It’s hard to think of a city that was more in need of a public relations makeover than MEDELLÍN. When turf wars between rival drug gangs became public in the 1980s and 1990s, Colombia’s second-largest city was rampaged by teenage hitmen, called sicarios, who, for as little as US$30, could be hired to settle old scores.
But when cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was snuffed out in 1993, Medellín began to bury its sordid past, though the notorious Mr Escobar remains an infamous attraction. These days, the increasing number of travellers who come here find an inviting, modern city with one of the country’s best climates – year-round temperatures average 24°C.
Pleasant green spaces, interesting museums, a bustling centre and thriving commercial areas make Medellín an exciting place to explore, while top-notch restaurants, vibrant bars and a pumping club scene provide non-stop fun until the early hours. The reliable metro makes it easy to get around. El Poblado, an upmarket area in the southeastern part of Medellín, has the highest concentration of lodgings, restaurants and nightlife.