I’m not a big shopper. I don’t like standing in lines or walking through malls.
However, It seems that I always have a backed-up list of items I need to buy that I keep putting off, thinking I’ll get to it later. No matter how much I try to avoid going shopping, I feel like I’m always out buying something new. Either for the office, my apartment or for myself every other week. If you’re not careful, you can end up buying clothing in El Tesoro thinking you’re getting a deal, whereas you can get the same quality for a lesser price tag if you know where to look.
Having lived in Medellin for over seven years I have my go-to spots for various items. Food, clothing, electronics, apartment, and office furniture are easy to find throughout the city, but it takes a more thorough insider view to find the best deals. In this blog post, I’m going to go over where I like to go shopping in Medellin. Mind you that I’m a 37-year-old, single, guy, that doesn’t really like to “go shopping.”
Medellin has lots of grocery stores and supermarkets to choose from. Depending on where you go, the prices are bound to vary. El Colombiano recently did a study analyzing the details of prices at some of the major food chains throughout the city.
All over the city, Exito has a great reputation for high-quality products, however, they come at a more expensive price. If you’re more into the quality of the food rather than how much you pay, then I recommend Exito. I go to the one near my house, the one on Calle 10. But there are many around the city. I’ve noticed that the one downtown, San Antonio, usually has better deals than the one in Poblado. On Wednesdays, they have 20% off all fruits, vegetables, and meats (25% if you pay with the Exito card). They also have discounts every weekend, but these change on a week by week basis and are never static. Exito hours of operation vary throughout the city, but they usually close around 9 PM.
IMPORTANT: Exito Express locations that say they are open 24 hours are a unique case. The walk-in market stays open until 11 PM, but then they close up shop and serve customers through a small glass window.
This is your go-to for great food standards and cheaper than Exito. La Vaquita prices vary based on the location of each store. Nevertheless, they win with their daily discounts. From Tuesday to Saturday they have different deals on certain products, which means there are always good days to shop for specific products there. Here’s a list of their discounts:
Monday: No discounts
Tuesday: 10% off all meats.
Wednesday: 25% off fruits and vegetables.
Thursday: 20% off chicken, fish and all other seafood.
Friday: 25% off fruits and vegetables, 10% off all meats.
Saturday: 20% off wines.
Sunday: No discounts.
All La Vaquita locations are open from 7 AM – 9 PM from Monday to Saturday and close one hour early on Sundays and holidays.
This is definitely the cheapest option for those on a tight budget. They don’t have daily discounts, but their prices stay steady and they are, for the most part, very cheap. D1 stores are all over the city, and they’re not hard to find.
FYI: Every month they have monthly specials. For example, in January 2017, they have some back-to-school products on sale. They don’t usually sell these products they’re just promotional for the month. Some months the products are better than others.
Euro is one of Exito’s main competitors, and they also have their own discounts on specific days. Keep in mind that if you pay for your products with the Euro card, all of these discounts go up 5%:
Monday: No discounts
Tuesday: 10% off all Euro brand products (15% with Euro card).
Wednesday: 20% off chicken (25% with Euro card).
Thursday: 20% off fruits and vegetables (25% with Euro card).
Friday: Varying discounts on meats.
Saturday & Sunday: No discounts.
Euro Niquia: 5AM-8PM
Euro Laureles: 6AM-9PM
Euro Barbosa: 5AM-8PM
Euro Marinilla: 8AM-8PM
Euro Sabaneta: 5AM-8PM
Euro Ciudad Parque: 7AM-9PM
Euro Central Mayorista: 5AM-8PM
Euro La Frontera: 6AM-10PM
Euro Envigado Guadacanal: 9AM-8PM
Euro Palma Grande: 10AM-10PM
Euro Florida: 8AM-9PM
This small indoor farmers market is located in Comuna 10, and has a small but plentiful variety of fresh meats, fish, fruits and veggies all at a great price. Open from 6AM-6PM Monday through Saturday and closes at 2PM on Sunday.
