La América: An Underrated Medellín Community

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Parque de La Floresta (photo: Leah Davis)
Walkers and joggers make good use of the foot paths (photo: Leah Davis)

Most people overlook it, for various reasons.

There is no big mall here, no famous museums, no popular nightclubs or parks or restaurants, nothing to attract tourists.

Only there is.

It’ll be a different kind of visitor, someone more adventurous, but they will be rewarded if they spend time in La América, the comuna that borders the western edge of Laureles/Estadio.

This mostly residential area is a middle-class oasis with friendly people, good local food and a handful of places that are fun to hang out, especially to watch fútbol games.

You just have to give it a chance.

History

La América became a district in 1869, although the first houses in this area were built in 1675, according to Comuna 12, the website that provides the history, development plans and other information about the community.

Today it is home to 13 barrios, or neighborhoods, including one that shares the same name as the district.

Points of Interest

As I said before, it’s mainly a residential area full of small businesses, but I feel there is one point of interest: Parque Floresta (at Calle 46 and Cra. 84, a few blocks south of metro Estación Santa Lucia)

The park in the middle of Barrio Floresta can be considered the heart of the district. It’s beautiful.

You can sit and talk with friends and have a drink, and there are areas for the kids to play as well.

Across the street from the park’s western edge, new apartments are under construction, a sign that the area is growing in popularity.

Food

You’ll find the best empanadas in the city in La América, at Empanadas Santiamen (Cra. 80 #48-95) just north of Estación Floresta.

I love their variety, with specialties such as the arroz con pollo and chicharrón y frijoles empanadas.

One of my favorite places to get Colombian food is here too. At El Madrigal (Cra. 80 #49A-36), you can get a set meal for 7,000 pesos (about $3.60) or pay up to 20,000 pesos (about $11) for something from the parrilla.

Not only is the food great, so is the paisa ambience, with the hats and ponchos hanging in different places.

For something different, try Pizza El Imperio, just south of Estación Santa Lucia. The pies average about 15,000 pesos (about $8), and they’re pretty good, the thin crust-style pizza that I like.

Nightlife

If you want to go to an actual bar, instead of just having a few beers at Parque Floresta, I recommend Blue.

This small locale usually has a good crowd on the weekend, people out having fun but not getting too crazy with the guaro, unlike the nightclub with the same name near Parque Lleras.

Another option is Night. Like Blue, it’s small but has a good crowd.

Both bars are along Carrera 80, a couple of blocks south of Estación Floresta.

Or, if you’re feeling lucky, head to the Copacabana Casino, just north of the station along 80. Good luck at the tables!

Safety

La América is almost like anywhere else. Use common sense, and you’ll be fine.

But I would recommend that you do not walk alone late at night along Carrera 80 near Calle 44. Some areas are dark and lonely, the kind of areas thieves love.

Cost of Living

With those new apartments going up by the park, and several other buildings under construction in the district, it’s only a matter of time before prices go up too.

Enjoy the low cost of living while you can.

A furnished one-bedroom apartment that includes Internet, phone and all utilities will run anywhere from about 800,000 pesos (just over $400) to about 1.2 million pesos per month (or almost $700).

I wonder what it will be in five years, as more people discover the area. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. One thing is for sure, it will be costlier because I can envision the district becoming more popular.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I just moved in La Floresta, 600-650,000 can get you a pretty good furnished room here.

    As for the neighbourhood, it’s perfect. Small, convenient, quiet, green.

    • Hi Charles. Can you email me info for a furnished room/apt in La Floresta. That price seems reasonable. I’m planning visiting late Nov thru March. I’m not tech savvy and don’t have apps for airbnb or uber. Besides I would rather check out place when there… Online pics of airbnb do not show surroundings or even their address. I like to pay cash. Thanks

      • Hey Leo I was just wondering how you got on with finding a furnished apartment, where you able to find one for a reasonable price? If so how did you go out it? Through newspaper listings for example? Absolutely any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

  2. You did a good job in this description. I was raised in that area during childhood, and playedbin that park most of the time! I now live in the US… It’s true it’s becoming better and safer. Thanks for the good comments. I’m glad you got to experience the “not-so-touristic” places like this which show more if the reality of middle class life.