Planning a trip to a new country is always a big challenge. Most of the people start by making a short list of the places they would like to visit in that country. This list is usually created based on a combination of some online researching, reading a guidebook and talking to people that have already been to that country. We can give you a first hand by checking here.
Sometimes, this exercise works out quite easily and you end up with a nice list of the main places you would like to visit in that country. However, must of the times the reality is that you will have big doubts about some of the possible destinations you consider including in that list.
These doubts are a common situation when planning any trip, but they are especially frequent when the country you are going to visit is Colombia. Deciding on what places and destinations you should include in your Colombia Vacation Package is a hard task.
After travelling to every corner of Colombia and having planned and organized trips for the different type of travellers for many years, we are in a very good position to recommend some places that you should definitely include in your list.
One of those places is Medellin. The second biggest city in Colombia, located in a gorgeous valley in the center of the country. A city that has come back alive with full strength after decades of violence. A city with one of the nicest weathers in Colombia, home to very friendly people, great restaurants and energetic nightlife. A city that has plenty of attractions for every type of traveller and that will certainly amaze you. And, a city that wins prizes thanks to its great improvements.
The following are some of the most important reasons why should always include Medellin in your Colombia Vacation Package:
Medellin is the art capital of Colombia. The city breaths art in all its expressions, from paintings, sculptures and street art, till architecture, music, and fashion. Simply put, you won’t find more and better art in any other place of Colombia.
Medellin is home to many of the best artists of Colombia, but there is one artist that stands above all others: Fernando Botero. He is to Colombian painting what Gabriel García Marquez is to the country´s literature.
He was born in Medellin and has very strong roots with this city. He became internationally famous in the 70s and 80s when he found his signature art style, in which he depicts people and figures in large, fat and exaggerated volume.
Nowadays, he is considered the most recognized living artist from Latin America and his art can be found in cities such as in New York, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Florence, and Singapore.
Nevertheless, the best place in the world to enjoy his works, is Medellin, his hometown. The Sculptures Square (Plaza de las Esculturas) has 23 large bronze sculptures in a public square that is almost like a Botero open-air museum. Other famous pieces can be found spread in different parks and museums across the city.
During the last years of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s, Medellin was the most dangerous city in the entire world. The drug trafficking business ran by infamous drug-lord Pablo Escobar had a very violent impact on his home city and its inhabitants.
Medellin has turned itself from being one of the most dangerous cities on earth into one of the most fascinating, modern and innovative cities in the world. The city creatively reinvented itself as one of Colombia’s most surprising cities to visit and the history of Pablo Escobar and his loyal bandits now provide interesting stories and places to visit for tourists.
If you have watched the Netflix series Narcos, you already have a vague idea of what happened during those times. However, you won’t really get the whole picture without you visiting the key sites of this former dangerous and violent city, that is now an example of quick and efficient recovery.
The best ways to really understand what happened and how the city changed, is by taking the Pablo Escobar tour and the Comuna 13 tour.
In the Pablo Escobar tour, you will visit the most important sights throughout his life and get plenty of explanations of his style, influences and the impact he left to the citizens of Medellin and the rest of Colombia.
In the Comuna 13 tour, you will see how a slum that was once buried under extreme violence caused by the constant fighting between the urban guerrillas, gangs, the police, and the army, is now reconnected to Medellín thanks to innovative urban developments.
The recent history of Medellin is really impressive and brings a very positive message to other places that have previously suffered due to violence. Any traveller interested in the recent history of Colombia should definitely include Medellin in his/her Colombia Vacation Package. If you are interested in the older history of the country, we recommend to also add Cartagena.
Even though Medellin is a big metropolis, it offers some interesting attractions for nature lovers. The most important of these attractions are the Parque Arvi and the Botanical gardens. They both offer amazing nature experiences in which you will be able to learn and enjoy the different types of plants and ecosystems of this fertile area.
Parque Arvi is a 17.61 km2 nature reserve located right above of Medellin. It is easily accessible by a cable car that offers an amazing 15-minutes ride over some parts of the city and its surrounding nature.
Inside the reserve, there are hiking trails, canopy lines, lakes, and a butterfly enclosure. The paths take you to different parts of this park where you will be able to enjoy the mountain wilderness and spot plenty of birds.
The botanical gardens of Medellin are the finest of the country. It covers 14 hectares, showcases 600 species of plants and trees, and includes a gorgeous butterfly enclosure, an herbarium, and a lake.
Spending a couple of hours in these gardens is the perfect way to learn about the local flora and enjoy a calm and green setting, right in the middle of the city.
For extreme landscapes and nature, we recommend to check La Guajira out.
Medellin and its surroundings offer great adventure opportunities. Thanks to its fantastic location and its mountainous settings, adventure lovers will certainly enjoy a visit to Medellin.
Our 2 favourite adventure activities to do in the city and its surroundings are paragliding and rock climbing.
Medellin has some of the best paragliding spots in the world. Floating peacefully through the air while getting spectacular aerial views over Medellin and its stunning surroundings is an unforgettable experience.
The paragliding flight lasts about 20 minutes and offers the best views over the lush green mountains of the beautiful area. The best of all is that you don’t need previous experience as it is a tandem flight with an experienced instructor.
For a bit more adventure, the town of Abejorral in the vicinity of Medellin offers the possibility of doing amazing rock climbing. Additionally, you can visit (or even spend the night) in the Casa en el Aire. It is a wooden hut constructed in the middle of a rocky cliff.
From this hut, you can do great hikes or have fun crossing the cliff in an exhilarating zip-line. You can also jump into the cliff in a huge swing (similar to a small-scale bungee jumping) or just enjoy some time in a hammock that is hanging above the cliff.
Adventure lovers will have plenty of activities to have fun. Those looking to have their adrenaline levels high up should definitely include Medellin in their Colombia Vacation Package.
Medellin is a fantastic city, but its surroundings are nothing short. Staying in Medellin and discovering the amazing attractions in the surroundings, is one of the best ways to really enjoy this area.
There are plenty of activities and places to visit in the surroundings, but the most important ones are: (i) Guatape and the rock of El Peñol and (ii) the colonial village of Santa Fe de Antioquia.
The full-day tour to the charming village of Guatape and the strange rock of Peñol offers you the best way to discover these 2 wonders in just one day.
Guatape is a charming town that is famous for its adorable coloured houses that are beautifully adorned on the lower parts of the walls. The Peñol´s rock is a 200-meter-high monolithic rock overlooking a gigantic man-made lake full of scattered islands. You will be rewarded with spectacular views after climbing the 649 steps through a crack of the rock.
Santa Fe de Antioquia, one of the most beautiful colonial towns of Colombia, can also be visited as a day-trip from Medellin. Santa Fe de Antioquia is the region’s oldest settlement, founded in 1541, and known as one of the cities that gave shape to Colombia’s cities as we know them today.
With this day-trip, you will be able to visit this picturesque town and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, walk the cobblestone streets past traditional houses, and cross the Cauca river (the second largest of Colombia) by walking over an impressive 291 m long suspension bridge.
There are plenty of other reasons why you should always include Medellin in your Colombia Vacation Package. These are just 5 of the most important ones.
If you are planning on travelling to Colombia and need some help creating your travel itinerary and organizing how you are going to fit Medellin in your list, please contact us and let us help you discover the best of this magical country.