Medellin is becoming an increasingly more popular tourist destination in Colombia and we definitely saw the appeal. With a beautiful landscape, trendy neighborhoods, and very kind people, Medellin is our favorite Colombian city.
Where to Stay in Medellin
We stayed in Medellin’s Poblado Neighborhood and absolutely loved it. It is full of fabulous dining and shopping options and other creature comforts from our favorite American and European cities. Read more about Poblado here.
What to Do in Medellin
There are a variety of awesome activities to fill up your days in this City of the Eternal Spring.
Medellin has a gondola connected to their metro which you can ride all the way to the top of the mountain. The views are incredible! At the top is Parque Arvi, a nice park with plenty of trails, food stalls, and a little market. We ate at the mushroom restaurant which was a crazy dome shaped tent with delicious stuffed mushrooms!
You can’t visit Medellin without hearing about Botero. This famed artist’s work includes sculptures and paintings of obese people! It’s quite interesting. The plaza is a great place to take photos in front of these unique sculptures.
Museo de Antioquia
The Antioquia Museum is a very nice museum with plenty of Botero paintings and interactive exhibits. In the heart of Botero Plaza and with a cheap admission fee, it is a must-do when downtown. Botero also has some interesting paintings of Pablo Escobar’s death.
Colombia is a coffee mecca and learning about the process is just as much fun as drinking the product! We visited Cafe Cereza near the Envigado neighborhood of Medellin. Being so close to the city I was skeptical of the authenticity of this coffee “farm” but it was so great! We even went on a tour of another coffee farm in Salento, the heart of Colombia’s coffee region, and this one was better! The tour is private and very interactive. You even get to pick your own coffee beans! The owner and tour guide, Fabian, is so passionate about his work and it shows. Fun fact: he is also a competitive speed walker!
If you have read any of our other Colombia posts, you know how much Grant loves playing tejo. Similar to corn hole, except with a backboard filled with dynamite, tejo is a Colombian pastime. Medellin’s tejo scene isn’t as big as Bogota’s or Salento’s, but it still makes for an entertaining afternoon. Chris is an American expat who runs the tejo scene in Medellin. You meet him at a public court and $10 USD gets you a “lesson”, 3 beers, and materials for the game. It is a lot of fun! Read more about it here.
Mercado del Rio
I loved this market! It is a shared indoor marketplace with great food options ranging from paella to popsicles. It reminds me of Liberty Public Market in San Diego and Ponce City Market in Atlanta.
Pueblito Paisa is a replica of Medellin in the old days. With cheesy trinkets and restaurants it reminded me a lot of Old Town in San Diego. There is a cool museum of Medellin’s history and the views are great. I don’t think I would exactly recommend Pueblito Paisa, but if you’ve got time to kill, check it out.
We didn’t make it to Comuna 13. It was raining the day we were planning on going and it wasn’t super high on my list. It is a rough area trying to make a comeback with trendy street art and outdoor escalators. Sounds interesting enough, and if we are back in Medellin I would like to check it out.
Salsa dancing is huge in all of Colombia and Calle 70 is the place to go in Medellin. The street is lined with salsa clubs, but don’t expect it to look like your favorite scene from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. There are less beautiful classic dresses and more fog machines and jeans. Son Havana is another go to spot for salsa in Medellin. It was closed when we tried to go, but it came highly recommended.
Guatapé is a great day trip from Medellin. Climb the huge Piedra del Peñol and check out the amazing lake views. Read all about our trip to Guatapé here.
Safety in Medellin
We had no problems with safety in Medellin. We used our phones and wore our wedding rings. Poblado felt especially safe, even at night. However Colombia is still slowly overcoming its violent past (we had a bag stolen in Cartagena) and it’s important to always be cautious of your surroundings.
The People in Medellin
The local people, or Paises, of Medellin are great. They are commonly referred to as the Texans of Colombia and we can see why! Just like the southerners, they’ll strike up a conversation with you anywhere.
The Weather in Medellin
Referred to as the City of the Eternal Spring, Medellin is vibrant with its green beauty, but this does come with the occasional rain shower. It rained for a little bit every day when we visited in January, but it was never a day ruiner.
Transportation in Medellin
We primarily used cabs or uber, but Medellin has a great public transportation system. Their metro connects to a gondola! It is affordable (around $2 USD) and is a great way to get around the city.
When visiting Colombia, Medellin must be on your list! It is so amazing. From art museums to coffee tours, the best of Colombia can be found in Medellin.
Want more information to plan your trip to Medellin? Check out the Colombia Lonely Planet here.