Things To Do In Medellin
Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia in terms of population, but certainly it is the first among the greatest cities when it comes to quality of life. Gone are the days of Pablo Escobar that placed Medellin among the city's most violent and dangerous cities in South America. Today, Medellin is a modern city that is economically independent, stable, and safe. In 2012 it was awarded the title of “Ciudad Màs Inovadora" (Most Innovative City).
Thanks to its modern transportation system, the Metrocable. With just one ticket you can enjoy all the public transport and the futuristic cable car transportation system that allows everyone to move comfortably from one place to another. Medellin is full of greenery and located in a privileged geographical position. Situated in the valley of Aburrà at 1500 meters above sea level, it enjoys a fantastic climate and for this reason is called the City of Eternal Spring”.
When To Go:
The climate in this transformed city is close to impeccable all year round. Medellin is situated so high in Colombia and its rise provides for it a somewhat cooler atmosphere than different areas with the same scope. With its normal temperature averaging a pleasant 72 degrees, the city’s charming Spring-like atmosphere deserves its merited nickname. Rather than having four seasons, it offers two rainy seasons that ordinarily fall between September-December and March-May. It is always a smart idea to bring along an umbrella just in case a sudden downpour occurs while you are on tour.
At night, the temperature generally cools down and you can settle for comfortable warm clothes, sweat pants, or a light jacket. You will not sweat from its summer season or freeze during the cold months, but simply delight on its comfortable weather on warm days and cold evenings. In fact, the climate is so ideal that most places or homes don’t need to install air conditioning and heating system for the simple reason that they are not really a necessity.
These are the top things to do when in the city of Medellin, Colombia.
Museo de Antioquia
The Museo de Antioquia highlights the rich contribution of artworks from renowned Medellin artist Fernando Botero. It must not be missed by those who love his work and humorous avant-garde style. All of the pieces displayed around here came directly from his private collection. The square in front of the museum is very much alive and the art deco Architecture Museum is a spectacle. The café and museum store are also great. The museum is exposed in all three floors.
You must start at the top floor where the collection focuses on Botero; his paintings, watercolors, sculptures and then back down to the rooms with works by other artists, and modern art techniques for ceramic civilizations in the pre-Colombian era that can be admired in the ground floor.
The museum is very large and almost looks like a labyrinth, and the directions of the route there seemed very precise, but it was worth it to redo a couple of times the same hallways just to see the variety of works on display. The large artworks of Botero are exciting; his huge sculptures are displayed in the adjacent park for those who flock to the square and want to see and take pictures of his work. Everything in the park was donated by Botero to help promote art in this city.
For Colombians and especially for the people of Medellin it is the ultimate modern amenities that truly made an impact and changed their way of transportation. The Medellin Metrocable opens every traveler’s eyes about the vastness of this area, the stunning city views from above, its houses, narrow streets and the incredible life that exists in this place. A ride up to the Metrocable Santo Domingo is a must!
With the same metro ticket, you can go up the mountain and enjoy a piece of the real Colombia. The cabins can accommodate up to eight people sitting and sometimes standing passengers. For a more enjoyable ride, avoid the peak morning and evening hours. The view from the library is superb. Beware; the last stretch is long but truly captivating.
Allow a full day to visit and enjoy the Parque Explora. You have two options what to visit when buying a ticket. You can buy a ticket to the see only the Parque or the planetarium only. The instructors/ guides here are passionate. Although they speak little English, they easily manage to give their enthusiasm and explanations about science. It is a good place to spend half a day or even more with the family!
You can see a vivarium, aquarium, dinosaur statues, wall climbing areas, applied physics experiments, and an abundance of quality fun activities. It is a quiet place where adventure, science and technology is everywhere and where you will also learn how to take care of the waters, mother nature, and the different species of animals. It is also equipped with and good places to eat after going through a great adventure. It is a ride that is really worth it. Take time to schedule a visit or spend a whole day at the park. There is much to learn and enjoy.
It is a natural park where you can walk alone or at some points in the company of other guides. Most guided tours to see and explore in the Arvi Park are free. The park is roughly 3000 meters of altitude, and Medellin is 2.100m, so there is a small climatic variation up there. Bring a jacket and bundle up for its quite cold up there. The preserved park is very large and most of the activities are very physical (walking, hiking, and cycling). There is a fair of organic products at the part of the park where you can also eat lots of fruits and typical products of the region. The handicraft souvenirs from Medellin are also offered for sale from the stalls here.
Set aside probably about six hours to enjoy this tour because you will spend an hour just to get to the park, and another one hour to return, having as jump off point the subway station in the El Poblado neighborhood (counting the time from entry into the subway car). The park is very large and offers free guided tours, the longest being 2 and a half hours, and another for about an hour. There is another option which is to go to the park of white stones which is also located in the vicinity of Park Arvi.
Jardin Botanico de Medellin
You can go for long walks inside the scenic Jardin Botanico de Medellin while admiring all the wonderful and unusual plants that are well maintained on this park. The cute wooden building that is a representation of the jungle is also an experience. Do not forget to visit the Butterfly Garden In the park. There are several restaurants where you can eat something good or just have a drink after touring the important points of the Jardin Botanico.
It is a nice park, free of charge, with lots of plants, animals, including iguanas that roam free, and lots of turtles in the ponds. And do not forget to take pictures with the beautiful flowers. It is a relaxing place with a laid back atmosphere that is worth knowing when in Medellin City.
