Universidad Deportiva De Belen: Workout Heaven
If you haven't been to Medellín, don't come. I would hate for this secret to be spoiled. The city offers beautiful weather, culture, people, and sights. The back drop to all of this, however, is sports. Medellín has a love affair with sports, especially football (not the American version ;)) it seems like every block there is some sort of field, court, or urban gym. All of these are brought to together under one roof at several of the Universidad Deportivas (Sport Universities) spread out through the city. These sport areas are free and open to the public.
I found my own slice of workout heaven at the one located in the Belen neighborhood, a much more local, less gringo area than El Poblado. I especially loved the 3 different basketball courts and the gimnasio urban ( urban gym) that this sport university had. The courts were nice, clean, and well lit at night. There were games going on every night and I joined the Medellín Basketball Association(highly recommend joining their Facebook group if you are interested in playing basketball and meeting new friends in Medellín!) for a round of pickup games with locals and fellow foreigners. The urban gym, however, is the real highlight for me. It is an open air gym filled with everything from leg press, squat racks, barbells, lat pull downs, dips, pull-ups, and much more! The most amazing part is that it is outside and completely free. Everyone is also very respectful of the equipment and tries not to damage it for the next person. With the obesity crisis we have in the United States, I am surprised we don't have more areas like this, but hopefully we can start making some small steps and I think that is starting to happen further north such as Fort Worth's Blue Zone program that encourages healthy eating and being active.
Overall, Colombia is a sports obsessed nation and the people love to stay fit and active. Universidad Deportivas are the perfect way for travelers to stay in shape and stick to your budget. No excuses since use is free to the public! Just don't have too many arepas post-workout :)