5 Cheap Travel Destinations for Backpackers on a Budget

Traveling the world is a dream that many people have from a young age. However, they grow older and the realities of the world hit them. Bills. Time. Money. No matter what it is, traveling abroad becomes seemingly out of reach for many people.

However, it doesn’t have to be.

Although many people dream about visiting London, Paris, or Rome on their trips abroad, there are plenty of incredible countries and cheap travel destinations out there that are much more accessible for someone on a budget.

Over the last three years, we’ve had the opportunity to travel to some pretty amazing places while still watching costs. In fact, we paid off around $57,000 of student debt while traveling for the first two of those years. Of everywhere in the world that we visited so far, here are our five favorite cheap travel destinations that you shouldn’t miss.

 

Cheap Travel Destination #1: Thailand

The Land of a Thousand Smiles. Of the places that I’ve visited in the world, Thailand remains one of my favorites. Between the natural beauty, history, temples, food, markets, and low cost of living, there are few countries that can match it as a cheap travel destination.

Whether you’re a backpacker, a young professional, or an older couple looking for adventure, there is something for everyone.

For a couple traveling together, you can easily spend a month traveling around the country without worrying about too much for around $1,500 – $2,000 total. If you’re a backpacker willing to eat street food and stay in dorm rooms, you can cut that cost in half.

The number one activity in the country, getting PADI scuba certified with an open water diving course (including three days of diving and accommodation) cost less than $300 at Big Blue Diving on Koh Tao.

 

Thailand is a cheap travel destination for backpackers

 

Cheap Travel Destination #2: Sri Lanka

Although not at the top of many people’s must-see destinations, Sri Lanka is prospering after decades of civil war and relatively recent tsunami damage. For those who are looking for an adventure on a budget, there is plenty to do in this cheap travel destination.

The highlight of the trip, for me, was hiking to the top of Adam’s Peak (which has no cost other than accommodation), a fairly intense 3-4 hour walk at 2 am to see one of the most beautiful sunrises of my life.

However, drinking beer on the beach in Hikkaduwa at noon wasn’t the worst thing either. You can get a room directly on the beach for anywhere from $5-$30 USD per night.

 

Sri Lanka is a cheap travel destination for backpackers

 

Cheap Travel Destination #3: Nepal

I mention Nepal with hesitation for a few reasons.

The first reason is that, while the country itself is very cheap, the things that you’ll likely want to do are going to be expensive. For example, most people want to trek in the Himalayan Mountains to see Mount Everest while in Nepal.

Between the gear that you’ll need, the flight to the start of the trek, the guide, the porter, your food, and the accommodation on the trek, the costs add up quickly. Our trek for seven days cost around $800-$1,000 in total per person.

If the trek is a bit out of your budget, there are still plenty of other things to see and do while in Nepal. It’s filled with rich history, old temples, the Buddhist religion, and amazing nature all throughout the country.

With that said, Nepal is not for the faint of heart. Kathmandu is one of the most hectic cities in the world, and you’ll likely see things in Nepal that you’ve never before seen anywhere else in the world.

 

Nepal is a cheap travel destination for backpackers

 

Cheap Travel Destination #4: Peru

Although known primarily for Machu Picchu, Peru is so much more than just one tourist site. While you certainly shouldn’t miss Machu Picchu if possible (the price tag on it can be quite steep for someone on a budget), there is still plenty to see and do throughout the country that won’t break the bank.

For example, a ten-day boleto touristico (tourist ticket) costs just $45 USD and gets you entrance into 16 different ruins and museums throughout the Cusco region. Even a day trip to somewhere like the beautiful Rainbow Mountain will only set you back around $20 USD for an entire day that includes transportation, a 4-6 hour hike, breakfast, and lunch.

If you decide to travel long-term, you can cut costs even more. Check out our two-month budget in Cusco to see exactly what we spent in the city.

 

Peru is a cheap travel destination for backpackers

 

Cheap Travel Destination #5: Colombia

Ah, Colombia. One of the most dangerous countries in the entire world, right? Not anymore.

