Top Things To Do In Medellin, Colombia: Stop The Boring Stuff

My list of the best things to do in Medellin after living in this city for several years.

🛑 Stop visiting Medellin like every other tourist. Start discovering new experiences that will make your stay unforgettable.

Are you tired of only going to places frequented by tourists? Wouldn’t you rather add a little more spice to your trip and discover the local favorite spots?

I’ve been returning to Medellin regularly since 2015, and here are the top things to do that I recommend to my friends and family.

Here’s what you’ll get if you read my guide c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y:

  • 3 cool experiences to become a coffee expert.
  • A better alternative to the boring Arvi park.
  • Yes, you can visit Medellin downtown. I tell you how.
  • 7 day in the week = 7 cool events.
  • 3 ways to enjoy Medellin’s skyline, especially at night.
  • And a lot more!

Who are we đź‘‹

Since 2015, Adrien, Alejandra, and I (Tom) have been helping travelers explore Colombia. Here, you will find everything you need to fall in love with this beautiful country easily.

Best Medellin Experiences

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Meet the locals and enjoy beautiful experiences from Comuna 13 through Medellin downtown to lesser-known neighborhoods.

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With your bilingual guide, enjoy the superb view from the top of the Piedra del Peñol and visit the colorful village of Guatapé.

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This agency offers rafting and hiking tours that will reveal breathtaking landscapes. And you can also join delicious coffee and chocolate tours.

There’s more to Medellin than Comuna 13, Botero, and the Cable Car.

1# My secrets spots in Medellin Downtown

Exploring Medellin has been incredibly captivating. I’ve found hidden spots that really show the city’s essence, perfect for making any first-timer’s visit unforgettable.

Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe Uribe stands out not only for its architecture but also as a cultural hub. Don’t miss the rooftop view over Botero Square.

Teatro Matacandelas and Pequeño Teatro de MedellĂ­n are essential for a deep dive into the local arts scene, offering a close-up of Medellin’s vibrant performances.

Shopping at Mercado Artesanal Sanalejo is a unique experience, where you can meet artisans and find everything from handmade crafts to antiques and plants, showcasing Medellin’s creative flair.

Perpetuo Socorro is a must for those looking into the city’s creative side, with its cafes, coworking spaces, and studios full of innovation.

For nightlife, there are several little gems. However, as the area is rather dodgy at night, I’d advise you not to wander around. Use cabs. Acondista offers a jazz vibe, El Jibarito Salsa is perfect for dancers, and Solárium Rooftop provides a chill bar picnic setting, all offering genuine Colombian nights with fewer tourists.

Tomplanmtrip’s note: Real City offers an excellent free walking tour of downtown Medellin and the city’s history.

2# Spend a full day in Envigado

Heading to Envigado for a day trip from Medellin is a fantastic idea. I’ve put together an itinerary from my own experiences, blending nature, culture, and food for an unforgettable day.

Kick-off with a morning hike to the waterfalls near El Salado. The trails are accessible for beginners, but pack a pair of good hiking boots, as they can get slippery. I prefer to do it on Sunday because there are other people on the trail. You’ll be rewarded with two beautiful waterfalls—a serene break from city life.

For lunch, make your way to La Buena Mesa. It’s the trendy street of Envigado, with delicious restaurants. I recommend Pedacito De Amor, a steakhouse that truly showcases the richness of Colombian cuisine. It’s the perfect spot to refuel.

In the afternoon, dive into the Colombian culture with tejo with Tejo Medellin. Remember to book ahead. Joining another group, I found this to be an excellent opportunity to mingle and enjoy a traditional Colombian sport full of laughter, explosions, beers, and friendly rivalry. It’s an experience that goes beyond typical tourist activities.

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3# Become a coffee expert

If you’re a coffee enthusiast like me, or even if you’re just curious about what makes Colombian coffee acclaimed worldwide, here are some experiences you shouldn’t miss in Medellin.

Delve Into the Origins: Visit a Coffee Farm

One of my most memorable experiences was visiting a local coffee farm near Medellin. The La Sierra Coffee Tour stood out, offering a deep dive into the coffee production process. What made it special was not just learning about the cultivation and processing of coffee but also the warm, engaging stories shared by the local farmers.

