Medellin Gay Travel Guide: where to stay, eat, party & things to do

Stefan Arestis

Medellin used to be considered the crime capital of Colombia, this is the city where drug lord Pablo Escobar reigned during the 70s and 80s. However, over the past 15 years, it has undergone a huge transition to become one of the safest and most advanced places in the entire country.

Medellin's nickname nowadays is the “City of Eternal Spring” due to its temperate weather. This also makes it ideal for the stunning annual Flower Festival which takes place every August.

Medellin is a very gay-friendly city. The paisas (people of Medellin) are very welcoming and love to meet foreigners. Whilst its gay scene is not as big as Bogota's, there are still loads of gay hangouts, largely based in Poblado. What impressed us the most was a public sign we spotted in our hotel, which sets out the various police fines you can get: one of them was for homophobic abuse, which carries a fine of 657,000 Colombian pesos ($224). The fact that this is so prominently displayed in a public area speaks volumes about safety here for LGBTQ travellers!

We spent 4 months in Medellin, using it as a home base during our big trip in Latin America, and we loved it. This is our gay guide to Medellin featuring all our favourite gay bars, clubs, gay-friendly hotels to stay at and things to do.

Discover the gay scene of buenos aires on a gay tour

Discover Gay Medellin with an LGBTQ local…

Our friends at The Queer Scout, an excellent gay local tour company, offer a gay nightlife tour of Medellin. We found this to be a fantastic way to discover the gay scene. You'll be greeted by a gay local guide, who'll take you to the best gay bars in Medellin for an unforgettable night out! We've partnered up with them to offer our readers an exclusive 5% discount off their gay tour.

Fill out this form to check availability for the Medellin gay tour and get a 5% discount.

You can also contact The Queer Scout directly, make sure to mention our name to enjoy the 5% discount.

Is Medellin safe for gay travellers?

Medellin is Colombia's second-largest city. It is very modern and extremely progressive. While Colombia is a majority Catholic country, and quite conservative in some ways, big cities like Medellin are becoming very accepting towards its LGBTQ community. Nowhere is this more evident than during Medellin's gay Pride festival where the entire community takes part to celebrate and support gay rights in a truly Latin fiesta style!

We never felt unwelcome or experienced any hostility from the locals during our time in Medellin, although be aware that some areas of the city should be avoided, particularly at night time, whether you are gay or straight.

Private transfer from the airport

The last thing anyone wants to deal with when arriving in a new country is the hassle of public transport with luggage or trying to find a taxi that won't rip you off. Take the stress out of your arrival in Medellin by booking a private transfer from the airport to your accommodation so you can arrive relaxed and ready to explore!

Gay neighbourhood in Medellin

Whilst there isn't an official recognised gay neighbourhood in Medellin, most of the main gay scene is located in El Poblado. This is where the touristic heart of Medellin is, with the best bars, clubs, restaurants and shopping malls like Santa Fe. Our favourite gay bars (Bar Chiquita and Donde Aquellos) are here, as well as Zero and Industry gay clubs. This is also the most expensive part of Medellin, so expect to pay top dollar for a hotel or apartment rental in this part of town.

Outside of Poblado, there are a handful of gay hangouts dotted around the city, particularly in the downtown area (called Candelaria) and Laureles. Downtown is a bit dodgy, especially at night, but accommodation options are cheap here. Laureles is more residential and safe. This is where the large club Viva is found, but it's a good 20 minute Uber ride away from Poblado.

Getting around Medellin is fun, with free bike rental and the metrocable cars to take you up into the hilly areas of the city!

Getting around in Medellin

Medellin has very efficient public transport connections for getting around the city. This includes the cable car (MetroCable), which is worth taking just for the stunning views across the city.

Find out more

The main gay area of Medellin can be found in the trendy neighbourhood of Poblado.
Hanging out in Poblado with our fabulous Paisa buddies

Gay hotels in Medellin

In the popular tourist (and gay) area of Poblado, you won't have any problems booking a double bed especially if you stay at one of the international hotel chains. We also set out below our favourite gay-owned / gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses to stay in Medellin:

01

Hotel Roma

Medellin's only official gay hotel is Hotel Roma; a private and romantic little gem.

