We fell in love with Medellin. It is the city that we liked the most in Colombia and here’s why. First of all the people are so nice. Even though they have been through so much, they are very warm and most of all very curious to you. Second, Medellin is a modern city. It sometimes felt like we were back home in Amsterdam, but with a Colombian twist. Especially in the area where we were staying, El Poblado, there are many cute little stores and modern restaurants. The vibe is relaxed, especially during the evenings from Thursday to Saturday everyone is sitting outside enjoying their drinks. Next to the people and the vibe, it is easy to travel in Medellin and there is lots to do.
– Free walking tour
THE activity that you MUST do in Medellin, is BY FAR the free walking tour with Real City Tours. We did it on the first morning in Medellin and it is the best introduction you get to the city. You will see most of the highlights in the city center and your guide will give you a extensive introduction to the country, the city, history, politics, food and much more in a fun way. It is free, but a tip is recommended and it will definitely be worth your money. (+/- 20.000 COP)
– Comuna 13
This used to be a rough neighborhood, but due to the escalators the people are now able to work in the city center, and therefore the crime rate has been reduced significantly. The houses are colorful and it is nice to get away from the modern El Poblado and the busy city center to see what the comuna’s look like.
– Parque Lleras
To experience nightlife in Medellin, go here during the night in the weekend and you’ll see everyone sipping on some Aguardiente and enjoying themselves. Around the park are many bars to go dancing when your ready.
For Vincent’s birthday we went paragliding, both our first time. We did some research and Dragonfly seemed the best company to go with, and this for sure was the case. It is run by two brothers, and they did everything to make the ride as perfect as possible. The experience was so nice, you feel like a bird and you have a beautiful view of Medellin. We took the 20 minutes flight, which we thought was perfect and also bought the GoPro footage, which has nice pictures and movies (125.000 COP for the flight and 30.000 COP including SD card for the pictures/movies). It is located in San Felix, the company can either arrange a pick-up for you or you can go there yourself, which is a lot cheaper and not difficult at all. Take the bus from Portal Norte to San Felix and tell the bus driver that you go paragliding with Dragonfly and they will tell you where to get out. It takes you about one hour to get there. (20.000 COP plus 6.000 COP to get there)
Guatape is a little town located 2 hours from Medellin. It is a small village with beautifully painted houses and 5 minutes away from the town is La Piedra, a huge rock of which they still don’t know how it got there. You can climb the rock and it is really a must do. You have a nice view of the area, which has many beautiful (artificial) lakes. Some people like to stay in Guatape for a few nights because it is so quiet and easy going. We only went for a day trip and felt that it was enough to get a good feel of the town. You can go to Guatape by booking an expensive tour, or you can go by yourself for only a fraction of the price. First, go to the metro station Caribe. This is located next to Portal Norte. From Portal Norte, take the bus to Guatape. We advise you to get out at La Piedra, so you can climb that first and then walk to the small town of Guatape or go there by tuktuk (recommended). (13.000 COP busticket to Guatape, 5.000 COP tuktuk)
Since Colombian food contains a lot of fried stuff, after 1,5 week we were looking forward to some fresh and healthy vegetables. So we ended up at vegetarian restaurant Verdeo and it was the best choice we made. Go for the burger with a mushroom bun, we don’t think we’ll ever eat a vegetarian burger that is this good.
Probably one of the most popular places in El Poblado since it was busy every night. It makes sense though, because the interior is amazing, the food delicious (Mexican food, definitely go for the guacamole!) and they serve great cocktails. It is a bit more expensive than the other restaurants however.
– Bon Homia
Great place if you are a real meat lover. They have a butcher section inside, but there is lots of space to sit outside. (+/- 20.000 COP)
– 37 park
Huge indoor restaurant which is not that cosy, but their outside seating is super cute. You sit on little tree trunks in between trees, like you’re having a picknick. They have set lunch menus for 18.000 COP.
– Hostel Cocobamboo
Though it is called a hostel, for us it felt like a hotel, or at least a very luxurious hostel. Our room was spacious, new and very clean, and the shower was hot! The staff was really nice and it had a nice common area where you could relax for a bit. Breakfast was included which was fine (coffee, eggs, bread, sausage, fruit). It is in the heart of El Poblado, and though one night we could hear the music of one of the bars down the street, it was not that bad and the advantage of having everything so closeby overruled it.
Medellin is big, very big. We walked around El Poblado to explore it a bit more and to and from the metro station, and during the walking tour of course, but other than that we did not do much walking as it just takes too long.
Like in the other cities, we used a lot of Uber and sometimes a regular taxi. There is a lot of Uber cars riding around so you won’t have to wait long and it saves you money! A taxi to the international airport will cost you approximately 15.000 COP if you take a shared taxi.
Medellin is the only city in Colombia which has a metro system and they are really proud of it. And they should be, because it is easy to use, cheap and you can reach almost all of the highlights!
We took a direct bus from Salento to Medellin (arranged by the hostel in Salento). It should take approximately 5 hours, however due to construction and because it is a busy road it took us 8 hours (42.000 COP).
After Medellin we went to Cartagena and took a plane. You could it by bus but this takes a really long time due to the distance that has to be covered and the mountainous area around Medellin. Besides this, flying with Viva Colombia is cheap, sometimes even cheaper than taking the bus! Beware that there are two airports in Medellin, and that the international airport takes an hour to get there by taxi.
What are your thoughts on Medellin? Do you share our love for the city? Let us know in the comments below!