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33 BEST Things to do in Medellin, Colombia

33 BEST Things to do in Medellin, Colombia

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Medellin, Colombia is one of the most popular places to visit in Colombia. This rather infamous city was once a “no go” zone, however, that side of the city is in the past. Now, Medellin is a vibrant city just waiting to be explored by visitors.

After visiting my first time I was so in love that I returned two more times (even once to live for 6 weeks!) I absolutely love Medellin and think it’s a city every traveler needs to explore.

To say the least, the city is filled with amazing things to see and do, world-class restaurants, incredible tours, and a population who are excited to show it all off to tourists.

But, there’s just one catch!

As with any big city, there’s so much to know before you go that it can be overwhelming when planning your trip. So in this quick Medellin, Colombia guide, I’ll brief you on all the important stuff to make sure you have the best time possible during your visit. I’ve also included a HUGE list of the 33 best things to do in Medellin, so you’re sure not to miss out on the best activities!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Some of our top things to do in Medelllin are:

  1. Join this walking tour of Medellin which includes a ride on the Metrocable
  2. Enjoy a day trip to Guatape on this tour
  3. Hike in Parque Arvi
  4. Experience the lively nightlife in the El Poblado neighborhood
  5. Taste traditional cuisine on this Medellin food tour

About Medellin, Colombia

medellin towers of light
The Medellin Towers of Light.

Medellin is the second-largest city in Colombia, and it’s famous for its fantastic weather all year round. The average temperature is 70°F (24°F), and for that reason, it’s widely known as the “city of the eternal spring.” 

Surrounded by mountains, Medellin is filled with beautiful green spaces that visitors should explore. The city is also very easy to walk and move around using public transportation, making it a cheap city to visit. But my favorite thing is the people. 

The city didn’t have the best reputation during the 1990s, but it’s noticeable how hard they’ve worked to clean up its past and become a welcoming city for everyone. The locals have played the largest role in this, and it only takes a few hours wandering the streets to see this.

Yes, you’ll drink a lot of coffee (some of the best we’ve ever had!), and yes, you’ll likely go salsa dancing. However, there are so many more things to do in Medellin. 

This is our favorite list of activities and experiences during our multiple visits and while living in the city for a few months. From museums, restaurants, parks, and hiking, no one will get bored in Medellin! 

Things to do in Medellin, Colombia

1. Enjoy the best free walking tour

Bailey on a free walking tour in Medellin at the Lights of Hope
We loved the tour and especially this stop at the Lights of Hope!

You don’t need a pricy tour to explore Medellin. In fact, Medellin is home to one of the best free walking tours in Latin America. Honestly, this walking tour is one of the best I’ve ever done. The tour runs for about four hours and offers a unique insight into Medellin’s past and present.

The only catch is that you must book it online 24 hours in advance to secure your spot. Head to Real City’s website and book your free walking tour downtown the day before to prevent being turned away when you show up.

To reach the tour’s starting point, take the metro to Alpujarra Station and you’ll meet your tour guide here at the specified time. The walking tour will show you all of the best places in downtown Medellin – an area many tourists don’t get to see.

It is also a tour full of history and gives you the chance to ask any questions you might have to the very knowledgeable guide. I loved the tour and highly recommended it to everyone who visits Medellin. It’s the perfect way to get to know the city when your first arrive. The tour is tip-based and it’s recommended to tip $10 to $15 USD per person.

2. Day trip to Guatape

A lady poses for a photo on a colorful street on a day trip to Guatape, Colombia
The streets in Guatape are stunning!

Guatape is a small resort town located not far from Medellin. It is well known as Colombia’s most colorful town – it is just beautiful! But besides the colorful streets, there is actually a lot to do and see in Guatape. From boat tours to climbing the massive rock, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

The best way to visit Guatape is on a tour from Medellin for an organized day trip. While you can take the public bus, Guatape is about a 2-hour bus ride away, and between waiting for buses and getting to the stations, you’ll waste a lot of time.

This particular day trip to Guatape from Medellin includes climbing the rock El Penol (entrance fee not included) as well as a boat ride on the lake. It lasts for over 8 hours and will consume your entire day. Lunch is also included!