Why we love it


  • Medellin's only official gay hotel
  • Discreet and safe accommodation
  • Big bathtubs with Jacuzzis in some rooms
  • Lots of romantic details

Hotel Roma is the only official gay hotel in Medellin. It's actually based in downtown Centro Medellin, which is a taxi ride away from the gay bars in Poblado but close to La Cantina de Javi gay bar.

From the outside, it looks like a nice private home. It's also super-safe, with a security guard at the entrance.

The rooms are homier than a regular hotel room, with some of them featuring a big bathtub or even a Jacuzzi.

This hotel is known for its discretion and privacy, even offering an escort service! We love the romantic details they include when you check-in, such as rose petals around the bath and swans made of towels on the beds. There are also beautiful classical paintings throughout the property.

While it's not in the main gay neighbourhood, Hotel Roma is very close to a metro station, which is very handy. In any case, Uber is inexpensive in Medellin. Be aware that you can only book accommodation at Hotel Roma by calling them directly or emailing the hotel.

Get up to $55 off your next Airbnb booking

We've used Airbnb extensively during our travels because you can rent an entire home which usually works out a lot cheaper than a hotel room. It also allows you to have your own space with a kitchen, a living room and more. You can easily find places close to the gay scene by using the map function. If you've never used Airbnb before, simply click the button below to get up to $55 discount off your first booking.

02

Patio del Mundo

Patio del Mundo is an intimate, romantic and gay friendly guesthouse in Medellin.

Why we love it


  • Gorgeous tropical gardens and outdoor Jacuzzi
  • Delicious breakfast served on the garden patio daily
  • Beautiful colourful decor throughout
  • Balcony rooms come with a hammock!

Patio del Mundo is a villa that has been lovingly restored by a French family and converted into an intimate guesthouse.

It's a very romantic place to stay, located in a quiet residential street with extremely friendly staff.

The rooms are so gorgeously decorated, with colourful details throughout. A delicious bountiful breakfast is served on the garden patio every day.

You can also enjoy a massage or yoga class in the garden, or just relax in the Jacuzzi surrounded by tropical foliage. There's a bar where you can have drinks and snacks, but you're also close to many of Medellin's best restaurants as well.

We loved Patio del Mundo because of its proximity to the gay hangouts around Lleras Park, but once you're inside, it's like you've entered another world. You can hardly hear any noise from the busy life outside. If you book a balcony room you'll even have your own private hammock to relax in!

Guatape makes a perfect day trip destination from Medellin.

Visit Guatape on a day trip from Medellin

One of our favourite day trips from Medellin was to the colourful town of Guatape. For stunning views make sure you climb the giant granite rock Piedra del Peñol.

Find out more

03

Los Patios Hostal Boutique

For budget travellers, Los Patios Hostal is more like a hotel, with gay friendly staff and lots of fun extras.

Why we love it


  • The rooftop bar with stunning views!
  • A great mix of hotel and hostel
  • Very affordable rates
  • Good location close to the gay area

Los Patios Hostal Boutique is a gorgeous gay friendly boutique ho(s)tel in Medellin. It is a unique combination of hostel and hotel, with low prices but still plenty of amenities.

It's located right by the bustling nightlife of Poblado, close to some of the best restaurants and gay bars of Medellin.

There's a gorgeous Tiki bar on the rooftop terrace, which is perfect for a romantic sunset cocktail.

You can choose from private rooms or hostel dorms that are all brightly coloured and very clean. It's also a great spot to meet other travellers from all around the world.

We love how each floor of the building is themed around a different region of Colombia, such as the mountains or the jungle.

Along with the bar, the rooftop terrace has a communal organic herb garden which guests are free to use when cooking in the shared kitchen facilities. Some of the other wonderful extras include free coffee, a gym, a co-working space and bike rental for exploring the city.

