Remote Work Guides
I’m very proud to announce that each month I’ll be publishing a new remote work guide featuring different cities all over the world. I have lived and worked in many cities on different continents, and it’s time to share the best working spots, cafes, living arrangements and community events in an easy to read guide. I have personal experience with every place in this guide and if I have not, I will note that my recommendation is based on others’ experiences. It’s my pleasure to kick this off with Medellín, Colombia.
After 6 months of living in Medellín, I finally knew my way around town, some cool spots to sit and work, and the best community events to attend. I’ll dive into all of those details in this guide. If you want some first-hand information on how to behave, what to expect, and how to fully enjoy the city, check out this blog post. Now, let’s get down to basics.
Population: 2.5 million
Language: Spanish (Paisa accent and slang)
Weather: Yearly Average of 72 Fahrenheit (but all weather apps will tell you it is currently raining 24 hours a day, so your guess is as good as anyone else’s)
Remote Work Rating: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️
Rumah is my go-to spot for chilling and working during the daytime as well as the nighttime. Unlike many cafes, coworking spaces, and restaurants, Rumah is open from 8am-8pm, making it a great choice any time. The cafe has outdoor and indoor seating that is comfy, vibrant, and modern. I love sitting outside surrounded by plants and covered by an awning so that I can enjoy the outdoors even when it rains (which is a lot of the time). Whether you’re inside or outside, the wifi is fast. The service is fast and the food is amazingly healthy. I usually order the rice bowl with veggies, but their smoothie bowls and sandwiches are also to die for! The wifi signal is great and the noise level is pretty low so it’s a great place for calls or recording videos. The location is convenient AF, 2 blocks from Parque Poblado.
Many people think that Envigado is lacking in places to eat and work, but Cocolatte Cafe is just about all you need. It’s got the same hipster vibe as all of the cafes in Poblado but it’s located within the local limits of Envigado. The wifi never fails and I swear, I could sit and work at Cocolatte for hours on end. I usually do! They’ve got tasty deserts and a bangin Limonada de Herbabuena served up in a cute mason jar. The service is spectacular and the seating is varied for any type of mood you are in. Sometimes I grab a seat on the couch in the cozy corner and sometimes I sit at a table out in the open underneath the hanging plants. Either way I’m content. Their playlist seems to always be on R&B and I’m not mad about it.
Pergamino Cafe is the quintessential remote work hotspot in Poblado. If you’re motivated by a buzzing cafe and that puts you in the zone, this is definitely the cafe for you. If you feel overwhelmed and distracted when there are lots of people around, don’t even try it. Although the wifi signal is somewhat strong, when the cafe fills up, the wifi is unreliable because there are way too many people trying to work at the same time. This place is always bumping because the drinks and snacks are so good. They’ve got several rooms of varied seating (couches, a high bar, tables, etc) plus an outdoor patio for a more social environment. It’s located on the very popular Avenida Primavera in Poblado. And the service? Well, all the baristas are hot, so either way it works for me.
Cafe Zepellín has the perfect atmosphere, menu, and pricing with locations in Poblado and Laureles. I prefer the Poblado location because there is a larger area for outdoor seating. I love the fact that they offer a vegetarian option along with the regular menu del dia. I like to meet with friends at either location around 1pm for lunch. Usually we sit outside and then after eating I move to the more comfortable seating inside with my laptop. If you’re into interior design, you’ll love the decor and vibe of Zepellín. It’s an eclectic and inspiring mix between classic, vintage, and modern. After a hard day of work I treat myself to a delicious piece of cheesecake and a glass of red wine. I highly recommend Zepellín to anyone headed to Medellín.
Revolución is a small cafe situated right in the heart of Laureles. It’s run by awesome expats who make you feel right at home. They’ll make you any coffee or tea of your liking. I love the dirty iced chai latte and the veggie sandwich! The high bar is just like a standing desk, which helps my productivity and energy level. If you’re not into standing and working, you can sit in any of the comfortable seats inside or outside. Although Revolución is small, it’s one of my favorite cafes in the city.
Cafe Velvet is located on the same avenue as Pergamino and Zepellín in Poblado. It’s decor and overall vibe makes it a unique place to drink coffee or tea and work. I often run into friends here so be prepared to be social. The walls are full of lush greenery, the open area towards the back of the cafe has comfy couches and tons of space, and the front area has little portable desks on wheels. I love to come in late at night because it’s open later than most of the cafes in that area. No need to worry about the wifi here. I’ve done multiple video calls and lifestreams from their couches.
Praná is a vegan restaurant that I fell in love with in Envigado. It’s situated near all of the other popular bars and restaurants but it’s tucked away on a side street, making it a hidden gem. It’s hard to choose just a few reasons why Praná knocks my socks off, but I’ll try to keep it short. The food is high quality for a very low price. When you arrive, tell the waitress or waiter that you’d like the menu del dia– I promise you, whatever it is that day, you will like. They cook creative vegan meals that could make anyone excited to eat vegetables. The walls are covered in inspiring artwork, including a massive Buddha mural, making the atmosphere bright but tranquil. The service is fast and attentive (a bit of a rare find in Medellín), and the wifi signal is steady! I often spend entire days seated in the lounge area, hopping around the couches, happily working away on a project. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Praná experience.
