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Medellín: The revitalized & reborn Colombian City of Eternal Spring

Medellín: The revitalized & reborn Colombian City of Eternal Spring

The third and last stop of our adventurous trip to Colombia, one of the gay-friendliest countries in Southern America, was Medellín. We have to admit, the first thing that we learned about the city in the heart of Colombia, was how dangerous the city actually was. After all, Medellín was even named the most dangerous city in the world, for several years. The second-biggest Colombian city, after Bogotá, transformed in one generation! Art and culture are now part of the city’s DNA, suburbs are connected by cable cars, and the poorest neighborhoods are self-sustaining. But let us show you the highlights of our trip to the gay-friendly city of eternal spring through a couple of men’s eyes.

Medellín in the Colombian Mountains ©
Medellín in the Colombian Mountains ©

Medellín – The former most dangerous place on earth

Medellín, the city of eternal spring, is nestled in the Colombian mountains. Unfortunately, it is also the city, which is why Colombia has an overall bad reputation for being violent and dangerous. After all, Medellín was named “the most dangerous city on Earth” by Time magazine in the early 90ies. The city’s transformation is considered a social success story many years later, becoming internationally recognized for its urban development. But still, there are places around the Capital of the Colombian mountain province of Antioquia telling this story, some even visible in an excruciating way.

Flying with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ©


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Botero and his sign for peace

While we discussed the violent and dangerous past of the Colombian city of Medellín at the beginning of this blog article, we found another remarkable landmark in the city center. You all probably know about the art of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero. His paintings and statues display cartoonishly voluminous people and animals.

Mural in Medellín ©
Mural in Medellín ©

A total amount of 23 different statues can be seen in the city center of Medellín, in San Antonio Park and the Ave Gorda San Antonio. But one thing you should know: Fernando Botero also took a stand for peace with his art pieces.

Modern architecture, art and history of Medellín ©
Modern architecture, art and history of Medellín ©

In 1995, a terrorist bombing by the FARC killed 30 people, leaving 200 injured behind. One of the non-human victims was a bird, Botero’s bird. Just five years later, the artist donated an identical, undamaged bronze bird, insisting that the exploded statue would also remain on the plaza.

Taking a moment in the shadow of Botero's work in Medellín ©
Taking a moment in the shadow of Botero’s work in Medellín ©

And now we could take our stand there, in peace and love, holding hands and remembering the victims of the violence. And our message couldn’t be more clear: Let us stand together against hate, violence, aggression. We are all capable of learning from the human past. Let’s not make the same mistakes again because life is too precious. Instead, let’s keep on fighting for love, equality, and peace.

Gay Medellín With (bird) art for peace by Botero ©
With (bird) art for peace by Botero ©

Hotel Estelar Milla de Oro

The view from our comfortable, modern hotel room was already fantastic. But do not miss the view from the rooftop pool and whirlpools. We spent some relaxing evenings there, watching the stars and the busy city life down in the green mountain city of Medellín.

Room with a view at Hotel Estelar Milla de Oro ©

Cooking Class with Gay Chef Esteban

Who is hungry? We are! But this time, we didn’t just go to a gay-friendly restaurant. We cooked Colombian ourselves, well, with some help, of course. We met gay chef Esteban Gil from Tu Eexperiencia to learn about Colombian cuisine, buy the best and freshest ingredients in Medellín, and prepare a typical Colombian meal. Traditionally, the dishes have a lot of meat on the plate.

Overview Plaza Minorista José María Villa ©
Overview Plaza Minorista José María Villa ©

Before the cooking began, we had some local grocery shopping to do! Together with a group of lesbian and gay travelers, we emerged into the busy local market of Plaza Minorista JMV. Here we found fresh fruits, delicious vegetables, cheese, and meat to prepare our meal in the private kitchen space in Medellín. We got our hands dirty in our colorful aprons with peppers, paprika, and tomatoes.

We are presenting you proudly our homemade dishes: Fritanga (platters of grilled meat), Patagonia (Deep fried green plantain, a savory type of banana), as well as a delicious dish with potatoes, salad, and pork with a coffee pineapple sauce.

Don’t forget to bring: Good mood and be hungry (the portions are enormous!)

Fritanga platters of grilled meat ©
Fritanga platters of grilled meat ©
Gay Colombia Travel - OutInColombia Gay Selfie with SAM

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Café de La Cima – Family-owned Coffee Plantation

Finally: It was Coffee time for Karl! Together with an LGBTQ+ group of travelers, we visited the coffee plantation Café de La Cima outside of Medellín. The family business has been operated by the Colombian family La Cima already for four generations.

Arrived in coffee paradise in the Colombian mountains ©
Arrived in coffee paradise in the Colombian mountains ©

Already the trip was an adventure, bringing us in a Jeep far off the main road into the stunning Colombian nature. Unique: We were able to spot the famous ‘coffee mountain’ named Cerro Tusa, which you all probably know from the coffee packages of real Arabica coffee from Colombia.

Back from the field, lunch made by the Cima mom was already waiting for us, followed by an educational coffee tasting. We cannot wait to prepare our first Colombian coffee back home, making sure to bring some of the finest handpicked beans for ourselves and, of course, for our families.

Coffee tasting with the La Cima Family ©
Coffee tasting with the La Cima Family ©

As a side note, do you know how we like our coffee? Daan likes his coffee black and strong – Espresso style ­– while Karl loves it mild with a bit of oat milk and honey. And how do you like your coffee?

Don’t forget to bring: Comfortable/hiking shoes, a rainproof jacket, sun lotion, mosquito repellent, and a shopping bag (for amazingly tasteful coffee).

