Not everyone knows about Envigado in Medellin, and we like it that way. Envigado is renowned for its sense of calm and community, and is perhaps one of the most welcoming neighborhoods in Medellin. If you’re not sure what to do in Envigado, Colombia, read on!
ABOUT ENVIGADO, COLOMBIA
Envigado is its own municipality with 40 barrios (neighborhoods), tree-lined streets, and one- and two-story homes. And although it’s just a 20-minute bus ride from El Poblado, it’s a hard contrast from Medellin’s most popular barrio with high-rises and hotels, and the choice of many tourists and upper-class residents.
Envigado makes the list of favorite areas to live for many travelers in Medellin. It’s endeared for its easygoing way of life, friendly residents and rich Colombian culture. Some of the most popular barrios within this municipality are Bosques de Zuñiga, Jardines and Zuñiga.As for what to do in Envigado, a walk through the neighborhood gives you an up-close feel of the casual, but lively energy in Envigado that makes it one of the best places in Medellin to live or visit.
Now that we’ve whet your appetite for adventure, take notes, as we’ll give you laundry list of what to do in Envigado.
What do to in Envigado
1) PLAY TEJO
Let’s start with a favorite of the locals and Colombia’s national sport: Tejo! It’s a fun and wild game that came from the native people of Colombia. It involves throwing a metal puck at gunpowder buried in clay while consuming a lot of beer. Be sure to try this traditional (and explosive!) Colombian game of Tejo before you leave the country!
You want to get a taste of Tejo? Check the website of TejoMedellin and join us on our Wednesday acitivity!
2) WORK OUT AT THE CANCHA
After being in Envigado for just a few days, it is easy to see that Paisas and visitors alike love to stay fit. The lifestyle in Envigado makes it easy, with plenty of fitness centers and good climate encouraging exercising and fitness in Envigado. Several outdoor gyms are located throughout Envigado.
In Envigado, our school is just a five-minute walk away from the popular fitness area referred to simply as “la cancha”. This area consists of a basketball court, outdoor running track, fútbol field and free weights/machines. A recent study even showed that working out before practicing a language, increased memory and retention. So get in that quick 20 minute jog before class, and come prepared ready to conjugate verbs.
3) GO TO DEBORAH ARANGO LIBRARY
Debora Arango is more than than just a library; it is an art and culture center, recreational center and a community among citizens. Not only can you find an abundance of books and educational information, but you can enjoy them on the large outdoor terrace overseeing the park. This beautiful, cultural masterpiece is a short 15-minute walk from Colombia Immersion Spanish school.
The library also holds an abundance of cultural events and educational talks. Topics range from learning the basics of Microsoft office, children’s craft classes to discussions where citizens share their memories of Envigado’s history. Click here for a list of up to date events happening at Debora Arango.
4) LEARN TO DANCE SALSA
Once you’ve had your fill of information and culture for your brain, get ready to move your body. You can partake in one of Envigado’s more refined physical activities: salsa dancing. Salsa dancing is a great way to burn those calories while learning smooth moves on the dance floor. Gringos and locals alike can take classes at Son de Timba Dance Studio, Estilo Cubano Envigado or Santo Baile. And Salsa Casino offers classes in a real-life setting. But you’ll have to venture beyond the borders of this charming neighborhood to find some of the more popular salsa clubs in Laureles and Poblado.
5) COOL OFF WITH ICE CREAM
One of our past students eloquently stated, that the most dangerous thing in Colombia was the cheap ice cream. Around every corner, you will find delicious options for gelato and ice cream at cheap prices. Be sure to ask our event coordinator/ice cream aficionando Julián, for his tips on local ice cream for 1mil.
If you are willing to venture more than a few blocks from our school, Percimon is a popular choice with an obscene number of flavors to quench any taste bud.
Percimon has a plethora of every type of heavenly flavored frozen treats you could want – from Greek yogurt to delicious gelato, and fresh fruit juices. Grab your favorite flavor. But it’s hard to choose just one. We won’t tell if you treat yourself to two! Proudly enjoy your guilty pleasure in their brightly colored shop, or grab a seat outside and enjoy the fresh Medellin air.
6) BE THE DIGITAL NOMAD IN A CAFE
The entryway to Otraparte. Follow to sign to the cafe behind this house.
If you’re in need of a cool café to study, check-in on social media or enjoy the eclectic decor, here are some of our favorites. El Café de Otraparte is one of the most popular and revered cafés in Envigado. The cafe is in association with a cultural center on the same grounds. The center was once the house of Envigado-born philosopher and writer, Fernando González. Surrounding the café is a beautiful garden.
Now, for the café itself – the servers are friendly, the coffee is delicious and the atmosphere is amazing. You don’t need more than that, but they are giving it to you anyway. Otraparte offers a little bit of everything, like great food, beers from around the world and you can even have a splash of Bailey’s or Whiskey added to you latte – just to spice things up!
Taste testing the same coffee prepared three different ways at Cocolatte Cafe.
Another beloved café in Envigado is Cocolatte Café. This place has all your food comfort fixes covered. From pastries to paninis to empanadas with your choice of a unique coffee drink. Not only is their coffee exquisite in taste, it is intricate in preparation. The friendly baristas will enlighten you on their process, demonstrating exactly how each specialty drink was made in a very special way. Not into coffee? No problem. Try the refreshing sweet drink of limonada de coco – a simply mindblowing juice.
