Medellin is a jewel hiding between mountains in Colombia. Gringa Traveling Mom was able to discover the things that make it so special. Following is a list of some of the things that no traveler can miss to get a complete picture of what Medellin Colombia is all about.
Medellin is one of those must-visit places in Colombia. This is a huge city that started on a narrow valley and expanded on to the mountains. It is also one of the top three largest cities in Colombia, and a gem if you are looking to experience their culture.
On the other hand, it had a bad reputation concerning safety during the 80s and early 90s. But safety has improved over the years and to be completely honest, I felt completely fine. It is still a large city with everything that involves. But nothing out of the ordinary. All you need is common sense and a lot of enthusiasm to explore it.
Once I got there and forgot about all of those preconceptions, I was able to have a lot of fun and truly enjoy Medellin.
My Favorite 10 Things to Do In and Around Medellin Colombia
1. Guatape Village Tour
Guatape is also known as the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Colombia. It will only take you two hours to get here from Medellin. Do it! It is an experience that you can’t miss.
The village is adorable, with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. Buildings like the church and the municipal building are so artistic and colorful, built in a European way.
My favorite places in this village are the Malecon (boardwalk), the restaurants around the main plaza and the church.
2. Piedra del Peñol
This is the original reason why I came to Guatape.
It is a huge rock with sharp edges and 740 stairs built into it, allowing visitors to climb all the way up and enjoy the view.
The weird thing about it is that it seems to be just standing there in the middle of nothing.
3. Go for Lunch as a Local – El Corrientazo
El corrientazo is the Colombian version of local eateries that you find all over the world. They are a place where locals usually visit for a cheap quick meal. This is where people go for lunch before going back to work.
In them, you will find a combination of local dishes. But if you plan to visit the same restaurant twice in a week, don’t expect to be served the same. Menus are constantly changing.
4. Ride the Metro System
This might be a normal thing in your city. But in Latin American countries, it is not common at all. And in the case of Medellin, getting one completely changed the city for better.
Before the Metro started working in 1995, the city was divided into the rich side and the poor side. El Metro worked as a bridge that brought a lot of opportunities for the poorer sections.
5. Check out Botero Plaza
This is the place to go if you love art and sculptures.
It is a plaza in the heart of Medellin filled with sculptures made by artist Fernando Botero. His work is a unique mix of contemporary, figurative, neo-Renaissance styles. It became so popular and loved around Latin America and other places that it even became a whole new style called “Boterismo.”
6. Visit Poblado Park and Learn all about its historical importance
It might look like another park from the region with a church as its main building. One in the prettiest part of the city and a place visited by young people looking for a good party.
All that makes it a great place to go and relax. But it is also a place of extreme historical importance for the city. This is where Spaniards founded the first European settlement in the Aburra Valley back in 1616. That’s when Medellin started to become what it is now.
7. Cerro Nutibara – Pueblito Paisa
It is called Cerro because it isn’t even a full mountain. In this tiny hill, you will find Pueblito Paisa, a reproduction of the traditional Colombian town from days gone by.
It is a beautiful and relaxed place that a lot of locals visit, mainly during the weekends, to walk, run and enjoy food.
8. Comuna 13 Tour
Comunas from Medellin are the same thing as Favelas in Brazil, acentamientos in Guatemala and ghetos in the US. Definitely not a place for tourists to check out. But there are rare exceptions, just as Comuna 13. Here you will find Casa Kolacho, a place created by a graffiti artist to help kids stay entertained and away from the gangs.
The young graffiti artists keep Comuna 13 clean. And, with time, its walls became an amazing and colorful work of art.
9. Public Library Parks
These are basically outdoor libraries, set in some gorgeous garden and mainly built through the comunas. The best part is that all of its sports and cultural programs are free.
10. Coffe Plantation Tour
Colombia is known all over the world for the amazing quality of their coffee. Coffee plantations surround the Medellin. Do I need to say anything else?
Taking a day tour to one of the plantations to taste some of their best coffee is a must.