Medellin, or Bogota oh, that is the question. But seriously, this is a very common question I get four people that are looking to come to Colombia to visit or to live for a period of time.
These two cities are by far, the most popular cities to travel to Senior Tour throughout Colombia. Trust me, both have their perks and their downfalls. And to say that they are different from one another would be an understatement.
In the end, most of it will come down to personal preference. For some people, Medellin will be the better choice whereas, for others, Bogota should be their top pick. Let’s get right into the breakdown of the main categories which are safety, things to do, Culture differences, weather, the people and cost.
Medellin vs Bogota Safety
I’m assuming that you guys have all watched the popular Netflix show narcos. Yes, Medellin is the primary setting for those horrible things that happened in the mid-90s. Pablo Escobar was real, and he did Kill A lot of people. That being said, a lot has changed since then.
But which one is safer right now, Medellin or Bogota? And what it comes down to is basically which area of each city you are staying in. Just like any big city, there are bad neighborhoods and there are good neighborhoods.
If you are staying in a good neighborhood in Medellin, you will be much better off then a sketchy neighborhood in Bogota, and vice versa.
The good neighborhoods to stay in while visiting Bogota are Chico, Zona Rosa, and Chapinero. The good neighborhoods to stay in while visiting Medellin are Poblado, Laurales/Estadio, Envigado and Sabaneta.
I would not suggest staying in any other area other than the ones mentioned above. I would definitely avoid wandering off by yourself at night outside of those safe zones. Being a traveler is very easy to notice and you could be targeted for a robbery. I would not be afraid for your life, but getting your wallet, watch or phone stolen is a very common event.
It basically takes good judgment to be aware of the bordering neighborhoods, the time of day and who you are with. These are basic safety precautions that you should come with.
Overall both cities are a tie at 7/10 and 7/10 on the safety scale.
Medellin vs Bogota things to do
In terms of fun things to do, you will be unlocked. Both cities have a ton of attractions. Bogota is a city of eight million people whereas Medellin is the city of three million people.
If you are a fitness Enthusiast, Bogota has a famous hike to the Monserrate mountain. Medellin also has a pretty famous hike called Tres Cruces.
I would say that Bogota is more International City because it has eight million people. This leads to many more International concerts, restaurants and festivals.
Medellin, on the other hand, is definitely no slouch either. If you were staying in the popular Poblado area you will find lots of fantastic restaurants. One of my favorites is called el Cielo. For approximately $60 USD you can have a fantastic dining experience.
There are also many other attractions such as the once dangerous Comuna 13 graffiti tour, popular Pablo Escobar tours, and parque botero.
Just outside of Medellin you will find the second tallest rock in the world called Guatape.
Medellin vs Bogota culture differences
Throughout all of Bogota, you will see a ton of different colonial buildings. It has a ton of History throughout the capital city. If you are a museum aficionado, Bogota is definitely the place to go. The arts and culture scene is much more vibrant in Bogota compared to Medellin.
There is probably less than half as mini museums in Medellin when compared to Bogota.
Medellin Is considered a much more contemporary City. Out of all of the cities in Colombia, it is considered the tech city which makes it great for digital nomads. The city is known for its innovation and it’s very popular for a festival called The Flower Festival that happens every August in the city.
Overall, Bogota wins the culture award.
Medellin vs Bogota weather
Medellin is known as the Eternal spring. The only bad part about the weather is that for approximately 3 months out of the year it gets quite rainy. But besides that, the temperature is pretty much an even 75 degrees all year round. Which is basically perfect.
Bogota, on the other hand, gets quite cold. This is partly due to the fact that it is almost two miles up from sea level. Some people have trouble with elevation sickness in Bogota. Especially in the mornings, Bogota can be quite freezing at times.
The winner for the weather goes to Medellin.
Medellin vs Bogota the people
so, which city has the people that are the kindest and more welcoming. Hands down, in my experience Medellin has some of the nicest people you will ever meet on Earth.
People from Medellin are called “Paisa”. From the moment I stepped foot in the city, I was welcomed by huge smiles and big hugs right off the bat.
Rolos (People from Bogota) on the other hand are known to be slightly more off standing in cold compared to their Paisa neighbors. I think the biggest reason for this is that Bogota is the business Central capital of the country. People are trying to hustle. I imagine New York City.
Medellin vs Bogota Cost
Overall, the cost of living in Bogota is slightly higher than what it is in its neighboring city, Medellin. The rental prices in Medellin are close to 20% lower than what they are in Bogota. Also, going out to eat will cost you approximately 10% lists in Medellin then it would in Bogota.
I have spent lights out in Bogota and easily spent $100 on drinks and food. I don’t think this has ever happened to me while spending time in Medellin.
The overall cheaper city award goes to Medellin
Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the comparison between Bogota and Medellin Colombia.
Obviously, it depends on what you were looking for in the city that depends on which one is the right city for you to visit. For me, Medellin is home.
If you have time to visit both, I highly recommend it!