Gay bars in Medellin

Poblado is the main touristy heart of the city, with all the best restaurants, bars and hotels. In the evening, around Parque Lleras, it's an extremely fun place to be, full of life, with a busy atmosphere and some fantastic gay bars to start the evening, such as:

Our friends at The Queer Scout, offer a gay nightlife tour of Medellin. You'll be greeted by a gay local guide, who'll take you to the best gay bars in Medellin for an unforgettable night out! Fill out this form to check availability for the Medellin gay tour and get a 5% discount.

You can also contact The Queer Scout directly, make sure to mention our name to enjoy the 5% discount.

Bar Chiquita

This was our favourite gay bar in Medellin. It has yellow twin flamingo statues outside to welcome you and the interior features sexy leopard-print walls! The staff are gorgeous and extremely friendly. They also make delicious cocktails, which are great to enjoy while people-watching on the large outdoor terrace. It's one of our favourite places to start a gay night out in Medellin. Bar Chiquita is only open on Wednesdays to Saturdays, from 6 pm till 2 am and is located at Carrera 37 # 10-37 Local 205.

Donde Aquellos

This was our other favourite gay bar in Medellin. It's slightly more cruisy than Bar Chiquita with a large outdoor terrace to check the talent crossing the streets while sipping a yummy drink. They play music videos with a nice mix of salsa and more modern hits. Donde Aquellos is open every day from 5 pm to 4 am and is located at Carrera 38 N° 9A-26 near Parque Lleras.

La Cantina de Javi

An iconic gay dive bar in the downtown Centro neighbourhood of Medellin, which is in the style of a traditional Mexican cantina. It's a very local crowd with not many foreigners: the perfect way to meet that handsome Paisa guy of your dreams! La Cantina de Javi is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 8 pm to 4 am and is located at Calle 58 #47-18.

Ink Bar 33

This is a popular gay bar in Medellin, north of the Laureles neighbourhood, near Viva gay club (see below). There's a dance floor where you can rumba until the wee hours with a mix of tourists and locals. They often have events with no cover charge or 2-4-1 shot specials – keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest offers. Ink Bar is open every day from 5 pm-4 am and is located at Calle 33 #78-141.

Medellin has some great gay bars for drinking and socialising.
Starting the night at the gay bars in Poblado

Gay clubs in Medellin

Medellin has 3 main gay clubs, which get especially busy on the weekends. Whenever we went to any gay club in Medellin with friends, we'd usually share a bottle of rum or the local aniseed tasting brew called aguardiente. A word of warning if you're hitting the aguardiente: factor in a massive hangover the following day as this stuff is lethal!

Our friends at The Queer Scout, offer a gay nightlife tour of Medellin. You'll be greeted by a gay local guide, who'll take you to the best gay bars and clubs in Medellin for an unforgettable night out! Fill out this form to check availability for the Medellin gay tour and get a 5% discount.

You can also contact The Queer Scout directly, make sure to mention our name to enjoy the 5% discount.

Viva Discoteca

Viva is a huge club north of the Laureles neighbourhood which becomes a massive gay party on Saturday evenings. It's got a large main dance area with Reggaeton and electronic music, as well as a second separate dance area, which is more intimate. Here they are usually playing salsa and other classic Latin styles. We loved it just for this – gay couples dancing salsa together in one room while twerking to a Maluma reggaeton beat in the other! Viva is only open on Saturdays from 9 pm to 4 am and is located at Calle 51 #73-100, near the Stadium.

Zero Nightclub (by Purple Bar)

Zero is right in the heart of everything in Lleras Park, Poblado. It used to be called Purple, so there may be confusing references to that in some places. It's quite small, but always gets packed full of pretty paisa boys. We love it because they play a cool mix of Latino pop classics – top tip: have your Shazam app to hand! Zero is open Thursday to Saturday from 10 pm to 4 pm and is located at Calle 10a #36-2.