Laguna de Guatape
This partly inundated but beautiful Lake District (Peñol) is about two hours drive from the Medellin city center. The ride through the challenging hilly landscape dotted by agricultural activities only makes it prettier and more worthwhile. On the way to the Laguna de Guatape, you will see typical roadside sceneries like; farmers selling some of their products or transporting their produce on huge trucks. After the road trip adventure you can climb up to the top of Peñol Rock and be able to have a splendid view of the Laguna de Guatape. The view is spectacular; the color of the water changes from green to blue, and it's a show that is worth visiting.
At first sight, the lagoon appears composed of many interconnected lakes. However, the lagoon is manmade and very consequential to the construction of a dam for a large hydroelectric plant. If you want to stay overnight there are available hotels in the town or rent a bungalow called "cabanas". The lagoon is navigable and there are organized excursions by boat with music and food on board, you can also rent fishing gears, kayak and so on. On the banks the lake, there are small restaurants and stalls of handicrafts, souvenirs, all fish dishes, and Antioquia meat and vegetable dishes. For children, they cannot miss the dessert par excellence that is called the Arequipa (caramel toffee) pods. The village is delightful from the main square with its fountain in the middle as the usual tradition of the pueblo antioquenos. You can also find a strictly white church dedicated to the Madonna del Carmen and brightly colored houses along the street called Calle de Recuerdo.
Planetario de Medellin
The Planetario de Medellin is a must ride for the whole family. This modern planetarium has facilities for scientific experiments that stir the curiosity of children and adults and a super cool cinema that turns from 360 degrees on the ceiling with the story about the creation of the universe and the position of the stars and planets. The Planetarium of Medellin is inside the Explora Park and the Botanical Garden area, an urban architectural ensemble that is very well thought out and contemporary.
Rio Claro Valley
The canyon of the Rio Claro Valley is a little less than 4 hours drive from the city center of Medellin. There are for rent boating service, with experienced guides leading the rafts to a place where the river flows under high marble dome of water falls in a steady rain. There is also the opportunity of entering in nearby caves to a stretch of river with certified guides and life safety equipment provided by the company that offers the service which includes helmet, shoulder and knee pads, water shoes, etc.
You can cross through the clear river life enter and exit the cave and also a creek inside the covers. The tour takes you through tunnels, inner rock formations, chambers with stalactites and stalagmites, nocturnal birds that nests in the trees at the mouth of the river, and water flooded trails where it is necessary to take a deep dive. If you wish to stay for a day, there is the possibility of staying in the park or in a hostel in the outskirts in spaces that are comfortable without being luxurious and appropriate.
Plaza Botero is a must for those who want to visit the city of Medellin. This square has lovely gardens and manicured lawns (Medellin is full of green and produces more than 30% of flowers exported all over the world). This park often hosts cultural events and music concerts and right across is the Museum de Antioquia. Its originality and richness, however, is manifested by the presence of 23 bronze statues donated by the most illustrious citizen of Medellin- Fernando Botero.
It is definitely one of the most photographed sites in the city. The museum contains many works donated by the very generous man and he has also donated works of other famous artists and also at the Museum of Bogotá. The square is full of shops and stalls, always clean, tidy and above all safe. You can get to the Plaza Botero down from the Metro station called "Parque Berrio."
The Pueblito Paisa is situated on the hill of Nutibara in a little less than 100 m. on the level of the city. It is one of the finest viewpoints to admire the city of Medellin. Admission is free, and you can stay from 8:00 am to 22:00 pm. The Pueblito is a reconstruction of a small village of the typical Antioquia (Medellin is the capital of the department of Antioquia) and the term paisa refers to the inhabitants of the region known as "los paisas".
The reproduced central square with fountain features the typical places in the community like; the barber shop, the house of the priest, and the Alcaldia church, complete with walls of buildings with white doors, balconies and windows in bright colors.
El Castillo Museo y Jardines
The El Castillo Museo y Jardines is actually a private building dating from 1930, however the care of the place, the well cared gardens, and the attention devoted to the tourist really deserve much compliments. It is really an unforgettable visit and a must see attraction in Medellin. Photography is not permitted inside the castle (which does not interfere with the ride, after all the best places to photograph are outside). There is also a small cafe that serves great snacks at affordable prices. The location of the castle is easily accessible from the city. It is a house built by wealthy people of the city that is now home to a place that offers cultural attractions.
Bare Foot Park (Parque de los Pies Descalzos)
A place worth visiting in Medellin is the Bare Foot Park or the Parque de los Pies Descalzos. It is next to the building of Public Enterprises and has a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The site has free guides and more fun to enjoy if you go with children. Everyone can sit and relax in the spaces in areas with sand and the nearby gardens. It is a relaxing space for adults and children, a park with an atmosphere of calm and tranquility. It is the ideal place to go and rest after visiting the important points of interests in the city, sand play as children do, or put your feet in their sources to relax. You can go in the afternoon, and enjoy the contagious joy of children walking over the park to play with sand or swim in its sources. Also, you can eat and drink while chatting with friends. At the same time it is close to museums and other cultural sites of Medellin City. The architecture is very good, and the surroundings have striking designs and concepts, an ideal place to take photos and “selfies”. In the evening, there is an outdoor cinema with free movies that families can enjoy watching.
Medellin is a really nice city to visit. You will feel comfortable and eager to know and learn everything as much as possible about the city. It has a lot parks, museums, man-made attractions, art galleries, and of course do not miss the cable car ride that allows you to appreciate the other side of town easily. Medellin is also a city of contrasts with modern aspects and if you want to know why, the subway is a good option to start because around their stations are some of the best attractions of the city like; the Museum of Antioquia and Plaza Botero, the Botanical Garden, the Arvi Park, Planetarium, Parque Explora, and some of the best restaurants and shopping centers.
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