Dating Tips: Up-to-Date Advice for Foreign Men in Medellín [2018 Update]

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These were a few of the friendly paisas I talked to at Antioquia Mia, a fashion event at Universidad Pontificía Bolivariana I attended shortly after moving to Colombia.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on January 30, 2018. The original post was published on April 14, 2014.

Finding out if you’re compatible with a Colombian woman can be a complicated endeavor, just like anywhere. There is no one way to woo them because of individual personalities and all the variables you encounter.

There’s also a lot of cultural nuance involved in dating as a foreigner in Colombia. So if you’re serious about dating paisa girls, I recommend Dating Medellín’s exhaustive guide to meeting women in Medellin.

In this article, I’m simply going to tell you some of my own observations from nearly three years living here, as well as information I’ve gathered from male and female friends.

Well, let’s get started.

Go beyond the nightclubs

I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m just saying it’s less likely.

If you are planning to meet a woman at a club, a salsa club is probably the best kind of venue. Women are typically there to dance to music that does not encourage them to grind with you, as reggaeton does.

Ask a woman at the salsa club to dance. If you don’t know how, she’ll teach you. Afterward, try to talk to her.

Other people have had success with online dating sites or introductions through mutual friends.

You can also meet a different kind of girl by going to the theater or other cultural events around Medellín.

My friend Tatiana, the pretty and popular receptionist at The Wandering Paisa, met her boyfriend while she was waiting to see a play. They’ve been together four years.

Ready to give speed dating a try? Check out Colombia’s most popular speed dating site!

Punctuality is uncommon

You can’t really expect a woman to be on time in Colombia. It’s hard to expect anybody to be on time in Colombia.

Punctuality is just not part of the social culture, though official business like school and work seem to always start right on time.

You’ll just have to learn to be patient. Or try a couple of tricks.

Here’s a good one, courtesy of my friend Jessie, a Miami native born to Ecuadorian parents who now has a paisa girlfriend: “If you want to meet up at 7 p.m., set the date for 6:15. If she tells you she’s on the way, that means she’s about to take a shower.”

It is, of course, better than another scenario when they change their mind and don’t bother to call, leaving you waiting and wondering.

A Chaperone companion is somewhat common

When your date arrives, she might have someone with her.

I know, you’re thinking, “That’s not a date,” but in Colombia, it can be.

Sometimes they bring friends to feel safe, sometimes because parents mandate it.

I know this can be annoying, just like paying for a woman’s taxi can seem ridiculous, but you have to decide what’s best for you.

My preference? That a woman doesn’t bring a friend and pays for her own taxi. Not saying either is a deal breaker, but in most cases I’ll move on if there’s a big gap in our expectations.

Don’t be shy, but don’t overwhelm them with attention

The secret is out. Women in Medellín are pretty.

They are used to getting attention all the time, so if you shower her with it, she might lose interest quickly.

At the same time, if you don’t show her enough, she can easily find someone who will.

You can usually tell when a woman is interested, either by the way they flirt with you or stare at you, or, in some cases, when they make the first move by telling you directly that they like you, sometimes with a kiss.

Other times, it’s harder to tell, which leads me to…

Don’t be presumptuous, and play it cool

Just because you’re a foreigner, doesn’t mean they all want to sleep with you.

Some guys will actually try lines like, “Q mamasita?” or “Cómo estás, hermosa?” The woman will probably roll her eyes.

Basic small talk is the best way to go in the beginning. Like most places, Colombian women are attracted to a mix of confidence and mystery.

When in doubt, just go up to someone you like and introduce yourself in polite, confident Spanish.

That brings me to…

Your Spanish is more important than the way you look

Quality women want to be able to have a conversation with you, a good one.

You should be able to talk about something interesting, maybe a book you read recently or a great place you traveled to, maybe something you saw on the news the day before.

Mix in some harmless jokes too. Laughter is always a good thing. If she’s laughing, she’s having a good time.

In many cases, this means you have to speak Spanish, and let’s face it, you should be learning the language if you’re living in Medellín, not just to talk to women.

