Upon Arrival

Both legs of the flight were fairly short at just under 3 hours each and the layover in San Salvador was only an hour. San Salvador is an hour behind Medellin and Houston and the airport is fairly small, but they had a lounge and we had a couple beers and sandwiches before boarding our final plane. The second plane was much nicer, newer and bigger than the first leg and the service was as good as any business class flight I had had in the past. A second meal, some more drinks on the plane, a quick 2-hour movie and we were set to land.

We landed around midnight, passed through immigration where they corrected our immigration form and gave us a 90-day tourist visa. Tourist visas for Americans (and I think Canadians) are automatic. The length of time depends on your length of stay so I told the immigration officer 90-days.  The immigration form was given to us on the flight to fill out, but it was only in Spanish. One of the flight attendants was nice enough to walk me through the form, but I forgot to fill out the box which told immigration where I would be staying while I was in Medellin. After immigration, we grabbed our bags and headed through customs. I made the mistake of asking which way I should go and I ended up having to send all my bags through x-ray. Gary took the hallway to the right and bypassed all of the bag checks.

Through Airbnb, we booked our airport pickup. The cost was only 40 dollars and they knew exactly where to take us. The driver was there with a sign and when he saw how many bags we had, he was worried about it all fitting in the car. I had emailed the driving service in advance to let them know how much luggage to expect, but the communication from the office to the driver was lost. We waited outside for him to pull up the car. He had a 4-seater hatchback car, about the size of a Ford Focus and we all barely fit. I sat in back with the luggage and there were a couple of times I was in fear of my life when he took turns and the luggage almost came crashing down on me. The drive from the airport was 45 minutes through curves and mostly downhill. Medellin airport is approximately 7000 feet elevation and Medellin itself is about 5000 feet.

Around one corner, the city of lights appeared and Gary and I both were shocked at the size. Medellin is a city of about 4 million people. We knew the population before we arrived, but the size still surprised us. We got to the apartment around 1:30am and we were met by the agent from Airbnb that had our keys. He was very pleasant and walked us up the apartment and showed us the place before he and the driver helped us carry our 5 bags up 3 flights of stairs. We were not expecting the place not to have an elevator. We will definitely be moving into something that is either one floor or have an elevator. We did minimal unpacking that night and headed to bed after a long day.


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