The former hideout of drug lords turned into a colorful and welcoming place
Medellín, Colombia's second city, is powering ahead in modernity and ambience. Situated deep in the Aburrá Valley, the city has a climate that lends itself to lazy days swinging idly in a hammock, sleeping off the excesses of the previous night's exertions in one of Medellín's unstoppable clubs. The seductively beguiling nature of the Paisas - as people from Antioquia are known - often gets visitor with plans to spend a weekend staying for far longer. While the specter of Pablo Escobar - international godfather of narcoterrorism - still looms large (you can visit his grave at the Cementerio Jardines de Montesacro), but Medellín is now a colorful and welcoming place, a complete turnaround from the dark days of two decades ago. The city is paralyzed by gridlocks of aromatic flowers during the Feria de las Flores in August and flooded with the beautiful people when Colombia's annual fashion show, ColombiaModa, comes to town. You can also enjoy adventure sports in nearby Guatape - if, that is, you haven't exhausted your batteries from too many nights out.