Medellin Free City Guide

What to Wear in Medellin

Generally, the local Paisas are well dressed and groomed at all times. Even on a hot day, locals will almost always dress in long pants – jeans and a shirt is the uniform. Given the beautiful weather a sweater or jacket is not normally required. You might see locals in sweaters, jackets and scarves, however it’s more likely a fashion statement than due to cold weather. Due to the unpredictable rain, remember to bring an umbrella.

Shorts, tank top and flip flops are perfect for the beach at Cartagena, however, in Medellin they are generally frowned upon. By dressing like a tourist you’re also making yourself an easy target for muggings. Leave the flip flops, fanny pack at the hostel and if you want to take a camera sightseeing, store it in a concealed bag, not around your neck. Obviously there is no need to bring your gold chains and rolex, even they’re fake (muggers don’t know that).

If you want to go to nice places and make Colombian friends, go out dressed like you would at home. There is generally no dress code for entry into bars and clubs, however, it is expected that you make a bit of effort. You won’t need formal shoes but a nice pair of trainers is 1000% better than going out in flip flops or sandals.

A suit may be appropriate for business or a wedding but not for going out.

What to wear in Medellin

Toucan Tip: Good Hygiene

Don’t underestimate your personal hygiene. Generally, Colombians are obsessed with cleanliness and detest body odor and as such may shower several times a day. If you have bad body odor you are very unlikely to get a second date.

The best advice we can give is use deodorant. Colombians generally think that most backpackers don’t wash and smell bad. Demonstrating a little bit of grooming and a splash of aftershave or perfume, can go a long way. Carrying around a tiny travel deodorant in your bag is an excellent way for ensuring you smell fresh, even builders do this. (Believe it or not, some builders even manicure their nails and use clear polish, a strange cultural difference).

For the girls, make a little effort when going out. Women here will even do their makeup before going to the gym.

For guys be cleanly shaved (many Colombian guys even guys shave all their body hair). Except if you’re a hipster then it’s perfectly fine. Wear clean shoes, dirty shoes is equivalent to having unbrushed teeth.

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