This tour is a must, encompassing aspects of Medellin’s history and the role of coffee in its community.

Engage Your Senses: Coffee Tasting Experiences

Another highlight was the Coffee Tasting at Marquee Hotel, led by Javier. His expertise converted a simple tasting into an enlightening journey through the flavors, aromas, and textures of coffee. It was fascinating to discover how different processing methods affect the taste.

Discover the Best Cafés in Medellin

Medellin is dotted with numerous cafés, each offering a unique atmosphere and brewing methods that turn coffee drinking into an art form. Here are a few that stood out for me:

  • CafĂ© Zorba: A Zen-like space where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee soothes your senses. It’s an ideal spot to start your cafĂ© exploration in El Poblado.
  • Pergamino CafĂ©: Where coffee is treated as art. The baristas here are true artists, creating masterpieces with every cup served. Their cold brew is something you must try.
  • AzaĂ­ Praia Lovers: This cafĂ© brings a slice of the beach culture to the city with its açaĂ­ bowls and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a refreshing break from the urban hustle.

4# Move your body

When visiting Medellin, I quickly realized this city offers more than just urban exploration. For travelers seeking an adrenaline rush intertwined with natural beauty, Medellin presents a unique set of activities guaranteed to elevate your trip from good to unforgettable. Here’s a breakdown of the activities that got my heart racing.

Paragliding from San Felix

There’s nothing quite like seeing Medellin from the sky and paragliding from San Felix offers just that. It’s an easy 45-minute bus ride or a quick drive to get there.

The anticipation builds as you hike up the final stretch to the launch site. Despite my initial nerves, the staff’s friendliness and the seamless check-in process calmed me down. Waiting for the perfect wind conditions might test your patience, but believe me, the wait is worth it. The panoramic views during the flight are breathtaking.

Tomplanmytrip note: Arranging your ride back in advance is crucial since taxis are harder to find up there.

White-Water Rafting on the Rio Verde

The Rio Verde’s white-water rafting adventure is an absolute thrill. With a mix of Class 3 and 4 rapids, it strikes the perfect balance between challenge and fun.

Our guides were not only skilled at navigating the river but were also rich sources of knowledge about the surrounding ecosystem and history. Paddling through lush jungles and having the opportunity to dive into serene swimming spots made the experience feel like a scene from an adventure movie.

Hiking to the Top

The 3 Cruces hike is a local favorite, especially early on a Sunday morning.

The path is steep, and the lack of shade means you’ll be sweating a lot, but reaching the top rewards you with a stunning view of Medellin.

Bring some cash for a refreshing French orange juice at the summit.

If you’re looking for other hikes around Medellin, you can join several Facebook groups and local agencies that organize weekend group hikes.

Tomplanmytrip: Don’t hike there at night.

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Incredible rafting, hiking and chocolate tours near Medellin

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This agency offers rafting and hiking tours that will reveal breathtaking landscapes. And you can also join delicious coffee and chocolate tours.

  • Top-notch organization and guides.
  • Incredible & secluded sceneries.
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Here are a few things to add to your to-do list when coming to Medellin.

5# Understand Medellin’s bloody past

Exploring MedellĂ­n offers not just a glimpse into Colombia’s vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes but also a profound journey through its tumultuous history. In MedellĂ­n, two places stand out: Comuna 13 and Museo de la Memoria.

Comuna 13: From Turmoil to Transformation

Once notorious for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, Comuna 13 has morphed into a symbol of resilience and hope. My visit there was an eye-opener. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was a hotbed for drug trafficking and violence. The turning point came in 2002 when Operation Orion was launched. Despite initial setbacks, it marked the beginning of Comuna 13’s transformation.

The introduction of the escaleras electricas in 2011, a 1,260-foot outdoor escalator system, was a game-changer. It connected the neighborhood to the rest of MedellĂ­n, sparking a revival. Today, Comuna 13 thrives with vibrant street art, portraying stories of struggle and triumph, an emblem of community resilience.

Walking tours here, especially private ones, often include unique experiences like lunch with a local family, offering an unparalleled insight into the local culture. I found it very interesting to hear the story of La Comuna 13 from those who have lived through this transformation.

