Medellín – The “City of Eternal Spring”
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 comfortable lifestyle. After all, it was voted “Innovative City of the Year” in 2013 and “One of the Best Cities to Live in Latin America” in 2014. In the 80’s and 90’s, however, Medellín was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Thanks to the incredible transformation over the past 15-20 years, travelers can now visit this amazing city.
I recently visited Medellín and can’t wait to fill you in on all of my favorite experiences. Read below for my take on The 5 Best Things to See in Medellín:
#1. Comuna 13
Before traveling to Medellín, I was fascinated by its dark history just as much as I was attracted to its beauty. Before my trip, I watched documentaries and the Netflix Original “Narcos,” which all painted the city as very dangerous. On my first day here, I took a city tour 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 part of the city is considered the “heart of Medellín.”
Find out more >> Best Times to Travel to Colombia
#2. El Peñón de Guatapé
Located two hours outside of Medellín, El Peñón is 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. As I arrived, I saw the locals doing water sports and other activities, making me pretty jealous. 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 nice local restaurant and had an excellent piece of fresh trout! Then, I finished off the day with a boat excursion where I was able to view 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 one of the trip!
Read more >> Top 8 Colombia Destinations to Explore
#3. Pueblito Paisa
This little neighborhood in Medellín is perched on top of a hill. It features a great view of the city and a little plaza 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 town with the best view in the city.
It would be a shame not to eat like 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! Pueblito Paisa is the perfect place to spend a free afternoon in Medellín
#4. 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 the coffee production with them. You will have 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!
Check out our Colombia Coffee Tour Package!
#5. 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.
If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do or see in Medellín, check out our Colombia Travel Guide! It has plenty of travel tips, restaurant recommendations, and safety tips for popular destinations all over Colombia.
Overall, Medellín is a fantastic place to visit. Whether you enjoy walking along the street art, learning about the coffee, or wandering in the museum, there will be something for you here! Feel free to take any one of my Top 5 Things to do in Medellín and plan your trip to Colombia today!