If you do have more time, I highly suggest spending a few nights in Guatape. Two to three will suffice and give you more time to explore. One of the best things I did was rent a scooter and explore hidden waterfalls. The nightlife is also really fun and the prices are so cheap!

3. Ride the Medellin Metro Cable up to Parque Arvi

Riding the cable car to Parque Arvi
Riding the cable car to Parque Arvi

The cable cars around Medellin are simply a mode of transport for locals up the steep hills around the city. However, for visitors, they’re a tourist attraction – perfect for enjoying breathtaking views of the city. There are a few popular routes you can take but I highly suggest taking the cable car up to Parque Arvi.

To do so, head to Acevedo Station from Poblado and transfer onto the cable car. The first ride should be included in your ticket (if you purchased the correct one) and you need to get off at the end at Santa Domingo.

From here, transfer onto the next cable car of which a new ticket is required. This is the longest cable car and takes you all the way to Parque Arvi. You get to see the entire city as well as the farmland on the outskirts. It’s all pretty easy and you’ll see lots of other tourists doing the same route.

Be sure to head back down from Parque Arvi well before 6 pm when the last cars head down. Of course, while at Parque Arvi, be sure to explore…

4. Explore Parque Arvi

A trail in Parque Arvi, Medellin, Colombia
Get lost in Parque Arvi!

Parque Arvi is a huge park and ecological nature reserve located on the outer rim of Medellin. It’s home to tons of hiking trails, waterfalls, and even an archeological site.

If you’re visiting on the weekend you’ll be lucky enough to explore Mercado Arví. This small farmers market is a great place to shop or enjoy a locally made meal. There are over 40 stands and it’s a nice addition to your visit.

Of course, the number one thing to do at Parque Arvi is hiking. There are over 12 different trails through the park including Trail of the Hill, The Brooklet, and the Ancestral. Almost all of the trails are rated as easy but range in length.

There are guided hikes available which you can book directly at the park. They are offered both in English and Spanish and leave every 30 minutes from 10 am to 4 pm at a cost of 25,000 COP for foreigners.

You can also go mountain biking, horseback riding, and explore another nature reserve called Piedras Blancas.

If you don’t want to go to Parque Arvi on your own, you can do this full-day guided tour of Medellin that includes a visit to Parque Arvi on the Metro Cable Cars!

5. Join a Comuna 13 tour

Bailey in Comuna 13 Medellin, Colombia
All the tours visit this viewpoint to see the entire community!

No trip to Medellin is complete without a visit to Comuna 13. This neighborhood was once one of the most unsafe areas in all of Medellin, but today it is quite the opposite and boasts beautiful graffiti, views over the city, and a lively atmosphere.

Nowadays, Comuna 13 has been transformed and it’s a safe place for tourists to visit. You can now learn about the history of the area and check out some of the amazing street art. It’s the perfect way to see up close just how much Medellin has changed and how everything you’ve heard online might not be as true as you think.

The best way to enjoy Communa 13 is on a guided tour in Medellin. This way, your guide will be able to show you the most interesting areas as well as share stories along the way. In all honesty, before joining a tour I was a little nervous about visiting. However, after a tour of the area, we actually returned on our own to explore some more.

A child in Comuna 13 Medellin, Colombia
Building in Comuna 13 Medellin, Colombia

There are lots of different Comuna 13 tours you can choose from including free walking tours and paid tours. One of the companies that run a great free tour is Zippy Tours, we did this one and thought it was well done despite attracting a large group.

Or for a more in-depth and personal experience, opt for a highly-rated paid guided tour. This tour is quite affordable and has amazing reviews!

No matter what you choose, though, you need to ensure a Communa 13 tour makes its way onto your Medellin itinerary as to me, it is one of the absolute best things to do in Medellin.

6. Check out Plaza Botero 

A statue by Botero in Plaza Botero, Medellin, Colombia
It’s not hard to spot Botero’s work!

