Practical Information in MedellinEdit This
Having some Medellin Practical Information will not only save you money but also free up some time so you can have a more enjoyable stay in this beautiful Colombian city. Here are some useful tips when visiting Medellin.
Join Hostelling International for Big Savings
Medellin and most cities of Colombia are part of the Hostelling International network, which means that having a membership with this organization really pays off. Belonging to this network will give you access to special discounts and offers from several hostels, shops, restaurants, bars, museums and nightclubs around Medellin (and all of Colombia). It is best that you apply for a membership at your country of origin because application within Colombia is limited to locals and foreign exchange students only. In Medellin you will receive special discounts to 2 hostels: the Hotel Casa Dorada (Calle 50 No 47-25, reservations at +57-4-5125300) and the Gran Hotel (Calle 54 No. 45-92, reservations at +57-4-5134455). These 2 hostels have good locations within Medellin and have plenty of amenities nearby.
If you're planning to stay at either of these 2 hostels, make sure to ask at the front desk for the latest version of the Hostelling International booklet for Colombia. In this booklet you will find all of the place where your Hostelling International card will provide savings.
Riding the Bus in Medellin
Just like in most South American cities, it is necessary to be familiar with important landmarks when riding the bus in Medellin. Rather than numbers, locals use landmarks such as museums, banks, statues and shopping malls as point of reference to guide other locals to their destination. These landmarks are posted on the windshield of the buses so that people waiting for the bus can read them easily and decide which bus to catch. Buy any map or guide to Medellin and become acquainted with the name and location of important landmarks so that you're able to save money riding the bus in Medellin. You don't need to carry exact change to pay for your bus fare but avoid using a large bill or foreign currency. Also, Colombians are comfortable with less personal space (especially during rush hours) than North American and Europeans so if you don't like crowds, avoid the bus altogether during the morning and late afternoon commutes as thousands rush to get to work or head back home.
Even though the same Spanish (specifically Castilian) is spoken throughout all of Latin America, Colombia does have specific words that are only used in Colombia such as "parcero" (buddy, friend) and "bacano" (cool, there are different variations of this word around South America). If you know Spanish, use it because locals appreciate when foreign visitors make a sincere effort to communicate with them in Spanish. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, especially because this is an opportunity for you to improve your communications skills in Spanish.