Robledo: Medellín’s Third Largest Comuna

View from Cerro El Valador in Robledo, looking Southeast

View from Cerro El Valador in Robledo, looking Southeast

Robledo is a comuna not well-known by name by many foreigners but if you happen to have been to Cerro El Volador, the large hill/natural park located north of Laureles/Estadio, you’ve been there.

Other than Cerro El Volador and several universities plus Medellín’s newest mall, Robledo is primarily a residential area. My Colombian girlfriend happens to be from Robledo so I have been there several times.

Where is Robledo?

Robledo is both a comuna (district) and a barrio (neighborhood) and is designated as Comuna 7 in Medellín. Robledo consists of 21 barrios and three other areas: campuses of University of Antioquia and National University plus the Eco-park Cerro El Volador.

The comuna is located in the northwestern part of Medellín. It is bordered on the north by Doce de Octubre and on the east by Castilla and the Medellín River. To the south, Robledo is bordered by San Javier, La América and Laureles/Estadio.

The closest metro stations to Robledo are University and Caribe, located along the Medellín River close to the eastern border of the comuna.

Many early colonies in Medellín were established in this area near Cerro El Volador. Until 1938, Robledo was a village of Medellín populated by craftsmen with the surrounding areas being rural and occupied by farms of wealthy families in the city.

Robledo currently is predominately a residential area. The comuna also has more universities than any other comuna in Medellín.

Universities in Robledo include: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (School of Health Scienes along with the Universidad Bolivariana Clinic), the Robledo campus of University of Antioquia, a campus of Bogotá-based Universidad Santo Tomás and the School of Mines of The National University of Colombia.

One of the best hospitals in Medellin, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, which we recently reviewed, is also located in Robledo.

Robledo’s Demographics

According to 2013 government statistics, the comuna is home to a bit over 167,000 people, which makes it the third largest comuna in Medellín population-wise after Belén and Doce de Octobre. In Robledo, 46 percent of the residents have ages of 15 to 44.

About 79 percent of the housing in Robledo falls into either estrato 2 or 3 neighborhoods (on a scale of 1 to 6) with an average estrato of 2.4. The following compares the average estrato of Robledo to some nearby comunas as well as El Poblado:

About 11 percent of Robledo is classified as Estrato 1 – the poorest neighborhoods. About 10 percent of the area in Robledo is designated as Estrato 4 or 5 neighborhoods, which are more the types of neighborhoods in Medellín where foreigners are more likely to live.

View along the road up to Cerro El Volador in Robledo

View along the road up to Cerro El Volador in Robledo

Points of Interest

The Metropolitan Region Natural Park Cerro El Volador located in Robledo is the largest natural park in Medellin, sized at 262 acres.

The large hill/park is located in an area that was once sacred ground for Indians who originally inhabited the Aburrá Valley. Cerro El Volador was designated as a natural Colombian heritage site in 1992.

The park has a small museum that exhibits historical evidence of the past indigenous people. A guided tour is available that takes you on a historical Indian trail.

Activities in the park include hiking, biking, jogging, bird watching and kite flying. There are a few places to buy food, snacks and drinks in the park. The park is a popular location for family picnics – many take their dogs along.

Cerro El Volador rises to an elevation of 269 feet and provides excellent views of the city and is one of the least known attractions in Medellín. It’s a good place to jog while enjoying the views, read a book or have a picnic and get away from it all.

Florida Parque, Medellín’s newest mall

Florida Parque, Medellín’s newest mall

Shopping Malls

Robledo is home to Florida Parque, the newest Western-style shopping mall in Medellín, which we recently reviewed here.

The mall opened in May 2013 and it was built due to the area being underserved without a shopping mall with a population of about 700,000 in barrios nearby.

Before Florida Parque was built, residents in the area had to travel to shop in Bello or El Centro or in malls further away.

Three-meat platter at El llanerito in Robledo

Three-meat platter at El llanerito in Robledo

Food

After a walk around Cerro Volador and spending time shopping at Florida Parque, you may be hungry. If the food court at Florida Parque doesn’t enthrall you, there is a very good restaurant option nearby.

I asked my girlfriend to take me to the best restaurant she knew of in Robledo and she brought me to El llanerito located at Calle 73 # 72A-47 Internal 101. This very popular restaurant has a cowboy theme and specializes in slow cooked meats.

Here’s a video showing how they cook the meat at El llanerito:

The cost was inexpensive at 23,000 pesos ($12) for the two of us for a three-meat platter with pork, ribs and veal, as well as yuca and potatoes plus drinks.

I especially liked the pork and ribs with barbecue sauce and recommend the restaurant.

Rinconcito discoteca in Robledo

Rinconcito discoteca in Robledo

Nightlife

So you’ve been to the largest park in Medellin, you have gone shopping at Medellin’s newest mall and you have eaten. Now you are ready for rumba but unfortunately Robledo is not really known for its nightlife.

When I asked my girlfriend about discos in Robledo she gave me a blank stare and said that she normally has gone to other areas such as La 70 or Las Palmas when she has gone to discos with her girlfriends.

But my girlfriend called some of her girlfriends and one of them recommended the Rinconcito disco in Robledo located a few blocks from the El llanerito restaurant.

We went one night to Rinconcito, which is located at Carrera 69 # 73-15, and it reminded me of the discos found on La 70. Along Carrera 69 there is a string of other bars plus a casino nearby to entertain you.

Cost of Living

It can be economical to live in Robledo, which is much less expensive than El Poblado, plus you are unlikely to encounter many gringos in Robledo.

Since the area has Estrato 1-5 neighborhoods there is a wide range of apartment rental pricing available in Robledo.

For example, you could find a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in a high-rise or a three-bedroom apartment in a low-rise building for about 400,000 to 550,000 pesos ($214 to $293) per month in an Estrato 3 neighborhood.

My girlfriend’s aunt and uncle live in a three-bedroom apartment in a low-rise building in an Estrato 3 neighborhood in Robledo and they pay only 400,000 pesos ($214) per month for an unfurnished apartment they furnished.

In an Estrato 5 neighborhood in Robledo, a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in a high-rise would rent for about 750,000 to 850,000 pesos ($401 to $455) per month.

Safety

Robledo’s homicide rate has been trending a bit higher than the city average in four out of the past six years. In 2013, Robledo had 77 homicides. But in the first three months of 2014, the number of homicides dropped to 16 from 23 in the same period in 2013.

Besides the new mall in Robledo, Cerro El Volador and the universities, I wouldn’t recommend that foreigners go wandering around some of the neighborhoods in Robledo without a Colombian friend or two to accompany them.

Most foreigners experience in Robledo would likely be limited to Cerro El Volador as Robledo is mainly a residential area.

Visitors to Robledo should exercise caution – I have heard that robberies sometimes even happen at Cerro El Volador so stick to the main paths with other people around. Police regularly patrol the area but it’s a big park.

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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. So many buildings in the first picture look alike. Is that the common architecture there? Pretty cool place! Thanks for sharing!

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