9 Stunning Day Trips From Medellin You Will Love ❤️(2021)

9 Stunning Day Trips From Medellin You Will Love ❤️(2021)

With its green valley, colonial towns, outdoor activities and beautiful Fincas, there are many weekend and day trips from Medellin you can organize to explore the department of Antioquia.

You could stay one month traveling in Antioquia without being bored! Let’s see our favorite day trips from Medellin.

Day trips from Medellin: What you must know

If you’re in a rush, quickly learn about the most important topics in this post. ⬇️⬇️

Where: Medellin is situated in Antioquia.

How to get to Medellin: Read our Medellin travel guide to know all the transportation options.

Why should you visit Antioquia: Antioquia is one of my favorite departments. There are many hidden-gems like colonial towns, mind-blowing outdoor activities, and treks through the paramos.

Hiking trips from Medellin: There are tons of hikes you can do around Medellin with Kinkaju. Also, you can plan a day trip to the Paramo de Belmira or a 3-day expedition to the Paramo del Sol (Urrao).

River trips from Medellin: If you’re fond of crystal-clear rivers and waterfalls, then you must head to San Rafael and San Carlos.

Outdoor activities outside of Medellin: Get your adrenaline fix with a 2-day trip rafting on Rio Verde, some rock climbing in Abejorral, and extreme sports activities in Tamesis.

Cultural trips from Medellin: Head to Santa Elena to learn about the Silleteras tradition or contemplate the best ceramic objects made in El Carmen de Viboral.

Lovely colonial towns nearby Medellin: Guatape is the most famous Colombia attraction. Do it on your own, or book this excellent group tour. Pair a visit to Horizontes and Santa Fe de Antioquia to get off the beaten path and plan a weekend trip to Jardin or Jerico to be soaked by the Colombian farmer’s daily life.

Stunning accommodations and glamping: Pick Casa en El Aire or La Peña to do some rock climbing, Rio Claro to sleep in a Natural reserve. If you want some glam for your vacation, you will love Bosko and TEVA retreat.

Medellín travel guide

Free online guide on Medellín to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this famous city.

T. contents: Day trips from Medellin

Colonial towns: Day trips from Medellin

Colorful Balconies Guatape day trips from Medellin - E - Anamaria Mejia
A colorful house in Guatape | Credit: Anamaria Mejia /Shutterstock

After a stay in Medellín that you will have organized according to your desires for the things to do in the city of eternal spring, why not enjoy its surroundings?

In Antioquia, there are several colonial towns that worth the visit!

1. Guatape And The Monolith El Peñol

View from el Peñon Guatape

Day trip from Medellin

Guatape is the most famous day trip from Medellin, and the fantastic view from El Peñol is one of the highlights in Colombia.

Artificial lakes and green hills surround the colonial town. Each house is painted with bright colors that give a happy Arlequin-sweet vibe to the streets. In the main square, local restaurants suggest the menu of the day and cold natural juices.

Downhill, visitors enjoy water games and do a remake of “Pirates of the Caribean” with their new pedalo. But, they still have to improve their Jack Sparrow’s charisma.  

Scattered among the lower slopes, hostels welcome the broken backpackers while upscale hotels put out flowers for their guests. From the terraces, the travelers have a great view of El Peñol, a colossal monolith standing alone, braving the bad weather for thousands of years.

The Colombian government has built a long stairway (740 steps) to reach the top and enjoy the astonishing view.  

We usually work with Medellin Day Trips if you want a private tour to visit Guatape.

Plan your trip to Guatapé

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to Guatape from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
The best tour
Travel guide

How to get to Guatape

  • Bus at the North Terminal (Metro Station Caribe).
  • There are two counters: 9 & 14
  • Bus Medellin to Guatape: 2 hours – 1 Way

Must read: How to get from Medellin to Guatape

Where to stay in Guatape

  • La Galeria is a chill hostel near the lake with a fantastic view of El Peñol.
  • Serendipity will seduce travelers looking for a romantic stay.
  • The luxurious Bosko glamping is the ideal option for travelers who love atypical experiences.