Tourism has expanded significantly over the last ten years, and it’s slowly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in South America. Even better, it’s also very cheap (check out our six-month budget to see for yourself).

No matter what type of traveler you are, there’s something for everyone in Colombia. It’s the second most biodiverse country in the entire world, and you can go from laying on beautiful beaches in Cartagena to touring coffee farms in Salento to wearing a jacket during a chilly weekend in Bogota all in one trip (round trip flights within the country start at around $40 USD).

 

Colombia is a cheap travel destination for backpackers

 

With the rise of budget airlines, traveling abroad is no longer only for the wealthy. Compare flight prices on Skyscanner for these cheap destinations (or learn about the best places to get cheap flights and travel deals) and get going!

If you’re willing to put in the time to research and budget your money accordingly, there’s likely a country close to where you live that you can afford to visit. All that you need is some time off (and that’s a whole different story).

PS you can also learn how to travel for free with the beginner’s guide to house sitting, or check out Grabr, the app that will pay you to travel!

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Save Money & Eat Well at the 10 Best Cheap Restaurants in Cusco

One of my favorite parts about living in Cusco has been the vibrant food scene.

Sure, Cusco is a tourist city first, which means super expensive hotels and restaurants line the streets to cater to the wealthy travelers. However, even if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to miss out on the great dishes on offer in the city.

I lived here on a budget for two months and ate A LOT. Use my guide to find the best cheap restaurants in Cusco!

 

Le Buffet Frances

Location: Atoqsayk’uchi 616, Cusco 08000, Peru

This cute little European cafe tucked away on a side street of Cusco isn’t a buffet, but it’s definitely French! Run by a young French couple, all the food here is phenomenal and it 100% deserves its place in the top spot on TripAdvisor.

The set meal with a sandwich, fresh juice, and dessert is my go to, while Daniel usually opts for the bacon and pumpkin quiche. You can also stop by for desserts and coffee, or meat and cheese platters to share.

The fresh, light taste is such a welcome change from heavy Peruvian food. The best part? A complete meal for two with food, drinks, and dessert doesn’t even set us back $20. For me, it’s definitely one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco.

 

Fuego Burgers and Barbecue Restaurant

Location: A Perú, Calle Plateros 358 A. 2do Piso, Cusco, Peru

This American spot was a great find, and one of our favorite cheap restaurants in Cusco.

Daniel and I hit it up for the amazing lunch menu. A sandwich or burger, fries, coleslaw, drink and dessert for $8. Yes please. I opt for the cuban sandwich with pulled pork, while Daniel usually tries something from the burger menu.

If you’ve been traveling in South America for awhile, you know a good sandwich is HARD to find. Check out Fuego for your fix!

 

Creperia & Backpacker La B’om

Location: Calle Carmen Alto 283, Cusco 08000, Peru

I love this little creperie because the ambiance inside is magical. It has low ceilings, colorful cushions, a living room with couches to lounge in and a balcony with an amazing view of the city. Oh, and the food is great too!

The “menu of the day” with a crepe, espresso, and fresh juice will only set you back $5 and will definitely leave you feeling cozy and full.

Another great aspect of this place is that it has the cheapest beer prices we’ve seen so far! $2 for a Cusquena brew is (sadly) a great deal here in the city. Because of that it’s one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco to visit for lunch on a weekend and some casual afternoon drinks.

 

Best Breakfast – Museo Del Cafe

Location: Espaderos 136, Cusco 08000, Peru

Museo del Cafe has the best breakfast I’ve tried so far in Cusco. Yes, the meals are $9 to $10 but don’t get scared away!

First, they are HUGE. I had to skip lunch afterwards because I was still so full. And second, they include everything. Coffee, fresh juice, and all the food you could ever need. We checked out a few cheaper spots in Cusco, but once we added juice and coffee to our meals, the price almost always exceeded those from Museo del Cafe.

