The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring

There are only a few travelers who have explored the streets. The inhabitants of the city lived in fear, and trade in Medellin was crippled by cocaine. The city experienced extreme poverty and sky-high murder statistics throughout the ’90s and into the 2000s, as well as political corruption. The city’s history is forever intertwined with the name Pablo Escobar and the epidemic of cocaine, creating a bloody and complex narrative.

However, this is not the Medellin that you witness in the present day.

This is a city that makes you feel at home. And rightfully so. Medellin is quickly becoming a tourist hotspot in Colombia. It’s a young city that has been completely rebuilt in the last two decades. Medellin is booming economically and it is safe, clean, and eco-friendly. It is a forward-looking city that has been transformed.

In the urban area, there are many parks and verdant areas. The city was developed in harmony with its natural surroundings. Medellin is situated in a valley encompassed by abundant emerald mountains from all directions. The city is framed by rich green hills, which create a striking contrast with numerous red brick structures. Unquestionably captivating, this is one aspect of Medellin that is truly delightful.

Medellin Best

Colombia keeps its streets free of trash and also provides job opportunities for the disadvantaged. The garbage collectors hired by Colombia are homeless and impoverished individuals who clean the streets.

Transportation couldn’t be easier. Medellin is blessed with a well-connected metro system above ground. The city also has solar-powered cable cars, Uber, taxis, and bus stops on every corner. It is also very walkable.

Medellin is blessed with year-round pleasant weather, averaging around 75 degrees and sunny. The city is often referred to as the never-ending spring, thanks to its abundant sunshine.

Exploring this city is truly worth it and what truly makes it worth exploring are its people. You’ll find out what makes this city truly worth exploring and delve a little deeper into Medellin, where you can just hit the highlights and check out without having to appreciate where the backstory is from. You’ll be required to learn a bit about Colombia to appreciate where they are now.

Here’s how to maximize your experience during your stay in Medellin.

One of the most confusing hurdles we encountered when arriving in Medellin was the accessibility of different neighborhoods. So, let me save you some time. They are all very easily accessible from one another.

Are you searching for affordable lodging options? Where can we find an authentic place to stay that offers a wide range of local cuisine and is also safe for walking at night?

Laureles is the solution.

Dejameq’tecuente offers the finest chicken in the entire nation. Colombia, as a whole, serves some of the most exceptional cuisine available here, both in restaurants and on the streets. Every evening, the streets are filled with Colombians enjoying their drinks at tables outside liquor stores. The residents of Laureles are the local inhabitants.

Here’s a selection of our preferred eateries and coffee shops from our recent trip in 2022.

  • Jugosa. Come here for a refreshing juice every day. Believe me.
  • Naan. Amazing Indian cuisine.
  • Revolution Coffee. The top cafe for affordable and hearty breakfast in the city.
  • Hey there. Tex-Mex cuisine. Absolutely enjoyed the enchiladas and tacos.
  • Wow! The Acai bowls at Smash are absolutely amazing. They are a bit expensive though.
  • Los Chamos Venezuelan Arepas. Abundant piles of meat and cheese filled inside an arepa.
  • Ammazza Gin Garden & Pizzaria. It is a superb location for an elegant evening, providing delectable pizza and an exceptional array of drinks.
  • Unless crowded establishments filled with tourists and global cuisine are your main interest, the majority of travelers tend to gravitate towards El Poblado, a decision that is often regrettable.

    Why You Should Take The Walking Tour

    I will preface this by saying that even though I feel like I am being herded around a city with 20 other foreigners and being spoon-fed information about my own country, I hate the organized activities.

    However, Real City Tours was exceptional. (Not Sponsored).

    This kind of insight was invaluable to the lives of Medellin citizens. It also gave us a real history of Colombia from a local perspective. Our guide provided us with the bearings in the city and took us to tourist highlights on this free tour. This is the first thing you should do in Medellin.

    This tour provided us with the opportunity to ask questions about the city and get recommendations on where to meet and live from people we meet and encounter during our travels.

    Other notable moments from the tour included witnessing the Botero’s majestic Peace birds, savoring a drink at Medellin’s most ancient bar, exploring Plaza Botero, and indulging in Medellin’s finest buñuelos.

    Birds of Peace: Botero is the most well-known sculptor in Colombia. You’ll recognize his iconic “fat” people and animals everywhere. In 1998 one of his bird statues was used to house a bomb. It was detonated during an outdoor concert killing 30 and injuring many more. The youngest victim was 7 years old. The perpetrators have never been caught. Instead of removing the statue, Botero himself contacted the mayor of Medellin and constructed an identical bird just 10 feet away. So they will never forget the victims of the tragedy. Now both birds remain as a testament to the transformation of the city.

    Pay A Visit to Communa 13

    Medellin Best

    San Javier, otherwise known as the neighborhood controlled by Pablo Escobar, was the epicenter of cold-blooded murder and drug-related crimes during his reign in Medellin.

    Nowadays, it has become a community of artists.

    The locals create artwork inspired by their challenging histories. In this place, the residents opt to remember the atrocities they experienced. Despite still facing many economic hardships, they are abundant in Colombian heritage and traditions.

