Infamous for the story of one of the world’s best known narcotraffickers, Medellín is the centre of modern art and culture. Despite its rocky and dark past times, Medellín is a phoenix rising from the ashes. It has had an injection of revival in its communities and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Full of public art, sculptures, and uniquely designed buildings, this city is a haven of entertainment. Colombian artist Fernando Botero was born here, and the city celebrates his work, visible all around in the form of statues and recreations of his best pieces. To see the authentic artwork, visit the Botero Museum. While you’re there, be sure to pop in to the Gold Museum located close by to see hundreds of gold artifacts retrieved from archaeological sites in and around Medellín.
If you’re interested in the details of Medellín’s violent past, you have several educational options. Many people choose to go on a “Pablo Escobar” tour in which you learn mainly about the drug lord’s rise to fame and eventual fall and many of the other people and elements involved with that process. Another popular choice is the Comuna 13/street art tour. This tour takes you through a neighborhood that used to be one of the most violent in the city, overrun with gangs and drugs and death. Learn how it has transformed into a vibrant, cheerful area full of commissioned graffiti work that tells its story. On the way, stop and watch some local youth dance in the streets, a talent they’ve practiced as one of the community programs now in place. Enjoy a peaceful ride of a series of outdoor escalators to get up to the top of the neighborhood for a great view of the city and take the cable car down into the centre. For an incredibly moving experience, go to La Casa de La Memoria (The House of Memories)- a museum that focuses on the violent period in Medellin and around Colombia. It provides an in-depth, broad education taking into account the memories of citizens as well as what was officially reported, giving an all-around perspective of the events.
Alternatively known as the “City of Eternal Spring”, Medellin offers mild, comfortable temperatures year-round. This makes it great for outdoor activities and festivals. One of the most well-known festivals in Medellin is the Flower Festival- a multi-day celebration that takes over the streets and hosts flower arrangement competitions as well as parades and street parties. It draws thousands of tourists and is a fantastic way to experience Medellin culture.
While you’re around, take the gondola up to Arví Park and explore the trails that lead you around the ecotourism park to learn a lot about local species. Then go visit the Botanical Garden to see the incredible biodiversity of this country. If you’re more of an animal lover than a plant lover, be sure to go to Parque Explora, which is a science museum with an aquarium. Finish the day off with a bandeja paisa for dinner- a local cuisine loved by many that contains a combination of beans, rice, fried plantain, chorizo sausage, ground beef, some pork, and a fried egg! If you have the chance to visit some of the nearby towns, take it. You’ll have an unforgettable experience in a beautiful countryside farming-based community where traditions from the past still live strong in music, dance, food, and mannerisms, all while looking out at a spectacularly green mountainous landscape full of plantations.
Medellin is not to be missed! Coming here will make you never want to leave.
In your visit to Medellin, we recommend you to start visiting El Poblado neighborhood. It is located in the southeastern part of the city. Lleras Park is one of the main attractions, famous for its great offer in fun and nightlife, as well as national and international food, it offers its people and visitors a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
This museum has more than 8,000 pieces between paintings and sculptures. It also has halls such as the Colonial and Republican, XIX and XX Century, International, XX and XXI Centuries and Botero Hall, where you find a permanent exhibition from the Master of Arts Fernando Botero. He donated this art pieces and sculptures to the museum in 1975.
If you are passionate about music, we recommend you to visit La Casa Gardeliana Museum, declared a Cultural Interest Site of the city. It is located in the well-known neighborhood Manrique and since 1972 is open to all those interested in learning more about Tango music and its greatest exponent, Carlos Gardel who died in Medellin in 1935. One of the things that you will love about this place is that during the weekends there are live performances with singers, musicians and tango dancers that will make you live a unique, emotional experience.
¡Medellin is one of those cities that breathe art and culture! That is why it is not surprising that when you walk through its streets, you will find different artistic samples such as singing, dancing, theater or even exhibitions of works in the middle of public streets. You can also visit other places like the urban park Parques del Rio, which are spaces made for all those who enjoy nature, sports and art exhibitions.
This is a very popular spot for tourists and locals, there are 23 sculptures made by the Master of Arts Fernando Botero. He donated these pieces of art to the city and among the most famous ones you find “Man on horseback” and “Maternity”.
While staying in Medellin don’t forget to check the theme park Explora. It is a very special place, which offers its visitors the perfect combination of knowledge and fun. Besides its interactive rooms, it has an aquarium that has 14 freshwater species, 9 sea species and, 1 from Medellin River. In Vivarium section, you can observe species of poisonous frogs, snakes, chameleons, turtles and about 21 other species.
Arví Park is a very nice outdoor very close to the city, and with easy access via cable cars. In this place visitors can go into the forest and enjoy extensive corridors with amazing vegetation; you can also do horseback riding, and bicycle tours.
Medellín is surprisingly prepared for all types of accommodations, from rural to luxurious this city has everything to offer. One of the best areas to stay is El Poblado where you will find
international hotel chains, small boutique hotels, and even luxury accommodations. The area offers a wide variety of nightlife, and gastronomy worth to try. Among our recommended options are:
- Hotel Dann Carlton
- Hotel Marriott Medellin
- The Charlee Hotel
- Hotel Porton Medellin
- Hotel GHL Confort San Diego
- Hotel Poblado Boutique
Medellin may surprise you with local gastronomy. Paisas as local people are known in this region have created an entire experience around their flavors. Meals such as beans, plantain, avocado, and corn, are mixed into very outstanding dishes.
- If you want to get a very local taste El Rancherito, is one of those restaurants where you can go everyday to get comfort food, and feel like a real Paisa.
- But if your paladar is more exigent, El Cielo restaurant offers fusion style food, where Juan Manuel Barrientos its chef and founder, creates a sensorial experience with his dishes. There is a full 12 course menu to try, and get to know more about molecular and fusion dishes.
- For those seafood lovers, Carmen would be the best option. This is also a fusion of AfroColombian flavours with the most sophisticated international standards to create the perfect meal. A place where your tummy says yummy.!
When you are in Medellin, you cannot miss visiting the city's districts, neighborhoods that had a very dark history, but a bright present. They have become cultural attractions designed to show all national and foreign tourists that Medellin was able to fully recover, and become an international city. This is the case of Comuna 13 de Medellin, where you can experience one example of social inclusion, a ghetto built on a hill where recently the local government set electric escalators to help people climb over the hill with minimum effort, this set a new whole way of mobility for its inhabitants, and now they are able to do normal activities such as buying groceries, or going to work, using minimum time. On the way to the escalators, you will see graffiti that represent the unfortunate history of the place, and how people managed to overcome all the adversity.
The area of Guatape and El Peñol is one of those places that you must visit when you are in Medellin. As you arrive the outstanding architecture of cultural tradition will fascinate you. El Peñol is a natural monolith of 200 meters high that becomes one of the main attractions. As you climb its 753 steps you will experience the whole landscape shaped by the beauty of little islands in a lake. The lake is part of dam that flooded the area, and left little hills uncovered in which forests, ranches, and chalets are found.