Tacha - How To Expat
Tacha - How To Expat

El Poblado Vs. Laureles

The Best Medellin Neighborhoods Showdown

Poblado and Laureles are surely the most famous neighborhoods in Medellin. Both neighborhoods are a great choice when it comes to living in a safe and nice place. Which area would be best for an Expat or a tourist to live in?

In this article, we’re going to talk about which neighborhood in Medellín we personally think is better for expats: El Poblado or Laureles. 

To give you a bit of reference, Medellín (pronounced MED-EH-YIN or MED-EH-JIN) is the second-largest city in Colombia, after its capital, Bogotá. Medellín is located in the Northeastern part of the capital department, Antioquia. The entire city rests in the Aburrá valley, which is nestled in the heart of the Andes mountain range.

Medellin The New Expat Destination

Medellin Is Now On The Expat Map

As of 2017, Medellín was home to about 2.5 million people. Combined with the outer metropolitan area, this number extends to about 3.7 million people. Yet, even with this great number of people, many newcomers to the city are finding that creating a sense of home in this ever-growing valley is easier than anywhere else. 

We should also note that while people who come here do need to be aware of the dangers that come with living in a big city as well as to be equally conscious about how to avoid them (see our videos on “Is Medellin safe” and “12 Safety Tips” to learn more about this topic here in this article about safety in Medellin.

Choosing the right neighborhood to live in is an important thing to think about when it comes to both finding your ideal home and putting yourself in the safest living situation you can.

El Poblado

El Poblado – Modern, Lush and Busy

El Poblado and Laureles are two of the most common neighborhoods for expats to live in. We’ll start by talking about El Poblado because it’s the most famous neighborhood with expats in Medellin.

El Poblado is located on the Southeast side of Medellín and is made up of 22 barrios, or neighborhoods which, in combination, are home to about 130,000 people, compared to about 121,000 in Laureles.

The First Visit In El Poblado

Most Expats stay in Poblado, especially on their first visit. People prefer to live in Poblado because everybody talks about that area. When you are searching for the safest place to stay in Medellin, Poblado will most likely be the first thing to pop up. That’s sure because Poblado is such a nice place to look at and it has everything one might need.

I also have to mention, that for most tourists Poblado might be the best place to stay, especially because of the variety of restaurants, nightclubs, and events in general. On the other hand, even though things are within walkable distance, you rather take a taxi instead of walking, because Poblado is really hilly.

Most Foreigners Stay In El Poblado

El Poblado Is Beautiful

Compared to the rest of Medellín, El Poblado has the most foreigners. It is by far the wealthiest neighborhood, the most westernized, and one of the safest because of the police presence. Here you’ll find the nicest high-rise apartments with beautiful views of the city, an abundance of malls, boutiques, and restaurants, and seemingly endless places to explore during the nighttime.

Nightlife In El Poblado

If you’re interested in exploring El Poblado during the night, we recommend checking out Parque Lleras located in Zona Rosa. It’s a 2-block stretch that has some of the best clubs, bars, and hotels in Medellín and is widely considered to be one of the best places to go out at night, especially for foreigners.

However, be aware that prices tend to run a little high for this reason. Also, during the day, Parque Lleras is also a great place to check out cafes, enjoy free wifi, and check out the local vendors that fill this area during the day selling art, food, and other unique Colombian goods. 

Safety In El Poblado

Poblado is one of the safest places in Medellin and because of that very famous for foreigners. It can get a little sketchy around the Parque Lleras during late night, but in the hills or around the Santa Fe mall, things are very quiet and safe.

A Lot Of Malls In El Poblado

The Nicest Mall In El Poblado – Santa Fe

If you like shopping, there is also the “golden mile” running through El Poblado which is known for having some of the best shopping in Medellín, running all the way from Parque la Presidenta to Centro Commercial Santafé.

Street Art In El Poblado

If you’re into art, you’re likely to enjoy yourself here as there: there’s a law that requires that art be placed across from every new building constructed, so the streets are always blooming with new creations. In addition to the beauty of the art, gardens, and sculptures in this area, El Poblado also has lots of greenness-grass and trees that shade the trees to balance out the urban-ness.

Downsides Of El Poblado

Among all of the good things, there are also just a few disadvantages of living El Poblado that we will mention here. It is a hillier part of town, so even though everything is close together, it may not always feel walkable because of the steep inclines.

It also tends to get very busy sometimes with cars and people (and it should be noted that pedestrians usually do not have the right-away in Medellín.) Pollution also isn’t the best in this neighborhood.

Why Live In El Poblado?

If you’re coming to Medellín for the first time, even if just to visit or scope the place out with the interest of relocating, El Poblado is a great place in this world to explore. There are lots of places to go out to, you can easily connect with other expats, who are truly some of the most good-natured people in the world, and most people speak English, which will certainly be helpful to you if you’re not fluent in Spanish yet.


Laureles – Walkable, Residential and Trendy

However, while El Poblado is a phenomenal choice and you may just fall in love with it after visiting, our top choice to live long-term is actually Laureles, a more laid back, residential neighborhood on the Northwest side of Medellín.