Don’t hit on women who are obviously taken

This can get you into serious trouble. Maybe a jealous boyfriend won’t kill you, but acid attacks are on the rise here and that would be an unpleasant fate for trying to win the affections of someone in a relationship.

I understand there are cases in which you will not know. A friend of mine found out a woman he was seeing has a boyfriend when they got back from a lunch date and he was waiting for her at the salon where she works.

“Did you know we’re a couple,” the guy asked, and my friend said, “No,” and then he left and never talked to her again. No problem. Not his fault.

But I witnessed one incident where a Colombian woman was kissing someone at an event that caters to foreigners, and one of those foreigners still hit on her. What a moron.

Maybe she said, “It’s nothing serious,” but that doesn’t matter. Ask! Another foreigner did. The guy’s response? “We’re figuring things out right now,” a polite way to say, “Have some respect and don’t interfere.”

Shower every day

I know, you’re backpacking, you’re running around trying to see the sights. That’s not an excuse.

Hygiene is a big deal in Medellín so if you want to compete with the Colombian guys and other foreigners, shower at least once a day, twice if you had to do something that caused you to sweat throughout the day.

The women here like guys who smell nice. Just don’t take it too far and overload the cologne like some paisa guys do. The concept of less is more is lost on a lot of them.

Ditch the flip-flops, but don’t overdo your outfit

Nice jeans and a cool T-shirt are fine. You don’t need slacks and a collared shirt. Save that stuff for the special occasions.

You’ll probably find Medellín style to be more casual than major cities in other parts of the world, but many foreigners take it too far. You are not at the beach. Medellín is a busy urban environment.

I love seeing Colombians’ jaws drop in horror as some tourist with dirty bare feet passes them on the sidewalk.

So don’t go barefoot, and leave the flip-flops and shorts at home if you want to make a strong impression on the ladies.

For dates, start with something simple and classy

Taking your paisa date to one of the most posh restaurants in town on a first date is a questionable approach.

With some women, this means you’re setting the bar too high. They might expect each date to be like this from here on out, or think they have the upper hand.

With others, you’re trying too hard or trying to show off. They don’t like that either.

The best approach is probably the middle road. Take her to something low-key with a very social vibe. (Mercado del Rio in Poblado is a great example of this type of environment, filled with young professionals, students and couples.) See this article and this one for some additional suggestions.

Good luck out there, guys!!

________

I mentioned it above, but if you’ve got some time in Medellín and you really want to make the most of your romantic opportunities, Dating Medellín has put together an excellent guide.

________

Looking to increase your options with online dating? Or get started meeting women even before arriving in Colombia? Then check out the number one Colombian dating site, Colombian Cupid!

Editor’s Note: Comments are closed.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Ryan makes a lot of great points. But people are people, and everyone is different so what applies to one may not another. It is important to be sincere and honest. Regarding compliments, when first meeting a girl, tell her she looks great. then later in the evening be more specific, like tell her how nice her hair looks, or how pretty her smile or eyes are. Just be sincere and honest.

  2. Ryan makes great points. Having lived here for 3 years now, I have definitely had great experiences dating Paisa women. It’s realy hard to generalize how the Paisa girl is, but the bottom line is that most Paisas are not caught in the gringo gaze anymore, guys have to have character, can’t relay solely on the gringo effect. Good post!

  3. Comments taken from Facebook:

    John Knox Seagle wrote:

    In my experience, one doesn’t “date” women like those featured in this cover picture, and with all due respect I don’t believe it’s realistic for foreign men to think they can arrive in Medellín and immediately start seriously dating a woman like the models in this photo who I don’t think are in any way representative of how typical paisa women look. Instead of what would normally be considered healthy dating, for women who look and dress like this in many cases one will pay in one way or another (taxis, dinner, a doctor for her sick mother, her cousin who she’ll invite to join you at the cinema, heartbreak, mental breakdown, etc…) for the supreme privilege of being given the opportunity to be seen in public with a woman who has grown up being told and convinced that she’s a “reina”. Perhaps establishing a serious relationship with a model or estrato six stunner or want-to-be model is possible, but it will be an investment in various ways, and God be with you.

