Travelling to Colombia and wondering what to do in Medellin?
You’re in the right place…
Now, let’s look at the things you can easily do during you stay.
I first made a trip to Medellin after hearing about the exuberant lifestyle and how it’s one of the top places to visit in Colombia after Cartagena de Indias.
Quick Answer: What to do in Medellin
- Sip the best coffee in Medellin – Visit El Poblado
- See Medellin from above – Medellin Metrocable
- Pueblito Paisa – Visit a typical Paisa village
- Free Walking tour – Learn more about the city
- Comuna 13 – Medellin’s most most unusual attraction
Medellin has become popular with backpackers. There’s lots of fun to be had and the city can easily seen as one of the best places to go in Colombia.
Meeting the right people is the key to experiencing cultural things to do in Medellin and will give you access to the hidden beauty the city has to offer.
Getting to meet local people is among the unique features of visiting Medellin. I’d like to give you a feel of some of the activities I did in Medellin.
Arriving to Medellin
Depending on whether you are flying to Medellin or arriving buy bus you many find this info useful. Flying from Miami is a breeze.
I arrived by plane direct from Bogotá with my trusty backpack. I usually prefer to travel overland, but on this occasion time was of the essence.
José María Córdova Airport in Rio Negro is the home of Viva Colombia – a budget airline that serves most of the country. Book early for the best prices.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
Use the local buses located outside the terminal to get into Medellin from the Airport, the cost is around 9,000COP per person.
Where to stay in Medellin
If looking for the best place to stay in Medellin I’d consider staying in Laureles. I stayed with Gabby and Elias. You can find their home on AirBnB.
I lived with Gabby and Elias and I can highly recommend you stay with them.
As a traveller, I found Laureles to be one best neighbourhoods to stay in Medellin for moving around the city and getting to El Poblado with ease.
Want a different experience in Medellin? There’s many cool hostels to be found in El poblado where you’ll find the best nightlife in Medellin on offer.
Healthy Eating in Medellin
Are you concerned about what to eat in Medellin during your stay?
Traditional dishes in Medellin are very hearty. Dishes like Bandeja Paisa are a speciality and Empanadas are found on most streets where you find food.
The great thing about Medellin is that you’ll find the menu del día in many restaurants throughout the city. Take advantage of the offer.
If you’re on a plant-based diet, you can almost always find a soup that contains no meat – usually the bean soup which is the most common on daily menus.
Best Restaurants in Medellin
You’ll soon discover that there’s no shortage of fatty fried food in Medellin.
Maybe, like me, you’d prefer to opt for a lighter and more healthier food experience. You won’t be left without, I can assure you.
With things like wraps, smoothies, and salads there’s a wealth of vegetarian and vegan restaurants dotted around.
I’ve listed a few of my favourite food spots in Medellin below:
- Mundo Verde: Cra. 37 #8A-40, Medellín, Antioquia
- Marietta: Cra. 35 #8A 107, Medellín, Antioquia
- Govindas: Cl. 51 #52-17, Medellín, Antioquia
- Veg Station: #35- a, Cl. 10 #3558, Medellín, Antioquia
If you’re a person that likes fresh fruit and vegetables then you’re in luck.
Every morning I would eat a large plate of mixed fruits including Mangoes, Papaya, Banana, Watermelon and Granadilla all for my breakfast.
Eating fruit is definitely one of my favourite things to do in Medellin. Fruits are in abundance, cheap to buy and very high quality, so take advantage of that.
Travelling to Medellin on a plant based diet?
Subscribe to get my Free Vegan guide to Latin America.
If you don’t have the space to prepare your own food, you may not find such exquisite delicacy options like you will at Verdeo restaurant.
Verdeo: 12 #43D – 77, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Many tourists in Medellin visit Verdeo to sample their nutritious soups and as far as I know, no one has ever been disappointed.
Coffee Shops in Medellin
Before I left Medellin, Juan Valdez was my favourite coffee shop. Juan Valdez represents the heart and soul of the Colombian coffee growers.
You’ll find it’s a tad more expensive than others but what originally drew me to this place was the environment in which it creates for it’s customers.
However, Juan Valdez does not serve the best coffee in Medellin. Below I’ll list some of the places you can unite yourself with higher quality cups of coffee.
- Pergamino Coffee: Cra. 37 #8A-37, Medellín, Antioquia
- Macanas: Cra. 34 #7-100, Medellín, Antioquia
- Café Revolution: Cra. 73 #410, Medellín, Antioquia
- Café Vallejo: Carrera 74B #39B-126, Medellín, Antioquia
💡 Smart Travel Tip
At Juan Valdez make sure you collect points every time you buy a coffee
Transport in Medellin
Apart from the weather one of my favourite things about Medellin is the transport. Comparing to Bogota, the city of Medellin is very accessible for travellers and you feel like you can easily access different parts of the city.
However, it’s worth mentioning the transport is not perfect. Relying on the Metro and buses alone can really slow you down during the day.
Taxis and Uber in Medellin
I found both taxis and Uber to be very affordable and in most cases, much more time efficient – try to avoid travel during rush hour at all cost.
The good news: Medellin’s public transport system consists of buses, metro, taxis, cable cars, and trams. So you have many options.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
You can also transport yourself to the colourful Gutapé about a hours drive from the heart of Medellin.
