Bogotá vs Medellín: a Comprehensive Comparison

Bogotá at night (photo by Jorge Díaz)

Bogotá vs Medellín, which is the better city to live in? Colombia’s biggest two cities are rivals similar to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro being rivals in Brazil.

I have seen several comparisons of Bogotá vs Medellín but in many cases they are missing several points or have a bias.

I have met many expats that prefer Bogotá, while many others prefer Medellín. I have lived in Medellín for well over five years but I have traveled to Bogotá many times for both business and pleasure. I have easily spent several months in Bogotá over the past several years.

Both cities have their pros and cons and this comparison comprehensively compares the two biggest cities in Colombia in 14 categories, in no particular order.

Note in this article we only include photos of Bogotá as this website already has countless photos of Medellín. The photo above of Bogotá at night is by Jorge Díaz.

Snow in Bogotá (Photo by Dianib)

Snow in Bogotá (Photo by Dianib)

1. Climate

Medellín wins here hands down.  The average temperature during the year in Medellín is 72 ° F (22 °C). Medellín is known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera”, or the city of eternal spring.

While in Bogotá the average annual temperature is 58 ° F (14.5 °C).

In Medellín, the average daily high temperature ranges from 81.0 to 82.8 °F (27.0 to 28.2 °C) and the average daily low ranges from 61.7 to 63.3 °F (16.5 to 17.4 °C).

In Bogotá, the average daily high temperature ranges from 65.5 to 68.4 °F (18.6 to 20.2 °C) and the average daily low ranges from 45.7 to 49.5 °F (7.6 to 9.7 °C).

The record low in Bogotá was 19 °F (-7.1 °C) and it occasionally snows in Bogotá.  Many apartments in Bogotá in my experience don’t have heaters so it can get chilly at night.

In March last year, Bogotá experienced a major hailstorm that covered the south of the city with a 24-inch (60 centimeter) layer of icy snow.

2. Restaurants and Nightlife

Bogotá wins here. Bogotá is a much bigger city with a metro population of about 10 million so it obviously has many more restaurant and nightlife options.

In comparison, Medellín has a metro population of over 3.7 million. Medellín has many restaurant options that have been covered on this website but Bogotá has even more restaurant options.

TripAdvisor lists well over 900 restaurants in Medellín when you include the other municipalities in the metro area like Envigado and Sabaneta.  But in Bogotá TripAdvisor lists well over 1,600 restaurants.

For example, Bogotá has more U.S.-based chain restaurants that aren’t yet available in Medellín, including Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, P.F. Changs and Taco Bell.

Bogotá is more of an international city and it has many more options to try foods from around the world.  You can find good Chinese, Thai, Indian and many other types of restaurants in Bogotá that are more difficult to find in Medellín.

Medellín has many nightlife options that have been covered extensively on this website but Bogotá has even more nightlife options being a much bigger city.

3. Cost of Living

Medellín wins here. Similar properties I have seen in Bogotá in estrato 5 or 6 neighborhoods tend to rent for or sell for at least 20-30 percent higher than in Medellín – or even much higher.

I have even seen a few expensive new properties in Bogotá in estrato 6 selling for about 12 million pesos per square meter, which is about double the price of expensive new properties in El Poblado in Medellín.

Properties in lower estratos tend to have lower prices differences between the cities but in general are more expensive in Bogotá.

Other costs like groceries, restaurants and other things tend to be at least 5-10 percent cheaper in Medellín in comparison to Bogotá.

About the only thing I have noticed being cheaper in Bogotá is dry cleaning, which is about 20% cheaper than in Medellín. In general Bogotá is a more expensive place to live than Medellín.

Titan Plaza, one of the newest malls in Bogotá, opened in 2012

Titan Plaza, one of the newest malls in Bogotá, opened in 2012

4. Things To Do

Bogotá edges out Medellín here. Both cities have many things to do in the city as well as many things to do nearby. But the much bigger city of Bogotá edges out Medellín in this category.

