This travel itinerary comes from Sebastian Jacobo, an industrial designer originally from Colombia and now based in New York. Alongside creating beautiful objects in his portfolio of design work, Sebastian is also a talented photographer with an eye for detail so we asked him for his local knowledge on what to do, see and eat in of his favourite Colombian destinations, Medellin.
“Colombia has so much design, art and lifestyle to offer, and I’ve found the best of it in Medellín. The soul of the city, it’s streets, restaurants, shops and museums all demonstrate how ahead of its time Medellín is and how it’s become a beacon for arts and culture in Colombia.
I took my first steps in design in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York to do my masters in Industrial Design that I became obsessed with seeing everything with a design eye – after all, I had been trained to do so. I started visiting my home country during the holidays and seeing as much of it as I could. In this search, I inevitably ended up in Medellín on various occasions.
Having so many options in such a vibrant city can be overwhelming if you don’t have all the time you would want to, but you might want to concentrate on its best offers to get a good idea of what this young but fascinating place has to offer. Personally, I would recommend concentrating on its art, nature and dining options, and for that here’s a guide with some of the best places that (in my opinion) should not be missed…”
“Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (Museum of Modern Art of Medellín) has a rich and vibrant collection that is always renewing itself. The architecture of the place makes it a very unique spot with great views.
The Parque Biblioteca España is a breathtaking place and a project with a fascinating story behind it. It’s location is incredible not only for the views, but also because it’s located in the slums of the city with a completely different social environment from all the other places you might visit.”
“I strongly recommend getting an apartment or hostel room at the neighbourhood El Poblado, Medellin’s hippest area filled with restaurants, bars and boutiques that have nothing to envy from any other big city in the world. This is where you will also find most of Medellin’s design culture, as the neighbourhood is flooded with design stores that seem to be way ahead of their time.”
ABOVE: Botanical Garden of Medellin
“The Botanical Garden is one of my favourite places in this city. Breathtaking both day and night, it’s a beautiful mix of nature and architecture. Another local nature wonder to visit is the Parque Arvi – take in the city from way above the Cable Metro to get the best view around and see the urban landscape transform to a natural forest in a matter of minutes.”
“To save the best for last, even though the food list in a city like this is almost endless, I picked a couple of places that will give you an idea of what the local food is like, and also where it’s being reinvented.
There is one place that I fell in love with my very first time in Medellin and in my opinion it has it all. Carmen is the restaurant/bar has the best and most exotic drinks I’ve ever tried, and sitting by the bar and watching them being made is an incredible experience. Their food holds up its own, with exotic and unique presentation and flavours to enjoy.”
“El Cielo is another gem not to be missed. With a menu that consists of more than 10 “moments” you taste and experience in the course of an hour. Coming here will take you on a wild sensorial trip through Colombia’s regions where you will try ingredients in ways you never thought of, while everything seems to make perfect sense in the end.
Lastly, make sure you save time and mostly appetite to try one of the local specialties at Mondongos restaurant. Just ask for a “Bandeja Paisa” and call it a day.”
“There are so many other things to do that should be on this list and in your itinerary like visiting El Penol, one of the biggest rocks on the planet and the colorful town where it’s located, or visiting a coffee farm where you can even stay and learn from Colombian coffee masters, or sneak into many of Medellin’s rooftop bars and hotels to get a unique view of a city that seems to burst out from the jungle. My best advice is that you leave some time for getting lost, exploring, living like a local and discovering your own gems.”
PHOTOGRAPHY | Sebastian Jacobo