WHEN to and WHY to Choose Medellin for your next VACATION

Here's a list as to when and why to choose Medelin for your next vacation...

1)  OK you've been to Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, the ocean, the islands, the Caribbean, Prince Edward Island, the Rockies, Greenland, .the Rock Bound Shores of Maine, Boston, ugh Florida, New Orleans, Mexico, Montauk, Philly, Chicago.... now for something very different.  And I don't mean Flatbush.

2) Think high Andean Valleys. Medellin is almost a mile high but being near the equator we get #3)...

3) Think perfect weather YEAR ROUND... 70's, no A/C or heating necessary, adjust temperatures by opening and closing windows, breezes, clear air, high skies, thrilling mountain storms that are short-lived, rain in torrents soon to be assuaged.  Come when your weather is stinko.  (I miss four seasons, or at least two of them in New York, and one in San Francisco; but here...ahhh!)

4) Casual dress year round, maybe a light sweater in the evening.

5)  The home of Fernando Botero, Pedro Nel Gomez and Eladio Velez.  The home of Garcia Marquez.  Shakira, Juanes, ...

6)  Fine art museums, fine music, symphony, opera, folklorico, ballet, salsa, tango, cumbia.

7) Unique and wonderful food.  Local beers and liqueurs are superb.  Fresh juices and fruits are available everywhere on the streets, in shops, ...at your disposal.

8)  First rate medical care.

9)  Things work... the TV (Cable and many stations have SAP English) , the phones, the transport systems, the cabs, the Metrocable, the pure clean cold mountain water direct from the tap,   Modern domestic and civil infrastructure  (plumbing).

10) Clean Public Rest Rooms... more to come  on why this is a rule all over Colombia.

11)  El Poblado, Estadio, Sabaneta and Laureles neighborhoods as fine and upscale as you will find just about anywhere.  ...with clubs, theaters, coffee houses, shopping, restaurants to match.  All very Green, sub-tropical, lovely.


12) Three professional soccer teams and stadia to match the fact that Atletico Nacional is a perennial South America power.

13)  Biking is a passion as are sports and swimming in venues all over the city.

14)  What I can only call super shopping in modern brand new malls and districts.  Medellin is THE fashion center for Latin America.

15) Prices...  for example...5 star luxury hotels from $59 to $150 per night.  Private rooms...very well appointed and safe... in homes with private bath, beginning at $20 per night. (see Air B and B... I recommend Lina's in Estadio!)(Of course my friends are invited to stay with me and Beatriz, and Andrea and PEPE the cat).

16)  I never want to mention this, Medellin has an image problem as you know, but there is a certain edge to being here knowing that this was the home of Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel.  There are Pablo Tours available.  Pablo was gunned down with the help of the US in 1993.  For me the edge comes from seeing how wonderfully the people have rebounded from their "Mala Fama" and Violencia to become a favorite of Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain, the NY Times Sunday travel section, National Geographic and this year to be named the Most Innovative City in the World by the Wall Street Journal, Citibank and the Urban Institute beating out New York, Tel Aviv and others for this signal honor.

17) Truly spectacular infrastructure unlike any other in the Americas... safe, clean, inexpensive, efficient and scenic, ... brand new Metro, MetroCable and the thousand foot vertical outdoors escalator up the mountain to the poorest neighborhoods.  Also consider the wonderful ECO Parque Arvi, Parque de las Luces, Parque Explora, Jardin Botanico, Biblioteca EPM *, the EPM Building-  ten story self-sufficient for energy and water, computerized mega-structure, , El Plaza Mayor  Exposition Center, Teatro Metropolitano, Barefoot Park, the Park of Your Desires, the Biblioteca de Espana, the Golden Mile, el Zoologico, el Acuario de la Amazonas, el Planetario, the EPM Water Museum!  , ... Museum of Modern Art, Museo Universidad Antioquia...  emphasis on Ecology in all of these buildings and parks, ecology and the kids.

* EPM. Empresas Publicas de Medellin.. the utilities, semi-public, which runs the water, electric, gas, santitation and many of the parks and museums.  Beatriz is a librarian at the EPM Biblioteca at Plaza Cisneros/Parque de las Luces.

18) Ajiacco and the beautiful, beautiful  Paisa women.  There are men too.  I think.

19) The ride to and from the airport!  A scenic wowser!

20) Festivals of Music, theater , poetry, rock and roll, dance, tango, salsa, electronic music... but the most famous are the Christmas lights (number one in the world according to National Geographic) and the Feria de Las Flores of course.

21) THe best Coffee in the world... in the opinion of many aficionados.  Try different provenances, roastings, visit local growing regions near Medellin.

22)  Get outta town... more on this later.. exploring Colombia's colonial past, scenic greatness, diversity, ecology, coffee regions, rivers, forests.  Colombia is the closest part of South America to the US.  Therefore it is on the way to the rest of the continent.

I'll stop--for now.  

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