    I agree wholeheartedly that loud and crowded discotecas and bars with lots of drunk people are not the best places to meet women here, unless you’re looking for something short-term and superficial, in which case Parque Lleras is your oyster. One exception could be kindly asking a woman to dance in a place like Son Havana, El Tibiri, etc., and expressing an interest in learning how to dance. An even better idea would be to join group dance classes. I have a Swiss friend who married a stunning and intelligent young professional who he met in his dance class.

    I agree with Ryan that the best places to meet well-educated, sincere, honest, and decent women are through the universities, cultural events like the theater and low-key concerts, bi-lingual conversation groups, lectures and talks, and by networking with people you already know and trust. But don’t hold your breath that a woman that you meet at a place or event like that is going to look like the women in this photo. Paisa women who are well-educated, emotionally stable, cultured, mature, kind, decent, in addition to being model-goregous are a rarity here, and those that do exist already have boyfriends or are not interested in foreign men.

    I have literally met dangerous psychopaths with pimp friends and paramilitary connections and unscrupulous manipulative parasites on dating websites like Colombiancupid, and even though surely there are some nice girls on sites like that and indeed I’ve met a few, I’ll never make that mistake and put myself at risk again. Please be very careful and prudent about who you let into your life if you meet them online.

    Esteban Holder replied:

    I disagree. Most women in Medellin dress to impress. While they might not all look like models, there are plenty of very attractive and beautifully dressed women to meet.

    John Knox Seagle replied:

    Nobody can argue that there are multitudes of very attractive and beautifully dressed woman to meet, but the question is whether one would want to establish a relationship or seriously date a woman who dresses like the women in this photo and aspires to be a model and doesn’t seem to have an ounce of humility. Like I said, it’s a proposition that could be very costly in many ways. One could argue that many women here dress to impress in order to catch the attention and interest of a man who has enough resources to give her what she wants. After learning the hard way, now I stay away from women who look like this. Unfortunately here, and this is even what my Colombian friends tell me, appearance says a lot about who someone is.

    Milton F. Roiz There is so many good looking women everywhere in Colombia. Not just in Medellin but in Cali, Santa Marta, Bogota, Barranquilla, Manizales, Armenia, I mean really anywhere why focus only on paisas?

    Ryan Hiraki John, all good points, new photo coming soon…

    Esteban, i understand what you’re saying but i agree with john, using a photo of models is not representative of the majority, even there are a lot of pretty women in medellin

    Milton, you make a good point, but the point of this story is to counter the story marcello wrote, hence i focused on medellin, the place the blog is based. but i think these tips apply to all women in colombia, yes…

    Adam Werderits wrote:

    “don’t be douche” sums it up pretty much, but if you need to mention “shower every day” then there are serious problems…No wonder most paisa see those backpackers with their sandals and beards with hordes of fleas in it, and they have an image of the stinky vago-look foreigner….Most important is probably to reach a level in your spanish to make them laugh…and if you are willing to spend less than most colombian guys, you will not even date model looking girls, unless you are a real ace. There are many nice and lovely girls, they can be cute, but to find a centerfold look that is single, and not brainwreck, you are looking at a very tough task.

    Medellin Living replied:

    hey adam, it’s ryan, love your input. and wish i didn’t have to include the part about showering but it was necessary. i probably did a favor for a lot of people who stay at hostels and DO shower…

    Tyler James Austenfeld wrote:

    It’s good to see an article written from a non presumptuous perspective that seems to have the interest of both the tourist and the local Paisas in mind. I didn’t see learn Spanish on the list, but it should be as well. As far as dating women goes, little things are different country to country, but just be yourself and be genuine that works everywhere.

    Ryan Hiraki replied:

    thanks tyler. and check the section called, “How You Talk is More Important Than How You Look,” because the last sentence says, “In some cases, this means you have to speak Spanish, and let’s face it, you should be learning the language if you’re living in Medellín, not just to talk to girls.”