Tomplanmytrip note: I’ve been there many times and it’s now a bit too touristy for my taste-although it’s still interesting. Better to go early in the morning.

Museo de la Memoria: Colombia’s History

Another must-visit is the Museo de la Memoria. It’s an eye-opening venue to understand Colombia’s armed conflict and its impact on the city and the nation. Although the museum isn’t large, it’s packed with invaluable information. From interactive maps to heartfelt quotes from children, every exhibit is poignant.

The museum features a detailed recount of significant events in Colombia, including stories of violence, trafficking, and resilience during hard times. Spending 90 minutes to 2 hours here, as I did, feels like a journey through time, providing context for the transformation seen across MedellĂ­n.

Tomplanmytrip note: If you can, visit it before your trip to La Comuna 13.

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Over 90 of our readers decide to explore Medellin and its surroundings with this local expert monthly. 

With your bilingual private guide, meet the locals and enjoy beautiful experiences from Comuna 13 through Medellin downtown to lesser-known neighborhoods.

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6# Enjoy the best views of Medellin

When I first arrived in Medellin, I was immediately struck by its stunning landscape. Nestled in the Valle de Aburrá, the city is surrounded by lush green hills that are even more captivating at night when the city lights sparkle like a sea of stars. From my experience, there are a few unmissable ways to soak in these breathtaking views.

Rooftop Views

For me, rooftops have always been a go-to for great city views. Masaya in El Poblado is one of my favorites. Not only do they offer a wide array of activities, but the cocktails are tasty, and the prices won’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, Envy Rooftop, also in El Poblado, is where you’ll want to head. The vibe there is unmatched, and it provides a panoramic view of the city that’s hard to beat.

Hilltop Restaurants

Another fantastic way to enjoy Medellin’s scenery is from one of its many hilltop restaurants. Though reaching these spots is easy enough by taxi, making your way back requires a bit of planning—either keep your taxi driver’s number handy or ask the restaurant to call a cab for you.

I had an incredible experience at Waira Restaurant; the view is simply mesmerizing. Their cheese chicharrones and sancocho de gallina are must-tries. The Eight Wonder Bar also offers a spectacular view alongside friendly staff and a great atmosphere; although their cuisine might not stand out as much, the overall experience is well worth it.

Metrocable Adventure

Lastly, don’t miss out on the unique experience of riding the Metrocable. This urban cable car system doesn’t just offer a way to move around the city; it’s a journey through Medellin’s heart, showcasing its landscapes and reflecting its commitment to progress and quality of life.

Tomplannytrip note: Take line J if you’re coming back from Comuna 13, line H if you’re in Medellin Downtown, or line K if you plan to go to Park Arvi.

7# Learn about the artist Botero

When I first landed in MedellĂ­n, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to dive into the world of Fernando Botero, an iconic figure whose artwork is synonymous with Colombian culture. The city of MedellĂ­n, his birthplace, offers a unique window into his artistic universe, where his penchant for voluminous figures has captivated people globally.

Here’s how you can explore Botero’s legacy in MedellĂ­n.

Plaza Botero, a sprawling 75,347-square-foot park nestled in the heart of MedellĂ­n, is a treasure trove of Botero’s artistry. It’s home to 23 bronze sculptures donated by Botero himself as part of an urban renewal project, transforming the area into a vibrant, family-friendly space.

Strolling through the plaza, I was struck by the diversity of Botero’s subjects (corpulent animals to oversized historical figures) – each sculpture tells its own story, beckoning visitors to ponder the artist’s intent.

Adjacent to Plaza Botero, the Museo de Antioquia offers another layer of insight into Botero’s work. The 3rd floor is entirely dedicated to the artist. It features not just his sculptures but also an extensive array of his paintings, providing a comprehensive overview of his career.

Tomplanmytrip note: Visit these spots early in the day or during the week to avoid the crowds. While Plaza Botero is freely accessible, Museo de Antioquia charges a modest entry fee. The museum experience is enriched by the quaint café, where you can enjoy a good latte amidst the artwork.

8# A family-friendly day in Medellin

Planning a day out with the family in Medellin can be an adventure full of culture, nature, and interactive learning. Having explored the city extensively, I’ve found 2 destinations that perfectly blend these elements.