Another great place to shop if you’re not into the big supermarket chains, at very low prices. Open from 5 AM – 6 PM all week long.
This is the smaller of the two most known outdoor farmers markets in the city, located in El Centro. They have endless amounts of fresh produce and meats, seafood, and many small restaurants around the plaza to satisfy your hunger after bargaining for so much food. Opens 4:30 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday and closes at 3 PM on Sunday.
The biggest farmers market in Medellin. This giant square is filled with everything you could possibly need, and all the produce is as fresh as it gets. Highly recommended, if you can push your way through the crowds of people to buy your fruits and veggies. Located a short walk from Ayura metro station. Opening and closing times vary, as some stands open as early as 4:30 AM. The general hours of operation are:
Monday – Friday
Emergency Grocery Shopping
If you find yourself in the middle of the night in dire need of some groceries, remember that Carulla has two locations in the city that are open 24 hours. One in Oviedo, and the other on Las Palmas Avenue. I avoid going to Carulla because it’s overpriced and not convenient for me. However, they do have 20% discounts on all meats on Saturdays.
2. Clothing for a tall guy
Living in midget land has its perks. I mean I can go to a concert or a soccer match and never have an issue with being able to see over people. However, the caveat is that jeans, long-sleeve shirts, and shoes are hard to find.
This area is filled with some of the best outlets in Medellin with high-quality clothing at affordable prices. There are many locations spread out along the area that surrounds Carrera 52D. Locals know to head over there for good prices and durable clothes. As a tall guy, it’s great because there are many stores; therefore, more chances that I’ll find a spot that has my size.
Jeans for a tall guy
Medellin produces high-quality jeans. I usually go to Rifle (I’m 6’2″ or 1.92 cm, so finding long jeans can be hard, but Rifle always has my size) or to the outlet stores on Las Vegas or Guayabal.
Exito has Converse brand and People brand and every now and then they have great discounts, usually on weekends. For example, I bought some Converse jeans there last month at 40% off. Custer is also a great brand at Exito. Falabela and Flamingo, which are department stores, also have some options.
Outlets on La Guayabal
If you’re looking for good deals and variety, you should definitely check out the outlet stores on a street called Gayabal. The outlets on la guayabal are well known and you’ll find some famous brands. Levi’s, Chevignon, and Rifle to name a few. Not only will you find jeans, but shirts, socks, underwear, etc. Furthermore, there are outlets for women’s clothes too, so you can take your girl along with you. FYI, I’m pretty good at picking out my own clothes, but it’s always better to take a woman with you.
Shoes for bigfoot
If you’re a size 11 U.S. or smaller, you have it made in Medellin. You can find original and great quality knock-off shoes pretty much anywhere in the city. If you’re a size 12 and above, I’m a size 13, then your options are slim.
El hueco, located in the city center near San Antonio metro station, is a really cheap place to negotiate and buy cheap shoes. If you’re a size 12 or above there are two locations in downtown to check out. One called Orbitz in the Hollywood building and another one across the Hollywood building, in El Palacio. FYI, prices are more expensive than those in the U.S., but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.
You can also head over to Centro Comercial El Diamante, to a store called Journeys, they always have bigger sizes.
If you’re not a sasquatch with giant feet and you’re looking for better quality while still maintaining cheap prices, one of the best malls in the city is Mayorca. The mall is filled with outlets, and quite frankly, the price difference between Mayorca and El Hueco is negligible. Many people head to El Hueco nowadays to buy shoes, so they have raised their prices and it has become harder to negotiate with them.
El Hueco opens at 7 AM and closes at 6 PM, and doesn’t open on Sundays. Mayorca is open Monday through Sunday from 10 AM – 8 PM and stays open one hour later on Fridays and Saturdays.
Payless Shoes – You’ll find up to size 14 US in many Payless shoe stores in malls around the city. The selection is small at times, so it’s good to go in and ask when they usually restock so you can see everything available.
