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Things to do in  Medellín

Welcome to Medellín

Medellín’s modern infrastructure, artistic heritage, and "bandeja paisa" (platter) cuisine make it the jewel in Colombia’s urban crown. In recent years, the South American city has shed its troubled reputation under Pablo Escobar and emerged as the City of Eternal Spring, with temperate weather making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities in Antioquia. Immerse yourself in street food, markets, and public art on a sightseeing tour; or pose beside Botero’s grossly disproportionate sculptures in Plaza Botero. Medellín also serves as a launching point for day tours to Colombian coffee plantations and Andean resort town Guatapé.

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Top 10 attractions in Medellín

Guatapé (Pueblo de Zócalos)
#1

Guatapé (Pueblo de Zócalos)

Hidden among the mountains about 50 miles (80 km) from Medellin is the beautiful town of Guatapé. Founded in 1811, this town is now situated on the reservoir of a hydro-electric dam that was built in the late 1960s, when more than 7.5 square miles (2,000 hectares) were flooded to create the dam. The incredible beauty of the reservoir and the views of the lush vegetation on the lake are unforgettable. Ferries on the lake take visitors to recreational areas on nearby islands and to see Pablo Escobar’s former mansion. The boardwalk by the water fills with vendors selling regional food and crafts. The town is famous for zócalos, decorative tiles along the lower part of the facades of the buildings in the historic center. These tiles in bright colors and patterns are connected to life in the community, telling the history of the town and the beliefs of the people....
Metrocable
#2

Metrocable

The beautiful city of Medellin has an efficient metro system that runs north-south along the valley, but for many years the neighborhoods in the surrounding mountains found it difficult to get to the public transportation routes. It was difficult for buses to get up the steep roads leading up to the barrios in the hills, and it would take residents hours to get down to city to work or study. These transportation difficulties increased social problems in these communities. But in 2004 a new, ingenuous new cable car system came into use. It is part of the public transportation service from the neighborhoods in the mountains surrounding the city to the metro system in the valley. This cable car carries tens of thousands of passengers each day in a system that has changed the lives of those who live in these neighborhoods, giving them access to work and study opportunities they didn’t have before. The trip to the city that once took hours now takes just 15 minutes....
Lleras Park (Parque Lleras)
#3

Lleras Park (Parque Lleras)

Lleras Park (Parque Lleras) forms the social center of the upscale neighborhood of El Poblado, a haven for gourmet restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, and youth hostels. The area is undoubtedly one of the safest Medellín neighborhoods to explore by night, when strings of lights illuminate the park and bars spring to life with DJs and young, fashionable Colombian crowds....
Plaza Botero
#4

Plaza Botero

You’ll see his art everywhere around Colombia: large women, round-faced children and wide-eyed animals. It’s the life work of Fernando Botero, the beloved Colombian artist famous in his home country and around the world. A visit to Medellin, where Botero was born, provides the chance to see these works in larger-than-life surroundings. The appropriately named Botero Plaza, opened in 2002, is an outdoor park that forms an important cultural space in the city. It’s also close to other important museums, like the Museum of Antioquia with art from all over Latin America, and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, where exhibitions and concerts are held....
Pueblito Paisa
#5

Pueblito Paisa

The absolutely adorable Spanish pueblito (“little town”) of Paisa, founded in 1978, crowns 80m (262ft) Cerro Nutibara, a natural landmark named for legendary Cacique (Chief) Nuibara. It would worth climbing just for the views. Today it is home to a perfect central plaza, surrounded by colonial adobes rescued from an actual Spanish outpost since flooded by the Penol-Guatape Hydroelectric Project. The beautifully restored buildings, complete with flower-draped wooden balconies and ceramic tejas tiles, is centered on the single cutest Catholic chapel you’ve ever seen. While originally designed to depict businesses you’d find in a typical rural community—pharmacy, tobacconist, barber—as well as a school and city hall, have been largely replaced with souvenir shops, and the place is populated by a surprising number of mimes and living statues, especially on weekends....
Antioquia Museum (Museo de Antioquia)
#6

Antioquia Museum (Museo de Antioquia)

Begin in Botero Plaza, the statue studded central park that fronts Medellin’s most popular museum. The plump proportions of these enormous pieces by Colombia’s best beloved artist, Francisco Botero, are instantly recognizable, and attract snap happy parents posing their children all over the thickly proportioned works of art. The entire top floor of the Museo de Antioquia is also dedicated to Botero, and includes some of his most controversial pieces, depicting bull fights in all their gore and glory, and the “Death of Pablo Escobar,” a well known painting that marks the end of an era that this city must someday come to terms with. Other excellent exhibitions include a solid collection of modern art, by both international and Colombian masters. A gallery of Independence-era oils, surrounded by period pieces, includes one of the nation’s most famous paintings, Francisco Antonio Cano’s “Horizontes,” portraying settlers—new parents....
Arvi Park and Piedras Blancas Park (Parque Arvi y Parque Piedras Blancas)
#7

Arvi Park and Piedras Blancas Park (Parque Arvi y Parque Piedras Blancas)

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 is part of the project to return this region to the wild....
Barefoot Park (Parque Pies Descalzos)
#8

Barefoot Park (Parque Pies Descalzos)

Though the residents of Medellin love their sophisticated, urban lifestyle, there must be something inside each that longs for a simpler era. This park, billed as a natural foot massage, is perfect for kids and a fun destination for everyone. The park is divided into sections, all of which can be experienced without shoes: “Sand,” basically a huge sandbox with rocks and sculptures for texture; Forest, threaded by bamboo-shaded trails lined with pleasant benches; and “Water,” with wading pools, waterfalls, and dancing fountains where everyone is welcome to get wet. It’s good, clean fun. The area is home to other kid-friendly attractions, such as the EPM Interactive Museum nearby, and the plaza is lined with wide-open places to eat. Adults may also want to check out the neighborhood’s architectural gems, including the National Theater and the “intelligent,” fully automated Public Utilities Building (EPM), an ultra-modern Medellin landmark....
Medellin Botanical Garden
#9

Medellin Botanical Garden

In the heart of Medellin, the Medellin Botanical Garden is the city’s green lung and a living museum with plants from around the country as well as birds, turtles, reptiles, insects and fish. At the end of the 19th century, the area was a private farm used for recreation. In the late 1960s, the idea of a botanical garden began to take shape, and by 1972 the Botanical Garden was established as a place for investigation and education and to exhibit Colombian plants. Part of the Cultural Patrimony of Medellin since 1985, the botanical garden works with other worldwide organizations such as WWF and UNESCO to conserve and manage plants for a sustainable future. About 40 acres (0.4 hectares) of outdoor park with 5,000 plants and 1,000 different species provides ample space for recreation. As part of a major renovation in 2005, the Orchideorama, a graceful wood structure that houses orchids, bromeliads, ferns and other species, was built....
Explora Park (Parque Explora)
#10

Explora Park (Parque Explora)

With its modernist façade, bright red roof and funky urban design, it’s clear from the outset that Explora Park (Parque Explora) is a museum for the modern age. Fun, interactive and engaging for all ages, this is one of Colombia’s most popular science museums, with an incredible 120,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibitions....

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How to Spend 3 Days in Medellín

How to Spend 3 Days in Medellín

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