Medellin Altitude: Your Comprehensive Guide

Medellin Altitude

In the heart of Colombia, Medellin beckons with its breathtaking landscapes at high elevations. As a company with vast high-altitude experience, in this complete guide we’ll delve into Medellin's altitude and how to avoid Medellin altitude sickness.

Medellin Altitude

Medellin altitude reaches 4,905 feet above sea level. These heights take many by surprise as the altitude effects can be felt by visitors.

Medellin Altitude:

  • Medellin altitude - 4,905 ft (1,495 m)

Along with Bogota at 8,660 ft (2,640 m), Medellin is among a few of Columbia’s highest cities.

Is Medellín Altitude High?

Yes, Medellín is considered high altitude.

Defined by Mountain Medicine, it recognizes high altitude to start at 4,900 feet.³ Medellín just surpasses that height to qualify and can be a real problem for visitors.

Do People Get Altitude Sickness In Medellín?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Medellín.

Similar to our home city of Denver at 5,280 feet, Medellín sits at an elevation with altitude sickness risk. Travel Medicine Consultants state that altitude sickness can start to occur as low as 4,000 feet high.⁴

Medellín Altitude Sickness

Medellín altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), happens from lower oxygen levels when you ascend too quickly. 

For visitors of Medellín, the elevations can cause a lot of stress on the body and lead to issues has as headaches, trouble breathing, and nausea.

Symptoms of Medellín altitude sickness may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Unexplained fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
  • Feeling ill
  • These issues can develop typically within 6-24 hours upon your arrival to Medellín. Keep an eye out for these type of symptoms, and make sure to take proper precautions on your trip such as our tips below.

    What Is The Elevation Of The Mountains Around Medellín?

    The mountains surrounding Medellín are much higher than the city. 

    Cerro Quitasol for example, which boasts one of the highest viewpoints, peaks at about 9200 feet (2800 m). If you go explore or hike around Medellín, you’re likely to get much higher than 4,905 feet.

    How High Is Bogota vs Medellín?

    Bogota is at 8,660 feet (2,640 m) versus Medellin being at an altitude of 4,905 feet (1,495 m). Bogota is considered the third highest capital in all of South America.

    Bogota vs Medellín Elevation:

    • Bogota elevation - 8,660 ft (2,640 m)
    • Medellín elevation - 4,905 ft (1,495 m)

    While staying in Medellin already carries a risk of altitude sickness, your risk can go up even further in Bogota.

    Do people get altitude sickness in Colombia?

    Yes, just like in Medellín, many of Columbia’s places are high in elevation with risks of altitude sickness.

    Three of the five biggest cities in Columbia are considered to be high elevation. Those include Bogota at 8,660 feet (2,640 m), Medellin at 4,905 feet (1,495 m), and Cal at 3,327 feet (1,014 m).

    For many of Columbia’s destinations, minus the coastal cities, you should be well prepared for altitude sickness.

    5 Steps To Avoid Medellín Altitude Sickness

    Medellín, known as the City of Eternal Spring, causes some visitors to experience altitude sickness.

    As a company with over ten years of high-altitude experience, we’ll share with you the best tips to help you avoid a miserable experience in Columbia.

    Here’s 5 Steps To Avoid Medellín Altitude Sickness:

    1. Acclimate Gradually

      A key to a seamless transition to higher altitudes is gradual acclimatization. Instead of rushing to explore any of the surrounding Medellín mountains, take some time to adjust.

      Consider spending the first day or two acclimating when you arrive. In addition, if visiting a place as high as Bogota, you’d want to stay somewhere a few days before with a lower elevation.

      2. Get Adequate Sleep

      Quality sleep is a fundamental factor in recovery and adjustment. Sleep has also been shown in research to increase oxygen and blood flow.⁵

      Ensure you get a good night's rest, 7-9 hours of sleep is preferrable. Getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day can also boost your body’s ability to produce melatonin at night.

      3. Avoid Alcohol

      Indulging in Columbia’s local spirits will be fun, but advisable to limit or avoid alcohol consumption during your first few days in Medellín at these altitudes.

      Alcohol will increase the likelihood of sleeping issues, headaches, and nausea, just to name a few.

      4. Hydrate Properly

      The higher the altitude, the more increased respiration leading to water loss. It’s estimated by the Wilderness Medical Society that fluid loss can double at high elevations.⁶

      Counteract this by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, many experts recommend drinking half your weight in ounces of water per day.

      TIP: To maximize your hydration, add sea salt (naturally containing minerals) to your food or water, and use Zaca’s hydration chewables to enhance water absorption.

      5. Boost Your Antioxidants

      Oxidative stress is heightened at higher altitudes which can lead to free radical damage.⁷ One study showed glutathione depleting by 45% in high altitudes, which is the body’s master antioxidant.⁸

      With antioxidants as an effective solution to oxidative stress,⁹ boost your antioxidants by taking supplements with nutrients such as glutathione.

      By following these five steps, you can significantly improve your experience with regards to Medellín altitude sickness. Acclimate gradually, prioritize sleep, avoid alcohol, stay properly hydrated, and boost your antioxidants. With these measures in place, you'll be well-prepared!

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      1. Medellín Elevation
      2. Hiking Medellin Colombia Hints Tips For Trekking In Medellin
      3. Effects of high altitude on humans
      4. High Altitude Illness
      5. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
      6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
      7. High altitude and oxidative stress
      8. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
      9. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
      10. Cerro Quitasol: One of the Highest Hiking Viewpoints in Medellín
      11. What are the main cities in Colombia?
      12. Helpful Tips For Dealing with The High Altitudes Around Medellin