Finally, the food is delicious and the ambiance is great. Comfy couches line the wall and we snagged a great seat on the balcony overlooking Cusco’s cobbled city streets. It’s right by Plaza de Armas, making it one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco when you’re searching for the early morning cure to your next hangover!

 

Best Peruvian Food – Menu of the Day

The menu of the day is not a restaurant, but an option. Classic Peruvian cuisine has some of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco because many Peruvian restaurants offer traditional food at an insanely cheap price every day.

The “menu of the day” changes daily (makes sense) and usually includes a soup, a main dish, and a juice. You can find the choices hanging in windows of restaurants or written on signs outside advertising the prices. If you want a filling meal on a budget, the menu of the day is the BEST option.

At the small restaurant by my apartment, we can get a large potato and veggie soup, rice and fried fish, and a cup of juice for only $1.50. Seriously, it’s crazy. However, the closer you get to the center of the city, the more expensive the menu will be, and I’ve even seen them range up to $10 at nice restaurants. So, if you’re on a budget my advice is to prowl the side streets to get the best deal!

 

Best Value – Maikhana Indian Buffet

Location: Av. El Sol 106, Int. 207 | 2nd Floor, Galerias La Merced

I love Indian food. I try every Indian restaurant in every city we visit and to be honest, in South America, they’ve all been average at best. Its not surprising, but still a little disappointing! Who knew I would eat the best Indian food of my life in little Oxford, Ohio??

Anyway, the Maikhana Indian Buffet in Cusco is great for two reasons. First of all, if you’re on a budget, it’s less than $5 for all you can eat rices, curries and a salad. It even includes water, which is so rare and so great to find outside of the US.

Second, while the curries are fine, the real star of the show is their garlic nan. Omg. It is far and away the BEST nan I have ever had in my life! The pieces are huge and so flavorful, and you can add it to your meal for only $1.50 more. That alone immediately categorized Maikhana as one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco.

Seriously if you’re an Indian lover like me, don’t miss this awesome buffet!

 

Best Drunk Food – Rey Kebab

Location: Peru, Tecsecocha 400, Cusco, Peru

Rey Kebab is just the best. It’s set up right across from the best bars and clubs and open late so you never have to head home unsatisfied.

The classic kebabs are only $5, and they’re big, hot, and filling. However, my favorite dish here is definitely the pita and hummus plate. I lOVE hummus, and theirs is exceptional. Their pita is also always hot and fresh and for only $3 it makes the perfect midnight snack.

No matter what time of day (or night) it is, definitely stop by Rey Kebab for a delicious and cheap meal in Cusco.

 

Best Dessert – Qucharitas

Location: 372 Procuradores, Cusco, Peru,

Guys. This place.

Qucharitas is a cafe, ice cream, and dessert shop in Cusco. The most interesting thing about it is that they make the ice cream right in front of you! They have a cream base that they pour on large freezers, then they mix in whatever toppings you ask for and let it all freeze together into their delicious ice cream.

Oh, and did I mention their waffles? Put your ice cream on a fresh waffle with nutella, or in a homemade waffle cone. They also have smoothies, cakes, milkshakes and crepes to tempt your sweet tooth. A half waffle with ice cream and nutella (my go to) is more than enough to split with a partner and will only set you back $4. Not bad, because the quality and flavor is absolutely phenomenal!

 

Best Snack – Churro Bar and Vegan Bakery

Location: Choquechaca 216-C | 2nd floor, San BlasCusco 88, Peru

Ok, this little whole in the wall cafe is just too cute.

Run by a young couple, the place only has two tables, a couple chairs, and a small menu. But, you don’t need to look at it long because it’s clear what they do best: churros.

You can get mini churros to dip in chocolate, churros filled with caramel, or even churros topped with different candies and toppings like a sundae. Pair it with a coffee or tea and your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied for only $2. Check it out!

2018 UPDATE: The Churro Bar has moved into a bigger space, and now has chairs and tables to chill at. Plus, it’s in a more convenient location right in San Blas. Nice!

