Medellín’s tourism office is located in the Palacio de Exposiciones (Calle 51 no. 55–80; www.medellin.travel; tel. 4/232-4022), and you’ll have to ring many bells and walk through many doors to find the office. The helpful office is liberal with maps and brochures (including a guide in English and Spanish). The office is open 7:30am to 12:30pm and again from 1:30 to 5:30pm. There are also tourism offices located at José María Córdova airport (tel. 4/562-2885) and at Olaya Herrera airport (tel. 4/285-1048).
When to Go
Nestled in the Aburrá Valley, on the western range of the Northern Andes Mountains, Medellín lies at 5,000 feet (1,500m) above sea level. With a balmy climate year-round—average temperatures hover around 24 degrees C/75 degrees F—there’s never a bad time to visit Medellín. Sure, it can rain a fair bit (especially during Apr and May, and Sept–Nov) but early morning damp fog usually gives way to sunny skies. August is generally the warmest month. A great time to visit Medellín is late July/early August, during La Festival de Flores, one of the most unique festivals in the world, when campesinos from Antioquia come to the city to flaunt their brilliant and bold flower designs. The weeklong celebrations feature a number of events, including an antique car parade, a horse parade, and the grand finale: a 3- to 4-hour flower float parade, where young and old alike display their flower designs and dancers, singers, and performers add to the carnival spirit. Be sure to book your plane ticket and hotel accommodation far in advance if you’ll be in Medellín during this time.
You can change money at most banks, upscale hotels (though the rate is poor), and both of Medellín's airports. ATMs are scattered throughout the city, in malls, bus terminals, and in all EXITO stores. It's a bad idea to use ATMs in the city center, as robberies have been known to occur. Although Medellín is much safer than it was 15 years ago, you still want to take basic precautions. Don't carry large amounts of cash, and disperse it on your person, especially when in the city center, which can be a bit seedy. Tip: Try to withdraw money in the safer Poblado or Laureles neighborhoods.
If you have an emergency or need medical attention, try la Clínica Medellín, Calle 7 no. 39-290, in Poblado (tel. 4/511-6044), or Clínica de las Américas, Diagonal 75B no. 2A-80 (tel. 4/342-1010). Always head to private hospitals for the best care, especially if you have no cash or insurance card on you. Remember that in Colombia, hospitales are public, state-funded institutions and clinicas are private. Pharmacies are on nearly every corner of the city center.
To contact the metropolitan police, dial tel. 112, for medical and other emergencies dial tel. 123.