Aranjuez and art are synonymous.
You might not think that, especially if you haven’t spent much time in Medellín, but it’s what I think of when someone mentions this northern city district.
Other things associated with Aranjuez:
- Beautiful women: some people think the comuna is home to the prettiest girls in the city.
- Danger: Just five years ago, the murder rate was quite high. But because the rates have dropped drastically, people now think about…
- Improvement: like other once-rough districts, Aranjuez is improving and is becoming a must-see sector of the city.
- Sightseeing: The Jardín Botánico is one of the most popular places to visit in Medellín, and there are several other great sites nearby.
I guess you’ll just have to see it for yourself to determine what Aranjuez means to you.
Aranjuez has not been around too long, maybe 100 years or so, but it feels old because only now is redevelopment starting to creep in.
There just under 200,000 people who live there. It is a working class community, and will probably remain that way into the foreseeable future.
It will also continue to draw visitors, and more so as foreigners get to know all of the comuna’s attractions.
Points of Interest
Aranjuez might have more sights to see per square kilometer than any area in the city.
I’ve already told you about the Jardín Botánico but what you might not know is that it’s home to a monkey that showed up last summer and hasn’t left.
I was lucky to come across him one day last July. He stared at me, wondering what I was doing with my camera.
Next door is Parque Explora, an interactive science museum that is a hit with most kids. And across the street is the Universidad de Antioquia, one of the best institutions of higher learning in the country, which has its own museum as well.
If that’s not enough to satisfy the artsy crowd, there the Cementerio San Pedro just a few blocks away, where some of the country’s most elite members have been buried, including a handful of ex-presidents. The good folks at Medellin Buzz just had a language exchange event there.
Farther north in the district, you can find the Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez, the former house of the famous artist.
He not only is known for his paintings but for designing the streets of the Laureles area like an Italian neighborhood, because he studied art in the European country.
His blueprints are on display at the museum atop Pueblito Paisa.
Unlike many of the more traditional comunas, you actually have some variety here, not just Colombian food.
If you want fine dining, In Situ is the place to go.
Just make sure you’ve brought enough money because you’ll need to spend a bit to get full.
By the university, in the big courtyard area that sinks into the ground, there are a cluster of places to eat, one of them with sushi, and while it’s nothing special, it’s not terrible.
A great starting point is at Calle 93 and Carrera 49A, one of the corners of Parque Aranjuez. You’ll find a lot of bars and clubs in this area.
Zircux might be the best one.
You can also go to the area near the Universidad de Antioquia, which is becoming more and more popular but technically you’d be in Manrique and we’ll tell you about that comuna later.
There are none, not in the style of the big malls that are everywhere. Small business rules here.
It’s becoming monotonous to write this, so I’m sure you feel the same about reading it, but these kinds of posts require this section.
I would not walk around at night alone on dark, lonely streets. Otherwise, Aranjuez is fine.
At one point it wasn’t. In 2009, there were 93 murders for every 100,000 residents. That rate has been cut 66 percent.
With so many points of interest nearby the city wants to make the area safe for everyone, locals and visitors, and the numbers support their commitment.
I think it will only get better.
Cost of Living
But you can’t shake your reputation overnight and that will keep costs down.
You can find a comfortable, unfurnished, two-bedroom place for 400,000 pesos a month (about $210).
Maybe you should take advantage of that. It is hard to tell how much longer prices will stay that way.