Santa Elena: A Dive into Tradition

Only 18 kilometers from Medellin, Santa Elena stands as a serene retreat. This area is much cooler and offers a peaceful escape amidst prehistoric paths, misty forests, and friendly locals.

Here, you’re not just visiting a place; you’re stepping into the heart of Colombia’s famous Silletero Culture.

My visit to the farm flowers let me witness firsthand the pride and dedication of the local farmers as they showcased their floral art in an elaborate parade—Feria de los Flores. This tradition emphasizes the community’s deep-rooted history connected with these native silleteros.

The Lush Escapes of Jardin Botanico

Right in the heart of Medellin is a green haven that feels miles away from the urban hustle. The Jardin Botanico, with its sprawling landscapes divided into various plant sections and a lake frequented by iguanas, offers a peaceful respite. It’s fascinating to see wildlife in such an easily accessible location.

What’s more, entry is free—although the butterfly house (specific open hours) requires a ticket.

After discovering so many top attractions in Medellin, there are a few sites that I find disappointing, even though everyone talks about them on the internet.

Park Arvi

Park Arvi is vast, and reaching it via the Metrocable offers some stunning views of Medellin. However, once you’re there, the offerings feel a bit limited. There’s a main path that runs alongside the road leading to a small nature trail, which can be a bit underwhelming.

In contrast, El Salado Park in Envigado provides a more immersive natural experience. If you’re adamant about visiting Park Arvi, I’d recommend pairing it with a trip to Santa Elena for a more rounded day out.

Pueblito Paisa

Pueblito Paisa scores points for its scenic views of Medellin, but as a replica of a colonial town, it falls short when compared to visiting authentic towns like Concepcion, Jardin, or Jerico.

These towns offer genuine glimpses into Colombia’s rich history and culture, something that Pueblito Paisa tries to emulate but can’t fully capture.

Pablo Escobar Tour

Pablo Escobar is well-known, largely because of the popular Netflix series, Narcos. While I get the curiosity surrounding his infamous legacy, many locals wish to move past this dark chapter in Medellin’s history.

Tours typically include visits to his grave and the house where he died, yet these are far from spectacular. Moreover, you can glean enough information about Escobar from a free walking tour in Medellin, allowing you to explore this part of the city’s past without making it the focal point of your visit.

The paisas (Medellin locals) are adorable and love to party. It would be a shame not to enjoy it.

10# Medellin’s nightlife

MedellĂ­n’s nightlife is famous among foreigners. I’ve explored various areas, each with its unique vibe, and here’s what I’ve discovered to help you navigate the city’s lively scene.

Zona Rosa: Where the Party Never Stops

Laureles, especially on la 70, stands out for its more traditional bars filled with the pulsating beats of reggaeton. It’s a spot that feels authentically Colombian, brimming with energy and local charm. If you’re aiming to dive into the traditional nightlife, this is the place to go.

Poblado, however, is much more eclectic. Parque Lleras once held the crown, but it’s now known for having a bit of an unsavory vibe due to an influx of prostitution and drugs.

However, Poblado’s charm isn’t lost.

Provenza, famous for its countless bars and clubs, is where the night pulses brightly, offering a mix of everything from electric dance floors to cozy places for a chat.

Parque Poblado, though emerging, struck me as a tad dodgy at night, yet it has its hidden gems with cool bars awaiting those willing to explore.

Salsa: The Heartbeat of MedellĂ­n’s Nightlife

For salsa enthusiasts, MedellĂ­n won’t disappoint. Tibiri, Son Havana, and Social Club are the go-to spots to either show off your salsa moves or just soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

Breweries: A Different Flavor of Fun

Not into dancing? MedellĂ­n has something for you too. 3 cordilleras and La Planta Urban Pub offer a laid-back atmosphere perfect for beer aficionados. These breweries exude a great vibe, presenting a different, more relaxed side of MedellĂ­n’s nightlife.

11# Watch a football game at the stadium

Medellin football game stadium

During a visit to Medellín, attending a live football match offers an unforgettable experience, with the city being a fervent hub for the sport, hosting two rival teams: Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín.

Both share Atanasio Girardot Stadium, creating an electric atmosphere on match days. The choice of seating—whether in the Tribuna Occidental for a comfortable view or the east tribune for a passionate atmosphere—depends on the type of experience desired.