Industry Club

This is the other popular gay club in Poblado, which is more focused on electronic and crossover music spread out over 2 dance halls. We found it had more attitude and drug taking going on compared to the other gay clubs in Medellin, but we still had a fun night here. If electro music's your thing, you'll love a night out at Industry. We personally love Latino pop more, so preferred Zero and Viva. Industry Club is open only on Friday and Saturday from 10 pm till 4 am and is located at Calle 26A #43F 72.

Medellin is home to three excellent gay clubs, sure to suit all music tastes!
A cheeky kiss at Viva gay club

Gay events in Medellin

The party never really stops in Medellin, so whenever you choose to visit you'll have no shortage of fun things to see and do. These are the best gay and gay-friendly not-to-miss festivals we think you should totally check out:

Medellin Gay Pride (June)

Every June, Medellin holds the month-long Festival Antioquia Vive Diversa (Festival of Diversity), which culminates in the Pride parade through the city. There are numerous parties and events taking place throughout the month, many at the gay clubs we've mentioned above. Medellin's Pride parade is also quite unique in that almost the entire city takes part, making one giant colourful party – and these guys sure KNOW how to party!

La Feria de las Flores (August)

If you're in Medellin in late July/early August, you have to check out the Flower Festival. It takes over the entire city for 2 weeks and is full of large concerts, contests, parties and culminates with a large colourful parade on the final day, which like Pride, everyone gets involved in. There's also a Gay Feria de Las Flores which is taking place at the same time. To find out more, read about our highlights of the Flower Festival in Medellin.

Festival Internacional de Tango (June)

Whilst Colombia is infamous for having the hottest salsa dancers on the planet, they're just as passionate about their tango! Every June there is a five-day Tango festival in Medellin, with many artistic, cultural and academic activities taking place throughout the city. One of the best things about this festival is that it is very diverse and inclusive, as well as being free! Many of Medellin's parks, squares and plazas will have tango performers from all around the world.

Flamenco Festival (October)

As well as tango, Medellin is a big lover of flamenco dancing, which can be enjoyed during the Flamenco Festival in October. There are professional flamenco shows along with classes if you want to learn this passionate dance for yourself. This is also the only flamenco festival which takes place in the whole of Colombia, so it's definitely worth a trip to Medellin to experience it.

Medellin Fashion (November)

There are two major fashion events in Medellin each year and while Colombiamoda in July might be more famous, it's also more catered towards the fashion industry than the public. Medellin Fashion in November is better if you just want to see (and buy) all the latest, hot styles to come out of Colombia.

Experience Medellin's flower festival on this unique tour for gay travellers.

Flower Festival Gay Tour

This is one of the most unique gay tours we've come across! Instead of focusing on just nightlife, this 7-day trip includes a cooking class, a visit to a flower farm, local markets and a coffee farm. It also includes VIP seating during the Flower Festival Parade and of course, a gay night out in town!

We've partnered up with Out in Colombia to offer an exclusive 5% discount for our readers for this tour. Fill out this form to check availability for the Medellin Flower festival gay tour and get your discount.

You can also contact Out in Colombia directly, make sure to mention the promo code NOMADICBOYS05 to enjoy the 5% discount.

Medellin's flower festival is a riot of colour, blooms, parades and events throughout the city.
His name's Pedro…he stopped to pose for us during the Flower Festival Parade

Gay saunas in Medellin

There are plenty of gay saunas and bathhouses in Medellin, whether you just want to relax in the steam or get steamy with some sexy local paisas! These are some of the most popular gay saunas in Medellin:

El Club de Tobi

This is the most popular gay sauna in Medellin. There's a sauna, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, Turkish baths, a bar, gym and lots of television porno rooms(!), all spread out over four separate floors. They often have discounts for customers between 18-23, so expect a younger crowd. Located at CL 47 43 88, it's open every day from 2-10pm.