Botero is one of the most important artists from Colombia, and you will probably get to see his iconic sculptures and paintings all around Medellin (where he was born). In 2002, 23 bronze sculptures were donated to the city, and they were placed in this beautiful square called Plaza Botero.

Only a few meters away from the Parque Berrio subway station (we always took the subway), Plaza Botero is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting the city. Bring your camera with you and take some amazing pictures of these imposing sculptures scattered over the square. 

Pay a visit to the nearby Coffee Laboratory, a lovely restaurant where you can enjoy different types of Colombian coffee and have a nice meal. If you sit on the terrace, you’ll have a magnificent view of the square. 

Hot Tip: The free walking tour of Medellin that we mentioned earlier in this blog visits Plaza Botero, as do most paid city tours, so you might not have to plan a visit here on your own!

7. Wander the trendy streets of El Poblado 

Cool Streets of El Poblado
El Poblado after dark! When we first visited Medellin, it was nowhere near as busy as it is now. You won’t find the streets this quiet anymore!

El Poblado is one of the safest and most touristic neighborhoods of Medellin. Some of the best restaurants, bars, and malls can be found there, and the nightlife is fantastic! This is the area where most visitors choose to stay in Medellin, and chances are your hotel is already located here.

One of the best things to do in Medellin is to simply get out and wander the vibrant streets of El Poblado.

If you want to grab a bite to eat but don’t know exactly what you are in the mood for, take a walk around Manila. This small part of the neighborhood has restaurants for every occasion and every taste. Fancy restaurants, international menus, vegetarian options, street food, and local food, Manila has it all. 

There are cafes on every corner in El Poblado with delicious smells coming out of them from early in the morning to late at night. I highly suggest checking out Botanika Cocina Fresca. It was my favorite place for brunch. My favorite place for coffee in the area is Cafe Velvet Medellin.

After 9 pm everything comes even more alive in El Poblado. You have to check the Parque Lleras, a bright square surrounded by all kinds of restaurants and bars where you can go for a drink, listen to live music (mostly salsa and vallenato), and go dancing all night long. One of my favorite restaurants in the area is The Greek Connection, which serves up authentic Greek food. 

Safety Note: While El Poblado is generally referred to as a “safe” area of Medellin, general safety precautions should still be taken. Don’t flash valuables or money, keep your wits about you, and stay in a group when it gets dark. Watch for pickpocketing, avoid illegal activity, and just be generally aware of your surroundings.

8. Enjoy drinks at a rooftop bar

Sunset drinks at Los Patios, Medellin, Colombia
Sunset drinks at Los Patios, Medellin, Colombia

The best way to spend sunset in Medellin is at a rooftop bar within the city. My favorite place to go was Los Patios Hostel Bar.

This massive hostel has a gorgeous rooftop bar with some of the best views in all of Medellin. It costs 10,000 COP to enter, but once at the top beers are cheap. Just visit reception when you get there to get a wristband and access to the rooftop bar. If you stay at Los Patios (it’s a beautiful hostel!) then you can access the rooftop bar for free!

Enjoy a beautiful sunset overlooking the city here as well as an epic social atmosphere.

Most evenings, the party at Los Patios continues well into the night and you can even jump on a traditional “Chiva” party bus tour from here if you want a big night out (you really need at least one party night on your Medellin trip!)

If you aren’t into the hostel bars then a few other rooftop bars are Envy Rooftop, Panorama Rooftop Bar, and La Zotea. these places are a little trendier and located right in El Poblado.

You can also join an organized rooftop pub crawl. This is a great tour if you’re traveling alone and want to meet other travelers, or if you just prefer to have a guide show you around the best local places!

9. Go paragliding  

paragliding in Colombia
Imagine the views!

You need a little adventure while visiting Medellin so paragliding is the perfect activity. For only about $50 USD you can go paragliding with an experienced instructor and sore above the mountains surrounding Medellin. It’s so much fun!

Sure, it is an adventure activity but it is also very scenic. Paragliding is easily one of the most popular things to do in Medellin and something you should really consider adding to your Medellin bucket list.

If you have a little more to spend, you can choose to do a paragliding experience over waterfalls! I never tried this, but I heard it was incredible! I’ve added it to my Medellin bucket list for next time.