    Kim Samuel Mason wrote:

    U can get like 10 numbers a day in the street if your good, friend and I had no issues

    Medellin Living replied:

    hey kim, ryan here. that is correct. doesn’t mean they’ll answer when you call, though…

    Jennifer Penwell wrote:

    Good article Ryan. Has anyone written one for gringas and dating Paisa men? Bit late for me because I’m heading home in a couple of days. I will be writing about my experiences both here in Medellin and other places in Sth America on my travel blog site.

    Ryan Hiraki replied:

    no, but we’d love if you’d do a guest post. we can’t pay you for it, hence the term “guest post,” but we’d give you a byline…

    David Lee wrote:

    John Knox Seagle – You make some fine points but ColombianCupid is not so back and white. I’ve had some wonderful experiences as a result of those connections. I have many friends who have as well. I think it comes back to each individual guy’s judgement.

    The photo was of models. We’re not trying to set unrealistic expectations, but sourcing photos for these articles is turning out to be a challenge. Girls don’t want to be associated with them. We’re exploring solutions.

    No, most foreigners won’t date models but most aren’t looking to do that either. Just the same as most American men will never date a movie actress, it’s more the fantasy than actual expectation of reality here.

    David Lee wrote:

    Milton F. Roiz – Because the blog you’re reading is about Medellin! But I agree. To me, it makes more sense to date where you spend most of your time. I’m not looking to have relationships with women in different cities.

  4. Good blog Ryan!!! The Jardin Botanico is a great first date.. its free! How about a lowdown on the Coffee zone afterwards.. girls are probably near as beautiful there.

    • I agree Niall, inviting girls out to the park is a good option for a first date, or any date. Another one closer to Poblado is the park in Ciudad del Rio which is especially popular on Sunday afternoons. The atmosphere alone makes for great people watching.

  5. Please keep in mind guys, wearing shorts is a no-no unless you are heading to the gym or out jogging. Too many times I have seen gringos wearing shorts, which draws attention. Just today I saw two gringos sitting at a table at the mall near my apartment wearing shorts, drinking beers and clearly there to watch the girls walking by and I saw some Colombian girls look at them in contempt. To avoid sticking out and if you want to meet some girls, it is recommended that men wear jeans or trousers and closed-toed shoes, especially at night.

    “Learn some Spanish” would have to be my number one dating advice if you are in Colombia.

  6. absolutely disagree, jeff. i used to think the same but a lot of colombian guys are wearing shorts nowadays. at night, yes, pants and shoes are recommended. but during the day it doesn’t matter…

    • Hi Ryan, well then we agree to disagree. Maybe it is more accepted for men to wear shorts in El Poblado that is more Americanized – but not in the rest of Medellín. Over the long weekend during the time I spent in Belén, Laureles, El Centro and on the metro I didn’t see any men wearing shorts – except for the two gringos sitting and drinking beers in the mall and a couple gringos in El Centro. I also didn’t see any men with shorts on the metro yesterday or today and I didn’t see any on the campus at University EAFIT today. I asked my girlfriend and several of her girlfriends and they all agreed with me. Unless you are jogging or heading to the gym, shorts are not really recommended for men in Medellín.

      • I think it’s generally accepted that men look better in pants or jeans than shorts. And that goes double for wearing shoes instead of flip flops. Wearing sandals can only hurt a guys chances when out meeting girls (in any country).

        • “Wearing sandals can only hurt a guys chances when out meeting girls (in any country).”

          Colombia, sure but as a native of Santa Cruz, CA that is the most ridiculous statement I’ve eve heard. If you aren’t wearing shorts and flip flops, you’ll stand out and possibly get heckled by locals.

  7. So the three ladies at the top of this article are not typical of Colombian women? LOL Yes they are in my opinion. Check out the free website Badoo. There are thousands of woman on that site in every corner of Colombia. The thing is that some ladies receive 1,000 messages a day from new guys. Most are single ladies with kids and in too many cases the fathers of those children have disappeared. A lot of Latin women will date a gringo because they think we are less controlling and better parents. Not always true of course.

