Major cities of Colombia are not sexy. You won’t be amazed at first sight. To visit a place like Medellín, you have to take the time to discover and understand it. To help you enjoy it, we have selected the best tours in Medellín.
Then, you’ll be able to realize that Medellín’s personality is expressed through its history, its people, its culture, and its environment. That’s why so many expats fall in love with it. That’s why I fell in love with it.
We spent more than 5 months in this city to discover the best activities to do in Medellín. These experiences have been grouped by theme. If you are interested in an activity, you can book it from our article :
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Choose a tour in Medellin
Free walking Tour
Tour Moravia & Sierra
VIP Private Tour
Tour Comuna 13
Santa Fe de Antioquia
I wrote a kick-ass Medellín Travel guide. You should read it too before coming. You’ll find tons of tips, activities, bars, and more!
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Tours to visit & understand Medellín
Many travelers like to come to Medellín. Some come to party, others to learn about the life of Mr. Escobar — BTW, Colombians are ALL tired of hearing remarks about Pablo and his powder. Others decide to add Medellín to their itinerary to use it as a base to discover the department of Antioquia.
In any case, it would be a shame not to visit the city.
If you are traveling on a budget, don’t hesitate to book a group tour. You can also visit the museums of Medellín. Some of them are excellent. We have grouped several of them in our article “What to do in Medellín.”
The only issue is the language. Most of the museums are in Spanish.
Fortunately, we met 2 local agencies that offer fantastic private Medellín tours.
1# Medellín Free Walking Tour
Do you know the Free Walking Tours?
This is an economical way to visit a city by walking with a local guide. At the end of the tour, travelers tip the guide the amount they want (on average, 20,000 COP).
For Medellín Free Walking Tours, the best agency is Real City Tour. Their guides are dynamic and deliver very interesting content.
2# A Medellín city tour in the lesser-known neighborhoods
We met Cathy by chance – she was a roommate of a friend from our Spanish school. She fell in love with Colombia a few years ago and decided to move there. Just like that. On a whim.
The main purpose of her Medellín tours is to make you interact with the locals. With Cathy’s agency, you take the time to talk, experience, move around like the inhabitants, and discover areas that are little known to tourists. In Medellín, each neighborhood has its own history. Thanks to Cathy, you will be able to bring a little part of it back home.
Besides, Cathy is a beautiful soul.
Each tour is related to a solidarity project. This means that the money you spend will help improve the daily life of several local residents.
Walking tour to Moravia, the old Medellin garbage dump
Find out why thousands of people came to live in a giant garbage dump and how it was transformed into a huge garden maintained by a neighborhood collective.
Walking tour to La Sierra, the best Medellín view
This is the ideal walking city tour if you want to understand the painful and complicated past of Medellín. Start by visiting the famous Casa de la Memoria and then take the cable car up to the heights of Medellín to talk to the residents of the La Sierra neighborhood. The view of the city is spectacular. Lunch at a local’s house.
3# A VIP Medellín City Tour with many great stops
If you are short on time and want to see as much of the city as possible, you will love the city tour offered by Andres.
When we met him we were impressed with his knowledge of both the coffee and the history of Medellin. And all this in perfect English! Also, Andres uses very comfortable private transportation to pick up his clients and get to the different highlights.
During this Medellin City Tour, Andres wants you to discover different aspects of Colombian history and culture.
3# Medellín Graffiti Tour: La Comuna 13
Comuna 13 was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Medellín — and it is still not recommended to walk around there after dark.
Yet, over the past 20 years, much has changed.
Medellín has undertaken many works to allow the poor and isolated neighborhoods in the mountains to reach the city center easily. Hence the creation of cable cars, tramways, and escalators.
The associations of the Comuna 13 have realized many projects of Street Art & Hip Hop to offer new perspectives to the young people of the district. The result is beautiful, with many paintings that color the walls of the houses.
If you just want to walk around and admire the graffiti, you don’t need to book a Medellín graffiti tour. Take the subway to San Javier and then head to the orange escalators.
However, if you want to know the tragic story between these colored brick walls, I’ve got 2 tours for you.
Our opinion: Comuna 13 is a trendy area for tourists. If you want to get off the beaten track, the tour to La Sierra will be a better choice.
Join a Medellin graffiti tour to visit the Comuna 13
Private Medellín Graffiti Tour & more
Andres offers to pick you up at your Medellín hotel by private transport to show you Comuna 13. Admire the most beautiful graffiti and listen to the fascinating stories of this neighborhood.
And that’s not all.
Andres loves to combine different activities to save you time and money. You can add one of the following experiences:
- A tour to Guatapé
- Coffee farm Tour
- City Tour
- Cable car tour & fruit tasting
4# The best Medellín Bike Tours
Cycling is an excellent way to visit different parts of Medellín in a few hours. There are many bike paths, which makes this activity quite easy to do. However, there is a lot of traffic, so don’t try it if it’s your first time on a bike. Depending on your physical condition, you can choose to do a Medellín bike tour on an electric bike.
