Nestled in the narrow Aburrá Valley, this northwestern city of 2 million people is the capital of Antioquia. The industrious paisas, as natives of the province are called, built the successful coffee and textile industries that have enabled Medellín to prosper; today it's the second-largest city in Colombia. Modern and affluent, Medellín has the country's only elevated train system. The city also has several interesting museums, three respected universities, and wide, tree-lined boulevards. But Medellín also has thousands of impoverished citizens whose shanties appear on the city's edges.
Although local and international intervention has lessened the drug trade, the city remains violent and unpredictable. Exercise caution when touring Medellín day or night, and always stick to central areas.