There is a secret that Latin America has been keeping from us and that is the incredible Christmas time celebration that happens in Medellin, Colombia each year. Here you will find millions of lights, one of the hottest new up-and-coming culinary scenes and a vast array of activities at very affordable prices. This vibrant Colombian city should definitely be on your holiday bucket list.
3 Reasons to Visit Medellin this Christmas
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Traveling to Colombia and particularly through Medellin had been something folks avoided back in the 1980’s and 90’s due to drug trafficking. But, by the looks of it today you would never guess that was their past. Now, Medellin is a travelers dream. The city is set in a lush valley surrounded by emerald mountains, there is an excellent transportation system thanks to the metro that was built in the late nineties, and the gondolas that were built to connect the hillside towns to the city. Travel here is very safe. The Department of State had this to say on their website, “Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Colombia each year for tourism, business, university studies, and volunteer work. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Medellin, and Cali.”
While Medellin is a great year round destination, clearly tourists looking for something new to do around the holidays should really take note of what this great city has to offer. The lights and celebrations begin November 30th and usually last until the beginning of January. Below are my top 3 reasons you should visit Medellin this winter.
1 Incredible Spectacle of Lights
Each winter the city of Medellin transforms into a holiday spectacular with over 31 million led lights and over 42,000 figures. What makes this spectacle even more incredible is the fact that the city comes up with a new theme each year!
The festival is known to locals as the Alumbrados EPM (EPM Lights) because the lights are designed and sponsored by the city’s public utilities company Empresas Publicas de Medellin. Other fun facts include the fact that Medellin is the only city in South America that is part of the assembly of illuminated cities of the world – LUCI- (Lighting Urban Community International).
2 One of the Hottest Culinary Scenes in Latin America
As if, 31 million lights wasn’t reason enough to visit Medellin. The chefs here have been pushing the envelopes turning Medellin into one of the hottest culinary scenes in Latin America. Many of the newer restaurants are chef owned and operated which allows for menus to be refreshed frequently with new items.
While in Medellin make sure you sample some of the local cuisines like the mouthwatering Bandeja Paisa (pork rinds, fried plantain, rice, beef, beans, and ground beef) and mondongo (tripe stew).
One restaurant you definitely won’t want to miss out on is El Cielo. This restaurant is known for their incredible molecular dining experience. On the menu, instead of finding a list of entrees you will see a choice of either 11 or 20 moments. Moments consist mainly of small plates of single serving dishes made exquisitely and presented in the most creative ways. But, there are also some tiny surprises like a dehydrated towel in the form of a tablet that you soak in water to wash your hands with at the beginning of the meal and the rose petals to help soften your skin. This is definitely a restaurant experience that you won’t soon forget.
3 It’s Totally Affordable
There are not very many destinations one can travel to where top hotels book at around $75-100 a night, once in a lifetime restaurant experiences (like the 20-moment meal at El Cielo) cost around $50 per person, and they also offer such incredible sights like the EPM lights. Plus, traveling to Medellin is easier than you think. It’s only a 3-hour flight from Miami.
It is easy to see why heading to Medellin is an excellent idea this holiday season. Especially, before the secret gets out and those prices soar!
Learn more about visiting Medellin or get started planning your trip by clicking here. Medellin also has an app available on Google Play- http://bit.ly/1YZba4R
Would you be more excited about the lights or the food?
(tough choice, I know)
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I can honestly say it was so tough choosing what i loved more between the lights and the food
Now all I need is for someone to steal me away to Medellin
Maegan Clark says
OH man, I would LOVE to visit here sometime!
Danielle Greco says
Wow it looks stunning there! My husband and I haven’t spent much time in Latin America, but we need to. Great post 🙂
Heather Denniston says
This looks amazing. The pork plate looks incredible! I love the lights!!!
Chelsea Pearl says
All those festive lights are so dreamy! Colombia has always been high on my travel list, definitely want to visit there as soon as possible.
Apolline Adiju says
Wow! Thanks for this elaborate description of this city. I am tempted to visit it and enjoy all its amenities.
The night scenes are enough reason for me, The food scene and the cost of living is of course a bonus. Superb photos, Amber. Keep it up.
Those lights! Wow. I don’t even like Christmas and I’m tempted to go now. You really had me hooked with that delicious food. So much food choices.
Juliette | Snorkels to Snow says
31 million LED lights?? Wow! That’s reason enough for me! I love lighting displays like these around Christmas, really puts you in the right mood! Looks like a great place to visit at Christmas.
Tiffany Cardenas says
Wow, those pictures are amazing! I would be more excited about the food because I love dining in new places, but I would definitely time my trip to see the lights.
I never thought about visiting Colombia for the holidays and it looks spectacular – definitely on my bucket list of places to visit especially this city.
Anne Campbell says
What a beautiful and magical place! Thanks for sharing this glimpse into a fascinating city.
I’m so glad you wrote this. I have always been curious about Columbia but had some worries about it, nothing that would stop me from going but still. And the beautiful lighted imagery is not something I would have thought you’d find. Thanks for sharing!
Toni Broome says
The EPM lights are stunning and the whole city looks so beautiful. The more I read online the more I realise that my travel bucket list is going to be constantly full no matter how many places I have been.
Carmen's Luxury Travel says
I love the ones that look like lily pads! I’d absolutely love to visit Medellin. Great photos and post, thanks for sharing 🙂
I love the lights – especially what looks like lily pads. The food looks delicious too!
First of all, I LOVE the photos! I also love light displays and Alumbrados EPM looks amazing! I’m pretty convinced we need to visit there. The food sounds really cool too! What’s the weather/temperature like during the Christmas season?
I’d probably have to say that the food would come top of my list but my kids would go crazy for those lights. I’ve long wanted to visit Colombia, looks like I need to start planning my trip!