How many days in Guatape

It’s an easy day trip from Medellin, especially if you start early. However, It would be even more enjoyable if you decide to spend the night in Guatape. Thus, you can lay back nearby the lakes, plan a kayak trip or swim in the rivers next to San Rafael.

There are many hostels and hotels with a great view of the lakes and El Peñol from the outside.

  • Number of days I recommend: 2 days

Book an inexpensive tour from Medellín

Many local agencies offer a day trip to Guatape from Medellín. This is a good option if you don’t have too much time and if you are looking for a more comfortable experience.

Plan this experience

Don’t bother with the organization and go with this excellent group tour company. | Local breakfast and lunch; Private transportation from Medellín; Visit of Guatape; Lake tour; Professional bilingual guide (English/Spanish); Free cancellation (if 24h in advance); Easy booking | 11 hours

Guatapé travel guide

Free online guide on Guatape to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this colorful colonial town.

Private tour from Medellín

Easy trip to Guatapé from Medellín


2. Santa Fe De Antioquia And The Bridge Puente Del Occidente

Church Santa Fe de antioquia Day trip from Medellin
Santa Fe de Antioquia

Day trip from Medellin

 Santa Fe de Antioquia is another colonial town close to Medellin. There is a massive cathedral on the main square, a lovely park, and cobblestone streets.

10 min outside the city, travelers can cross the Puente del Occidente, a large suspension bridge above the Cauca river. This national monument is supported by 4 pyramidal towers that look a bit like Japanese constructions – No I’ve never been to Japan.  

Plan your trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
Our favorite tour

How to get to Santa Fe de Antioquia

  • Bus at the North Terminal (Metro Station Caribe).
  • There are 3 counters: 13-19, 32 & 34
  • Bus Medellin to Santa Fe de Antioquia: 1h30 – 1 Way

Where to stay in Santa Fe de Antioquia

Hotel Mariscal is an old colonial building hotel in Santa Fe de Antioquia’s center with a large pool and cozy rooms. Luxury hotel

Hotel de La Plaza Menor is a cheaper option than Hotel Mariscal. The bedrooms are comfortable, and the pool is quite pleasant. Located 2 streets away from the main square of Santa Fe de Antioquia.

How many days in Santa Fe de Antioquia

You should only travel to Santa Fe de Antioquia if you want to spend the night. Thus, you will be able to enjoy the freshness of the night while you pick up a restaurant before singing with locals in a karaoke bar.

Then you can leave early the next day.

  • Number of days I recommend: 2 days

Combine Santa Fe De Antioquia with Horizontes

Horizontes is a little and peaceful town, up a hill, with a mind-blowing view of Antioquia’s mountains. The friendly inhabitants all know each other, and they even write their names above their colorful wooden doorway.

To get to Horizontes, you must first arrive at Belmira then take a Chiva. It lasts 4-5h from Medellin.

Ask Turantioquia to organize it for you!

Horizontes view

Best hotel in Santa Fe de Antioquia

Sleep in a beautiful colonial building


3. Jerico, A Religious Colonial Town Lost In The Clouds

The colonial town of Jerico

Multi-day trip from Medellin

 Jerico is a colonial town where Sister Laura Montoya, the saint Colombia’s first was born. A cathedral, a sanctuary, and a few churches watch out the village. It’s damned good protected from Lucifer. Buses have to take a long and winding road among high green hills to drive visitors to Jerico. Travelers can enjoy the quietness of the place and the great landscapes made of coffee plantations and steep slopes.  

Above the village, after 30 min walk, Parque de Los Nubes offers astonishing viewpoints and secret spots for picnicking.  

Plan your trip to Jericó

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to Jerico from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
Travel guide

How to get to Jerico

  • Bus at the South Terminal (Metro Station Poblado).
  • Counter: 18
  • Bus Medellin to Jerico: 3h – 1 Way

Where to stay in Jerico

Las Cometas Hostel is a cheap place near the city center. Unfortunately, the mattress are really bad.

Hotel Despertar is a luxury option with excellent value for money. Large rooms with comfortable beds and outstanding views from the jacuzzi.

Cabañas y Flores is less than 5min by tuk-tuk from downtown. The garden is incredible, the view of the surrounding mountains is great and the small colorful huts have charm. The place is peaceful and the welcome is warm.

