Spanish Language Blog

Medellin – A Dark Past and a Bright Future Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

If all you know about Medellín is what you’ve seen on a certain Netflix show, you’d be forgiven for thinking the city is an incredibly dangerous place. While that was definitely true in the not too distant past, Colombia’s “City of Eternal Spring” has undergone an amazing transformation in the past few decades. In this short post to practice your Spanish reading skills, we take a look at Medellín, from its dark past to its bright future.


Not long ago, this square would be totally empty.

Hace 30 años, Medellín era muy peligroso. La ciudad tenía muchas problemas con las drogas y la violencia. Habían muchos barrios a los que no se podía ir. No había turistas en Medellín en ese tiempo, por lo menos no  muchos. Tal vez 50 mil turistas al año en Colombia. Antes de los noventas, la ciudad no tenía un metro ní metrocable. La vida era muy deficil para las personas que vivían en las montañas.

Ahora Medellín ha cambiado mucho. Esta ciudad es mucho más segura que antes. Muchos barrios peligrosos se han transformado, por ejemplo la Communa 13. Ahora los niños no aprenden a vender las drogas, pero aprenden a pintar o hacer música. La ciudad hay un metro con dos líneas y varios metrocables. Muchos turistas vienen a Medellín ahora – más o menos 2.5 millón al año en Colombia – y algunos extranjeros se mudan aquí. Medellín es una ciudad con un pasado oscuro, pero un futuro brillante.


Street art in Communa 13. 

30 years ago, Medellin was very dangerous. The city had many problems with drugs and violence. There were many neighborhoods that you could not go to. There were no tourists in Medellin at that time, at least not many. Maybe 50 thousand tourists a year in Colombia. Before the nineties, the city did not have a metro or metrocable. Life was very difficult for the people who lived in the mountains.

Now Medellin has changed a lot. This city is much safer than before. Many dangerous neighborhoods have been transformed, for example Communa 13. Now children do not learn to sell drugs, but they learn to paint or make music. The city has a metro with two lines and several metrocables. Many tourists come to Medellin now – about 2.5 million a year in Colombia – and some foreigners move here. Medellin is a city with a dark past, but a bright future.


Exploring the barrios in the mountains is alright these days.

Practice your Spanish a bit and see if you can answer these questions about Medellin:

¿Has visitado Medellín?
Have you visited Medellin?

Do you like this city? Why?
¿Te gusta esta ciudad? ¿Por qué?

¿Qué lugares quieres visitar en Medellín?
What places do you want to visit in Medellin?

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Bob Friedman:

    The second sentence in the second paragraph states “Muchos barrios peligrosos se han transformando . . . .” and is translated as “Many dangerous neighborhoods have been transformed . . . .”

    Would it also be acceptable to state “se han transformado” as the Spanish version of the English translation shown?

    • sasha:

      @Bob Friedman Thanks for your comment! You can translate “se han transformado” as “they have been transformed.” “They” being “muchos barrios.”