robot, panela and avocados

10 Crazy Cool Things In Medellín, Colombia

Colombia is known for many things: lush landscapes, salsa, flowers, drugs (sadly). But, there are some really cool things that I’ve seen in Medellín that I never expected to find in Colombia. Here are 10 unique things seen in Colombia that are sure to surprise you.

Drive-up shrines

These roadside grottos offer people a quick place to pray. Candles and other offerings are available. Easy in and out.

Foot pedals on hand sanitizer

Of course! Why didn’t anyone think of this before?! Almost all of the public hand sanitizers here are on stands with foot pedals. No need to touch the dirty top.

Container Restaurants

This towering block of restaurants is created from empty metal shipping containers. It’s both useful and trendy open-air dining.

Massive avocados

While North America is used to the Hass avocados on the right, in Colombia there seem to be more of the GIANT avocados on the left.

Plastic tops on glass bottles

A no-brainer for recycling but no need to deal with the pain of opening a metal top.

Traveling to Medellín? Check out How To Visit Pueblito Paisa and if you are going in August, the Feria de Flores Flower Festival.


Panela is basically a block of dried sugar cane juice. It has its own unique taste and doesn’t taste at all like refined white sugar. Colombians love this stuff and use it in their drinks as a sweetener. A popular cold drink is aguapanela, which is panela with water and a bit of lime or other flavoring.


Many cities in Colombia close main streets to vehicles on Sunday mornings. These ciclovías offer a wide, safe space for cyclists, runners and skaters in places that are not usually bike-friendly.

Delivery robots

The future is here. Order some food from a restaurant, and if you live in a certain area, your food will be delivered by a robot. This guy might be a bit slow, but he can even navigate traffic!

Palitos de queso

There are cheese sticks and then there are cheese sticks. Imagine a stick of string cheese wrapped in dough and fried and you have this portable palito de queso. There are smaller versions too, and they are often served with jam.

Straws made from Avocado Pits

Avocados are super popular here, so some genius figured out a way to put the avocado pits to good use and make straws. 100% biodegradable, these are a great alternative to plastic.

If you’ve been to Colombia, what cool things surprised you?

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