Sauna Club 55

Club 55 aims to generate harmony between body and mind with its variety of relaxing areas. As well as the sauna, there's a lovely garden and a bar for socialising. You can book yourself a massage or just hang out in the video rooms or Jacuzzi. Sauna Club 55 is open every day from 2-9.30pm and is located at Calle 55 #45-44.

Olympo Club

Olympo is a three-storey facility with Turkish baths, sauna, Jacuzzi, bar, video rooms and private rooms. There are both relaxation and erotic massage services you can book, or just head to one of their regular themed events like 2-for-1 entry prices. You can find Olympo Club at Race 78 #45-17 and it's open Tuesday to Saturday from 2-10pm, Sundays from 1-9pm.

Club Hammam Sauna

Club Hammamm is a bit quieter than the other gay saunas. “Pollos” (meaning chickens – which they define as 18-23 year olds!) get 50% off entry and are allowed in free on the last Saturday of each month. It is located at Carrera 45 #46-27 and is open daily from 10 am until 8 pm and until midnight on weekends.

Make new gay friends at Medellin's Club 55 gay sauna.
Gettin' steamy with the local paisa boys at Club 55!

Our favourite things to do in Medellin

What once used to be a city rife with crime, Medellin has managed to transform itself into one of the hippest and most happening places to visit in Colombia. As well as the gay scene we have mentioned, Medellin is filled with beautiful art, a thriving foodie scene and lots of beautiful spots worth exploring. These are our favourite things to see and do in Medellin.

Quirky art at the outdoor Plaza Botero museum

Plaza Botero and the crazy statues on display are a must-see during your trip to Medellin.

Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist who is famous for his abstract, exaggerated bronze statues. They're absolutely hilarious and totally worth getting a selfie with: imagine a full-on gigantic muscly roman soldier with the tiniest penis you've ever seen, or a larger-than-life Lady sat posing on a small struggling horse. You can see all 23 of these quirky statues at Plaza Botero in downtown Medellin. To embellish your visit, we recommend a City Tour of Medellin, which takes you to Parque Berrio, Pueblito Paisa, the Antioquia Museum as well as to the infamous Plaza Botero.


Cable car to Arvi Park

Gay travel to Medellin - take the cable car to Arvi Park for gorgeous views over the city.

The Medellin metro is the pride of Colombia. So proud are the Paisas of their Metro system that they even have a private tour of the Medellin Metro! For us, the most scenic part is the cable car from Acevedo metro station all the way to Arvi Park, which goes from 1,900 to 2700m (6,230-8,860ft) high. It's worth it just for the views alone! Upon reaching Arvi Park, we recommend getting out to explore this 16,000 hectares of forest area. It has several hiking trails and it's also perfect for a picnic – weather permitting of course!

Top tip: bring a jumper as there's a slight drop in temperature the higher up you go in the cable car.


Graffiti tour in Comuna 13

Gay Medellin - make sure you spend some time exploring the graffiti art in Comuna 13.

Comuna 13 used to be Medellin's most dangerous neighbourhood but has since reinvented itself through art. The street art here is testament to that. We did a graffiti tour with a local which helped put it all into perspective. It's fascinating and quite touching to see how the youth in this neighbourhood used art and music to better their lives, which has contributed to improving one of the city's poorest areas over the past decade. The local authorities have actually declared Medellin's urban art a cultural landmark. And, of course, the photos will be perfect for your Instagram…


Picnic at Castillo Castle Museum

Gay couples travelling to Medellin will love relaxing in the romantic gardens of Castillo Castle.

El Castillo Museo y Jardines in Poblado is a stunning French-inspired castle. It is surrounded by some very beautiful gardens. It's not a traditional old castle as it was actually built in 1930, but it still features as many fairytale-like turrets and four-poster beds as your princess' heart could desire! The museum offers tours of the grandiose interior, or you could explore it as part of a combined museums tour. On a clear sunny day, the gardens at Castillo Castle are perfect for a picnic with friends…or in our case, your own romantic Frenchman serenading you on a guitar…!


Day trip to Guatape

Gay city guide to Medellin - the nearby town of Guatape makes for a colourful day trip.