As a bigger city Bogotá has many more concerts and festivals than Medellín. For example, when the Rolling Stones came to Colombia in March this year, they chose Bogotá.

Most international concerts coming to Colombia tend to choose Bogotá over Medellín.

Bogotá has many more museums, while museums are relatively new to Medellín.

Bogotá has more churches, more shopping alternatives, more outdoor activities, more sights and landmarks, more of everything due to it being a much bigger city.

While unscientific, TripAdvisor has over 270 things to do listed for Bogotá while it has less than 150 things to do listed for Medellín.

5. Safety

Medellín arguably wins here. Medellín ranked much higher than Bogotá in a recent survey of 12,548 in Colombia in terms of citizens feeling safe in their barrio and city.

In this study (slide 41) citizens felt the safest in their barrio in Medellín with 75 percent of respondents feeling safe, while only 36 percent of respondents in Bogotá felt safe in their barrio (only Cartagena ranked lower than Bogotá).

In terms of feeling safe in their city (slide 40), Bogotá was ranked worst of the cities surveyed with only 14 percent of respondents in Bogotá feeling safe in their city, which compares to 45 percent feeling safe in their city in Medellín.

6. Healthcare

It’s arguably a Tie.  Medellín has eight of the top rated hospitals in Latin America, while Bogotá has nine.

Being a bigger city, Bogotá has more medical and dental providers but they also have many more patients to care for. Medical costs tend to be somewhat higher in Bogotá compared to the medical costs in Medellín.

As the two biggest cities in Colombia both Bogotá and Medellín both have many quality hospitals and medical providers.

7. Pollution

It’s a Tie.  The World Health Organization (WHO) last year reported that Medellín was ranked #9 and Bogotá #10 in a list of the 10 cities most polluted in Latin America.

Medellin is located in a canyon, with mountains surrounding the city, which do not allow easy dispersion of pollutants, so pollution tends to stay in the metropolitan area. But fairly regular rain in the city can clean the atmosphere.

Bogotá is a massive city and you can frequently see a thick gray smog layer over the city during thermal inversion episodes.

Traffic in Bogotá during rush hour

Traffic in Bogotá during rush hour

8. Traffic

I give Medellín a definite edge here.  My impression is that traffic is Bogotá is generally worse than in Medellín due to it being a much bigger city with so many more cars on the roads.

I would say you are pretty lucky if you spend only an hour or two each day just to go across town in Bogotá.

I have been challenged in scheduling more than two business meetings a day in Bogotá as traffic can make it a major challenge in getting from one part of Bogotá to another part at most hours of the day.

While the traffic can get bad in Medellín, the worst traffic is primarily found in the El Poblado and Envigado neighborhoods during rush hours in my experience.

Traffic is not as widespread of a problem in Medellín compared to the traffic issues found in Bogotá.  But Bogotá doesn’t necessarily have the worst traffic in Latin America.  In my experience the much bigger cities of São Paulo and Mexico City can have worse traffic.

9. Access to US, Europe and the rest of Latin America

Bogotá easily wins here. El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá is the largest airport in Colombia and it has non-stop flights to over 40 international locations in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

From Bogotá you can fly non-stop to Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York (JFK), Orlando, and Washington-Dulles in the U.S.

From Medellín you can only fly non-stop to Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and New York (JFK).

From Medellín you can also fly non-stop to Madrid in Europe. In comparison, from Bogotá you can fly non-stop to Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, Madrid and Paris in Europe.

From Bogotá you can fly non-stop to well over 20 cities in other countries in Latin America. While in Medellín you can only fly non-stop to Curaçao, Lima, Maracaibo, Mexico City, Panama City, San Salvador and Valencia.

Also Bogotá’s airport is within the city limits, while Medellín’s José María Córdova international airport is inconveniently located in Rio Negro, which is 40 minutes to an hour from the city depending on traffic.

