After more than 6 years of coming to Medellin, Colombia as a digital nomad, living in various neighborhoods, and often working from many of the local cafe’s, I feel justified in sharing my knowledge about the best cafes and coworking spots.
The first time I came to Medellin was in 2013. I came as a certified tourist without any Spanish knowledge, generally lost in life, and maybe not seeking the noblest of things while in this country.
Fast forward to 2021 and I’ve spent a total of 10 months in this beautiful city having lived in 6 different neighborhoods.
Below is a list of the best cafes and coworking spots to work from as a digital nomad or expat, in order of neighborhood.
I’m leaving off Starbucks, though I consider all of them wonderful choices to work from. I’m also leaving off the Starbucks of Colombia, Juan Valdez as I’m not a fan.
Please note that exactly 0% of this article is dedicated to the coffee served at these locals. I didn’t take it into consideration at all. I don’t know coffee. It all tastes the same to me. I’m only commenting on the comfortability of working from one of these coffee shops.
Matilde – This place has been here for a while. It actually used to be more of a bar where you could purchase your own alcohol (bottle of wine, some beers) from the fridge and enjoy. Nowadays, it’s rather undiscovered as it’s in a less well-known part of Provenza and next to the highly popular Pergamino (see below). I like this place because it’s well designed, has both indoor and outdoor space, great food options, and multiple seating options.
Mija Artesanal – The newest addition, I discovered this on a dead-end street due to my current Airbnb reservation. It’s closed on Mondays, but otherwise only semi-full. I’ll consider it a secret gem of Medellin cafes. It has a nice ambiance, indoor/outdoor seating, fast wifi, and friendly staff. I think it’s technically a bakery, but they didn’t say anything when I worked there for a few hours.
Selina – This hostel/coworking/shopping center/events center/bar has a neat indoor/outdoor cafe with comfy though rundown seats, and plugs everywhere. Note there is a cafe and a coworking, though the location is a bit inconvenient to get to.
Pergamino – There are a few Pergamino Cafes and two really close to each other in the Parque Lleras area. The one I’m referring to, as I prefer more hidden gem cafes, is next door to Matilde in the secret portion of Provenza.
Noir Cafe – Probably the overall winner, this is a little bit of Provenza in Parque Lleras. It’s super well designed, comfy seats, comfy ambiance, fast wifi, power plugs everywhere, high attention to detail, a variety of comfy seating options, and don’t forget the garden in the back with a fire pit and hanging chairs. Bonus is the sound of the river in the back garden patio area. The owner, Cameron, offers a coffee-tasting Airbnb experience where you get to try numerous different preparations of coffee resulting in an extreme multi-hour caffeine buzz for $10.
Pergamino – This is the first location, but second best in my opinion. It provides a similar ambiance, has a patio, plenty of seating, and two levels of indoor working space. Dog friendly.
Cafe Velvet – More of a living room vibe so in many of the seats you’ll have to use your lap as a desk.
Casa Tragaluz – This has been, unfortunately, closed for a long-time due to the WHO termed Pandemic we seem to find ourselves. I hope it opens back up. The Astorga neighborhood is unique and cool so you should check it out, but this spot is also nice and calming to work from with all the things.
El Cielo – Brand new hotel, cafe, and restaurant from a famous Colombian chef. This was the only photo I took while onsite (below). Behind me is a nice patio with one side covered in greenery. You can tell it’s fancy and probably the fanciest, by far, on the list. Surprisingly the service is on the slow side, be ready to call over your waiter to order and for the bill.
StArt Cafe – This might be the most hidden gem cafe of all of Medellin. It’s on a residential street and you might even pass it by if you’re not looking for it. It’s small, it’s got the community vibe, this is a place to come with a book on a sunny afternoon, get a buzz on caffeine, and read for hours.
Al Alma – This is a chain and, honestly, hit or miss. The best location, by far, is in Laureles. I found it by chance as it was just opening when I arrived. A true cafe, great ambiance, fast wifi, nice second-level city views, a variety of seating and table options.
Semilla Cafe Coworking – I first discovered this gem while living in Laureles in 2019. It’s basically perfect. You can buy a day pass (unlimited coffee, working space, upstairs) or go to the downstairs cafe. The atmosphere is jovial. There are weekly events. Expect to make friends while you come here, and say hello to the owner, Daniel. He speaks fluent English.
El Catfesito CatCafe – Cats and coffee, there needs to be more of these in existence. In fact, around the world, I’ve been to reptile and coffee, dog and coffee, even a shoe store and coffee shop. The cats are friendly so don’t expect to get much work done here.
Communal Club Co. – The newest and a very welcome addition to this neighborhood. They are a cafe (outdoors) and coworking (indoors). Just watch out on hot days, there is no ventilation inside. The wifi works great even from the further outside patio table. Sometimes they jam out to the music too loud so if you require silence, might not be your best option.
Hija Mia Coffee Roasters – A classic cafe and well-known throughout all of Medellin. You’ll find the owner, Shawn, and his wife there in the mornings. They are known for both their coffee and food.
KJ Art Shop & Coffee – I consider this a hidden gem. It’s set below a restaurant, across the street from a Starbucks, and in the back of a large gravel parking lot. Inside you can feel the calming vibe combined with caffeinated energy and an air-conditioned climate. Almost always this place is empty.
De Lolita Anfitrion La Strada – La Strada is a cool space anyways, but this cafe is the winner. Comfy chairs on the third level. You can also find Al Alma in La Strada as an alternative.
Envigado has the fewest cafes, by far. If you’re a digital nomad who loves a good cafe scene, this is not your preferred zone.
Viva Envigado Shopping Center Coworking Space – Free to use, third floor by the ATMs, sometimes it can get crowded, but it has comfy seats, standing desks, and cafe’s around for a productivity boost. Technically this is in Envigado, but it’s a 25-minute walk from where you’ll likely rent an Airbnb.
El Cafe de Otraparte – The most well-known cafe/restaurant in Envigado. However, it was actually closed during my time in this city. It did look more like a restaurant than a cafe which is not ideal, but as it’s literally the only other option, it’s on the list. If you’ve been there, can you confirm in the comments if this is a nice place to work for an afternoon?
Vetta Café de Alta Montaña – I found this by chance in the giant Mayorca shopping mall after my gym session. I was surprised to see this here because I think it’s the only cafe on this side of the shopping mall, the other stores are for electronics and clothing. Full disclosure, I haven’t actually been here I only snapped this picture walking by, but I plan to return!
La Betania Coffee Shop – The entrance is not grand, but it opens into a multi-room experience including a quiet room and an open room on the patio with music. This is the cafest of all cafe’s in Sabaneta and my favorite. If you don’t speak Spanish, at least one waiter here is fluent in English.
Café Zendaya Studio – This one is tiny, but there’s no doubting it has that cafe vibe I’m looking for. Indoor, outdoor seating, but limited. It’s on a less busy street so you can take in the surroundings.
Perpetuo Café – The first time I came here, I was a little intimidated. It’s because this is the definition of the community cafe where everyone knows everyone and when they don’t know you, you get the stares. The owner was extremely welcoming, ushering me to a seat in the front with a street view and the wifi password.
A lomo ´e mula – Just around the corner from Perpetuo and 25% as busy with more seating and a calmer street with more trees. It’s owner-operated, a favorite of mine.
Did I miss a cafe? Tell me about it in the comments, please. Thank you!