10. Go on a food tour 

Empanadas on a food tour in Medellin, Colombia
Colombian empanadas are my favorite across Latin America. I love the crispy corn crust!

The best food in Colombia is in Medellin, no doubt about it. There are so many different flavors and styles that you would need to live there to actually be able to taste them all. However, if you are only staying for a week or so, you just have to join a private food tour! Even I decided to join a food tour when I first moved to Medellin simply because I wanted to know what to eat! 

On this specific food tour, you’ll get to taste the best traditional foods and drinks from Colombia and learn a bit more about their coffee from an expert guide. This 4-hour tour includes transportation, snacks, soft and hard drinks, and food tasting. You’ll taste foods such as chocolo arepas, Aguardiente (the traditional alcohol of Colombia that tastes horrible to me), butifarra, empanadas, and more. 

Your tour guide will accompany you and help you order the food and drinks, but their main goal will be to make you feel at home in every bar and restaurant. By far one of the best things to do in Medellin. 

11. Watch a football match

Medellin Football Match
This was one cool but a tad worrying experience! Seriously though, it’s safe!

Colombians love their football (also known as soccer!) There is no better place to watch a game than in Medellin where the games are frequent and the crowd is enthusiastic.

You do need to book this particular activity according to when a game is scheduled, however, they are frequent so it shouldn’t be too hard!

You can either get to the stadium yourself and buy a ticket when you get there. Otherwise, you can book an organized tour that will get your ticket for you and also organize group transport. I went on this particular tour and loved it purely for the lack of planning I had to do and that I was with a group of travelers!

I also felt safe which I was a little worried about as I did this on my first visit to Medellin.

12. Visit the Museo de Antioquia 

A painting by Botero at Museo de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia
It’s not hard to spot the works of Botero. His artwork is the same as his sculptures.

In the heart of Medellin, right in front of Plaza Botero, you will find this great museum, Museo de Antioq. Tickets cost around $5 USD, and depending on the exhibits, you can probably walk the entire museum in 2 hours. 

Inside, you will find more of Botero’s unique work and several pieces from other Colombian artists. There are some magnificent paintings from the early 1900s, and if you enjoy history, you can learn a lot about Colombia’s history and all the great events that led to its independence 200 years ago. 

There are over 5000 pieces permanently living in this museum, but they also have seasonal exhibits from local artists and collectors. There’s a cute little cafe inside where you can rest before finishing the tour and the gift shop you can’t miss. The little Botero sculptures will make a great souvenir. 

13. Pueblito Paisa 

Pueblito Paisa, Medellin, Colombia
How cute is this beautiful city Pueblito!

There’s a lovely little town on top of a mountain with amazing views of Medellin called Pueblito Paisa. The town is a replica of a Colombian colonial town from the XVI century, back when they were ruled by the Spanish empire. You can wander the cute streets, eat traditional food and get some fantastic photos and views of the entire city. 

I loved coming here to escape the city sometimes. It almost feels like a movie set and is one of the safest places to explore in Medellin. 

You can take the subway to the Exposiciones station and walk a few minutes through 33rd Avenue until you see the Cerro Nutibara (Nutibarra Hill) sign. This is a great hiking point where many people go exercise during the morning, and the walk to Pueblito Paisa is only 1 mile (you can also take a cab from the subway station if you don’t feel like walking). 

For a guided experience, you can take this Medellin Private Tour. It’s USD$89 per person, and a certified guide will take you to the best attractions of Medellin, ending at the top of Nubitara Hill at Pueblito Paisa. The tour takes approximately 5 hours to finish, and it’s a lovely way to learn about the culture of this beautiful city. The food recommendations from the guide were top-notch. 

14. San Alejo Handicraft Market 

A stall at the San Alejo Handicraft Market , Medellin, Colombia
A unique stall at the A stall at the San Alejo Handicraft Market, Medellin, Colombia. Photo credit: Depositphotos

Going shopping on vacation is always fun, especially if you are visiting a place where you can find things you would never see anywhere else in the world. On the first Saturday of every month, in Parque Bolivar, hundreds of artisans gather to sell their unique pieces made with the craziest materials you can imagine. 

