Nestled in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Medellín has been luring more and more travelers with its captivating blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty. Over the last decade, the vibrant Colombian city has undergone a remarkable transformation into a chic and inviting queer destination.
In addition, queer-owned companies like the gay travel concierge service Out in Colombia offer endless options to make it the ultimate must-see hotspot for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Medellín’s temperate climate (think Los Angeles without the smog) has earned it the moniker “City of Eternal Spring,” making it an ideal year-round getaway. Featuring world-class eateries, a lively gay scene, and some of the best coffee on Earth, Medellín is waiting to be the site of your next unforgettable weekend adventure, and all less than a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami. (Seven U.S. cities offer direct flights, including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago.)
Click Clack Hotel
Located on a tree-lined street in the heart of the trendy El Poblado neighborhood, the Click Clack is a stylish oasis that captures the city’s cosmopolitan spirit. The boutique hotel is adorned with sleek, contemporary interiors filled with colorful artwork, dimly lit hallways, and modern furnishings. The open-air lobby has a clubby feel and is perfect for people-watching or all-day lounging. Some of the property’s luxurious amenities include a state-of-the-art gym, several chic restaurants serving various international cuisines, and a rooftop pool to let all the fabulousness soak in.
While just a short jaunt from the Click Clack, avocado aficionados may want to catch their breath before entering Lavocadería. As Medellín’s premiere restaurant dedicated to the avocado, the creamy green fruit reigns supreme and is present in all dishes and most beverages. The decadent Avoburger, which features a cheeseburger and onion ring in between two monster slices of avocado, and the Avocado Margarita are just two of the menu items that will leave you buzzing as you continue your tour of the city.
Capilla del Rosario coffee farm
Speaking of buzz… While a great cup of joe can be found just about anywhere, a trip into the heart of Colombia’s coffee culture (and we don’t mean Juan Valdez) is not to be missed amid Medellín’s hustle and bustle. Capilla del Rosario is a family-owned urban coffee farm in the hills overlooking the city that offers fascinating tours and more than 20 varieties of specialty coffee.
Wander through its 60 thousand coffee trees, learning the art of cultivation and harvesting while savoring the rich aromas of freshly roasted beans. Engage in hands-on coffee-making sessions before relishing the perfect cup in a serene setting. It’s an intoxicating escape into the world of Colombian java, blending tradition and sustainability for an authentic taste of Medellín’s coffee heritage that will have you rethinking that pumpkin spice latte.
Orozco Clothing, situated in the heart of El Poblado’s fashionable scene, is the spot for trendsetters and shopaholics looking for that perfect look before a night out on the town. The hip and contemporary boutique is the brainchild of out gay designer Jorge Orozco and features a unique collection of denim, streetwear, and other statement pieces that blend urban chic with Colombian flair. The shop is also a great spot to drop in to discover everything new and happening in town.
Test Kitchen Lab
To savor some of Medellín’s most innovative cuisine in an effortlessly cool environment, foodies will want to head straight to Test Kitchen Lab. Every dish at this upscale eatery is made from purely Colombian-sourced ingredients, with a tasting menu that pairs each course with a complementary cocktail or wine. The gastronomical experience is also a feast for the eyes as the open kitchen gives you a front-row seat while the chefs concoct their culinary magic.
Once the evening arrives, El Poblado comes alive, and Donde Aquellos is the perfect spot to start your queer bar crawl. The busy outdoor patio regularly attracts large groups of gays and gals sipping on colorful cocktails. While inside, you can channel your inner diva doing karaoke to the hits of Madonna, Gaga, or Colombia’s reigning queen of pop, Karol G. Just remember to pace yourself because last call is hours away and the night is young.
After a libation or two, head around the corner to the kitsch paradise of Bar Chiquita. Follow the stairs from the street directly to the rambunctious outdoor terrace. This is where boys in crop tops go to see and be seen while throwing back shots of aguardiente, a famous anise-flavored liqueur that is no joke!
Inside, walls with glittery, over-the-top decor lead to a fabulous back room where local queens show off their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Order an Aguila beer and shimmy up next to the packed crowd of Drag Race fans hoping to spot a future Ru-girl for the inevitable Colombia spin-off. For a prime seat, splurge on bottle service to reserve a plush velvet couch and watch the queens – and your inhibitions – sashay away.
If, like Shakira, your hips don’t lie and you’re not ready to call it a night, the pulsating beats within the warehouse-sized Club Oráculo offer something for wannabe club kids of all musical persuasions. The main room pumps out standard pop and reggaeton hits, with choreographed stage shows on the weekends. Follow the laser lights upstairs to where techno and EDM rule while salsa and samba take center stage in the downstairs courtyard.
Regardless of where your dancing feet wind up, strong drinks and even stronger go-go boys will have you shaking your thang until the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, the Click Clack is just a block over, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to start it all again in the morning.
Extend your trip… welcome to Santa Marta
After a busy sightseeing weekend in the city, a little R&R is in order. If you’re looking for some fun in the sun, Santa Marta offers the perfect relaxing seaside getaway. After a quick 75-minute flight from Medellín, you’ll be transported to the pristine beaches and laidback atmosphere of the coastal city situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The newly constructed Hilton Santa Marta opened in January 2023 and brings unparalleled luxury to Colombia’s oldest Spanish city. Steps from the beach, the property features 261 rooms decorated with woodwork engraved by local artisans, five dining establishments, and two swimming pools. The adults-only rooftop bar offers the ideal Instagrammable moment for catching the sunset while cooling off in the infinity pool.
For day trips, the clear waters of Crystal Beach in nearby Tayrona National Park will have you swimming with the fish. Those looking for a sweet treat will want to ride up the mountain to Finca la Candelaria, a family-owned cacao farm that delivers the ultimate coffee and chocolate experience.
Casual lunch options include the authentic hospitality of Pescao and the relaxing vibes of Hotel on the Rock Minca. For dinner, head downtown to taste the innovative cuisine and warm ambiance at Casa Magdalena and Guasimo Restaurante.
Santa Marta’s queer scene is small but growing, and bars like Elles Disco Social are doing their part to keep the gays hydrated and dancing all night. ¡Salud!
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