Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia, and the capital of the department of Antioquia; Its average temperature is 24ºC and it is located at 1,479 meters above sea level, making it perfect to visit at any time of the year. Once known for violence and drug trafficking, Medellín has been able to rise from its ashes and become a civic and living city. It is now one of the country’s economic engines and a favorite destination for visitors from around the world. Dancing, nightlife and fantastic city tours are part of the new, beautiful and renewed Medellín. If you are considering visiting Colombia, keep reading this article that tells you what to do to spend an unforgettable vacation in the city of eternal spring.
Provence- the Village
Provenza is a neighborhood within the Poblado (the Poblado is one of the largest and most exclusive neighborhoods in the city).
It is an area full of life every day of the week. Here, in approximately 3 km of beautiful streets, you will find exquisite restaurants, bars, discos, hotels, theaters and shopping centers.
It is the place where locals and strangers meet to enjoy a good beer in the afternoon and an incredible party at night.
If you come to the party and want to meet people, Provence and its surroundings are the places to look for accommodation. Since the end of the pandemic, Provenza has become the preferred place to meet people and have fun in Medellín.
Towns and surroundings
Near Medellín, you will find many towns where you can enjoy the nature of Antioquia. Going to “puebliar” on weekends is one of the favorite plans of the locals and the thousands of tourists who arrive every day in the capital of Antioquia.
An hour and a half from Medellín, by car or bus, is Guatapé, a picturesque town known for a huge artificial dam where the Peñol stone. There, in addition to water sports such as kitesurfing or water skiing, you can enjoy the town and the typical gastronomy of the region.
Also, for 20,000 Colombian pesos (US$5) you can climb the stone to enjoy the panoramic view of the lake. The stone has 740 steps and it takes 30-45 minutes to climb to the top.
“The most beautiful town in Antioquia” is located 2h 30min by car from Medellín. Jardín is one of the towns that still preserves its colonial appearance and is a paradise for nature lovers, full of vegetation, flowers, birds, colorful houses and very friendly people. Here you can go hiking in the mountains, horseback riding, canyoning, visit ancient caves and bathe in groundwater or visit coffee plantations.
A jewel that you will want to visit if you come to Medellin.
Saint Faith of Antioquia
It is another colonial city and patrimony of the nation. It preserves in its streets and structures the colonial style of centuries of yesteryear.
It was the capital of the department of Antioquia and the center of mining operations in the region, in colonial times. It is one of the favorite places for the locals to spend the weekend due to its warm temperature and lack of rain, which makes it ideal to enjoy a bath or the river. In the tour of the town you can visit all the churches and the western bridge, which connects Antioquia, Sopetran and San Jerónimo.
To the west of Medellín is Río Negro, another of the busiest places in the Aburrá Valley.
If you come from another country, you will probably arrive at the José María Córdoba airport in Río Negro, 25 minutes from Medellín. In the area near the airport you will find a great gastronomic variety and the Arví Park, a nature reserve where you can walk, camp or take a cable car and tour the park, you can also book excursions to ride a horse or bike
Despite being a rural area, it has luxury restaurants and exclusive shopping centers. Llano Grande (Río Negro) has increased exponentially in recent years and is a place where exclusive real estate projects are developed. (If you like reggaeton or soccer, you might want to head over to Llano Grande, Maluma, Jbalvin, Karol G and James Rodríguez have their home there, if you’re lucky you might see them at the café in town ;).
commune 13 tour
This was one of the most violent areas of Medellín; The people in this sector experienced years of anxiety and anguish due to the ravages of drug trafficking. But just as it suffered, Comuna 13 lived long enough to turn its streets from war trenches into spaces of peace, culture and civility. Hand in hand with its people, today Comuna 13 is an example of redemption and overcoming, now it is a popular neighborhood with a desire to live and joy that explodes through its streets, houses and murals. Today it is one of the most touristic places in Medellín and you can discover it by taking one of its famous graffiti tours.
The tour is guided by locals (who speak English) and lasts all day from morning to afternoon. It is a tour of the entire commune, where they will tell you its history, you will meet its people and you will feel the love and strength. that this place gives off.
Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist, born in Medellín, known for his paintings and sculptures where he gives life to a unique style, he paints, portrays or carves only fat people. His particular style gave him worldwide fame and he is one of the most sought-after living artists in the world.
In Plaza Botero, in Medellín, you can see an exclusive gallery of sculptures by the author. Located in the center of Medellín, Plaza Botero is a must for all tourists in the city, it’s like being in an open-air museum, you will surely enjoy it!
Museum of memory (Museum house of memory)
If there is a good way to learn about the recent history of Medellín, it is by visiting the museum of historical memory. Get to know a piece of the raw and painful history of the city. From different angles, the museum evokes the history of terror planted by the cartels, the guerrillas, the paramilitaries, and the government from the 1970s to the 2000s. There are figures, testimonies, photos, and audiovisual material from that time.
It is a somewhat overwhelming visit but uplifting and moving at the same time.
In the heart of the city you can find a living museum of flora and fauna so that you can breathe fresh air. The botanical garden is an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle, with extensive green areas where you can sit and enjoy a small meal. In the garden is the orchidorama, which is home to more than 4,500 species of flowers and a butterfly garden with more than 1,000 species.
What to know before traveling?
Best places to stay
If you came to party in Medellín, Poblado is the place where you want to be. There are tons of hotels, hostels, or Airbnb options to choose from.
Near Poblado, you will find Envigado, (it is not Medellín but it is part of the metropolitan area of the city) an exclusive area where you can mix the turbulence of the city and the peace of nature.
If you want to stay more than a month in Medellín, we recommend the Laureles Stadium and Laureles area. Full of green, it is a much quieter neighborhood than the town, there are not so many discos, but in exchange you will find nearby sports units, museums, bars and many places to play sports. Everything is close, the center, the town and the north, so you can easily move around the city without going far
Is Medellín Dangerous?
Yes and no . It depends a lot on the area you are in. Most people who come to Medellín have never had security problems, but some people have. Most of the cases that we know of are related to drunk people who got lost to go home (day and night) and were mugged.
To stay safe, put away your valuables (including your phone) and ask people at your hotel for warnings about certain areas, and be extra careful at night.
“the city of eternal spring” You can be in the park on a sunny day and suddenly see how the rain is coming. There are dry days, rainy days or both. Whatever the weather, you won’t need a jacket or coat during the day, but at night you might want a warm blanket.
Avoid idolatry by Escoar
The people of Colombia (Medellin and Cali in particular) are tired of talking about Escobar and the narcos, but if people come with the ideal of Netflix (a cool criminal respected for his exploits) In Colombia Pablo Escobar was a terrorist and He is despised by the vast majority of his population. Medellín and Colombia in general are much more than drugs, so try to avoid that topic (it’s not taboo), but you’ll surely find better topics to talk about (you can also save Escobar’s shirt for another time).
Foreign tourists are free to pay the 19% hotel tax, so take that into account and don’t let the hotel people fool you.
It’s a big problem in the city. Despite the fact that there are no more polluting fabrics and thousands of trees in the city, the administration continues to fight this problem. Consider if you are sensitive to her
Can you drink water?
It is common to hear among travelers who arrive in Colombia and Latin America that they should NOT drink water, it is a myth, at least for the metropolitan area of Colombian cities. Both in Medellín and in the cities of the country, the quality of the water is excellent and it is drinkable everywhere. *Curious fact Colombia is the country with the most water sources in the worldbut a large part of its rural population lacks this service
How to move
The metro is the best option to go from south to north, it is fast and cheap. But if you stay in the center of the city, you can use the city bicycles and go around from the center to Laureles without problem. Both for the metro and for bicycles you have to get the civic card. With it, you can use the bikes for free and recharge money for the subway. This card is available at the metro stations: San Antonio (downtown) Niquia (south) and tIagui (south of Medellín, as well as Envigado, Itagui is now part of the city’s metropolitan area).
Likewise, taxis, and applications such as DIDI or UBER, operate throughout the city of Medellín.