10. Job Opportunities

Bogotá wins here. Bogotá is the political and business capital of Colombia and it’s a much bigger city so obviously there are more job opportunities in Bogotá in comparison to Medellín.

But there still aren’t a lot of work opportunities for foreigners even in Bogotá, especially if you don’t speak Spanish fluently. The best jobs in Colombia typically require fluency in Spanish.

While there are English teaching job opportunities in both cities if you are a native English speaker, competition is fierce and the pay isn’t the greatest. There are more English teaching jobs available in the bigger city of Bogotá.

The unemployment rate in Bogotá is also lower than in Medellín.

Bogota’s Transmilenio buses (Photo by Pedro Felipe)

Bogota’s Transmilenio buses (Photo by Pedro Felipe)

11. Public Transportation

Medellín wins here. Medellín has an extensive metro system with integrated metro trains, a new tram, buses and cable cars. The Medellín metro is spotlessly clean, easy to use and inexpensive.

Medellín’s metro system has been in place for 20 years, while Bogotá still wishes for a metro system.

Bogotá has its elongated Transmilenio bus system that everyone I have talked to in Bogotá seems to hate. Transmilenio is popular but is inferior in every way to Medellín’s metro system.

In my opinion Transmilenio is an overcapacity disaster due to its popularity; it’s become so bad and crowded lately that I never use it when I’m in Bogotá.

Both cities have extensive bus routes but the buses seem somewhat easier to me to navigate in Medellín. This is likely because Medellín is a smaller city, which makes it more accessible.

12. Culture

Bogotá wins here. Bogotá is a huge, sprawling city with a rich history. As a more international city Bogotá has a tremendous variety of bars, nightclubs, coffee shops and restaurants as previously mentioned.

Bogota also has a thriving cultural scene and bohemian districts. It has a much larger museum and art scene than Medellín. Reportedly the world’s largest international theater festival is held in Bogotá biannually.

In Bogotá you will find its traditional bookselling district located downtown, which has book-malls and perhaps hundreds of bookstores selling both old and new editions.  Medellín has nothing in comparison.

Bogota is also one of the oldest cities in the New World as it was founded in 1538, compared to Medellín, which was founded in 1616.

Bogota received some of the brightest European minds early on, including many Jews fleeing the Inquisition, who came to study the flora and fauna to be found in the New World.

Bogota boasts over 137 universities, which is more than many other great cities in the world. The learned elite from Europe, such as the Jesuits, founded several of Bogota’s intellectual institutions.

Medellín’s culture as a city is more contemporary. Medellín also to me has a more authentic Colombian feel to it once you get outside of El Poblado.

People in Medellín (Paisas) have a reputation for being extremely friendly, which I agree with. They also tend to never say “no” even if they have no plans to do something. This compares to people in Bogotá (Rolos) who tend to be more direct and are more likely to follow through.

Medellín has also been solidifying its reputation as a pioneer of inventive architecture and urban renewal, with an array of bold public projects.

I would also argue that Medellín in some ways tends to look more to the U.S. for ideas than to Bogotá – Americanized El Poblado being the perfect example.

13. Altitude

Medellín wins here. Medellín is at an elevation of about 4,905 feet (1,495 meters) and Bogotá is at a much higher elevation of about 8,660 feet (2,640 meters).

Bogotá is at the low end of the altitude scale for potential physiological effects. The high altitude of Bogotá means the air is thinner but some visitors may not notice this at all.

Some visitors will often notice heavier breathing, a faster heart rate, fatigue, a slowdown of digestion and possibly an increased need to urinate. Headaches are another common impact of the higher altitude.

If you are impacted it will normally take a few days for your body to adjust to the higher altitude.   I normally experience some headaches and fatigue the first few days I am in Bogotá.

Take things slow and avoid strenuous activities. The body needs a few days to adjust to the lack of oxygen or possibly even much longer. One of the best ways to combat the impacts of high altitude is staying hydrated.

