How to be healthy in Medellin

Struggling to be healthy in Medellin – with all the arepas, hot chocs with cheese, & deep fried pork aka chicharrón on your doorstep?

Traditional Colombian food might not be so healthy, but there’s plenty of scenic running routes, fully equipped gyms, HIIT or Crossfit classes, and a load of really great healthy restaurants too.

So here are a few recommendations for places to go, so you can stay fit and healthy in Medellin, and compete with the banging Colombian bod.

How to be healthy in Medellin Colombia

How to be healthy in Medellin


  • Gym:

Hands down the best gym I went to in Medellin was Alpha Gym in Poblado. Huge variety of classes with passionate personal trainers, and frequent promotions mean you can often get a free week.

Alpha - exercise gym schedule - be healthy in Medellin

  • Runs:

If you’re on a budget, or just want to explore the city, Medellin has so many brilliant running routes with magical views, that running can actually be enjoyable here.

Check out El Cerro De Volador, and Nutibara hills; two short-but-steep hills which you can run up, and are instantly rewarded by the breathtaking, panoramic views of the city.

(RELATED: Where to soak in the best views in Medellin)

How to be healthy in Medellin - walk up El Cerro de Volador

  • Or just walk!

Not in a hurry? Then, set off a tad earlier and walk.

I walk everywhere I possibly can. It’s a wonderful way to exercise, as it’s not too strenuous. Sometimes I clocked up around 10 miles, by just strolling around excitedly – and not noticing til I sit down at the end, look at the pedometer on my phone, and realise why I’m feeling so knackered. It’s a great way to soak in all the culture in a new city.

Make sure you check the route, stick to main roads, and only in the day – you don’t want to be wandering around lost, in the dark!

Restaurants & cafes:


Naturalia Cafe

Trendy health food restaurant with an ever-changing, cheap ‘menu of the day’ that makes it one of the best places for lunch.

The salmon is thick and almost-but-not-quite smoked, which melts in the mouth – and comes with chickpea patties, and a snazzily-dressed salad. Plus, it comes with a daily soup, a juice, and a healthy pud. Mmmmmm. It’s easy to go here every day, without getting bored.

How to be healthy in Medellin - Naturalia

Salud Pan

Another staple health food spot where the chop-and-change the menu daily, so it’s always really healthy and fresh.

How to be healthy in Medellin - Salud Pan
Stuffed mushrooms with courgetti & pesto – which came with chickpea soup, & juice of the day – for under 4 USD.


Cute juice bar, that makes fresh natural juices with no refined sugar (a rarity for Colombia).

Loads of different flavours crafted specifically to help boost your mood – and with an interior full of fairy lights and leaves, it feels like you’re in the jungle.

How to be healthy in Medellin - Paradisiaca

El Poblado:

Mundo Verde

Just want a salad? Not the typical Colombian food but sometimes I crave a good old salad.

Mundo Verde has everything you could dream of; choose a base of rice, brown rice with lemon & cilantro, quinoa, or lettuce. Then add whatever toppings you want – shrimps, avocado, octopus, chicken, cheese etc.

Their juice list is extensive too (‘pineapple, cucumber and ginger’ is tasty AF), and their dessert list is possibly even better with heaps of gluten-free, no-added-sugar, and vegan-friendly delights.

how to be healthy in medellin

Ceres Mercado Organic

Part shop, part smoothie bar – this has the best nut butter in Medellin. Pick the nut you want, and they grind them, right there in front of you. A small jar is under 3 USD – and you know, there’s no added sugars or oils.

The only problem with this, is that the jar somehow gets devoured far too quickly. I’m assuming you’ll have better willpower than me.

Art Hotel

For some plump, tasty octopus and what I believe is the best fish I’ve had in Medellin, head to the roof top bar at the Art Hotel.

Best views in medellin - Art hotel -min

Cafe Zorba 

If you’re a sucker for pizza, Zorba should be your go-to. Vegetarian-only (initially I felt cheated, as I used to be such a chorizo fan) – but the frequent queues outside, in a country where vegetarianism barely exists, proves how good it is.

With hand-made dough, wood-fire ovens, live music, and a perfectly spiced fresh ginger juice, it’s obvious why Zorba is so popular. Plus, if you are indecisive like me (and want all of the flavours) you can go half & half on flavours.


How to be healthy in Medellin - Zorba
Half espinaca (tomato base with spinach, toasted pistachios, caramelised onions, cream cheese & balsamic reduction); half pesto (white cheese base with basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and ricotta).

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  1. Wow 2 whole running options, neither of which are real running routes and both several km from where I live. Well done.

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