I don’t know much about the nightlife in Medellin but there’s a buzzing feeling of life that spreads through the city.
What to in Medellin – An Explorers Guide
The people are proud of their city. Being as part of my current travel rotation Medellin remains as one of my favourite cities in Latin America.
To see the visuals check out the video below which I made whilst in Medellin:
The streets ‘seem’ safe and you’ll enjoy the best weather, with a spot of rain, any time of the day – make sure you have an umbrella at hand.
If you’re still planning your visit to Medellin, I hope this will be useful to you in planning out time in the city of eternal spring.
Below are some activities you can do to easy acquaint yourself with the city.
1# Free walking tour
Trust me, this tour is worth it; it is by far one of the best things to do in Medellin and one of the most fantastic walking tours I have ever experienced.
Be prepared to use your feet for hours. You’ll learn loads and see some of the most important, most popular sites of the city.
Heard of Pablo Escobar?
He’s not my cup of tea, but if you’re looking for guided day trips from Medellin, doing a private Pablo Escobar tour could be one way to spend a day.
If you’re like many others who are interested learning the story of Pablo and about the terror he caused this type of tour is designed for you.
Although tough at times, I prefer to focus on the more positive aspects of a place when I travel. Remember, Escobar is generally not praised by locals.
2# Ride The Metro Cable
It’s safe to say that traffic can be quite peak in Medellin. Hence why taking the Metro cable was one of the transportation experiences I enjoyed the most.
The metro cable transportation system here is managed by the government, and it is a well-recognised regeneration initiative for urban settlements.
It offers tourists an insight of the barrios (neighbourhoods) from an up-close and interesting perspective. There are two major cable transport routes in Medellin, one of them provide access to the East and the other to the West.
3# Arvi Park
On my arrival to station Santa Domingo Savio, I took another cable car to Parque Arvi National park.
The car goes through the forest for about 15 minutes. It was all breathtaking fun. I definitely have to go back there one day soon.
After hearing so many good reports on Parque Arvi, some friends and I visited.
There’s a small token to be paid to access the park but it’s definitely worth it and even possible to hike without a guide showing you around.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
If you can, get a Civica card to save money and time when using the public transport. This works on the Metro, Metro Bus, Tram and Cable cars.
4# Botanical Gardens
If you love nature, you won’t mind spending time in this exceedingly fantastic environment.
It houses some of the most wonderful green vegetation, covering around fourteen hectares of land with over 700 species of plants and trees.
5# Pueblito Paisa
I enjoyed my visit to Pueblito Paisa. It shows you a living example of a typical Paisa village. You can walk around in and outside the buildings, buy food, enjoy the view and generally just relax.
The air feels much cleaner up there. It was a nice change from the city and especially after just arriving back in Colombia from Argentina.
6# The Mayorista
A truly magnificent and you won’t see it in most guides. The Mayorista is a wholesale market located in Itagüi. Just 2 metro stops from El Poblado.
If like me you like to eat fruit and vegetables this is the best place to buy.
The prices are ridiculously cheap. If you like to buy healthy food in bulk, this is the place to come. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.
The Mayorista is a pleasant experience to be had especially if compared to that of the Minorista Market which is located in the centre.
💡 Smart Travel Tip
I highly recommend you use The Mayorista for buying fruits if you feel uneasy walking around some the more shady streets Medellin has to offer.
7# Museum of Modern Art
If your in the mood you can visit the Museum of Modern Art.
You’ll find enough abstract art and interesting photographs to keep you occupied for a couple of hours. The gift shop is definitely worth a browse.
After browsing I found the best artwork to be located on the fourth floor.
Apart from seeing some great local art, my favourite part was going up to the rooftop and exploring the architecture of the building.
Best Unusual Attraction in Medellin
If this is not one of the best thing to do in Medellin it’s definitely one of the most sought after. A trip to one of the most dangerous neighbours in the world is at the top of the list of many travellers.
Doing the Comuna 13 tour has become so popular entire families lives have improved through the influx of people eager to learn more about the transformation of the neighbourhood.
It’s worth noting that you can take the bus and visit the Comuna by yourself. This would be considered at as a self guided tour of Comuna 13.
I recommend you take this tour that will really give you a better insight and you’d feel much more a ease walking around with your camera gear.
Things locals do in Medellin
In most cases Paisas (the people from Medellin) are funny, warm, kind.
Not to mention, extremely kind and welcoming.
It only takes a short walk around the neighbourhoods in Medellin to see how locals spend their time.
Local people in Medellin are very active and tend to live outside.
Depending how deep you want to go, if you’re wondering what to do in Medellin and really want experience local life, I recommend you head over to the Laureles neighbourhood and take a stroll around.
Things to do in Medellin
Without a doubt, a visit to Medellin will always be on the top of my list. From my arrival to checking into accommodation was a great experience.
My three weeks in Medellin was a memorable one, filled with fun, excitement and learnings.
After spending only three weeks in Medellin, there were many memorable relationships I’ll never forget.
One must have in mind when looking for things to do in Medellin that it’s possible to see most tourist attractions in just a few days.
I recommend extending your stay to get a good feel of the place and it’s people.
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Have you already been to Colombia, or thinking of travelling to Medellin?
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