Our advice: It’s best to book your Medellín bike tour in the morning. You have a better chance of avoiding the rain.
Classic Medellín bike tour
A bike tour of Medellín that focuses on the city center and Laureles (my favorite neighborhood).
Electric Medellín bike tour
If you have fast tiring legs, then this is the option for you. The e-bike allows you to visit Medellín without getting exhausted — but you still have to pedal. This Medellín bike tour passes by many sightseeing spots (Laureles, downtown, Ciudad del Rio, Pueblito Paisa) and offers a nice panoramic view of the city.
Best Medellín Food Tours
Let’s eat the road Jack. #badjoke.
Traveling is not just about looking. It is to feel, touch and taste!
Visiting a market in Medellín is an excellent choice to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city. If you decide to cook in Colombia, you will save a lot of money buying your products in a market rather than in a supermarket.
Wander the narrow aisles to discover dozens of different exotic fruits, medicinal herbs, flowers, and a heap of other finds.
1# Fruit tour at La Minorista Market
Real City Tour offers a group tour to discover and taste the wide variety of fruits in Colombia. The sampling takes place in the vast covered market of La Minorista. This place, unknown to tourists, is a real Alibaba cave.
2# A private Food Tour in Sabaneta
Sabaneta is a bit like the chic suburbs of Medellín. This village has been overtaken by the city’s rapid expansion and is a favorite area of the Paisas to grab a bite to eat or a drink.
With your bilingual guide, discover the amazing Colombian specialties before taking a break in a Fonda Paisas — Medellín’s colorful and traditional bar. End this delicious Medellín food tour with a dinner at a traditional farm.
This Food Tour is offered by Andres. As usual, private transportation is included.
Tours to visit the villages near Medellín
Antioquia is one of my favorite departments in Colombia. Among its green hills are colonial towns that deserve your full attention.
From Medellín, you can go to:
- North to Santa Fe de Antioquia (1h30) or Horizontes (3h)
- East to Guatapé (2h)
- South to Jericó (3h) or Jardín (4h)
It is straightforward to get to these villages by taking the bus from Medellín. Once there, you will easily find some activities to do to occupy your days. On the other hand, it might be a bit complicated to find a tour in English.
Santa Fe de Antioquia and Guatapé are quite close to Medellín, so you may want to consider booking a one-day tour from Medellín to save time and/or have a more personalized experience.
However, I don’t recommend day tours to Jericó or Jardín. It is a waste of time.
👉 Here is a list of our favorite Medellín day trips.
1# Day tour to Santa Fe de Antioquia from Medellín
Santa Fe de Antioquia, located 1.5 hours from Medellín, is a pretty colonial town known for its gold seekers and filigree craftsmanship —a goldsmithing technique that creates highly detailed jewelry. Also nearby is the famous Puente de Occidente, a suspension bridge built in the 1890s.
Our opinion: It is not worthwhile to go back and forth from Medellín in a day without taking a tour. Santa Fe de Antioquia is rich in history, but you will need a guide to get to know it.
Turantioquia is a small local agency located in Santa Fe de Antioquia. Adrien, the founder, is a very interesting and humorous person. He knows the history of his region perfectly.
Gold seekers and colonial history
Get out of Medellín to discover this colonial town and meet authentic gold seekers. Follow the gold route from the river to a goldsmith’s workshop. You will also admire the Puente de Occidente.
2# The unknown travel loop: Belmira – Horizontes – Santa Fe de Antioquia
We did this tour with Adrian, the founder of TurAntioquia — video presentation of his tour. We loved this experience completely off the beaten track.
From Medellín, take the public bus to the village of Belmira (2 hours). From there, you can decide whether you want to take the Chiva – a wide, colorful bus typical of the region – or walk to Horizontes (3h).
Horizontes is a charming little town that is not listed in any guidebook. Located on top of a hill, at an altitude of more than 2,000m, it offers a breathtaking view of the Cauca River canyon. Visit the village before spending the evening in the beautiful posada La Sebastyana.
The next day, discover the surroundings of Horizontes (some of the viewpoints are stunning) before going back down to Medellín in the afternoon. Lodging and meals included.
- The price of the tour does not include transportation. Approx. 480,000 COP/group for 1 to 4 people.
- Extra 100 000 COP to get a bilingual guide/day.
Optional (I recommend it): Add a 3rd day to this itinerary to spend a night in Santa Fe de Antioquia and learn about the history of this colonial village and its gold seekers. You can also visit a coffee farm or hike a Páramo.
3# Guatapé Tour from Medellín
Guatapé is the most famous colonial village in Colombia because of its colorful streets covered with Zócalos and its proximity to the impressive monolith El Peñol. Don’t hesitate to climb the 750 steps to enjoy an exceptional view.
There are many pleasant hotels along the lake, and I recommend you to spend the night there.
If you have little time, you can consider booking a Guatapé tour from Medellín.
Our advice: Avoid going on weekends and holidays.
Group visit to Guatapé from Medellín
If you are traveling on a budget but don’t want to bother with public transportation, you can go with Travel Medellín. This will allow you to discover Guatapé in one day. Please note that the ticket to the top of the Peñol is not included in the price.
