Guayabal, Medellin’s Comuna #15, is home to a little over 70,000 residents. The main reason for visiting as a tourist or expat is to facilitate transportation via air or bus to other parts of Colombia.
The comuna occupies the southwest part of the city, and is bordered to the north by Cerro Nutibarra and the Belen Malibu neighborhood, to the east by the Medellin River and Poblado, to the south by Itagui, and to the west by Carrera 70 and Belen.
I’ve spent more time in the last year in Guayabal than in previous years, and have gotten a little more comfortable with this part of the city. Still, there are some subjects below where I don’t have enough details to weigh in.
Feel free to leave Comments at the bottom to help us build up information about this important part of Medellin.
According to its Wikipedia page, the area now called Guayabal was originally part of Belen until 1925, when muddy farms began giving way to industrial facilities, thus creating Colombia’s first industrial corridor.
In the 1950’s, North American city planners recommended Guayabal as a location for manufacturing. The comuna then developed a reputation for pottery, and the creation of the red roof tiles that are ubiquitous throughout the city.
Points of Interest
Aeroparque Juan Pablo II
Aeroparque Juan Pablo II is a large park running alongside the domestic airport. It features pools and playgrounds for regular use, and also hosts festivals, concerts and events related to La Feria de las Flores as well Christmas.
Olaya Herrera Airport
The Olaya Herrera Airport began operations in the early 1920’s and 30’s, and continues to operate to this day. It no longer handles international flights, only regional and domestic flights from a handful of carriers.
I used it for the first time this year due to my EasyFly flights to and from Bucaramanga. If you can get a flight here, it’s much more convenient than the 50-minute drive to Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Rio Negro.
This airport will forever be remembered as the place where famed tango singer Carlos Gardel died in a plane crash in 1935.
Terminal del Sur
Medellin’s southern bus terminal is located adjacent the airport, and offers service to southern Antioquia and Colombia. Go here for destinations like Manizales, the coffee triangle, and Cali. You can also catch buses and taxis to Rio Negro and the international airport here.
Be sure to watch your bags at all times, as luggage theft is known to occur.
The bus station is housed within a mall by the same name, which includes places to eat, shop and even go to the movies.
Santa Fe Zoo
The city’s zoo is located in Guayabal, about a six block walk from the Industriales metro station.
You’ll find typical Antioquian and Colombian food in this area. In the Trinidad neighborhood, it’s not uncommon to see people cooking over open flames on the sides of the street.
Readers may remember I enjoyed a relaxing Sunday frijolada earlier in the year here.
I’ve only been to one bar in Guayabal, but it’s one that attracts residents from around the city, as well as tourists.
Patio del Tango is one of the two most important tango bars remaining in the city. It’s got a long history, and offers guests a chance to escape the salsa, vallenato and reggaeton music that pervades the city.
Visitors to Guayabal should exercise caution day or night, and it’s probably not a good idea to walk around outside of the points of interest mentioned above without a Colombian friend who knows or lives in the area.
Cost of Living
It’s a working class area, and based on 2005 census data, 70% of the households are a socioeconomic strata three (medium to low) on a scale of one to six, with the highest strata residents being four and compromising 17%, and the remainder in the lowest stratas.
I’d expect the cost of living to be similar to neighboring Belen, or perhaps a little lower given the proximity to the airport.
This region is not popular amongst foreigners in terms of a place to live, so I don’t have any anecdotal information about room or apartment rental costs.