While Laureles is known for being quieter and less touristy, living here ALSO provides you with everything you could want within walking distance, including malls and plazas, cafes, nice restaurants, universities, and its own vibrant nightlife scene.

Laureles, The Top Choice For Expats?

However, while El Poblado is a phenomenal choice and you may just fall in love with it after visiting, our top choice to live long-term is actually Laureles, a more laid back, residential neighborhood on the Northwest side of Medellín.

While Laureles is known for being quieter and less touristy, living here ALSO provides you with everything you could want within walking distance, including malls and plazas, cafes, nice restaurants, universities, and its own vibrant nightlife scene.

Laureles Is Residencial

Laureles is a beautiful lush green area and is more residential compared to Poblado. It has a great mix of fancy little coffees, bars, and restaurants and more traditional Colombian stands, bakeries, and restaurants too.

Living in Laureles is perfect for people that like big-city action but like to go home to a quiet place. One of the biggest advantages of Laureles is surely the walkability. It is a mainly flat area and has a lot of cycle paths too. You can find almost everything you need for a living and doesn’t even have to leave the area if you don’t want to.

Nightlife In Laureles

Laureles Has A Calmer Nightlife Scene Than El Poblado

If you end up exploring Laureles and begin asking around about the nightlife scene, you’ll start to hear about 70th Street, or “La Setenta.” While this area is town is slightly less westernized, it’s a small step away from El Poblado and a small step towards experiencing the real Colombia.

Laureles Is Walkable

Another advantage of the Laureles neighborhood is that everything is even more walkable here than in El Poblado. The landscape in this part of town is much flatter and you won’t face steep hills as you will in El Poblado, yet, everything is still nearby that you could want

In comparison to El Poblado, Laureles has a slightly more authentically Colombian, less westernized flavor to it. So if you feel drawn to exploring more of the Colombian lifestyle and meeting more Colombians than expats, Laureles is a good place to start, especially if you’re looking for somewhere with more of a long-term community.

Laureles also has two beautiful parks, Primer Parque de Laureles and Segundo Parque de Laureles, where you can sit during the day or nighttime and enjoy the beautiful, year-round, springtime weather of Medellín.

Safety In Laureles?

Laureles Has A Lot Of Lonely Streets

Like El Poblado, Laureles is a pretty safe neighborhood as far as Medellín goes. However, you should still always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night, wherever you are in Medellín. Laureles has a lot of empty streets. When something happens it’s usually in a quiet and lonely street.

Nearby Neighborhood Estadio

If you’re into football, or “soccer” if you’re from the U.S., another draw to Laureles might be that it’s near the Atanasio futbol stadium, where Medellín’s two teams commonly compete. If you like football and you’re traveling through this area or thinking of staying long term, the atmosphere and energy created by these games is a must-see / must-experience

Downsides Of Laureles

English isn’t as commonly spoken in this neighborhood as much as it is in El Poblado. If you speak a little Spanish you will get by easily in Laureles, but if your Spanish is on the level of a newborn, then El Poblado might be more suitable for you.

Another downside is the long distance to the metro, one of the few practical things you can’t reach by foot. But taking a taxi to the metro station usually doesn’t cost you more than $3.

Rent Prices In El Poblado vs. Laureles

Rent In El Poblado vs. Laureles

Finally, let’s talk about rent in El Poblado vs Laureles. Generally, in part, because it caters less to tourists, Laureles has cheaper long-term rent prices than El Poblado. In particular, unfurnished apartments in Laureles are significantly cheaper than in El Poblado whereas furnished apartments tend to be about the same across the board.

The rent prices in Medellín are tied with the Estrato system, which was invented in the 1990s (when poverty was at a rate of 40 percent in Colombia) to rank residential properties based on socioeconomic status.

There are 6 stratos, with 1 being the lowest socioeconomic status and 6 being the highest. Paying attention to estrato ratings will give you a good idea of how “nice” your neighborhood is to live in. Again, if you’re a new expat, it may be safer for you to live in an estrato with a rank of at least 3, especially since this is where other foreigners tend to live the most and the residencies will be much closer to a western living style here. 

Recap – El Poblado vs. Laureles

Always Something Going On In Medellin. No Matter If Poblado Or Laureles

Well, we hope this article has given you a better idea of what these two different neighborhoods in Medellín have to offer for you, whether you’re thinking of relocating here as an expat or even if you’re just thinking of visiting to check it out!

To review, the main difference most expats notice between El Poblado and Laureles is that El Poblado is a bit more touristy and expensive, but still a great place to live if that’s your style. Laureles, on the other hand, has more of a residential, chill vibe to it. Whichever you choose, we’re sure you’ll love exploring the culture and discovering all of the exciting parts of the incredible life that this city has to offer. 

Most of our clients, who are planning to be long-term Expats, loved Laureles. We think that Laureles is way too underrated at the moment, but we see that t is getting more and more attention lately.

For tourists who prefer to party and are not thinking of living in Medellin, Poblado will most probably still be the best area to stay in.

For Expats who are considering getting a car in Medellin, Poblado will surely be an option since walkability is one of the biggest disadvantages.

The post El Poblado Vs. Laureles appeared first on How To Expat.

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