10 Things To Do in Medellin for a Truly Colombian Experience

by | Jul 24, 2017

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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