Hiking in Medellin: How to Escape the City

by | Feb 20, 2017

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.


Arenales Waterfall

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.

Worth it!

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.

Girl in a waterfall

Parque Arvi

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.


city view of Medellin


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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  1. Bonnie

    We are headed to Colombia next month. I hope to take some of these hikes. Thank you for the post!

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      You’re welcome and I’m glad you found it helpful! Message me if you have any more questions 🙂

  2. Mara

    It should be noted that the police warned us a week or so back not to do the waterfall hike without a group. Supposedly there’s a guy that has been mugging/assaulting people going to the waterfall. The police said multiple women had been sexually assaulted, but not sure of when that occurred. While I’m sure this is likely an isolated event, it’s better to go in a group of 4+ just in case.

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Wow, that’s awful, thanks for sharing. The second time I did the hike with some friends, we went on a weekday and didn’t see a single person on the trails the whole time, so I can see why someone may target hikers there. Definitely not a good place to be on your own!

  3. Javier

    Thanks you for the great info about hiking in Medellin..
    I’m looking forward reading about all the Beautiful things to see & and in and around my home town. Going back soon after 28 years!

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Wow, almost 30 years away from Medellin! I’d love to hear what has changed from what you remember, and what stayed the same in the city through all that time.

  4. Chris Blachut

    Hey Di, thanks for the tips. Like you wrote on Arenales, there were only “very old, poorly written blog posts” other than yours, so you helped us have an awesome hike. For readers’ info, it’s possible to continue up past those waterfalls to another set called Salto del Angel. And going even further they can get to Pablo Escobar’s old prison, La Catedral (now an old folks’ home).
    Now I gotta go back to Arví and find some of that beer you wrote about!

    • Slight North by Dianne Minardi

      Thanks for the info! Sad I was so close to La Catedral and didn’t even realize…


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