Enjoying Colombian Coffee de La Cima outside Medellín ©
Enjoying Colombian Coffee de La Cima outside Medellín ©
Gay Colombia Travel Guide by Karl & Daan from Couple of Men Gay Travel Blog ©

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Comuna 13 – Medellín’s Social Success Story

Yes, we, as an openly gay couple, arrived in Medellín, once named “the most dangerous city in the world.” However, as mentioned earlier in this blog article, Medellín is one of Colombia’s most innovative, green, and safe cities, even in South America. You can see and experience the changes firsthand in one part of the city: Medellín’s Comuna 13 neighborhood.

Medellín‘s Comuna 13 neighborhood overview ©
Medellín‘s Comuna 13 neighborhood overview ©

The focal point of a visit is the outdoor escalators, ‘escaleras electricas’. From there, we entered, together with our local guides from Comuna 13, a world full of street art, local musicians, food places, and viewpoints (and many other tourists).

Selfie with our local tour guide at Medellín‘s Comuna 13 neighborhood ©
Selfie with our local tour guide at Medellín‘s Comuna 13 neighborhood ©

Learning about the violent past and how Medellín managed to rise out of the dark into more peaceful times is part of a tour around the neighborhood. Even a gay kissing photo taken by a gay couple in the middle of the community didn’t cause any trouble.

Gay Medellín Riding a unicorn at Selfie with our local tour guide at Medellín‘s Comuna 13 neighborhood ©
Riding a unicorn at Selfie with our local tour guide in Medellín’s Comuna 13 ©

It was a wonderful Colombian experience, showcasing that change is possible. Still, many things can be said or done. But this area gave us hope, being a positive example for many other challenging areas in bigger cities worldwide.

Don’t forget to bring: Your camera, cash for drinks or snacks, and as tip for the guide(s)

Gay Medellín Gay Travel Guide Medellín - Colombia by Karl & Daan ©
A Gay Couple Kiss at the Comuna 13 – Gay Medellín Travel with Karl & Daan ©

Guatapé – Glamping & Climbing El Pañol

Greetings from ‘The Rock of Guatapé’ in Colombia! It was finally time to leave the lively cities of Colombia behind and get a taste of the beautiful Colombian nature. After all, approximately 58 percent of Colombia is covered by natural forests.

Gay Medellín Welcome to the water reservoir Peñol-Guatapé ©
Welcome to the water reservoir Peñol-Guatapé outside gay Medellín ©

We planned to visit the nature reservation around the water reservoir Peñol-Guatapé. So, while staying on a glamping side close to the lovely municipality of Guatapé, we climbed ‘The Stone of El Peñol,’ also known as ‘The Rock of Guatapé.’

Karl climbing El Pañol in Guatapé ©
Karl climbing El Pañol in Guatapé ©

The view over the landscape, waters, and juicy green hills was spectacular. But on the way up, we needed some extra breaks for sure! Already the indigenous Tahamí, former inhabitants of this region, called it in their language mojarrá or mujará which can be translated into “rock” or “stone.”

Selfie fun in a Tuk Tuk with a view of El Pañol ©
Selfie fun in a Tuk Tuk with a view of El Pañol ©

After paying an entrance fee, we could climb the 740 stairs carved into and built upon the rock all the way to the top of El Pañol at 2.135 meters of altitude. But don’t miss the small town of Guatapé with its colorful, decorated foundations and facades.

The transportation of choice in this region is a Tuk Tuk. They bring you everywhere around here, adding an extra portion of vacation fun for a small fee.

Don’t forget to bring: Comfortable shoes, sun lotion, mosquito repellent, a sun hat, cash for Tuk Tuks

Gay Medellín Waving our rainbow flag from the top of El Pañol over water reservoir Peñol-Guatapé ©
Waving our rainbow flag from the top of El Pañol over gay-friendly Colombia ©

Adults only Glamping Site Bosko

Nothing better than a shower outdoors under the blue sky… or under the stars. Just 10 minutes outside Guatapé, we experienced a gay-friendly glamping life in the middle of the Pañol-Guatapé national reserve. Here, they call the luxurious equipped Iglu tents mushrooms –each of them with a private outdoor shower.

Gay-friendly Hotel Glamping Bosko in Guatapé ©
Gay Medellín Adults only Glamping Site Bosko in Colombian nature ©
Adults only Glamping Site Bosko in Colombian nature ©

Now it is time to plan your gay trip to Medellín in Colombia

It has been a wonderful time in Colombia, starting in Cartagena, then Bogotá, and finally Medellín. Since we got this question a lot: Yes, it really felt safe for us to be there as an openly gay couple traveling together. Not only in South America’s biggest gay club Theatron in Bogotá but also in Medellín and even in the countryside. We are so happy about our choice to travel with Sam from Out in Colombia, who took care of everything, including being our translator in a few situations (no, we don’t speak Spanish yet). But, like so much, it’s on the list! You are welcome to ask us any questions about your trip to Colombia, and we will give our best to find the answer or point you in the right direction. And just so you know, we are already looking into some new projects in South America that might bring us to Colombia again soon!

Do you want to know and see more of us gay couple travel bloggers? Stay tuned on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Facebook! See you around in Colombia, South America, and on one of our next gay pride trips around the world!

Karl & Daan.

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Please note: This gay-friendly trip to Colombia was made possible in close collaboration with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Out in Colombia, and the Tourism Board of Colombia. Additionally, we are thankful for all the tips and help we got from our wonderful readers, followers, new and old friends worldwide, and Colombia. Nevertheless, our photos, videos, opinions, and writings are authentic and our own, as always.