The high altitude in Bogotá is normally only an impact for shorter-term visitors. Studies have shown that the approximately 140 million people who live full-time at altitudes above 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) like in Bogotá ultimately adapt to the lower oxygen levels.

But there are some preexisting medical conditions that may be of concern at higher altitudes or precautions should be taken – see the following.

14. Education Options

Bogotá wins here. We already mentioned that Bogotá boasts over 137 universities.

The two highest-ranking universities in Colombia are found in Bogotá: Universidad de Los Andes Colombia and Universidad Nacional de Colombia – both are in the top 20 universities in all of Latin America.

As a much bigger city there are also more Spanish language programs available in Bogotá.

There are also more bilingual international schools for children available in Bogotá, I’m aware of at least six in Bogotá and only two in Medellín.

The Bottom Line

In our Bogotá vs Medellín comparison, Bogotá beats out Medellín in six of our 14 categories; Medellín beats out Bogotá in six categories and the two cities tie in two categories. So the end result in this somewhat subjective comparison of 14 equally weighted categories is essentially a tie.

But to each his own and to really determine which city is best for you to live depends on which categories are more important to you with a higher weighting for more important categories.

For example, if cost of living, a springtime climate and avoiding traffic were most important, Medellín would win. If job availability, ease of access to the U.S. and restaurants and nightlife were your most important categories, Bogotá would win.

The only way to know which city is better is to spend time in both. I have much spent much time in both cities and both have their pros and cons. Neither city is ideal.

I prefer to live in Medellín due to the climate, lower cost of living and good public transportation.  While Medellín doesn’t have as big a selection of restaurants, nightlife and things to do as Bogotá; it still has a big enough selection for me.

Plus with the lower cost of living in Medellín I can afford to travel to Bogotá and the other cities in Colombia.

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About Jeff

Jeff first discovered Colombia back in 2006 and has traveled to all the major cities in Colombia. He is fortunate to have lived over seven years in Medellín. He is also studying Spanish to become fluent.

Comments

  1. You missed the most important category : better looking women, Medellin wins by a large margin. 🙂

    • That’s debatable so I didn’t include it — and I’m married to a Paisa so I’m biased.

      There are beautiful women throughout Colombia in my experience but in Bogotá they tend to be more covered up since it’s colder.

    • The average paisa girl is better looking than a Rollo. But Bogota has 8 million inhabitants vs 3 million and bogota attracts people from allover the coyntry. So i wouldnt say chances in bogota are slimmer to fibd yourself a pretty girl.

      • Art Jones says:

        Yes, better looking than a man from Bogotá? A rolo, likely you mean a rola? Some people prefer a more natural look over the prepago look, do, a matter of taste

    • Having lived in Medellin for 6 months I have to say this whole thing about beautiful Medellin women is over-stated. Yes there are some beautiful women here, but the vast majority are of average appearance by Western standards. I lived in Russia for two years and the difference there is that most women are beautiful. Here, I’d say 1% of women could be categorised as beautiful, another 10% very good looking, etc.
      The trouble with Paisas is that they all need to ‘be paid’ – not directly maybe, but they always have a hard luck story and the assume all foreign men are rich

  2. MIchael R says:

    Wait! Wait! Having US chain restaurants is an advantage?
    Please! Please! for the love of God, cultures of the world, and food with flavor retract that statement!

    More seriously – at what size is a city large enough to sustain a broad food culture? My hometown of Portland, Oregon, with a metro area size of 2.4million is considered one of the top food destinations in the US.

    And certainly due to size Bogotá has many more options for nightlife – but does it have more variety?

    Disclaimer: I consider US chain restaurants to be an embodiment of all that is wrong with large corporate culture.

    • US chain restaurants are a comfort factor for some Americans. Many of the customers I have seen at Chili’s, TGI Fridays and P.F. Changs in Bogotá are expats. Don’t forget they are many large multinational companies with offices in Bogotá with many expats working and living there.

