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This is the City of Eternal Spring, which means that the weather is always perfect for hiking in Medellin. When you’ve had a long week with the other 2.2 million people who live here, sometimes you just need to get away from it all. I’ve lived in the city for 6 months, so I know all about the best things to do in Medellin. However, when I’m craving some fresh air and wide open spaces, Arenales, Parque Arvi, and Parque Salado are always my go to destinations.
This weekend, I really needed to get out of the city and out of my head. So, Daniel and I decided to try to find Arenales on the directions of two very old, poorly written blog posts. We weren’t optimistic, BUT it’s actually super simple to get to Arenales!
All that we had to do was go to the Envigado Metro Station and catch the bus that’s waiting at the Arenales sign. The fare is only 69 cents, and the drive is about 20 minutes. WARNING: if a giant bus taking hairpin turns on the side of a cliff isn’t your idea of a good time, you may want to sit this one out.
Once we got of off the bus at Arenales (it’s the last stop, the driver will kick you off) we found ourselves standing at a fork in the road. We took the left road and just followed the trail! It started out lush and green, and as we went deeper into the forest, we started crossing back and forth over a river.
The trail can get lost at times, so wear sandals and be ready to wade through the cold water a couple times.
After about an hour hike, we reached the waterfall. It’s totally secluded with a deep swimming hole. We had the falls to ourselves on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
After a romantic picnic and some time warming back up in the sun, we hiked back, got some ice cream, enjoyed the phenomenal view from the park at the bus stop, and headed home, spending a total of $6 for our days outing. Nobody said that hiking in Medellin had to be expensive.
P.S. You can also do this hike backwards, starting at Pablo Escobar’s infamous prison “La Catedral,” and go downhill instead with this guide.
Park Arvi is another phenomenal day trip if you’re ready to get away from it all. Of course, it’s one of the most popular places for hiking in Medellin, so our day started on a crowded metro ride where we got off at the Acevedo stop. It’s quite easy to hop off and find your way to the cable car, where the adventure begins.
The sweeping views of the city and stunning mountain backdrop during the cable car ride were breathtaking, and they only got better as we began to rise up to the clouds. We switched to a new cable car at Santo Domingo and began our climb into the park itself.
Medellin quickly evaporated into a lush green forest as far as the eye could see as we left the city behind us.
Once at the park, we grabbed a cheap lunch and fresh fruit at the market at the entrance, a few craft beers from the local brew stand (check them out, they’re delicious!) and went on our way.
You can hike on the natural trails around Park Arvi, or do what we did and hop on the bus to Piedras Blancas. There you can walk around the lake, rent a boat to row, enjoy the butterfly house, and so much more.
Parque Salado Ecologico
This small park is perfect for a getaway for hiking in Medellin, especially if you live in Envigado. The taxi from our apartment was only $10,000 COP/$3.50 USD, or you can grab one of the many buses heading up into the hills to take you there even cheaper.
The entrance fee is about $1 USD each, and it’s totally worth it. The park has a beautiful river running through it with plenty of rocks around to read, sunbathe, and people watch on. Many Colombians aren’t too shy to jump into the water to play with their kids, and honestly we were tempted to join them. There are also short but beautiful hiking trails up into the mountain side, with many of the trees and flowers labelled for the nature lovers.
We usually pack a picnic for the day, but there is a restaurant in the park as well. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even check out the zipline course through the canopy of trees.
The air is fresh and the greenery is gorgeous, making Parque Salado a perfect daily getaway from the crowded city.
Whether you’re in town for a week or a year, Arenales, Parque Arvi, and Parque Salado all provide lush oasis escapes that are perfect for a day of hiking in Medellin.
All my love,
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