How many days in Jerico

It would be silly to come all the way down from Medellin without spending the night in Jerico. Wander among the cobblestone streets, hike in the mountains around, and visit the different religious sites

I recommend staying for 3 days.

Jericó travel guide

Free online guide on Jerico to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this religious colonial town.

Best hotel in Jericó

A unique stay with stunning views


4. Jardin, a place for coffee lovers and waterfall hunters

Jardin Colonial Town weekend trip from Medellin
The main square in Jardin | Credit: @paintrose2017

A Multi-day trip from Medellin

In the colonial town of Jardin, coffee is a religion. On the main square, in front of a large and gorgeous basilica, locals drink the brown gold beverage sit on colorful wood chairs. Cowboy hats protect their smiley eyes while life goes on around them. In case of bad weather, tables are pushed against the white walls and the customers use the roofs as shelters. The aroma of the coffee mixes with the smell of the rain while the hot cups warm the worker’s hands.

Jardin is located in a valley surrounded by coffee plantations and waterfalls. It offers to the visitors a perfect balance between activities and moments of relaxation. Moreover, the two old fashion cable cars are a fun way to get a stunning view of the grid pattern made by the cobblestone streets.

Don’t forget to check out the Cock of the rock reserve (A strange-beautiful bird with a redhead) if you decide to take a weekend trip to Jardin from Medellin.

Plan your trip to Jardín

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to Jardin from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
Travel guide

How to get to Jardin

  • Bus at the South Terminal (Metro Station Poblado).
  • Counter 34 or 2
  • Bus Medellin – Jardin: 4 hours – 1 way

Where to stay in Jardin

Sgt Pepper’s hostel is a cozy place with a cool patio in the center of Jardin.

Plantación is a luxury hotel, eco-friendly, with comfortable rooms and a delicious restaurant.

The bed & Breakfast La Boira is situated outside Jardin and the view from the rooms is astonishing. Moreover, the owner is a friendly-original-funny lady.

Casa Passiflora is a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of the village. The building is pleasant with a lovely garden/jacuzzi area. The rooms are top class and the staff is very attentive.

How many days in Jardin

In Jardin, there are various excursions to different waterfalls and the visit of coffee plantations. Moreover, easy trails allow travelers to hike around the colonial town and explore the area.

I recommend staying at least 3 days in Jardin.

Jardín travel guide

Free online guide on Jardin to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this peaceful colonial town.

The best house in Jardín

Be romantic & stay there


Untypical lodgings: Day trips from Medellin

When traveling, we love staying at unusual places like a treehouse, inside a nature reserve, in luxury glamping or a hostel hooked on a cliff – yes, it’s literally a cliff. Let’s find out where you can stay!

5. Get your adrenaline fix in Casa En El Aire

Casa En El Aire - Weekend trip from Medellin
Not the worst spot to enjoy the sunset | Credit: @Oscasisu

Multi-day trip from Medellin

Casa En El Aire is unique and can’t be found anywhere else in Colombia. From Abejorral, a truck picks up the explorers ready to get their shot of adrenaline. And after a short drive, they still have to hike through bushes and trees for 20 min to finally get the first glimpse of their future accommodation, 40m above the edge.

Indeed, Casa en el Aire is a freakish hostel made of woods and anchored to a cliff. Beating the view is hard.

Two options for getting in: There is a long and steep rock stairway or you can use the zip line.

During your stay, the hostel offers different activities like enjoying the sunset from suspended hammocks, rappelling and short hikes (with additional cost).

Watch a video of Casa en el Aire on Youtube

How to get to Casa En El Aire (+)

  • Take the bus at the South Terminal (Metro Station Poblado) to Abejorral. Inform the hostel of your arrival in advance as they will send you a driver
  • Counter 23 or 9
  • Bus Medellin to Abejorral : 3 hours
  • + 30 min truck drive
  • +20 min hike

How many days (+)

1 or 2 nights (The rappelling takes 8 hours)

6. Stay in Rio Claro, a stunning nature reserve

Mode adventure: ON | Credit: @falkenberg_photo

Multi-day trip from Medellin

Rio Claro is a natural reserve of 650 hectares near the famous Hacienda Napoles (Pablo Escobar’s mansion) that flanks a crystal-clear river of the same name. In Spanish, Rio Claro means Clear River.

