Our WiFi Artists program spent the month of February exploring Medellín, Colombia. The flavorful food, bustling streets, and new friends made the trip memorable.
WiF Artists found time for relaxation and fantastic weekend trips between work sessions because that’s what we do: share experiences and live our best lives without compromising career progression. Colombia offers so much to travelers, and experiencing Medellín alongside other creative, driven professionals was a blessing.
In this post, we’ll share trip highlights and describe our favorite adventures from Medellín. For more information about upcoming Wifi Artists programs, check out our 2022 Trips. Then, drop an application if you’re interested in taking advantage of all that remote work has to offer.
Santa Marta: a beautiful weekend getaway
Our group’s longest weekend trip was to Santa Marta, a coastal town in Northern Colombia. The early morning plane ride landed us near the marina just in time for a gorgeous sunrise. In addition, our program leader booked a unique homestay for the group. WiFi Artists spent their downtime together in the outdoor dining area and the rooftop pool.
Santa Marta’s restaurants are affordable with diverse options. A short walk from the restaurants of Barrio Centro, street dancers showed off their creative variations of salsa, bachata, and breakdancing.
On Saturday, WiFi Artists visited Parque Tayrona, one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks. The park is an hour cab ride from the heart of Santa Marta. Once inside, park visitors choose between a two-hour hike (each way) or paid horseback ride through the jungle. We saw capuchin monkeys, butterflies with deep blue wings, and smooth rock formations along the way.
At the end of the hike, we enjoyed the pristine beach and rested in the shade of tall palm trees. Views of crystal blue waters and rolling green mountains gave off an unmatched tropical vibe.
After lounging in the sun, the group opted for a 45-minute boat ride back to the main entrance instead of the return hike. The boat trip was inexpensive, and the waves were choppy. Nevertheless, watching the sunset over the ocean from the fishing village of Taganga was a great conclusion to our day. Some WiFi Artists even joined in a beach fútbol match with locals.
Make sure to check availability before planning a trip to Parque Tayrona. The park shuts down multiple times per year. Indigenous people live in the park year-round, and these closures allow them to observe traditional ceremonies. This advice applies to all digital nomad travels, but we have to recognize our status as guests on the land of others. Keeping these spaces beautiful requires respecting the land and its people.
Communa 13: see Medellín's past and present
One of our first group trips was to Communa 13. The neighborhood is a 30-minute car ride from El Poblado, which served as the home base for our travels. Once considered a dangerous area of the city, community projects and a flair for the arts made Communa 13 a vibrant, enticing place to visit.
The group went on an afternoon walking tour with a local guide. The whole tour was free, but we made sure to tip our guide as they did a great job explaining the neighborhood’s history and recommending stops along the way.
There are several escalators built into the side of the hillside communa. The combination of escalators and a strategic coffee tasting eased the climb. On a hot day, we were thankful for the help.
The beautiful murals and energetic street performers helped the hike go by quickly. Some WiFi Artists tried arepas for the first time. Arepas pre-dates the country of Colombia itself. Made from ground maize, the dough gets baked, broiled, or fried and often stuffed with black beans, cheese, fried plantains, or braised beef. It’s delicious and a must-try if you’re in Colombia.
Guatapé: the perfect day trip For anyone considering a trip to Medellín, visiting Guatapé is a must. The two-hour morning ride from El Poblado was very comfortable thanks to our tour company’s bus amenities which included reclining seats and air conditioning. Research and planning for international travel are always helpful.
After some fresh fruit and breakfast at a local market, we climbed the 740 steps to the top of El Peñón de Guatapé (in English - The Rock of Guatapé). While taking in the fantastic views, we enjoyed micheladas - the signature adult beverage of Colombia.
In the city center of Guatapé, we admired the hundreds of colorful homes and local artwork for sale. Many of us tried bandeja paisa (a traditional preparation of beans, eggs, sausage, and chicharrón) for lunch, which left us ready for more exploration.
Guatapé also gave us our first boat ride. Cruising along the river, we saw different angles of El Peñón de Guatapé. The day trip came full circle in the best way possible.
Salsa and bachata classes: essential cultural experience
During the week, many WiFi Artists attended salsa and bachata classes. Selina, a hostel with many locations around South America, offers free classes. Other sessions in the community of Medellín were available every day of the week at a low cost.
Dance classes are a fantastic way to participate in the tradition of a country and appreciate the culture a bit more deeply.
Tejo: a social and explosive pass-time
For a fun night out, WiFi Artists played the Colombian “throwing sport” known as tejo. The game consists of throwing a metal puck/disc (called a tejo) across an alley to a square board covered with clay and set at a forty-five-degree angle. The goal is to hit the inside of the target at the other end of the game board. Important to note: The sport uses small, exploding targets containing gunpowder, commonly known as "mechas.” The tejo creates a small “explosion” if it hits the target, which is super satisfying.
If this kind of game (somewhat similar to “bag toss” or darts in the US) interests you, get in touch with Tejo In Medellín. It’s easy to learn the rules, and playing a few games costs 35,000 COP (roughly 10 USD). This IG video can give you a better idea of how to play the game and the joy of a perfect toss. Many Colombians want to see the sport included in future Olympic games, which would be an excellent step for a sport whose origins go back roughly 500 years. Going to Medellín and not playing tejo is similar to visiting the US and not watching American football.
Tejo In Medellin has a great community vibe for those who want to try something new. Their game space offers food and drinks outdoors as well. It’s the perfect spot to alleviate stress after a long remote workday. Tejo and truly socializing go hand in hand.
Spanish lessons One of our WiFi Artists shared some free group Spanish lessons. We’ve focused heavily on simple, useful phrases for traveling internationally. The initial focus of classes has been asking for simple directions and ordering food at restaurants. Expanding language skills can feel unapproachable, but learning alongside others has been very helpful for us. Group dinner and networking sessions At least once per week, the entire WiFi Artists group shared a meal in Medellín. El Poblado has some of the best, most-diverse food in the area, and we only scratched the surface. Everyone has different remote schedules and preferences, so having the whole group in one place to slow down and check-in is essential.
Additionally, we love networking with other digital nomads groups. Our stay in Medellín overlapped with Hacker Paradise and Remote Year, so we organized time to meet those groups in the beautiful garden at Selina.
Sharing travel experiences and building meaningful connections is what digital nomadism is all about.
Wifi Artists has a trip planned every month through the end of 2022 in destinations like Lisbon, Osaka, and Bali, just to name a few. If you’re interested in experiences like those we had in Medellín, fill out an application. We’d love to chat!