Buying tickets is straightforward for regular matches but requires advance purchase for more significant events, necessitating cash payment at local ticket shops due to online purchases and credit cards not being widely accepted.

Essentials include bringing a raincoat (I got drenched at my last match), cash, and a photocopy of your passport while leaving behind valuables and restricted items like belts and large cameras.

12# Eating delicious food

I’ve had some of the best eating experiences in MedellĂ­n, from street food to upscale restaurants. Here’s a rundown of what shouldn’t be missed.

Street Food and Local Markets

First off, the street food in MedellĂ­n is a must-try.

Empanadas are a staple here, and I found that Jorge in Laureles serves some of the most mouth-watering ones—here is the secret spot. The perfect crispy exterior with a flavorful filling makes every bite a delight.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Mazamorra, a dessert of corn and milk, is a comforting end to any meal. El Cielo in Provenza offers a fine dining version that’s simply unforgettable.

Local markets are the heart of MedellĂ­n’s food scene, offering an array of exotic fruits like guanabana, blackberry, and passion fruits. I especially enjoyed eating salt and pepper mangoes right off the street.

La Minorista market, despite its dodgy surroundings, is a gem for fruit lovers, as is the friendlier La America market.

Signature Dishes

The city’s signature dish, Bandeja Paisa, is a hearty platter I enjoyed at Hacienda Origen.

It’s a flavor-packed dish that includes beans, white rice, grilled beef, chicharrĂłn, plantain, sausage, fried egg, avocado, and arepa.

Another dish that didn’t win my heart was Mondongo—I don’t like tripes. You can try it at the restaurant of the same name.

Restaurants serving local dishes

When it comes to restaurants, Alambique stands out with its huge portions, perfect for sharing, though reservations are a must. My dads loved it.

For a themed dining experience, Gabo.mde in El Poblado is extraordinary, with dishes named after Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books. It was perfect for my Valentine’s Day with Aleja.

13# Language Exchanges to meet locals

Galerie Lafond Medellin bar Language Exchange
Credit: Galerie Lafond

One of my favorite aspects of traveling is immersing myself in the local culture, and there’s no better way to do this than through language exchanges. MedellĂ­n, with its friendly populace and vibrant social scene, offers some unique opportunities to mingle with locals and expatriates alike, improving your Spanish while you’re at it.

GalerĂ­a Lafond in Laureles is a standout venue created by Rob that combines elegance and a vintage aesthetic in an old Colombian house. It serves as a vibrant space for art, music, and conversations, offering artisan pizza and craft cocktails alongside live music. Language Exchange on Wednesday.

Wandering Paisa (It was the first hostel I stayed at in Medellin!) is another recommended spot known for its cozy atmosphere and language exchange events every Thursday, making it ideal for practicing Spanish in a relaxed environment.

Dulce Poison also hosts language exchange events (Tuesday and Thursday) aimed at fostering interactions between Colombians and expatriates in a casual setting conducive to learning and socializing.

Tomplanmytrip Note: The two most famous language exchanges are Gringo Tuesday and Dance Free, both in El Poblado. There are too many people for my taste.

Important dates to know when to come (or not) to Medellin.

14# Join a music festival

Solar Festival Music Medellin
Credit: Solar Festival

I’ve found that joining a music festival in MedellĂ­n offers a unique way to experience the local culture, meet new people, and enjoy some incredible music.

The Festival Alta Voz in December is a key event for exploring MedellĂ­n’s alternative music scene, marking its 20th anniversary as a gathering point for diverse genres and cultures. International bands like Testament, Los Cafres, ZPU, and La Garfield contribute to its vibrant atmosphere.

La Solar Festival in February further celebrates the city’s musical diversity with over 75 artists from various genres, including urban and electronic music.

Tomorrowland extends its global reach to MedellĂ­n in May with “Tomorrowland Presents: Core MedellĂ­n,” showcasing top electronic acts and highlighting the city’s significant role in the music world.

These festivals not only offer a range of musical experiences but also embody MedellĂ­n’s welcoming spirit, catering to varied tastes from reggae and rock to electronic beats.

