. My 2 bedroom, 2 bath, fully furnished apartment with all utilities included is approximately $500 per month (according to the current currency rate). This is not unusual for this area.
If you are looking for safety, quiet, authenticity and a hint of Old Colombia alongside an up-and-coming modern metropolis, then Sabaneta is the neighborhood for you.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in Medellin? What is it?
by: Gail Turner Brown