      I used those US chain restaurants as an example of some of the restaurants in Bogotá you won’t find in Medellín. You can also find good Chinese, Thai, Indian and many other types of food in Bogotá that is harder to find in Medellín – I could create a huge list. Basically Bogotá is a larger more international city so there are many more food options. Medellín is a sizable city but it doesn’t have near as many restaurant choices when compared to Bogotá.

    • On my recent and first trip to Bogota – I was pleasantly surprised regarding the quality of food. Yes, Medellin has lots of trendy restaurants, but the food is not great. Nearly every meal I had in Bogota was top rate – equal to fine dining in the US, Europe and Asia. For the cheap cost of flights and accommodations, we will take trips there often.

      • Michael R says:

        Did you by chance have a meal at Sant Just? Next to Parque de Periodistas.

        If not, add it to your list for the next visit.

        We also found the food in Bogotá to be excellent.

      • +1 for me. I’ve also had excellent culinary experiences in Bogotá. It is fab – but I much prefer living in Medellin!

  3. MIchael R says:

    Wonderful article, there is much to learn about both cities from your comparison.

    A question:
    “People in Medellín (Paisas) have a reputation for being extremely friendly, which I agree with. This compares to people in Bogotá (Rolos) who tend to be more direct.”

    What do you mean by direct? I don’t see it as being distinct, or exclusive, from being friendly. Since you’re using it to contrast with friendly I feel I’m missing your meaning.

  4. Ill be back in Medellin end of June, I enjoyed your article but in your responses it would have been nice as a foreigner for you to add more about the woman, the nightlife the gambling etc….. Btw I heard Bogota is great just not even as close to nice as Medellin….. Would have liked to know which cities just outside these larger cities are better to visit as well. Ive never had a bad meal in Medellin, the people I thought were beyond amazing and unbelievably friendly and i thought the taxis were very reasonable as well as spotless and accessible everywhere……….. I love this country and cannot wait to visit more of the outskirts this tine, Any reccomendations would be much appreciated .

    • Hi Mike,

      Have you arrived yet. I think from your posts we share a common interest;-)
      I’ve been here in Medellin a few months – maybe we could hook up?

      • Michael R says:

        Josh – are you aware of what “hook up” means in American slang?

        • Yes Michael I am…and I prefer to take the higher ground and use ‘hook up ‘ to mean ‘get in touch’ , ‘get in contact ‘ etc.

          I would like add that I’m having a gay old time here in Medellin (as in a ‘jolly good time’) . I have a comfortable apartment with a comfortable pouf chair in which I relax every evening.

  5. Thanks for taking the time Jeff. Your article was a pleasure to read.

  6. Mark Bachrach says:

    I live in Medellin. Every time I go to Bogotá I’m the target of gringo pricing and taxi ripoffs. That rarely seems to happen in Medellin. (Possibly because there have not been enough foreigners for such a culture to develop. The openness, honesty, and welcoming attitude towards foreigners, in comparison to what I experienced in other countries, is what attracted me to Medellin in the first place.

    You also didn’t mention the visual surroundings, which I think should be an important category. One of the great things about Medellin is the beautiful mountain views from just about everywhere, whereas in Bogotá you’re looking at a big, flat, ugly urban landscape.

    • michael says:

      I Love Medellin over Bogota but disagree with you Mark, one can get great views of the City from hillside vistas in Bogota also Bogota has great open spaces(parks) that you can not find in Medellin

  7. Alexa C. says:

    Hi! I’m looking for make an academic exchange to Colombia for 6 months, my options are Medellín and Bogotá. After my research I think I would prefer living in Medellín, specially for the security, but I’m kinda worried that after the time I’ll get bored. I’ll be thankful if you can give me your opinion about things to do and nightlife in Medellín considering the duration of my stay, the reason of my trip and that I’m under 25 years. Thank you!!!!