There are circus performers walking around the market to make the experience even more colorful (perfect for children). Everything is handcrafted by local artisans, which makes it an ideal place to get souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends back home. You can even get a customized piece of jewelry made right in front of your eyes. It’s a truly fun experience that you can’t miss if you visit Medellin. 

15. Party!!!

Bailey partying in Medellin, Colombia
Medellin is a fun city!

The best place to go partying in Medellin is El Poblado. It’s very easy to walk around this area, and it gets pretty crowded during the weekends. It’s also where most of the hotels and hostels are located in the city. You can visit a few bars and clubs in one night to try different drinks and dance to all kinds of music. 

We always had a particularly great time at Los Patios Hostel. They have a rooftop bar with incredible views of the city and even better music. El Blue Bar is another one of the best in Medellin, and they throw these amazing parties with rock and techno from the 90s and early 2000s (drinks are cheap and delicious!). 

Whenever we asked someone for a place to go dancing and drinking, Calle 9+1 always came up. The line was huge when we got there, but it was totally worth the wait. One of the best mojitos I’ve ever had! 

It’s safe to say if you love nightlife, you’ll end up out late at night in Medellin! Just be sure to stick to the tourist areas and if you’re traveling down quiet streets, travel in groups. 

16. Step back in time at Salón Málaga 

The inside of Salón Málaga in downtown Medellin, Colombia
This place is stuck in time! Photo credit: Salón Málaga 

You can visit 1950’s Medellin just by stepping into Salón Málaga. In this curious little bar, you would feel like you are inside an old movie if it wasn’t for the big flat screens where people watch football games almost every day. The music is played from original vinyl, which seems to be one of the things most people love about this place.   

It is truly a charming venue with old photographs covering every wall, vintage phones and gramophones everywhere, and a functional jukebox beautifully preserved. You can stop by for a drink at the bar or sit down at a table and enjoy old Colombian music while drinking a nice “tintico” (the most popular way to drink coffee in the country). 

Salón Málaga is located in the downtown area of Medellin, so I would combine a visit with other attractions in this part of the city, such as Plaza Botero. You can easily get the train here from the Poblado train station by getting off at Parque Berrío or San Antonio. The metro is very safe in Medellin and only costs 2,750 pesos or $0.80 USD for a standard trip.

17. Go on an ATV Tour 

On an atv tour in the hills around Medellin, Colombia
Photo credit: Medellin Adventure Trails ATV tour
A view of the mountains on an ATV tour from Medellin, Colombia
Photo credit: Medellin Adventure Trails

Beautiful mountains surround Medellin, and the best way to travel them is by ATV. During my stay in the city, I just had to head out and explore them while enjoying the fun that comes with riding an ATV. The trails are perfect, with many hills, dirt roads, and magnificent views of the city. 

On this private half-day quad tour, you will have the time of your life driving through the mountains with an expert guide. The tour isn’t cheap at over $150 USD per person, but it includes all the necessary gear and a traditional Colombian lunch at a trout farm. 

The tour takes a total of 5 hours, and you can stop at any point to take pictures or simply rest and breath in the mountain air. The tour guide was really nice and fun, which seems to be a common trait in Medellin. I loved the tour and got to see a side of Medellin most don’t, which is the best way to travel! 

Although there are a ton of tours on this list, I’d say this is one of the most adventurous of them all! 

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

18. Go on a Coffee Tour 

Bailey on a coffee tour in Medellin, Colombia
Picking coffee beans just outside Medellin!

Everybody knows that some of the best coffee beans in the world come from Colombia. They treasure their coffee, and they are experts in making you treasure it as well. I have to say it’s delicious, and even if you are not much of a coffee drinker, you will notice the special flavor of Colombian coffee. 

There are many coffee bean plantations around so taking a coffee tour from Medellin is a no-brainer. My pick is this private coffee farm tour where you’ll learn everything about the process of growing and roasting coffee. It’s incredible the amount of love they put into every step of the way, from planting the seeds to pouring the freshly brewed coffee into a cup. 