If you have time, we strongly recommend taking a day trip to one of the small towns outside of Medellin in the Antioquia region. Our favourite is Guatape, a small town around 2 hours bus ride away from the city. It's famous for its pretty, cutesy buildings, which are decorated with colourful bas-reliefs. This is a great spot for lunch if you're going on a day trip, with street stalls selling delicious empanadas and churros. We also recommend climbing up the Piedra del Peñol – a giant granite rock which has exactly 740 steps to the top. It's worth the effort because when you reach the top, you're rewarded with some of the best views you'll find in the whole of Colombia.


Make your own chocolate

A fun activity during your time in Medellin is to visit a nearby cacao plantation and make your own chocolate!

Colombia is renowned for its coffee, but did you know that cacao is an even more traditional agricultural product of the region? Indigenous tribes used cocoa seeds as currency because chocolate was considered to be oh so very divine. We think it still is of course… We recommend joining a community cultural project organised by local women to learn all about chocolate production and the chance to make (and eat!) your own. Visiting a cacao plantation in the jungle around Medellin is a fun day trip and a great way to support local sustainable agriculture.


Learn about Medellin's Tango culture!

Medellin gay city guide - experience Tango during a live show.

Carlos Gardel was a famous French-Argentine singer/songwriter who is regarded in Latin America as one of the most important figures in Tango. He actually died in a plane crash in Medellin, so the city is filled with tributes to his local legacy. If you are at all interested in the passionate dance of Tango, then you should definitely take some time to learn about Gardel and experience a live Tango show at one of the city's popular tango venues. There's even a museum dedicated to Gardel called the Casa Museo Gardeliana.


Explore a coffee plantation

Coffee lovers definitely need to visit a local coffee plantation when staying in Medellin.

The area around Medellin is so famous for its coffee production that it's even officially called “Zona Cafetera”. Coffee lovers (like our Stefan) need to have this at the top of their Colombia Bucket List. Not only is this region notorious for its coffee, but the surrounding scenery is in our opinion, the most impressive of the entire country. You can either visit as a day trip (like to Guatape) or a small overnighter to somewhere further like Jardin. Whichever way you visit the Coffee Region fellow coffee-lovers, make sure you visit a local coffee plantation, where you'll learn about the process of growing and preparing your morning brew. This is also the place you'll want to stock up on coffee souvenirs to bring back home with you.


Visit Rio Claro

Day trips from Medellin - the Rio Claro nature reserve features crystal clear waters and lots of native wildlife.

If you want to experience some of the natural beauty of Colombia from Medellin, then a day trip to the Rio Claro Natural Reserve is a must! The Rio Claro is a river with crystal-clear water that rushes through a picturesque gorge, providing lots of opportunities for stunning photos of waterfalls and wildlife. You'll definitely want to go swimming in the turquoise waters, and you can also hike along the trails or go rafting. There's also an eco-hotel and a restaurant in the reserve if you want to stay the night, or just enjoy a meal of local dishes in the restaurant.


Go zip lining in the jungle

A great couples' activity for gay travellers to Medellin is to go ziplining over the jungle together!

If regular old hiking and swimming aren't exciting enough for you, near to Medellin you can also experience the biggest zipline in Colombia! In the natural reserve of La Ceja is an epic zipline that's 330 metres high and 1400 metres long. Careening across the river and jungle was one of the most exhilarating experiences we've ever had. In this nature reserve, you can also enjoy hiking to a variety of waterfalls, which are lovely to have a relaxing splash around in after the excitement of the zipline adventure.


Gay-friendly restaurants in Medellin

Since the transformation of Medellin from crime capital to a vibrant travel destination, the city has also gained a thriving foodie scene. El Poblado has some of the best restaurants of Medellin, especially around Lleras Park. Here gay travellers will be able to sample all sorts of delicious cuisine, from traditional Colombian, yummy pizzas and even Greek!

The Greek Connection

The staff at The Greek Connection are gay friendly, the clientele is fun and the food is delicious!

