Medellín is one of the most progressive cities in Colombia – over the past decade seeing a rise in more accepting attitudes, particularly around LGBT voices and rights. While Colombia essentially remains a conservative country, Medellín, along with Bogotá, Cartagena and Barranquilla, represents the country’s transformation towards a more diverse, inclusive society. A defining moment for Colombia was in 2016 when same-sex marriage was made legal, and has since paved the way for clubs, spas and hotels to more to actively tailor their business to gay clientele.
While it’s important to remember that Colombia is a Catholic country and still experiences acts of discrimination, places like Medellín are generally safe and welcoming; in fact, it’s a must-visit on the gay backpacker trail. To make the most of the city’s vibrant nightlife, unique culture and friendly locals, here are the best gay-friendly places in Medellín.
Carrera 37 # 10-37 Local 205
One of the most flamboyant clubs in Medellín, Bar Chiquita is an over-the-top, fabulous spot in Poblado. The bar has a spacious outdoor terrace for enjoying cocktails on a warm Medellín evening, as well as exceptionally attentive staff and a range of disco anthem classics. First-timers to the bar can easily spot it from the two large flamingos outside. Dress to impress and come here for pre-drinks before moving on to a club.
Carrera 38 #9A – 26
Around the corner from Bar Chiquita, in Medellín’s famous Parque Lleras, Donde Aquellos is perfect for socializing with locals, sipping on a range of drinks and dancing to reggaetón. The bar prides itself on being a safe place for all types of people, and is great for either starting a wild night out or simply people watching.
Calle 10 #43B-61
A Japanese-themed bar, there is without doubt, no other place like Querida. The whole of the Poblado bar is Instagram-worthy, boasting anime art and a very stylish crowd. The drinks here are equally impressive, serving elaborate cocktails with a mix of liquors and flashy appearances. All identities are welcome here – the more outrageous, the better!
Teres Café Bar
Av. 33 #76-20
Over in Laureles, Teres Café Bar is primarily a lesbian bar, dedicated to fun and freedom of expression. Serving food and drinks, the bar always has a positive energy and is open until 4am Wednesday through to Saturday. There’s additionally a strong focus on culture here, as the bar has poetry, live music performances, and film nights dedicated to lesbian productions.
Calle 33 # 78-141
Also in Laureles, Ink Bar is a simple, chic bar that’s popular for its regular themed nights, live music and cheap drinks. The bar is open every day and is within walking distance to Viva Discotek – one of the biggest gay clubs in the city.
Calle 51 #73-100
The huge Viva Discotek is famed for attracting some of the best-looking people in Medellín, along with having top DJs and extravagant podium dancers. The service is fast and inviting, and there are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the club, which is normally decorated with florescent lights, balloons and cool artwork.
Calle 26A #43F-72
Complete with two dancefloors, well-priced drinks and a clientele that includes a mix of Paisas and foreigners alike, Industry Club ticks all the boxes for a memorable evening. The music is split between techno and Latin, and there’s often a line to get in, so be sure to arrive early. Friday is the best night to visit, as drinks prices are lowest and the club is at its busiest.
Carrera 39 # 8-81
Although small, what Zero lacks in size it makes up for in personality. The nightclub is decked out with disco balls and strobe lights, and plays everything from R&B to electronic music. Zero also hosts drag nights during the week – which never fail to be hilariously entertaining.
La Cantina De Javi
Calle 58 #47-18
In El Centro, La Cantina de Javi is a Mexican bar and club, and is a guaranteed good night out. The music spans all genres and eras, the service is brilliant and the atmosphere is electric. There are also often drink deals on, plus people tend to come in costumes and eccentric face paint – adding to the playful party vibes.
Saunas & spas
Note: Currently, all gay-friendly spas in Medellín only open to men. They are included here for our male readers:
El Club de Tobi
Calle 47 #43-88
The best-known bathhouse in the city, Club de Tobi spans three floors and has a suave ambience, high-end facilities and lots of spaces to unwind or meet other gay guests. This option is better for people looking for a chilled afternoon rather than a raunchy evening.
Sauna Club 55
Calle 55 #45-44
Club 55 has a large sauna area, as well as a garden for relaxing among nature, plus massage services. The spa is impeccably clean, the service is professional and helpful, and based on reviews, most guests leave feeling completely refreshed.
Carrera 50C #13
The only specifically gay-friendly hotel in Medellín is Hotel Roma, which does a wonderful job catering to the needs of the LGBT community. The hotel is comfortable, budget-friendly and discrete, has on-site security, and is a five-minute walk to the metro station. Guests here need to be able to speak Spanish, and it’s worth knowing that the area doesn’t have a great reputation.
Rentals & Hotels
There are no other exclusively gay-oriented places to stay in Medellín, however, there are are tons of other accommodation options that openly welcome gay guests. Sites like Mister B&B and Pink Vacation Rentals are useful to find likeminded hosts and short-term apartments, or alternatively, check the best hotels in Medellín — many of which celebrate diversity.
Medellín’s gay culture is truly alive and flourishing, and these places are merely a snippet of all the city has to offer its gay visitors. Whether you’re looking to party, pamper yourself or prepare for a new adventure, the City of Eternal Spring is sure to welcome you in a safe, fun environment.