 

Best Bar – Indigo

Location: Tecsecocha #415 first floor | First Floor, Cusco 08000, Peru

This restaurant isn’t too cheap (around $10 for a meal) but I’m putting it on the list because it’s my favorite bar in Cusco and has the best atmosphere.

Order a beer, a pisco sour, or even a hookah to smoke for the night, grab a few board games from the bar, and enjoy the music and cheerful ambiance while you relax. Arrive at just the right time and maybe the table set with a porch swing will even be available to snag for your group.

If you’re getting dinner too, the best options on their menu are definitely the Thai curries. The musandam curry with peanut butter and rice is my go to. It’s large enough to split for two if you grab a cheaper appetizer also, which can help keep costs down.

Definitely don’t miss Indigo for a night out in Cusco.

 

Cusco is one of my favorite cities to live in so far because the array of different restaurants and cuisines has been so delicious and fun to try. I promise, even if you can’t afford $30 ceviche, there are plenty of cheap restaurants in Cusco where you don’t have to trade flavor for price.

Use this guide to find the best 10 cheap restaurants in Cusco and try all of my favorite meals!

 

PS trying to save money on your trip? Visit the nearby Laullipata Park for a picnic or check out these super cheap day trips to pair with the best cheap restaurants in Cusco. A hike to Huchy Qosqo, the Temple of the Moon, or even Kinsa Cocha, Pisac’s three lakes can all be done on your own to save big money. 

 

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Craft Beer in Medellin: It’s Better Than You Think

Pablo Escobar. Cocaine. Drug cartels. The next big craft brew scene?

Colombia is a country of several faces, and its world reputation suffered significantly during the drug wars. Unfortunately, many people know it to be a dangerous place.

However, the Medellin, Colombia that I came to know during my six-month stay couldn’t be further from that perception.

Finally able to breathe again after years of suffering, Colombia is experiencing a wave a foreign visitors as it has never before seen. In fact, tourism in Colombia has exploded by 250% since 2006. And those visitors have helped to bring something beautiful to the country.

Craft beer.

I’m talking IPAs, chocolate stouts, coffee stouts, cannabis pale ales, amber ales, and several other incredibly delicious brews. Although it may not be the first thing that you think about when you think Colombia, it should certainly be on your radar. Let’s take a look at what I found when I started searching for craft beer in Medellin.

 

Craft Beer in Medellin: A Scene in its Infancy

Since I wasn’t old enough to experience the craft beer boom in the United States in the late 1990’s, being in Medellin gave me a taste of what it must have been like when the scene was in its early stages.

For example, we checked out the La Toma Cervecera craft beer festival in Medellin. Although we were only expecting a few different beer booths and some people hanging out, we showed up to a fifteen-minute long line just to get in the warehouse/brewery.

Once we paid for our tickets and got our mug/requisite palate cleanser (sliced chorizo), we walked into a surprisingly poppin’ beer festival. It was complete with multiple different independent beer companies, small booths serving artisanal food, a guy giving beer tattoos in the middle of the party, and the classic industrial layout (think exposed beams, open roof, beer tanks, and everyone sitting at wooden pallet tables).

With all of the different options to try, it was difficult to decide where to start (luckily we had time for several). The difference that stood out to me the most about many of the companies is that several of them were clearly just some friends that got together to brew some craft beer.

For example, we stopped at one booth, and the poor guy’s bottles were just exploding and overflowing one after another (we finally got a decent kiwi IPA off of him). Although not every beer that we tried was excellent (in fact, most were not anywhere close to what you might find in the US), it was pretty awesome to witness the beginning of the craft beer boom in Medellin.

With all of the different companies that showed up, you might think that it’s easy to find craft beer in Medellin.

Unfortunately, that leads me to my next point.

 

A guide for glasses for craft beer in Medellin

Photo Credit: La Toma Cervecera

 

Craft Beer in Medellin is Hard to Find in the Stores

If you’re from a craft beer-loving country such as the United States (sorry Europeans/Aussies, the beer in the US is the best), you’re going to find it quite difficult to track down a good brew in the city. In the supermarkets (yes, even in Carulla), the best that you can find is Club Colombia (not a bad beer in its own right), a few iffy imports, and some from Bogota Beer Company (pretty solid, actually).