    Instead of engaging in drug sales as a means to earn money, they have opted to showcase their talents through street performances aimed at entertaining tourists. In lieu of participating in gang activities, they have come together to form break-dance groups. With the establishment of youth centers in the community, children now have a designated space where they can interact and socialize with their peers. This initiative has truly kickstarted the process of revitalization.

    The indigenous tribal faces many challenges. A bloody stump of a finger. Elephants holding machine guns in their trunks is a powerful and beautiful imagery. One long stretch of graffiti lines the main wall of the community, always growing. The main attraction in 13 Communa is the graffiti.

    Medellin Best
    The views when you reach the top are some of the best in Medellin.

    The comuna itself is built into the sprawling hillside below the city, allowing views. Escalators have been built into the hillside to make this region more easily accessible.

    The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring
    Tips for Visiting
  • The area is flourishing with tourism. You can now conveniently use the subway and securely stroll all the way to the elevators. Avoid walking to Communa 13. We encountered numerous residents who wouldn’t venture around in those areas of the city.
  • Yes, it is secure to explore without a tour guide. We accomplished this and experienced no complications.
  • Avoid visiting Communa 13 after sunset. This neighborhood has significantly enhanced its safety measures. However, it can still become risky at night.
  • Purchase snacks from the sellers. Tourism has greatly assisted this community and this is how many locals sustain themselves.
  • Visit Parque Arvi

    Simply riding the cable car to reach Parque Arvi, a vibrant nature reserve located just beyond the busy and contemporary city, is an attraction in its own right.

    You will soon become small farms in the dense forest and hillside below the barrios. You can ride the cable car all the way to the summit of the surrounding mountains.

    The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring

    The jungle seemed to be constantly on the move, with trees towering above. The cable car ride takes approximately 30 minutes, allowing you to hang a little box in the trees for a long time. At the top, there is a market offering fresh fruits from the jungle, along with a massive nature preserve filled with hiking trails and a vegan restaurant. Additionally, there is a park.

    It’s a refreshing immersion in nature after spending a few days in the urban environment.

    Tips for Visiting
  • For the average tourist, there is not much else to explore in this remote part of the city. Make arrangements with Communa 13 to experience this fantastic activity.
  • Avoid visiting during the nighttime. The same regulations as in Communa 13 are in place.
  • Avoid riding the cable car during the hottest hours of the day when there is no air conditioning or open windows.
  • Plan a Multi-Day Excursion to Guatapé

    The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring

    Although I don’t actually feel like I need to include this colorful pueblo hidden in the farmland an hour outside the city (by bus), it’s worth getting to Medellin.

    The majority of tourists participate in a short day excursion that begins and ends in Medellin.

    I would not advise this.

    The Penöl, a massive rock that is definitely worth climbing, is nearly impossible to reach. Every restaurant is filled to capacity, and there are tourists on every street corner. From 9 to 5, Guatape becomes a bustling zoo.

    Without the additional visitors, ascend the Penöl. Dine with the inhabitants. Rise early and enjoy the streets in solitude. However, if you choose to stay overnight in Guatape, you’ll encounter an entirely distinct adventure.

    The pueblos are truly an amazing place to visit. The streets are vibrantly colored with homes painted red, blue, and green. The communities consist of mostly farmers. If you can make it to Jardin, three-hours from Medellin, I highly recommend it.

    Other Medellin Attractions

  • The plaza is filled with Botero sculptures, known for their “full-figured” forms, and the architecture is quite striking. If you decide to explore Plaza Botero, I highly recommend taking a walking tour to fully experience it.
  • The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring
  • Take a trip on the Metro. Experience it during peak hours for sheer amusement. (Not recommended if you suffer from claustrophobia).
  • In Medellin, I highly recommend checking out El Poblado, although it is not my absolute favorite place. The nightlife there is renowned, but there is another spot that is definitely worth a visit – Criminal Taqueria.
  • Walking around the Botanical Gardens is a delightful experience, as it is filled with massive iguanas and large surprises. It is a great place for a picnic and provides a peaceful afternoon.
  • Dance in the subterranean techno scene. Calle 9+1 was a cool tucked away location.
  • The drinking culture here is the perfect way to start a laid-back evening. The drinking culture here is social and friendly. Colombians fill the sidewalk tables, sipping straight from the bottle and throwing back shots. Grab a drink at the liquor store.
  • Tipping is recommended. In the Laureles district, I have seen some of the most impressive break-dancing troupes ever in liquor stores and bars frequently visited by tourists, often on dimly lit streets.
  • Why No Museums?

    Sundays are free for visiting museums. Some of the famous museums in Medellin, such as Casa de la Memoria, Antioquia Museum, and Medellin Museum of Modern Art, pay homage to the victims of Colombia’s civil war. Medellin is filled with museums that history buffs would love to explore and learn more about Colombia.

    The Best of Medellin: City of Eternal Spring

    Prepare to Extend Your Stay

    We extended our stay by 2 days in the urban area, despite our packed itinerary. They ended up spending significantly less time than what most people had planned. Tourists develop a strong affection for this particular city.

    The enthusiasm is contagious.

    But there are countless other cities in Colombia to captivate you.