Stefan was particularly impressed by the Greek fare on offer at The Greek Connection. Styled like a traditional Greek taverna, this unique restaurant has a really cool terrace, where it gets very busy! It attracts a large crowd partly due to the friendly staff, partly due to the fantastic Mediterranean food. Located in the heart of El Poblado, The Greek Connection serves up mouthwatering tapenades, calamari, lamb chops, moussaka and a variety of souvlakis. Make sure you also save some room for the delicious desserts such as traditional baklava or the amazing chocolate volcano!


El Cielo

El Cielo is an incredible gourmet fusion restaurant in Medellin that's very romantic and gay friendly.

Also very close to El Poblado and Lleras Park is the incredible gourmet fusion restaurant El Cielo. From the moment you arrive, you are whisked away on a magical experience of ‘moments' as you taste all sorts of amazing dishes and wines. Imagine – we started our meal washing our hands using warm chocolate! Everything here is a spectacle and while it's a bit pricey for Medellin, it's totally worth it, especially for a special occasion. Just have a look at the incredible photos on the website if you need convincing…the tasty head chef also has a strong persuasive effect!


Restaurante Hatoviejo

For the best traditional Colombian cuisine in Medellin, head to one of Hatoviejo's three restaurant locations.

If you're looking for some authentic Colombian cuisine, Restaurante Hatoviejo is one of the most popular in Medellin, and for good reason. They actually have three locations around the city; one nearby Botero Plaza, one in Oviedo and one in Poblado just by Lleras Park. This cosy restaurant is where you'll want to come to try out some of the best of Colombia's traditional dishes such as Bandeja Paisa, Ajiaco, Sancocho, Mondongo and Sudado. We found the staff to be so welcoming and friendly here, willing to go to any lengths to keep us happy.


Dharma

For delicious vegan food in Medellin, visit Dharma Vegan Resto.

Vegan and vegetarian travellers will be happy to know there are dining options for them in Medellin, particularly at the vegan restaurant Dharma. This is actually a combination restaurant, bakery and health shop where you can purchase a variety of products, or have a delicious plant-based meal. They make delicious vegan pizzas, cakes, burgers, healthy smoothies and loads more, with the cooking based on ayurvedic principles. There's also a very affordable daily set menu and cute animal art on the walls! They're only open for lunch on weekdays, but for both lunch and dinner on Saturdays.


Clandestino

Clandestino is an adorable, romantic and gay friendly restaurant you NEED to visit in Medellin!

Advertised as being the most romantic restaurant in town, Clandestino is actually a delightful space consisting of a restaurant, bar, lounge and cinema! The decor here is adorable, with 6 different sections in the restaurant – with wrought-iron chairs, sofas, an outdoor patio and an indoor garden. The menu isn't huge but it's delicious, with dishes like steak or pizza and oreo cheesecake for dessert. They specialise in romantic evenings and the staff are very gay-friendly. If you don't feel like a meal you can also come for drinks on the lovely terrace lounge and be seated on a swing or pretty picnic blankets.


Before you go

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Medellin. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: If you're flying into Medellin from another country then you'll most likely be landing at the José María Córdova international airport. You can also fly to Medellin from other cities in Colombia but then you'll probably arrive at the Olaya Herrera Airport. You can get into the city from both airports via taxi, although we personally prefer to book a private transfer so we don't have to worry about being ripped off or navigating public transport with luggage. You can also travel to Medellin by bus from other cities like Bogota or Cartagena.


Visa requirements: Most travellers to Colombia from the EU, US or Australia don't need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. If you are from a different country of origin (or just to be 100% sure) make sure you check your individual visa requirements before booking your travel to Medellin.


Getting around: Medellin has an extensive public transport system linking all the areas of the city which is extremely clean, cheap and easy to use. You can rent bikes for free, ride cable cars up the mountain and easily explore the different neighbourhoods via trams, buses or trains. Read this for a detailed guide on navigating all the separate parts of the Medellin metro system (it's available in English or Spanish).