For the good stuff, you’ll have to track down the few places in the city that stock craft beer in the bar. Luckily, if you’re a tourist, that shouldn’t be that hard to do. Some of the best places for craft beer in Medellin that we found were the following places…

 

Breweries in Medellin

  • The Brew House in Poblado: This brewery has a decent selection of their own craft beers and several other local beers. Plus, the owner is a nice guy and great to drink with. He’s always there and will probably have a drink with you if you strike up a conversation.
  • La Cerveceria Libre in Poblado: About a 5-7 walk from Parque Lleras. It’s a bit away from the more touristy stuff, but the beer selection here is good and they brew their own as well.
  • Cerveceria Maestre is one of the newest breweries on the scene. Visit this small shop in Poblado when you’re sick of Club Colombia and need some fresh brewed craft beer in Medellin!
  • 20 Mission Cerveza is the first brewery on this list located outside of Poblado (although it’s still pretty close).
  • Tres Cordilleras isn’t really craft beer in Medellin because it’s one of the bigger breweries. However, I’m keeping them on the list because they offer what no one else has: brewery tours! Visit the website for times and check this place out for yourself (and try a few beers when you do).

 

Craft Beer Bars in Neighborhoods Throughout Medellin

  • Ragazzi Pizza and Pastas in Envigado: Although not everyone has enough time in the city to make it out to the suburbs, this is one of the best restaurants in Envigado. Their prices are excellent, their food is great, they always have several craft beers available, and the owners are super friendly.
  • The Beer Store in Poblado: This one ‘s hard to miss. It’s directly in the center of Parque Lleras, but they have a pretty good selection of beer. It’s the only place that I could find the BBC IPA in Medellin.
  • Punta Arenas in Laurales: Good food, good atmosphere, and craft beer in Medellin. What more can you ask for?

 

Craft Beer Festivals in Medellin

  • Like I mentioned above, La Toma Cervecera is the biggest and best craft beer festival in Medellin. Head out for one day over the weekend and try up-and-coming craft beers that are usually hard to find in the city.
  • The Vive La Cerveza “Live the Beer” Festival took place on St. Patty’s Day in 2018. Keep an eye out for the annual event in March next year!

 

As Colombia continues to prosper and experience influence from people all over the world, I imagine that the craft beer in Medellin is only going to get better. Whether you have two days or two months in the city, be sure to experience the scene for yourself.

PS for more suggestions don’t miss our DIY Poblado Bar Crawl Guide to visit all our favorite Medellin hot spots in one night!

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How to Visit the Pisac Ruins Without a Guided Tour

I visited every ruin on the Tourist Ticket and I can easily say that the Pisac Ruins are the best.

If you’re thinking about skipping this ancient Incan site on your trip to Cusco, you definitely need to reconsider. They are easy to get to without a guided tour, situated high on a mountain with stunning views, and right outside an awesome little hippy town that’s definitely worth exploring.

Even better, the Pisac Ruins are in four different groups, and the farther you walk into them the more isolated and empty they become. It really feels like stepping back in time. Once you reach the third set, you can follow the path down the mountain and back into Pisac for a relaxing lunch. Seriously a perfect day!

 

How to Get to the Pisac Ruins Without a Guided Tour

Getting to the Pisac Ruins from Cusco is quick and cheap. Collectivos (shared vans) leave regularly from the top of Puputi street. They’re fast, comfortable, and only cost 4 soles / $1.25 usd. The drive takes around 45 minutes and drops you off right in the middle of the small town of Pisac.

Once you’re there, you’ll have to take a taxi up the mountain to the ruin. You can grab a taxi right where you get out on the street, and they cost 25 soles / $8 usd each for the one-way trip up the mountain.