15# La feria de Las Flores

If you’re planning a trip around August, you might want to know about the Medellin’s Flower Festival. This festival isn’t just a local event; it’s an international spectacle that brilliantly showcases the city’s vibrant culture, traditions, and the indomitable spirit of the Paisa community.

Having been a part of this since 1957, the festival beautifully pays homage to the city’s floral heritage and its significant economic role in the flower industry.

The Silleteros Parade, a tribute to flower carriers from Santa Elena, is the centerpiece of a festival in MedellĂ­n, showcasing participants with elaborate flower arrangements. This event highlights the region’s significant flower industry and economic strength.

The festival spans ten days, offering various events like bird and flower shows and a bike ride event that allows visitors to explore MedellĂ­n’s natural beauty and vibrant culture. El Super Concierto marks the festival’s climax, with top artists performing a mix of traditional paisa music and contemporary Latin American tunes.

Tomplanmytrip note: Book your hotel early and use the metro when you can.

16# My favorite weekly events in Medellin

Masaya Medellin Cocktail (1)

I’ve got a rundown of weekly events that I personally believe shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re a music lover, a dance enthusiast, or someone who just enjoys a good meal with a view, Medellin has something special for you every day of the week.

  • The week in Medellin starts with Jazz Nights at L’acondista on Monday, offering a cozy ambiance for jazz lovers.
  • Tuesdays are for salsa dancing at Son Havana, welcoming dancers of all levels to enjoy Colombian culture.
  • Wednesday brings live music sessions at Cafe Zorba, featuring a laid-back vibe and various music genres.
  • Thursdays heat up with vibrant dance nights at Nueva Guardia Dance Club.
  • Fridays offer a unique beer experience combined with live music at 3 Cordilleras Brewery.
  • The week rounds off with Social Club on Saturday and a fancy brunch on Sunday at Envy Rooftop.

Day trips from Medellin are perfect for escaping the city for the day.

17# Plan a day trip to Guatape

Guatape is the most famous day trip to plan from Medellin.

The journey to Guatape starts with an early morning bus ride from the North Bus terminal, ideally at 8 am on a weekday to avoid heavy traffic.

After a 2h ride, stop at La Piedra del Peñol, where climbing the iconic rock offers breathtaking panoramic views. Then take a tuktuk to visit the colorful town of Guatapé.

Easy, no?

Tomplanmytrip note: Visiting GuatapĂ© presents both charms and challenges: you’ll enjoy stunning landscapes and easy access, but its touristy vibe and potential traffic delays on the way back can be drawbacks.

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With your bilingual guide, enjoy the superb view from the top of the Piedra del Peñol and visit the colorful village of Guatapé.

  • Have lunch with a local family.
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18# Plan a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia

Santa fe de antioquia Main Square

When visiting MedellĂ­n, I always tell travelers not to miss out on a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia. Let me walk you through how you can make the most of this picturesque town that feels like a step back in time, just as I did.

I recommend kicking off your Santa Fe de Antioquia adventure by heading to the North Bus terminal at 8 am on a weekday to beat the traffic. The bus ride is about 1h30, offering stunning scenic views along the way.

Once there, start your day with breakfast at Hotel Mariscal Robledo, right in the main square. The place not only serves delicious meals but also surrounds you with its historical charm.

After breakfast, hop on a tuk-tuk to El Puente del Occidente and back to marvel at this engineering wonder steeped in history.

For lunch, I suggest either La Casa Solariega or Sabor Español, where you’ll enjoy exquisite meals in beautiful colonial settings.

Spend your afternoon wandering the town’s cobblestone streets, admiring the impressive religious buildings and colonial architecture. Wrap up your visit before 5 pm at the Juan del Corral Museum of History to delve into the town’s rich past.

Santa Fe de Antioquia boasts an enchanting atmosphere, offering a more serene experience than more crowded spots like Guatapé. On the other hand, be prepared to endure a scorching sun.

Tomplanmytrip note: Avoid going to Guatape and Santa Fe de Antioquia on the weekend.

Choosing the right neighborhood in MedellĂ­n profoundly impacts your experience in the city.

Having stayed in many different areas, I’ve found that the ambiance, amenities, and accessibility vary significantly, making some neighborhoods more suitable for certain travelers than others.

Here’s a breakdown of my top picks based on personal explorations and factual insights.

