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Breaking the reputation, Medellin-Colombia

July 18, 2016

 

 

Medellin is the second biggest city in Colombia, it is becoming more and more popular with tourists, it is now the third most popular tourist destination in Colombia after Cartagena and Bogota. In 2012 Medellin won the title ‘Innovative City of the Year’ and was named ‘South America’s Leading city break destination’ in the World Travel awards in 2016.

 

Medellin is fighting against its bad reputation of drugs and violence since Pablo Escobar’s days. The city has so much to offer and we enjoyed exploring as much as we could.

 

This was our first city visit and we both love cities so were both excited to see what Medellin had to offer. Danielle had heard the reputation that Medellin had gained over the years but she also has a lot of friends that have been to the city and have nothing but good things to say about it. We were lucky as Dani’s uncle lives in Medellin so not only did we have somewhere to stay we also had a free tour guide and he really wanted to show us as much of the city as we could fit in our four days.

 

Getting there…

We were making our way to Medellin from Cali so decided to travel overnight on the last bus to Medellin as we were making our way to Guatape first so we wanted to get there as early as possible.  We travelled with Flota Magdalena at 11.15pm, the journey only cost 50,000 peso (£12.50) and it took around 9 hrs.

 

What to do…

 

Visit Guatape

Guatape is a small town in Antioquia which is around two hours away from Medellin a lot of people chose to visit the small town in a day but we were in no rush so spend the night there. It is a small but very pretty town if you have time make sure you make time for this beautiful place. Read more about Guatape.

 

 

Parque Arvi

We made our way to Parque Arvi because of a recommendation from Dani’s brother, as he told us it was fun we didn’t really look into what it actually was. So when you get to the park there are different areas for you to choose from depending on what you’re interested in. We chose the adventure area, Comfama. It cost 15,000 (£3.75 or $5.17) this gives you access to the whole area and all the activities including the tree top adventure area with zip lines and high ropes. When you arrive at the park they give you a time that you can enter the adventure area, we would advise trying to get to the park as early as possible if you interested in the adventure area, we arrived at 11am and got a time slot of 3.30pm by time Dani did her test run she only managed 40 minutes before the staff asked everyone to make their way down from the trees. The routes were around 1.30hrs so she missed out because we like our bed too much. Before you start the routes you have to do a test run and an instructor will advise which route would be best for you according to your skills, there are four routes. You can’t take any photos whilst doing the course so it was lucky that Danielle was a big baby and didn’t do it so she could take the photos. Other than the tree top adventure there was plenty to see around the park and its nice just to get lost and enjoy the silence.


How to get there…

Medellin has a great Metro system which is easy to make your way around and this is the best way to get to the park. So you need to make your way to Acevedo station where you will change to get one of two cable cars this cabin car is included in your Metro ticket, one ticket costs 1,950 pesos (£0.48 or $0.67). The second cable car you get to get is at Arvi and is chargeable, it costs 4100 peso (£1.20 or $1.65) each way.

 

Plaza Botero

We really enjoyed it here and there are a few things to do in one area, so we didn’t get too lost. The square itself has 23 Botero Status dotted around from Adam & Eve to different animals. On the square there is also Museum of Antioqua entry is 18000 pesos (£4.50 or $6.20) for foreigners or 12000 pesos (£3.00 or $4.13) for Colombian citizens. We really enjoyed seeing all the different art from Botero so would recommend you to go and have a look around. The Palace of Culture is a beautiful backdrop for the square, it towers the square so most of your pictures will capture this beautiful building. You can go inside but we were short of time so didn’t make it, but if its as grand inside as it is out we’re sure it’ll be worth the visit. There are plenty of venders selling all sorts of things here, it’s a great spot to grab a coffee or a beer and watch the world go by.

 

How to get there…

Again we used the Metro system, jump off at the Parque Berrio and walk right when you exit the terminal (Dani got us lost again here) and you’ll eventually see the bustling square.

 

Botanical Gardens

Another sight that Dani’s brother told us to go and see. Entry is free and is a really nice place to walk around and see the different gardens, they have a desert garden, Orchid garden and a butterfly sanctuary where Dani discovered her fear of butterflies and much more. We made it around the whole gardens in an hour and a half but depending on your interest in plants you could be there hours. There’s also a café and a restaurant which are located within the gardens.

 

How to get there…

Again the metro stop is just outside the gardens, jump off at Universidad and the gardens are right in front of you.

Cable Car

The cable car cost is included with your metro ticket. We took the cable car up to the top of the mountain on the first night. It was a great way to see the whole city for the first time, we both didn’t realise how big the city is. The cable car goes over the Favelas of the city and is mainly used by locals to get to and from home rather than a tourist attraction. You can get off at the top or as we did stay on and make your way back down to the metro.

 

How to get there…

There are a few different cable cars that you can get so just check the maps at the metro station which will tell you the route depending on what cable car you’re getting.

 

Pueblito Paisa

This a small typical Paisa town in cerro Nutibara which is in the centre of Medellin, because of its location and height you can see 360˚views of the city. We went at night and it was amazing, you could see how the city covers all the surrounding mountains. The town is really nice to walk around and there is a small house you can walk around to see how Paisa’s used to live. The town is definitely worth the visit and its free.

 

How to get there…

You can either take a taxi or walk up the hill, there were plenty of people walking and cycling up but it was a really steep hill so we jumped in a taxi.

 

Lleras Park

We were lucky to visit Lleras park when Nacional (Medellin’s team) were playing in the semi-finals for Copa Libertadores which is like the Champions League for Latin America so it was so busy and everyone was in a great mood. The square is surrounded by bars and restaurants of all different kinds so there is something for everyone. Normally travellers from around the world sit in the park in the centre but it was pouring with rain when we were there so everyone was in the bars. The streets off the park are also really busy, there was a bit too much for us to choose from so when ended up walking around twice before deciding where to go. This was the night that Dani ordered one bottle of Aguardiente which quickly turned into two and a night of none stop dancing. We both had a really good night here so make sure you pay it a visit.

 

How to get there…

El Poblado is the nearest metro stop but it’s around a 20-minute uphill walk to the park after the station.

 

 

Medellin is a great city and there really is so much to do. I’m sure that we only touched on what there is to offer but hopefully this gives you a taste of what you can do.

 

Next stop Cartagena

 

Bon Voyage

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