 

the view from the Pisac Ruins

 

The Pisac Ruins

These ruins are amazing. The first group you walk into has an incredible view of the Incan terraces flowing smoothly down the mountain. Once we passed through and explored them, we crossed the terraces to the second community. This set crawls even higher up the mountain, meaning more stairs, but also stunning panoramas of the ruins and valley below.

Afterward, we were one of the few to venture onward to the third cluster in the Pisac ruins, about ten minutes away on a path on the side of the mountain. We had these all to ourselves, and promptly sat down to enjoy a picnic on the terraces.

Finally, we continued to cross through and followed the path that goes downward and wraps around the mountain back to the town of Pisac. While on the path, up above us we could see the fourth and final ruins, a hospital and citadel, balanced precariously on the side of the mountain top.

 

Incan terraces at the Pisac Ruins in Peru

 

Getting Back to Pisac From the Ruins

You can exit the Pisac ruins in two ways.

The first is by doubling back and taking another taxi from the entrance back down the mountain. The second choice, which we opted for, is to walk down and take the scenic route. More switchbacks, more cliff sides, and more terraces await on this 30 minute walk, but it was enjoyable and dropped us off right in Pisac’s main market.

The market weaves through multiple streets and squares and has beautiful sweaters, art, alpaca blankets, and more. While we found that the prices were a little higher in the markets in Cusco, their selection was larger and better too. If you want to check it out, though, just make sure you visit on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday, because the market is not open every day.

Finally, we decided to grab a late lunch and head home.

We went to Ulrike’s Cafe and I’m so glad we did because they have BAGELS! After seven months in South America, bagels are one of the American foods I miss the most. Seeing homemade bagels and cream cheese on the menu was such an amazing surprise, and they were so good we even took some home for breakfast the next day. YUM.

 

Market in the town of Pisac, Peru

 

How to Get Back to Cusco

Stuffed with good food and hot coffee, were ready to end our day at the Pisac Ruins and get back to Cusco.

To do so we just had to head back to the main road where we got off the collectivo when we arrived. After about one minute of waiting, another inevitably came by and stopped to pick us up. We were heading back at just the right time in the late afternoon, and the setting sun over the valley made for beautiful views all the way home.

 

All in all, the Pisac Ruins are definitely one of my favorite sites on the tourist ticket. They are easily accessible from Cusco, and the town of Pisac is a destination on its own. If you don’t have much time in Cusco, I suggest making sure you find the time to squeeze this piece of history onto your to-do list!

Looking for more hikes you can do on your own in Cusco? Trek to Huchuy Qosqo without a guide, visit Kinsa Cocha to see Pisac’s three lakes, or take this easy hike in Cusco that you can start right inside the city center!

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10 Things To Do in Medellin to for a Truly Colombian Experience

I lived in Medellin for 6 months, which means I had plenty of time to explore everything the city had to offer. If you’re only in town for a short time, make sure you don’t miss my top recommendations for what to do in Medellin!

 

Go Paragliding

Paragliding is arguably the best thing to do in Medellin, especially if you’re an extreme sports fan. It’s pretty cheap and a great way to see the city. You don’t even need to sign up or prepay online, because all of the paragliding companies are in the same place. Just take an uber or a taxi to San Felix and mention that you want to go paragliding – most will know where the offices are.

Once you’re there, you can choose between 20 minutes for $125,000 cop or 30 minutes for $165,000 cop. Finally,, take a deep breath, jump off the cliff, and enjoy your adrenaline rush (and the view of course!)

 

Paragliding is a popular thing to do in Medellin

 

Spend a Night out in Poblado

There’s a reason why every backpacker leaves Medellin raving about the night life – the city has one of the best on the continent! A night out in Poblado is a tourist destination in itself and definitely one of the most popular things to do in Medellin,

Whether you like fine dining, hip bars, craft beers, or clubbing til the sun comes up, Poblado definitely has it all. Use my guide for the best DIY bar crawl in Poblado, then make sure you return for brunch as well and hit up the cute little shops on Via Primavera while you nurse that hangover.

 

Get Educated on the Medellin City Tour

We all know Medellin produced the infamous Pablo Escobar, but what else have you learned about the city’s history?