    The three ladies in the photo above are the rule and not the exception in my opinion. Colombian ladies are gorgeous due to 500 years of the movement of peoples and Colombia’s geographical location with two coasts. Indigenas, Europeans, Africans even Asians all mixed together through time. Throw in a climate where it does not snow and a diet of fruits and vegetables and this is the result. Yes, La Colombiana is gorgeous but like roses women can have thorns so be careful! LOL

    • hey jack, that comment about the ladies not being “typical” of colombian women referred to the original photo we used, which pictured 3 models. the girls in the current photo are representative of the population, i think. thanks for reading 🙂

  8. I totally agree that the typical “hot” paisas with implants, short dresses, etc. will cost someone a small fortune. Many of them know that their appearance is an income producing asset, and that they can get men to support not just them, but their entire family, financially. I would strongly emphasize the need to separate the gold diggers and visa hunters from the relatively small percentage who doesn’t need men to have a decent lifestyle.

    Some things to watch out for are: 1) Directly asks for money or things. 2) Indirectly asks for such things, for instance by constantly mentioning that someone stole her cell phone, that she needs money to pay for her university, etc. 3) she has an expensive cell phone and expensive clothes, but no income (this means other guys are paying her and giving her gifts). Also, a very typical thing is that a girl will ask for some sort of “loan” or “help” right after having had sex with you. For me, that means I never want to see her again. This is a girl who constantly uses that approach to pay her bills.

  9. I disagree that the general standard of Colombian women is so incredibly high. The young ones of course are hot, but here in Medellin most of the ones who are 40 are fat and not at all attractive. This comes from the farmer diet they have here, combined with virtually no exercise or knowledge of diets.

    • all great points about trying to find a good girl, thomas. but i’m not sure all the women 40 and older are fat and unattractive. i think it’s socioeconomic in many cases…

  10. After trying A LOT of different things I’ve figured out a ‘line’ that works really well with paisas… So you are talking to a pretty girl in a bar, nightclub or party but you don’t quiet have her attention ‘hooked’… Try this
    Start talking crap or making fun of other girls in venue… That girls purse is to big, that girls is skinny because she burns calories talking so much, that girl is going to fall over because her heels are so high, etc
    Petty? Yes! Effective at hooking attention? Very!

  11. Most of the comments here really give you a good idea and advice about dates, romance or just friendship with paisa girls, by the way, I can help you out with your Spanish (joseferduque@gmail.com)

    • thanks for reading the blog, jose, and for your offer. pero ya hablo español. tal vez recibirás correos de los gringos que no puedan. suerte 🙂

  12. I am thinking of visiting Medellin for a 8 days in September. I am not much into clubs but I love art and I can dance a little and speak some spanish. I’ve been to Bogota twice so thought I’d find a new city to explore. I am thinking of Barranquilla too. I am trying to meet a colombian woman for a serious relationship. In your opinion what’s the best way? Come down and talk to alot in person or try a agency where (hopefully) they’re more serious? I don’t have enough vacation for multiple trip so just was wondering what your opinion might be.

    • hey, clewis564, if you’re here for such a short period of time, i would sign up for colombian cupid now and start talking to some of the girls, see if there are any you are compatible with, then you can meet in person when you’re down here. and if you meet someone else in person when you get here, and you feel more comfortable with them, so be it. best of luck 🙂

  13. A previous poster wrote “….Most important is probably to reach a level in your spanish to make them laugh…”To me this is the most important thing with dating a Cplombian woman. We cannot simply look at it entirely from our perspective. If we do not keep these women interested in us the relationship will not last. They will get bored and move on. Resources alone will not sustain a relationship. Remember we are of a different culture, Colombian guys can relate to them much better than we can.

  14. Well. I have been living in Medellin for 4 years Noe. I am from Norway. I have been living in all of the parts of the city. Also included Castilla. Manrique oriental etc. I hav never seen any gringos up there. Of course my wife is from the barrii, so she had a lot of brothers that also tace care of me.

    Anyway. In my opinion the best ways to attract the more beautiful girls is to have a girfriend in the first place. If your girfriend is resonable looking, and you go out dancing, Chances are that aother girls will notice, And here yoy go. Its all up to you how you want to escalate the game whit beautiful paisas. To knowing the culture and the right places to go at right time also halps a lot.

    Saludos

    El Noruego