    • Medellín is a big city with a metro population of over 3.7 million so there is quite a bit of nightlife in Medellín, some of which has been reviewed on this website, see: http://medellinliving.com/nightlife/. But Bogotá has even more options.

      Note your costs of living will be lower in Medellín compared to Bogotá.

    • Michael R says:

      Where do you live now and how do you spend your free time?
      Do you return to the same set of favorite places again and again?
      How far do you travel to get to your entertainment?

      While Bogotá has more are the choices so distinct so to be truly unique?
      You are one person – if for example Bogotá has 300 clubs do you plan to visit two each day while you’re there?

  8. Hi Jeff,
    I live in Bogota and visit Medellin often. The pollution in Bogota is really bad.
    I think it als comes down to things to do vs. quality of living.

  9. Fabian Bedoya says:

    I’m from Medellin, born and raised. Paisa 100%. In my opinion, good food for Paisas pleases their sense of touch, more so than any other sense. In fact, for Paisa food, such factors as temperature, flavor and aroma, don’t spread over the wide spectrum that visitors could expect. This, however, is solely my opinion, which I derive from the paucity of options in such departments, which now you can verify. For instance, many visitors complain that Paisa fare is bland. I agree, I think coffee with milk can be better characterized as milk with a splash of coffee. Also notice the absence of hot spices, varying temps and bitter as a flavor, in most ethnic dishes.

    Regarding how nice people are, I’d say Paisas are hospitable to a fault, vivacious, lively, celebratory, easy-going, temperamental, and so unreliable as to not disappoint anyone, so yes, we always say yes, even when we know better. Regarding women, vanity is huge, independent of purchasing capacity. Girls in Medellin will always worry their hair looks good, their nails and toenails are done, and their bodies emanate sweet smells like candy, when they walk by. Girls will line to show off, too, and being from a conservative culture, something tenuously linked to history and geography, somehow manage to come across provocative without even trying. By the way, boob enhancement “drives local GDP”. Here I have included a couple of personal observations. Hope these help keep the debate going.

    I’m a Spanish and English tutor in Medellin, and I have always taught in a way that makes my penchant for culture salient in my lessons.. Thanks to this, I like to think that I’ve gained objectivity via the lot of my foreign students, yet I remain biased. And so I tend to be opinionated and exaggerated like only an authentic Paisa can be, loose on the generalizations and heavy on the exaggerations, but trust me this city of eternal spring will assuredly steal your heart and your visual attention.

    • Michael R says:

      Fabian,

      About the food, touch as in texture? If so, that is also a big factor in Chinese food.

      Very wonderful comment you’ve written. it says a lot about Medellin.

      • Fabian Bedoya says:

        Touch as in texture and consistency. Think about it, .. Paisas rave about a breakfast consisting of quesito (our version of fresh cheese) over an arepa (a grilled flat cornmeal patty cake). Very uneventful, but for the delicious play of one texture feel following the other. Intense blandness

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  11. Art Jones says:

    It depends somewhat on a definition of “attractive”, Medellin women Percentage wise has more fake Hollywood heavily made up and surgically enhanced with silicon, and dyed hair, “at tractive” women with more flesh exposed, generally more of a prepago look, Bogotá women IN GENERAL, not Ll, a little mire natural looking
    The prototypical Medellin woman more like Pamela Anderson in her prime, Bogotá mite like Salma Hayek maybe

  12. Art Jones says:

    It depends somewhat on a definition of “attractive”, Medellin women Percentage wise has more fake Hollywood heavily made up and surgically enhanced with silicon, and dyed hair, “at tractive” women with more flesh exposed, generally more of a prepago look, Bogotá women IN GENERAL, not all, a little more natural looking
    The prototypical Medellin woman more like Pamela Anderson in her prime, Bogotá more like Salma Hayek maybe
    “Flashy” and a bit fake vs. More natural, well some readers will be buying love anyway
    Paisa eomen seem expert st duping gringos that they love them apart from their money, but there are suvh women in every country and city