Take this three hour tour not only to see parts of downtown Medellin you wouldn’t otherwise explore, but also to learn about Medellin’s rich and interesting history that involves the FARC, the Colombian cartels, and surprisingly, their metro system.

Just make sure you book in advance because this popular tour fills up FAST.

 

Take the Cable Car to Parque Arvi

Visiting Parque Arvi is one of my favorite things to do in Medellin.

It’s great for two reasons. First, because it’s located up and over the mountain from Medellin, which allows for a total escape from the crowds and into nature. The second reason why I love Parque Arvi is because of the way you get there. Taking the metro seems boring, but not in Medellin where their metro line is actually a cable car!

Enjoy spectacular views while swinging over the city – and only pay $2,400 cop for the ride. Once you reach Parque Arvi, take some time to explore the market and grab some Colombian eats, then hit the guide desk for a map. There are plenty of great options to hike, and you definitely can’t see them all in one trip.

 

Visitng Parque Arvi is one of the best things to do in Medellin

 

Hike to the Arenales Waterfall

Want to get off the beaten path? Go hiking in Medellin at the Arenales Waterfall. This easy half-day trip from the city starts in Envigado. You’ll definitely get a workout in, but at the end you’ll rewarded with a beautiful waterfall where you can even take a dip in the cold pool underneath.

Get more specific directions in my guide to hiking in Medellin where learn how to visit Parque Salado as well!

 

Catch a Soccer Game

For sports fanatics, catching a soccer game is one of the best things to do in Medellin. The futbol season is long in Medellin and the games are really easy to get to.

First, though, you have to decide which one of Medellin’s teams you support. National or Medellin? Once you got that down (aka once you figure out who is playing on the night you want to go), you can buy your tickets at the Happy Buddha Bar in Poblado, buy a jersey for $40,000 cop from a roadside vendor, and cheer them on at the stadium.

My tip: After the game, walk down Avenida Nutibara and enjoy the festive atmosphere along with a few drinks as well.

 

Take a Day Trip to Guatape

Guatape is one of my favorite day trips from Medellin. While not exactly something to do in the city, it’s certainly easily accessible from the area.

Guatape is ta great escape because where Medellin is huge and modern, Guatape is the quaintest, most colorful Colombian town you’ll ever see. Climb the large rock for an aerial view of the lakes, wander the cobbled city streets and enjoy lunch in the sun, and take a boat out on the water for a tour of Pablo Escobar’s bombed out mansion. Beauty, nature, and history collide in this perfect day trip from Medellin.

 

Visiting Guatape should be at the top of your list of things to do in Medellin

 

Try the Local Cuisine

South American food can be hit or miss, but in Colombia, it’s definitely hit. Make sure you eat a papa rellena (meat filled potatos), empanadas, torta negra, fresh fried potato chips, and of course the famous bandeja paisa served up at one of the best restaurants in Envigado. Then, it all down with a refreshing limonada de coco while you try not to think about how many calories you just consumed.

 

Visit Pueblito Paisa

If you can’t make it out to Guatape for a day, Pueblita Paisa is the next best thing. The small square is built on top of a hill so you get great views of Medellin served up with a small dish of local history.

See how the locals once lived in the reconstructed square, enjoy the restaurants, and step back in time at the small museum. It’s smack in the middle of the city, but still makes for a great escape from reality!

 

Check out a Festival

Medellin is known for of their huge selection of wild festivals that go down in the city. Specifically the Feria de los Flores in July is a must see. If you haven’t planned your trip yet, check out this calendar of festivals and see what’s coming up because some of them are definitely worth timing your visit around.

 

Medellin is a beautiful, interesting, and must-visit city when you’re traveling through Colombia. Whether you have one weekend or one year to spend exploring the city, don’t miss my top ten things to do in Medellin while you’re here!

Still looking for more things to do in Medellin? Use this guide to craft beer in Medellin to dive deeper into what the city has to offer or explore the Colombia page for luxury stays, weekend getaways, and more. 

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