Cafe Cliche is a hipster French style cafe in Laureles. It’s got decor that will make you want to stay for hours on end, drinking coffee or wine with close friends, and maybe getting some work done. The wifi is great, but the atmosphere is even better. There’s nothing that I dislike about this place. They even show movies on Wednesday nights. It’s a favorite among Laureles millennials, but it’s not popular enough to get overcrowded yet. I hope it stays that way.
If you’re a coworking space lover, you should check out Global Express. It’s just around the corner from Parque Poblado. I never signed up for the full month because my days were so sporadic, but I paid $5 per day when I felt like going to smash out some work. I love this space because there are so many different dynamics in the building. If you’d like to sit in an open room surrounded by others, you can work in the common coworking area. If you’d like some privacy, you can sign up for a meeting room. If you’d like to work in a somewhat secluded area, you can sit in one of their booths. So many options! The wifi is great and the staff are so kind and welcoming. One of my favorite parts about working at Global Express for the day, is taking a lunch break at Dharma with friends. It’s an affordable vegan restaurant about a block and half away.
I should note: lots of my digital nomad friends in Medellín recommended Siembra for coworking.
Where To Stay
There’s a plethora of places to live short term, long term, or just for a visit. Call me crazy, but I actually love a good hostel. It it’s the right vibe and there’s enough quiet during the day time, I’m all set! When I had to wait for my move in date at my apartment, I stayed in various hostels. Here are the two hostels that I stayed in and actually got work done.
This wonderful hostel and cafe is located in Floresta, with is northern Medellín, pretty far away from most things but still close enough to Laureles. The local vibe surrounding this hostel is perfect for people who love to feel immersed in real culture and get annoyed by tourism. That being said, there are plenty of events right at Ondas that make it a fun place to stay! You’ll want to get to the Digital Nomads Rooftop Meetup on the third Thursday of each month. You don’t have to go far- just walk up to the rooftop of Ondas, start drinking, and mingle the night away. I have had some of the best nights at these meetups. The people in a hostel make all the difference and Ondas seems to attract great people with amazing stories to tell. I love the home style vibe, cooking meals together, or just hanging in the lounge area. The environment is perfect for remote work. Lie down on the floor cushions, chill in the swing, or enjoy the rooftop breeze. There were some wifi problems when I was there, but the staff worked tirelessly to solve the issue. I can’t thank this hostel enough for making me feel welcome during my very first week in Medellín. I highly recommend Ondas to everyone. Ask for Sam, he’ll take care of you.
This hostel is amazing for quite a few reasons. Let’s start with the location: it’s right in the heart of Poblado. All of the clubs, bars, and restaurants are walking distance from La Playa but it’s not a party hostel so you can actually sleep at night. There is a rooftop bar so you can have a casual drink before going out with friends. If you’re there alone, simply go to the terrace and mingle with some friendly guests. The common area of the La Playa is superb, including hammocks, floor pillows, a couch, and tv with Netflix (I shamelessly watched all of American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ for days on end). There is a kitchen area for you to cook food and it is cleaned every day, which was nice. The staff are so friendly and helpful with any questions you have about the city. It was a bit more pricey than Ondas, but well worth it.
Long Term Living
If you’re staying for a while and would like short or long term living space, 20 Mission is a great option. It’s located in Envigado, which is a great part of the city with a local feel but still a quick metro, bus, or cab ride into Poblado. 20 Mission is a multi-floor building with 3 bedroom apartments on each floor. Most of the tenants there are expatriates or digital nomads. It’s refreshing living with international people who love the culture of Colombia. The apartments are spacious ,cozy, and full of fun art on the walls. The rent is priced moderately and includes all extra costs and services like daily cleaning, refills of toilet paper, electric, etc. There’s a common space on the bottom floor of the building which is great for having get togethers with friends. The 20 Mission staff are incredibly kind and helpful, making the culture of the building very welcoming. While living there you’re sure to be invited to some family style dinners and make great friends during your stay.
If you need to find accommodation for a more long term period, make sure you check this Facebook page before arriving. That’s where I found another lovely apartment to live in for a few months.
Medellin is known as an up and coming digital nomad hub. What does that mean exactly?
Well, besides having decent wifi and plenty of cafes to work in, Medellin offers something unique that makes it an incredible location for digital nomads: the community.
If you’re a seasoned traveler, you know a thing or two about finding and nourishing friendships within Facebook groups. If you’re new to remote work culture… get used to it. There are some highly active virtual communities inside of several Medellín Facebook groups. Here is a list of groups to check out before you arrive:
- Digital Nomads of Medellín
- Volunteer Medellín
- Doing Business and Living in Medellín
- Food in Medellín
- Blogging in Medellín
- Women Entrepreneurs of Medellín
- Startup Medellín- Digital Nomads Network
There are fun meet ups and events hosted by many of these groups that can really enhance your experience in this city. Try the Digital Nomad Meetups at Ondas hostel, every 3rd Thursday of the month. I met many friends, business connections, and even new clients at these parties. If you’re into trying something new, join the Tejo night, where a group plays the sport of Tejo, followed by some drinks out on the town. There are also pop up events that can enrich the feeling of community in the city. For instance, in March I planned a meet up for female digital nomads in honor of International Women’s Day. We went to dinner, ended up having drinks at a bar after, and even participated in Spanish karaoke. The community here is thriving; jump right in!
If you enjoy Latin destinations check out my latest remote work guide for Las Palmas.
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