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Things to do in Medellin Colombia

“I elected not to do a Pablo Escobar tour, since he brought so much pain and suffering to the people of Medellin.”

Here’s a high-level overview of things to do in Medellin Colombia and Guatape Colombia.

Medellin is a great city with better weather than Bogota

I treated myself to a nicer hotel.
The stolen iPhone and shitty hostels really broke my travel spirit.
To see exactly how rough my trip to Colombia was, check out this post here.
So, I needed to reframe and recharge.

Medellin Colombia highlights |

  • Explored the city
  • Met up with a friend of a friend
  • Admired the street art
  • Visited the cutest little coffee farm
  • Climbed a giant rock
  • Took a bus into a local neighborhood
  • Scaled the backside of a mountain
  • Learned what it felt like to be out after dark

I elected not to do a Pablo Escobar tour,
Since he brought so much pain and suffering to the people of Medellin

Medellin Antioquia | Medellin
  • Transportation
    • I flew from Bogota to Medellin on Avianca
    • The drive from the airport into town is breathtaking, especially at night.
    • Taxi drivers will charge you an arm and a leg to get from the airport to the city.
    • The new tunnel makes the trip much shorter, but the toll is very expensive.
    • If you understand Spanish you can order an Uber and meet in the special location at the airport. 
    • My Uber driver made me pay the tunnel fee out of pocket plus the fare. 
    • But, the Uber driver on the way back paid the tunnel fee without asking me, so you might be able to negotiate with them.
  • Area to Stay | El Poblado
    • This is probably the nicest neighborhood in the city. 
    • It has a ton of cute coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shops.
    • I didn’t partake in the nightlife, but I could tell it was the place to be from all the music and noise. 
  • Area to Stay | Laureles
    • I didn’t visit Laureles myself, but a lot of people recommended it. 
    • I wanted to, but things were pretty spread out, and I was spooked from having my phone stolen in Bogota.
  • Hotel | Celestino Boutique Hotel
    • Beautiful hotel for a reasonable price [~$57/night USD].
    • I needed a serious break from hostels, so I decided to treat myself.
    • I’m 35 years old, used to the finer things in life, and am a light sleeper.
    • So, hostels aren’t really my jam.
    • Plus, after 7 days, my new phone wasn’t fully setup which was a nightmare.
  • Restaurants & Coffee Shops |
    • There were a lot of decent options to choose from in El Poblado.
    • Azul Selva
    • Pergamino Cafe
      • This cafe was located directly across from the hotel.
      • It was perfect for getting some work done or reading a book.
  • Paso [Neighborhood] | Comuna 13
    • Historical neighborhood full of amazing street art.
    • Check out Airbnb Experiences for a guided tour.
    • I liked my tour but didn’t love it. I felt like I was being sold too much.
    • There weren’t a lot of tour options due to COVID.
    • Majority of people wanted to charge me a private tour rate, which I declined.
    • Airbnb Experience here.
  • Secret Hike 
    • Airbnb Experience here.
    • This was super cool and wasn’t touristy at all.
    • This guide, Vanessa, spoke very broken English, but that made it more fun.
    • I loved her firecracker personality.
    • We took a bus to her childhood neighborhood [muy authentico] and hiked to the top of a mountain where only locals hang out.
    • Instead of going back down the way we came, we scaled down the back side.
    • We taught one another Spanish and English and shared some laughs.
    • We didn’t reach the neighborhood until dark.
    • Vanessa is fairly light skinned and super small, so two females wandering around at night wasn’t ideal.
    • Afterwards, we took the sky tram to the newly finished light rail downtown.
    • Finding an Uber was challenging and they kept canceling on me.
    • Luckily, Vanessa waited with me until I got one.
Guatape Antioquia | El Penol & Guatape
  • Coffee Farm + Guatape Tour
    • I was the only person on the tour.
    • Thankfully, she was nice enough to take me.
    • The host is super sweet, but didn’t have much personality, so trying to have a forced conversation all day was a little exhausting. 
    • Plus, I wasn’t feeling my best.
    • The Finca La Rivera Coffee Tour in El Penol was hands down my favorite experience in Colombia
    • The farmer’s grandson, Justin, was too cute for words. He knew every step of the process and loved helping his grandpa.
    • It’s a family owned farm that produces ~2 tons of coffee a year, opposed to the larger coffee farms in the Colombian Coffee Triangle.
    • Airbnb Experience here.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Medellin Colombia.
Question time, have you been or want to visit
Comment your answers below. I’ll be reading!

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