Private Guatapé tour from Medellín
Andres takes care of everything, and your guide will speak perfect English. Leave by private transport from Medellín and start with a tasting of exotic fruits before climbing to the top of the Piedra del Peñol. After this effort, Andres will take you to the colorful streets of Guatapé for a well-deserved lunch. This wonderful day will end with a 1h30 boat ride between the islets of the lake of Guatapé.
To know: Breakfast, Lunch and rock entrance fees are not included.
Tip: You can be picked up or dropped off at the airport in Medellín.
Andres loves to combine different activities to save you time and money. You can add one of the following experience — By doing so, you won’t do the boat tour:
- Coffee farm Tour
- Graffiti Tour
- Horse riding Tour
- Rock Climbing
4# Plan a trip to Jericó or Jardín
I repeat. Do not take a tour that offers you to visit Jericó or Jardín from Medellín in one day. You won’t enjoy it.
How to do it then?
It is very simple. You take a public bus and book your tours on site with a local agency.
How to enjoy Jericó
Once in Jericó, if you are looking for guides in English, Cathy offers excellent tours to:
- Visit Jericó and meet the craftsmen who make the famous carriels — typical bag of Jericó.
- Ride a horse and discover the world of Colombian coffee on a typical farm.
- Hike in the Los Nubes Park.
How to enjoy Jardín
There are many great things to do in Jardín. The most famous experiences are:
- Hike to 7 cascadas.
- Discover the waterfall Cueva del Esplendor.
- Horseback to the waterfall Chorro Blanco.
- Birdwatch the unusual Cock-of-the-rock.
- Drink liters of coffee on the main square.
- Visit a coffee farm.
The best outdoors tours from Medellín
Jule’s agency is specialized in adventure activities in the department of Antioquia. If you are looking for your adrenaline fix, they are the ones to call.
They are part of our partner network.
This agency actively participates in the preservation of the rivers of Colombia. Jules, the founder, is a former professional kayaker. He uses his experience and network to work with excellent local instructors and guides. It’s the perfect combination.
1# Rafting tour from Medellín
Rio Verde and Rio Samaná are two beautiful and powerful rivers that run through the mountainous landscapes of the department of Antioquia. These places are usually difficult to access. This is not a problem when you go with Jule’s agency. The logistics put in place for travelers to enjoy this experience are excellent.
We opted for the 2-day tour. This allowed us to enjoy more of the wilderness and to camp one night by the river.
Depending on the month of the year and the tour you choose, the intensity of the rapids is different. The agency will advise you according to your physical condition and experience. In any case, you will be safe. There is no need to worry about this.
In order to lower the prices, you can ask to join a group.
They offers various rafting tours. According to your availability and your desires, you can organize trips of 1 to 3 days.
2# Plan a trek from Medellín
From Medellin, there are many hikes to do to admire the city from the heights. Some of them are even possible without the help of a guide. This is the case of Las 3 Cruces.
However, if you want to discover the famous páramos of Colombia, you will have to venture out of the city. If this is your case, the easiest option is to visit the páramo de Belmira.
It is possible to go there by yourself, first taking a bus (2-3h) and then looking for a local guide on site. This hike lasts 5-7h.
Alternatively, you can decide to go with Jule’s agency
They also offer 2 or 3-day treks to venture into the lush mountains of Antioquia and swim in crystal clear rivers.
3# Paragliding tour over Medellín
Did you know that you can book a paragliding tour to see Medellín from the sky? It’s an incredible experience and easy to do. And the rates are much more interesting than in Europe!
To do this activity, you have to go to San Felix. It’s easy to do. Go to the north terminal of Medellín and look for the bus company that goes to San Felix. It is usually counter 11. The journey takes 40 minutes.
If you don’t speak Spanish or want to take private transportation*, then contact Jules’agency. Their rates are excellent, and they will take care of all the organization.
*Extra 100 000 COP/groupe
4# Horseback riding in Antioquia’s countryside
Located 30 minutes from Poblado, this ranch has very docile horses. Take advantage of this 2-3 hour ride to admire the beautiful landscapes of Antioquia. Afterwards, if you wish, you can visit a traditional coffee farm or discover Guatapé.
The best coffee tour in Medellín
It is very easy to organize a visit to a local coffee farm if you plan to go to Jardín, Jericó, or the coffee region. If this is the case, you do not need to organize a coffee tour from Medellín.
Otherwise, you can ask Andres
They run the best coffee tours in Medellín. Andres worked in the coffee industry and knows a lot about it. His team will pick you up with their van to drive you to a finca located on the outskirts of Medellin. Meet a lovely Colombian family that lives from the coffee agriculture. On this coffee tour, you will discover the entire process from the seed to the finished product. And you will have to get your hands dirty!
Medellin Day Trips loves to combine different activities to save you time and money. You can add one of the following experience:
- Graffiti Tour
- Horse riding Tour
- Guatapé tour
- War Victims & Conflict tour
- Chocolate tour
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