May 19, 2017|
Last updated on October 16th, 2020 at 08:15 am
Top Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia
I recently visited this beautiful city on a tour of Colombia and can’t wait to fill you in on all of my favorite things to do in Medellín! Medellín is one of Colombia’s most important cities, yet largely undiscovered by most travelers. It is easy to fall in love with the city’s welcoming people, excellent food, and relaxed lifestyle.
In fact, Medellín was voted “Innovative City of the Year” in 2013 and “One of the Best Cities to Live in Latin America” in 2014. Thanks to the incredible transformation over the past 15-20 years, travelers can enjoy all of the amazing activities in this city year-round. That’s right, the city is called the Eternal Spring City because of its perfect weather. Read below for my take on the best things to do in Medellin and its surrounding areas.
1. Tour Comuna 13
Before traveling to Medellín and even thinking about booking a Colombia tour, I was fascinated by its dark history just as much as I was attracted to its beauty. Before my trip, I watched the Netflix Original “Narcos,” which painted the city as very dangerous. However, currently, the safety issues are less and less problematic.
On my first day, I chose one of the most popular things to do in Medellin and visited Comuna 13, the area that was once the main site of the violence. I was shocked by how safe and welcoming the neighborhood has become!
Innovative additions, such as electric escalators and cable cars have dramatically changed the lives of the locals. And the pain of their history paints the streets in an artistic and beautiful way. By the end of my visit, I felt truly connected to the local people and understand why this place is considered the “heart of the city”.
2. Climb El Peñón de Guatapé
There are things to do outside of Medellín as well. Two hours away is El Peñón, a massive rock in the middle of a stunning valley. This ten-million-ton rock, once worshiped by the Tahamies Indians, is surrounded by rolling green hills and turquoise water. Upon arrival, I saw locals engaging in water sports, having me crave some adventure. I climbed El Peñón to see the landscape from above, and it was definitely worth the sweat!
The town of Guatape was a pleasant surprise as well! The colorful buildings and cobblestone streets were very charming. I had lunch at a local restaurant and had an excellent piece of fresh trout worth all the money!
I ended the day with a boat excursion. On the boat, I saw a couple of famous people’s homes, including the ruins of one of the homes of Pablo Escobar, the famous drug lord. This was a truly memorable day – my favorite thing to do outside of Medellín! If you are into nature you can combine Guatape with other sites included in our Colombia Botanical Tour.
3. Explore Pueblito Paisa
One of the best things to do in Medellín is to explore Pubelito Paisa. This little neighborhood is on top of a gorgeous hill, featuring great views of the city. Additionally, there is a small plaza below with shops and restaurants. While it does cater to tourists, you can easily picture this little town 50-60 years ago as the beautiful isolated settlement with the best view facing spectacular Andes mountains and landscape similar to Bogota.
It would be a shame not to eat as the locals do in Pueblito Paisa! For lunch, I had the Bandeja Paisa. Bandeja Paisa is a local dish made with meat, beans, avocado, rice, and plantains. It was delicious!
Apart from traditional food the area has some more gourmet restaurants as well. Exploring Pueblito Paisa is the perfect way to spend a free afternoon inside the city and one of the best things to do in Medellin if you like strolling around the colonial streets and feel local vibes.
4. Take a Coffee Tour in Antioquia
While Medellín is not technically the Coffee Region, it is a great place to add in a coffee tour! A couple of hours outside of the city is the family-run Don Octavio Acevedo coffee plantation. They are happy to host any guests and take them through coffee production with them.
Enjoy a typical lunch and drink some of their delicious coffee! They say you haven’t truly visited Colombia without learning about their coffee production, so make sure to take advantage of this opportunity! This attraction is for sure one of the best things to do in Medellin if you are a fan of coffee aromas and taste.
5. Visit the Botero Plaza & Museum
Located downtown, the Botero Plaza and Museum is an homage to one of Colombia’s most beloved artists, Fernando Botero. His art is instantly recognizable, as it always features voluptuous men or women with ironically small hands/heads/feet, etc.
While some people would label his creations as “fat figures,” he protests by saying that he has a passion for volume – it is his primary point of inspiration. The plaza and museum feature some of his sculptures and paintings that made him famous. It’s one of the things to do in Medellin that you should consider putting as number one on your custom itinerary.
More Info on the Best Things to Do in Medellin
Overall, Medellín is a fantastic place to visit with lots of things to do. Whether you enjoy walking along with the street art, learning about the coffee, or wandering in the museum, there will be something for you here!
And if you’re looking for more ideas on what to do or see apart from Medellín, check out our top things to do in Colombia. It has plenty of travel ideas, restaurant recommendations, and safety tips for popular destinations all over the country. Then just contact one of our Expert Travel Consultants and plan your dream trip!