This particular tour takes 4 to 5 hours, and it includes transportation, snacks, coffee (of course!), and a guide just for you and your group. From picking the beans yourself to learning how to make their traditional tintico, this tour will make you appreciate this product like never before. 

Of course, if you are planning to visit Salento near the Southern area of Colombia, I’d save your coffee tour for there. They are not only cheaper, but the plantations are huge and cover every hillside! 

19. Learn the history of Pablo Escobar

Pablo Escobars grave in Medellin, Colombia
Pablo Escobars grave in Medellin, Colombia

This activity is one of the most popular tours in Medellin, but also the most controversial. Pablo Escobar was not a nice person and that’s important to remember. In fact, many people who live in Medellin have stories to tell about some of the terrible things that have affected them or someone they know.

For that reason, we have still never done a Pablo Escobar tour. However, those interested can certainly join a tour and learn from a local guide about his history and how it’s affected the country.

On this specific tour, you’ll learn about his impact on the city and visit lots of places around Medellin important to the drug trafficker – including his grave. This tour won’t be for everyone, but if you don’t learn from the past you’re doomed to repeat it, right?

20. Go horseback riding 

If the ATVs are too extreme or you simply want a more tranquil experience, you can take this horseback riding tour through the mountains around Medellin instead. I personally have not done this tour as I am allergic to horses, but I wanted to mention it because my friends loved the tour.  

The best part is they offer different types of tours according to your experience level. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable, and my friends felt like they customized the entire ride for them. They are experienced riders, so they got to explore some pretty challenging trails. 

My friends also said the horses were lovely and calm, but the best part was the views of the countryside. This private tour is under $100 USD per person (much cheaper than the ATV tour), and it includes transportation to and from the hotel.

21. White water rafting 

Rafting down a river near Medellin Colombia on a rafting tour
Get out and see the beautiful rainforest and rivers near Medellin! Photo credit: Expedition Colombia

One experience we weren’t expecting when we went to Medellin was exploring the Colombian rainforest and going rafting. This was one of my favorite day trips from Medellin, maybe because I love nature. But even if you are not an outdoorsy person, this is something everyone should try at least once in their lives. 

We took the Rio Verde Day Trip that started early in the morning (breakfast was included), around 2 hours away from the city. We went hiking through the jungle with our fantastic guide until we found the river. We went rafting in the clear water for over 18 miles, including a stop at a waterfall where we got to swim and rest for a bit (lunch was included too). 

The scenery was magical, and even the wild felt welcoming somehow. Also, the guides made us feel safe and comfortable the entire trip. The best part is that the trip includes fun rapids as well as calm sections where you can just enjoy the views. 

22. Eat vegetarian pizza at Cafe Zorba 

The pizza at Cafe Zorba in Medellin, Colombia
The pizza at Cafe Zorba in Medellin, Colombia

We love tasting local food and trying local versions of popular cocktails wherever we go. Our favorite place for this in Medellin wasn’t a bar, though. Cafe Zorba’s specialty is vegetarian pizza, the best in town. We also ordered papas bravas after a friendly local couple at the next table recommended them, and we weren’t disappointed.  

We aren’t vegetarians, but honestly, this pizza has so much flavor I still drool thinking about it right now!

When we were getting ready to leave, we noticed the staff was setting up a white screen where they started to project an old movie. Apparently, they do this every week, and you can sit down, enjoy your drinks with delicious food and watch a classic film comfortably sitting at your table. They also have live jazz music and experimental art exhibits every month. Another great venue at El Poblado. 

The atmosphere of Cafe Zorba was amazing, and the prices were very good! We ended up coming back regularly and realized you needed to come early. This place is popular and often has a line out the door! 

23. Learn to salsa dance

Medellin is a great city to learn salsa dancing. Most people there have been dancing since they were little, and anyone you ask at a salsa club will be more than happy to teach you the basics. After asking around, two places came up, and we got to visit both of them.  