Power Plugs: Colombia uses Type A and B power plugs which are the same as those used in China, Japan, North and Central America. If you're travelling to Medellin from a different country then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.


Travel insurance: Even though Medellin is a lot safer than it used to be, things can always go wrong while travelling, even if it's just catching an illness or your flight being cancelled. We always make sure we have travel insurance on our trips. Our favourite provider is WorldNomads Travel Insurance, who we have been using for years. Their cover is very comprehensive and it's also easy to make a claim online when you need to.


Safety and Security: Medellin is no longer as dangerous as it once was, but no matter where you are, travel can be dangerous even if only because of the weather! One way we like to stay safe while travelling is by using CloseCircle's ‘virtual bodyguard' app. Their service covers everything from advice to evacuation, and it's nice to know help is only a text alert away.


Vaccinations: Travellers to Colombia should make sure they are up to date with routine vaccines (especially measles). The CDC also recommends vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Depending on what activities you are planning to do you may also need other vaccinations, so check the CDC website for more information.


Currency: In Medellin, and the rest of Colombia, the currency used is the Colombian peso which is abbreviated to COP. The regular dollar symbol is used with Colombian pesos, or sometimes COL$ to distinguish it from other currencies. $1 converts to about COL$3100, £1 to around COL$4,000 and €1 converts to roughly COL$3600.


Tipping culture: Tipping is not generally expected in places in Colombia but travellers often tip a few thousand pesos (50 cents to a dollar in USD) to hotel housekeeping. In restaurants and spas, a 10% optional service charge is usually added to your bill. It's not customary to tip a taxi driver but you should probably tip a tour guide between 5-10% of the tour cost, particularly if you think they did a good job.


Internet access: Almost all hostels, hotels, shopping centres, restaurants and cafes in Colombia have free, decent internet. Medellin, in particular, has fast, reliable WiFi services and is becoming quite a popular destination for digital nomads for this reason. If you think you will require a lot of bandwidth then you might like to bring your own portable WiFi device with you or buy a local SIM card before you arrive.


Online privacy: The Colombian government doesn't place any restrictions on internet access, but if you prefer to keep your online activities private then we recommend investing in a good virtual private network for your time in Medellin. We always use ExpressVPN when travelling as it's both affordable and reliable.


Accommodation: There are lots of different accommodation options in Medellin besides the ones we've talked about here. We always use Booking.com to search for hotels and hostels while travelling because they are excellent! Their online customer support is great, it's easy to book online and many listings offer free cancellation if needed.


Sightseeing and adventure: When we were travelling to Medellin we found lots of fun activities and tours on GetYourGuide. We always use GetYourGuide when travelling because they have so many options, excellent customer support and an easy online booking process.


When to visit: If you want to experience the incredible flower festival then you'll need to travel to Medellin at the end of July/beginning of August. July is also when the Pride festivities take place. Generally the weather is pleasant year-round in Medellin, so you should be comfortable even if you travel in the ‘winter' off-season to save money.


Gay map of Medellin

We've put together this map with all the places we've mentioned in this article so you can easily plan your own wonderful gay holiday to Medellin.

Our map of all the best gay hotels, clubs, bars and things to do in Medellin, Colombia.

For more inspiration:

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Our gay city guide to Medellin, with all our favourite gay hotels. bars, clubs, restaurants and things to do.
Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

10 thoughts on “Medellin Gay Travel Guide: where to stay, eat, party & things to do”

  1. Thanks for sharing this guy! I’m going to Medellin before heading to NY to meet my boyfriend. I’m excited about everything that I read here but now I just wish that my bae would be able to join me :(.

    My best wishes for you! Greetings from Venezuela!

  2. OMG! Where have you been? I have looked for months to find something to do, a hotel, a bar and more.
    You put those other ‘intetrnational’ sites to shame! Thought I was going to have to leave Columbia out of boredom but now my
    Itenerary is full.
    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

    Silver Fox

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