A three minute walk from the school you will find Black Coffee Café. A homely small spot accented with chilled music and delicious milkshakes and a good place to have a small espresso before afternoon class.
7) ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE & ENJOY A BREW
Don’t care to be cooped up in cafés? No worries. For those who prefer the open air, stop by Parque Envigado, which also goes by Marceliano Velez Park. It’s a great place to people-watch while enjoying a beer. You’ll find children playing and families enjoying the weather together. And ice cream stands are a plenty! While there, don’t forget to peek inside of the towering white Roman Catholic church, Inglesia de Santa Gertrudis.
Construction for this neighborhood landmark began in 1864, but didn’t open until 33 years later. The church is quite spectacular, both inside and out: inside its aw-inspiring main altar is a work of art, and outside, in December, you’ll find it aglow with Christmas lights.
The main alter of Inglesia de Santa Gertrudis.
8) GO HIKING
Hiking up to the waterfalls in Parque El Salado (Source: travellifex.com)
What do do in Envigado for some fresh air? Envigado’s hidden gem is Parque El Salado. Tucked away up the hill from the main square, this park has many splendid surprises for nature lovers. But you don’t have to love nature to appreciate this green get-away in the middle of the city. Visit Parque El Salado to ease your mind from a stressful day, and go for a walk amidst friendly faces and interesting local vendors of all kinds. For a more rigorous adventure, you can follow the trails outside of the park’s fence into dense jungle that makes you feel far from the chaos of the city. Along the path, you’ll find stunning waterfalls and you can even go to a truchera for morning or afternoon of fishing. The trails and park also include gyms and other athletic facilities, so if you didn’t walk it out, you can still work it out.
9.2) HAVE “MENU DEL DIA” FOR LUNCH
Menu del Día or Menu of the Day is a popular lunch time menu, providing an ample amount of food at a reasonable price. Most Menu-del-Día’s in Envigado range from 7.500COP to 12.000COP, making them a meal that will satisfy both your appetite and wallet.
Food consists of a soup or salad for starters, your choice of meat with rice, beans, arepas and plantains. This easy format is geared towards the working class who need a quick, filling but reasonably priced lunch option. It has been rumored that some of our students have consumed a full Menu del Día during their 20 minute break mid-Spanish class (with not a minute to spare).
Two of our favorite restaurants are La Cocina and Delitamal, both around the corner from the Envigado school. But be clear. If you just want to look at a menu, ask for “la carta”. Most small restaurants and cafes offer Menu del Día, so if you ask for “the menu”, they will bring you food!
09) HAVE A VEGETERIAN MENU DEL DIA
For the vegeterian and vegans underneath us, Envigado has two great lunch and dinner options: The first is the Yoga spot and restaurant Tulsi Cocina Vegtariana, about five minutes from school. It is the best option to have a good and filling vegeterian Menu del dia near Dorado (12000COP). The other spot is a lively hippie restaurant, in La Magnolia, with an organic food shop integrated. The food at Praña Cocina Natural is delicious, the atmosphere relaxed and the price is convincing.(13000COP)
10) EAT A HUGE CHICHARRON
“La Gloria de la Glora” is arguably the most famous restaurant in Envigado. The secret to their success? Amazing portion sizes, delectable chicharrón and the sweetest owner on earth, Gloria Cecilia Ramirez.
Be prepared to take a few shots of Guaro or purchase a bottle for the table. You will immediately feel at home in this cozy restaurant adorned with Christmas lights, family photos and the Colombian flag. Don’t be surprised if you actually meet Gloria herself, she’s often known to be serving the guaro and checking in to make sure your meal is just perfect.
For Colombian food in a relaxed environment, try Brasapera, where you can have the biggest arepa you’ve ever seen.
11) TRY AN INTERNATIONAL DINNER
There’s no shortage of great international food to be found in Envigado. For authentic Venezuelan arepas – the best in town – try Veneca Arepas Venezolanas, which is open only on Friday and Saturday night. If you’re looking for something a little healthier and perhaps outside of paisa offerings, try Lemoncillo where you can find fresh, healthy Vietnamese food. Looking for comfort food? Head to Burro Pizza or La Burger.
Envigado even has a long ally, called the Calle Buena Mesa, which can be translated into the street of the great food options. Even if more precier, the vareity and quality is worth it to visit!
12) PARTY AT A FONDA
A fonda is defined as a tavern, inn or small restaurant. These colorful spots are sure to stand out on a Friday or Saturday night with loud authentic Colombian music and bright colors. The aqua blue, red, orange or fluorescent green chairs, tables and stage set the tone for the evening. A bottle of guaro is sure to be in the center of every table scattered across the bar, along with a slew of characters attempting to pour it down your throat. Characters include the policemen, midget, the doctor or a “typical” old fashioned Paisa. The night starts off calmly, but fast forward 4 hours – the entire crowd is dancing on the dance floor or next to their table.
The staff often gives out balloons, streamers and funny hats to encourage the party. Two of our favorite fondas in Envigado are La Tienda and Dulce Jesus Mi Pueblo. Be sure to enjoy this party on a weekend night, as you likely won’t wake up in time for Spanish class the next morning.
13) CHECK OUT THE BARS
For a casual drink in a laid back atmosphere, try Windsor Pub for a great beer. And on Friday nights, after our Intercambio in Envigado, join the crowd at El Callejon for a night of dancing, drinking and sweating. Another option: The famous la Segrada, where the waitresses wear nuns costumes.´Definetively woth to visit!
Want to see more of Envigado? Check out our interactive map for more tips.