    • 100% agree…Medellin women are way over-rated in the beauty stakes. Most of them are average looking by European standards, and many are short and fat. I know – I’ve seen many of them since arriving here 6 months ago. And you’d better have deep pockets if you want to date a Paisa. Some journalist said ‘if they put a roof over Medellin, it would be the biggest brothel in the world’

      • In that news story from UK Channel 4 the journalist was actually quoting something he heard from a Colombian man “if you put a roof over Medellin it would be the biggest brothel in the world”. Obviously a Colombian man wouldn’t have ever been to other parts of the world like Thailand, Amsterdam, Brazil or Las Vegas.

        The Mayor of Medellín rejected that UK Channel 4 news story – “We are aware that problems exist in the city (…) but to speak of Medellín as the largest brothel in the world is an insult to the Antiochian society,”

        “We do not minimize the problems we face, but we reject the false reports which have always sought to stigmatize Medellín,” said the mayor, Guillermo Gaviria, in a Twitter message.

        Speaking to local media, Gaviria said that “unfortunately there is a kind of journalism worldwide dedicated to exalt the negative issues and make it as an intention to continue a process of stigmatization that the city had for 20 years,” a reference to the hard times of the drug cartel in Medellin.

        See: http://www.dfwsaver.com/2014/1390980/

        • OK Jeff . I would accept that Medellin has made huge strides forward in the past 20 years, but unfortunately the legacy has not been fully wiped. Most of the women here wouldn’t regard themselves as prostitutes in the strictest sense. However, if I can use an unfortunate pun, there are ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ levels of prostitution. To witness the hard prostitution , one only needs to take a stroll down to Park Lleras on a Saturday night. I have no problem with that – at least such ladies are honest about their intentions, and I respect that. It’s the soft prostitution , which is all pervasive here in Medellin, that gets on my tits. (sorry!). By this I mean any guy who asks a Paisa for a date is faced with the inevitable ‘puedes pagar mis gastos – no tengo plata’, whilst making it clear that any sexual activity would have a price tag attached. I’ve had countless dates with such types, even though I made it clear I wasn’t a sex tourist, just a guy wanting to hang out with a girl and develop a relationship based on mutual trust and friendship. I also visited Bogota, and there was a complete absence of such behaviour from women I dated there. In fact people from that city have told me that this culture of expecting money in return for sex is a cultural hangover from the era of the drugs cartel. I watched the novella ‘Sin tetas no hay Paraiso’ and it summed the attitude up nicely!
          So in conclusion I think that the Channel 4 journalist was referring to this idea that women here generally expect financial support even from the first date, and I can tell you there on a very large sample size that they make it clear that any sexual interaction is measured in pesos. Sorry, but this kind of behaviour still broadly fits the definition of prostitution….

  13. Art Jones says:

    Many Paisas have never been anywhere else and believe as religious faith that they live in the best place in the world, they have been told so. ! Many know that Bogota and the rolos are terrible, without ever having been there, LOL, they know because their parents, who also have never been there, told them so
    Bit clannish similar to Sicilians or the hill people of Appalachia in USA

  14. Thank you Jeff for the very well written article. I found it very accurate and helpful. I am still deciding between the two cities..;-) All the best

  15. I think the cost of living in both cities are pretty the same, the only thing that could be more expensive in Bogota is the rent, even a taxi is more expensive in Medellin than in Bogota. I’ve lived in both cities.

  16. Hi Jeff,

    In section 9 : Access – you mention that there are direct flights between Atlanta and Medellin. Can you tell me who is the carrier for this route? Delta does not serve Medellin directly as I’ve looked. I do note there is a Delta placard at the departure area/curb at MDE and maybe in the past Delta had service to MDE but not now.
    Is there another carrier who I’ve not found in my flight searches?

    Thanks,
    Stephen

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