Medellin is certainly marvelous, but there may be times when you just want to hop into a gondola and float above the urban jungle and into the untamed mountains. Happily, this is one city where that’s not only possible, but also easy and inexpensive.
The Medellin metrorail system connects directly to the Arvi Cable Cars, which soar right from the train station above some of the city’s rougher neighborhoods, stopping briefly close to the ultra-modern Spanish Library. The final leg of the photogenic journey crests a misty ridge high above town, then delivers you quietly to a new brand-new conservation area.
This expansive park of beautiful wildflowers and lush premontane forest is crisscrossed with several kilometers of hiking trails. Hire guides or pick up a free map at the stand next to the cable cars. An adjacent private reserve, operated by architecturally striking Piedras Blancas Ecological Hotel (also accessible by car) is part of the project to return this region to the wild. On weekends, when the place gets packed with picnicking families, booths are filled with organic farmers and local craftspeople maintain selling their wares. Just don’t miss the last cable car back to the bottom!