Journey’s in El Diamante – Near the stadium, there’s a strip mall called El Diamante. There you’ll find a store called Journey’s that has bigger sizes as well.
Ballers – If you’re looking for basketball shoes you’ll find bigger sizes at Ballers in the Premium Plaza mall.
AMAZON.com – Now that Amazon ships for free to Colombia (not all sellers) my go-to is Amazon for all shoe apparel. They usually get to my doorstep within 5 business days.
Shirts for a big muscular guy like me
Ok, I’m not muscular, lol, but I am lanky and have a long torso. I’ve found a shop near Lleras that has great shirts called Blend. They’re more expensive, but they’re great quality and made locally.
3. Apartment and office furniture
Every local has a different opinion on this one. For some reason, when it comes to furniture, Paisas are diehard fans of the places they shop at. This means that even though they don’t know the best places, they will still tell you that where they shop is hands down the top store to buy furniture. As such, it depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re a baller on a budget, you might not be able to afford stores in the mall like Comodisimo, Rambler or Fantasia. You can find good quality beds at stores on la 80 near La Floresta station. Another great spot for economical beds is a street known to locals as “calle caliente” near the university UPB. There are a bunch of bed stores there. That’s where I got mine custom made for a very good price.
I’m a bargain shopper and the best place for refurbished appliances are pawn shops. I’ve bought refrigerators and washing machines from a couple of pawnshops in downtown near the San Antonio metro station. Most pawnshops will have some sort of guarantee. You can also purchase refurbished refrigerators and washing machines from the manufacturing company Haceb in Copacabana at a great price.
Homecenter is a wonderful department store that literally has everything you need in terms of home and office furniture and appliances. They also have a gardening section where you can buy plants at a reasonable price. Be warned, it’s easy to walk in there and spend 3 million pesos on items. There is so much to choose from that you will end up picking out things you never thought you needed. Their biggest location is on Calle San Juan, and the second biggest is in Envigado, close to the Exito headquarters.
Home & Office Furniture
Similar to clothing outlets, it appears that there are limitless electronic stores, cellphone repair shops and stores of that kind peppered throughout Medellin. I have my own technician who repairs all my stuff, but almost all of them recommend one place in particular.
The go-to mall is Monterrey, located a few minutes walk from Poblado metro station. In there, you’ll find many small shops that sell anything from computers to camera lenses and hard drives…even video games. Whatever you need, Monterrey will have it. It’s also good for repairs, and most people will recommend it first and foremost if you ever have faulty tech that’s in need of repairing or upgrading.
Monterrey is open Monday to Saturday from 10 AM-7: 30 PM and 11 AM-5 PM on Sundays.
If you need a moded printer (modified to use bootleg cartridges) El Pasaje de San Jose in downtown is the spot.
I’ve also bought electronics from KTRONIX, they have several locations across the city.
So, there’s my list of great places to shop in Medellin. After living here for over 7 years, I have a pretty good understanding of the city’s layout and good places to buy food, clothes, electronics and home and office furniture. This city is filled with amazing places to shop, and these are just a few. Every day, I learn of new areas to find a bargain. I’m happy to share it with you and help you on your shopping spree.
Make Comments and Suggestions Below
Do you know any other lesser-known places to shop with great prices? Are there any places we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll keep adding to this list!
About the writer – Andrew Macia
Hello, my name is Andrew Macia and the Medellin Buzz is my blog. I moved to Medellin in 2010 and fell in love with the city. I taught advanced level English for four years and then started a digital marketing company.
I love Colombian, and Medellin is my home. I like to write and I want to give back to the community. This is the best way I know how. I hope you enjoy my blog!
About the Medellin Buzz
I started the Medellin Buzz as a resource for my English as a foreign language students. A site where they could read about their city in English, that wasn’t boring. It slowly turned into a personal blog and hub for information for people discovering Medellin. I check comments frequently, so feel free to leave your comments and/or questions below.