El Poblado: The Upscale Hub


El Poblado is the upscale heart of MedellĂ­n, known for its lush greenery and stunning city views. This area is a nightlife, dining, and shopping hub, especially around La Provenza.

Although it’s one of the pricier districts, its safety and modern amenities make it incredibly popular among tourists and expats—here are their favorite hotels.

The main downside is its hilly terrain, which can be exhausting to navigate on foot. However, for those looking for a lively atmosphere with top-notch restaurants and bars, El Poblado is unbeatable.

Laureles: A Local Experience


Laureles offers a stark contrast with its leafy, flat terrains, perfect for leisurely walks.

This neighborhood provides a more local experience with ample green spaces, affordable dining, and the vibrant nightlife of Calle 70. Soccer fans will appreciate being close to the Atanasio Girardot stadium.

What it lacks in high-rise views, it compensates with accessibility and a genuine local vibe that I particularly enjoy.

Envigado: Authentic Paisa Life

Envigado District Medellin

Envigado retains the charm of a separate town despite being part of MedellĂ­n. It offers a genuine Paisa experience with fewer tourists, making it an ideal area for those seeking cultural authenticity. The neighborhood’s flat terrain is perfect for exploring cozy restaurants and enjoying a safe atmosphere.

Though it’s slightly removed from the city’s main attractions, the cultural richness and quiet charm of Envigado are its strongest suits.

What people ask us most.

  1. Which month is best for Medellin?

    Winter (summer here), between December and February, offers the best weather in MedellĂ­n with minimal rain. For cultural events and festivals, consider visiting in August and December.

  2. Is Medellin safer than Bogota?

    Compared to Bogota, Medellin is generally considered safer. While both cities have areas best avoided, Medellin’s overall safety, especially in tourist-friendly neighborhoods, tends to be higher than Bogota’s.

  3. Do people speak English in Medellin?

    English is not widely spoken in Medellin, but tourists can manage with basic Spanish or English in popular tourist areas, restaurants, and when using services like Uber.

  4. What is Medellin best known for?

    Medellin is renowned as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its pleasant climate, its friendly inhabitants, la Comuna 13, and its fine dining and trendy bars.

Diving into MedellĂ­n’s vibrant culture and exploring its diverse neighborhoods has been an adventure I’ll never forget.

Whether you’re in search of nightlife, cultural authenticity, or simply a beautiful place to relax, MedellĂ­n has it all.

Don’t just take my word for it—experience MedellĂ­n for yourself and see what makes it a must-visit destination.

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I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.


  1. Jules says:

    What company did you use to go paragliding? Your article is about one company, but then when I click “Fly over Medellin” it links me to a different company. Why is that? Thanks!

    • Tom says:

      Hi Jules, we used the service of Parapente San Felix. Unfortunately, their website doesn’t work right now. We have to update our Paragliding article. The “fly over Medellin” button link to an Airbnb Experience with excellent reviews. These links are affiliate links and allow us to earn a few $ for each booking. We recommend different kinds of local agencies: the ones we’ve met and liked, and the ones with excellent reviews.

  2. Chris says:

    Any chance you could edit this list to show TEJO IN MEDELLIN and not Las canchas en el polideportivo Sur Envigado? I use the same courts.
    It would be a big help. Not to mention but, I actually teach people how to play.
    BTW, Barrio Central Cafe Bar has been closed for a long time.

  3. Ana Marin says:

    Finally some one to show other things different that poblado and laureles. Thank you. I wish you can go around all the municipios and show what we really have.

  4. Hey Tom, Craig here the owner from Barrio Central Cafe Bar in Laureles. Just too inform you our bar closed down when Covid hit and then the owners knocked down the old house and built 7/8 story apartment building (usual gentrification). But we did open a new bar called Barrio Sur Cafe Bar, Calle de la Buena Mesa in Envigado in June 2019, we survived Covid by doing deliveries for six months and we do very similar events to our old bar Barrio Central.
    Once a month we have a very successful Free Bilingual Pub Quiz (Monday night) and every Tuesday we host a very popular Free Language Exchange with a language company called KeepTalking.
    Just in case you want to update this article.
    Thanks again and this is an excellent article, keep up the good work.

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