In this fantastic environment, trails lead to a series of cabañas, caves and natural beaches made of sediments. Thus, visitors can wander alone or with a guide through an eerie deep green rainforest to admire the vast biodiversity of birds, butterflies, and plants. And, the river is always within sight distance to cool off during your sweaty expeditions.

The key point is that you can live within the natural reserve for a few days. Accommodations are entirely incorporated into the environment and offer a great view of the forest and the river from the rooms. There is no noise pollution. Here, bird whistles and river songs will help you to fall asleep.

How to get to Rio Claro (+)

  • Bus at the North Terminal (Metro Station Caribe)
  • Counter 7
  • Bus Medellin – Rio Claro: 3 hours – 1 way
  • Accommodation in the Reserve: From 120 000 COP (3 meals included)
  • More information: Official Website

How many days in Rio Claro (+)

You should stay in Rio Claro at least 2 nights.

7. Romantic Glamping you don’t wanna miss

Multi-day trip from Medellin

There are several beautiful glamping in the department of Antioquia. It can be an excellent stop before taking your international flight.

  • Bosko is super romantic glamping in Guatape.
  • TEVA Retreat offers top-notch facilities nearby the airport in Rionegro

We give here all the tips and info to enjoy your glamping experience in Colombia.

Plan a romantic stay

The best glamping in Guatapé


Crystal-clear water: Day trips from Medellin

Antioquia is also an incredible place to swim in crystal-clear water rivers and organize cool activities like canyoning and tubing.

8. San Rafael: A smart alternative to Guatape.

San Rafael River

Multi-day trip from Medellin

San Rafael is a little town at a 45-min bus drive from Guatape. The town itself isn’t appealing, but the atmosphere it’s 100% authentic and without any tourists.

Also, San Rafael is surrounded by natural pools and waterfalls. Some of them are accessible on foot! If you like outdoor adventures, we had tons of fun when we booked 2 canyoning experiences with Manu.

Here is my tip when creating your itinerary around Medellin. If you decide to visit Guatape, consider only spending the day there then take another bus to San Rafael. It’s an excellent combo.

Plan your trip to San Rafael

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to San Rafael from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
Travel guide

How to get to San Rafael

  • It’s the same bus as the one going to Guatape.
  • You can stop in Guatape, then take another later the same day.
  • It’s 3h from Medellin

Where to stay in San Rafael

How many days in San Rafael

Leave early from Medellin and stay 2 nights

San Rafael travel guide

Free online guide on San Rafael to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this unknown Colombian town.

Staying overnight in San Rafael

A riverfront paradise


9. San Carlos: Spanish School and waterfalls

San Carlos (1)

Multi-day trip from Medellin

San Carlos was a war zone, and almost all the inhabitants had to run away during the darkest time of Colombia. Fortunately, the situation improved a lot for the last 10 years, and nowadays San Carlos is an example to follow for many other towns.

Like in San Rafael, travelers who like being wet won’t be bored in San Carlos. Indeed, the town offers various canyoning opportunities and hidden natural pools. Between 2 activities, you can also stroll along the ecological path that leads to a lovely waterfall or hike to the top of El Tambor to enjoy a stunning view of the valley.

Plan your trip to San Carlos

Click on the filters below to plan your trip to San Carlos from Medellín. ⬇️⬇️

How to get there
Where to stay
How many days
Travel guide

How to get to San Carlos

  • Take your bus at the North Terminal (Caribe metro station)
  • It takes 4-5h by bus

Where to stay in San Carlos

  • Hotel Jireh is an unpretentious, quiet, and cheap hotel.
  • La Cascada is an old mansion on the way to a lovely waterfall.

How many days in San Carlos

  • You can stay 3 nights if you’re a fan of waterfalls and canyoning.
  • Otherwise, 2 nights could be enough.

San Carlos travel guide

Free online guide on San Carlos to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit this pleasant Colombian town.

Best hotel in San Carlos

A stay at the river’s edge


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