Our favorite was Son Habana. Live salsa music is perfect to get in the mood to learn. Even if you are inexperienced in salsa dancing, the moves will eventually come to you once the rhythm gets in your body. For a crash course, you can take a class on both salsa and bachata (another Caribbean rhythm that’s very catchy!). It’s USD$20 per person, and in 1 hour, you will start to feel how your hips loosen up. 

The other place we loved was Buena Vista. However, this bar is best for those who already know the basics of salsa! 

24. Visit Laureles  

Drinking beer at BBC Brewing in Laureles  
Drinking beer at BBC Brewing in Laureles  

After El Poblado, Laureles is the most popular and safest neighborhood in Medellin. It’s not that big, and it’s quite walkable, so it’s perfect to go explore and get lost in the energy of the place. It’s cheaper than other areas in Medellin, and many college students live there. That’s probably one of the reasons why there are bars and cafes everywhere. 

We went to BBC Cerveceria for drinks, and we ended up staying late because it was super fun. The music was really good, and it wasn’t too crowded. 

If you just want to explore, take a trip to Primer Parque de Laureles and then walk to Second Laureles Park. Along the way, explore cafes, take in the sites and do some people-watching. If you’re hungry, head to Olivia Pizzería Laureles for the best pizza in the area. You could also head over and check out the football stadium.

25. Jardín Botánico Medellín 

Jardín Botánico Medellín 
How cool is this? Photo credit: Sunsinger Depositphotos

The most relaxing experience we had in Medellin was at Medellin’s Botanical Garden. It’s a little oasis in the middle of the city, and there’s no entrance fee. Just remember to bring a water bottle with you. 

You will probably see some people reading books or listening to music sitting on benches or under a tree. It’s pretty silent and ideal for running away from the city – no wonder why locals love it. With that said, it can get crowded during the weekend, and children, in particular, love it because there are turtles, iguanas, butterflies, and fishes in the little lake. 

The best part is that you can easily get to the gardens on the metro. Simply get on at Poblado and travel all the way to Universidad Cll.73 #52-40. From here, the gardens are only a short walk away. 

26. Drink delicious craft beer

A beer at Cerveceria Maestre, Medellin
Photo credit: Cerveceria Maestre Medellin
A tasting flight at Cerveceria Maestre, Medellin, Colombia
Photo credit: Cerveceria Maestre

Had enough of Costeña, Club Colombia, and Pilsen (Colombia’s most popular mainstream beers)? Well, then why not check out some of the craft breweries in Medellin!

After a long, hot day, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting a cold beer. And in Medellin, you will find great craft beer all over the city! Local breweries offer the chance to try beer you simply cannot find anywhere else, which makes it a lot more fun!

In El Poblado, there are many “cervecerias” (breweries) where you can get delicious and high-quality craft beer. Just to mention a few places, you can visit Métropole Beer Lab or Medellin Beer Factory. All of these breweries offer unique craft beers on tap as well as delicious food. On weekends, you’ll often find live music, too!

27. Test your nerves in the Dream Hammocks  

People sit high above the valley on the Dream Hammocks by Eco Adventures in Medellin
How cool is this? Photo credit: Eco Adventure

Ziplines and high-strung hammocks are not activities for everyone. But if you have an adventurous soul like mine, then you should not miss this! 

Imagine yourself just taking a nap on a hammock hanged at 492 feet above the ground (or better, don’t if you suffer from vertigo). Enjoy the gorgeous surroundings and beautiful forest while chilling on one of these high-strung hammocks. Sounds like a story to tell your grandkids, right? 

If you are up for the challenge, then you can book this Dream Hammock tour for $200 USD per person. You will spend about 8 hours in La Ceja nature reserve, where you will visit and hike a beautiful waterfall, use the ziplines, and test your nerves on one of these hammocks. The tour includes transportation, a guide, all the activities mentioned before, and insurance. However, you have to take your own drinks and food/snacks.  

28. Go on a bicycle tour of the city 

Graffiti in Medellin Colombia
Ride around and check out the beautiful streets!

A bike tour through Medellin can be a great way to get an introduction to the city. You can either rent a bike on your own or book a half-day bike tour with an English-speaking guide. The second option is a great way to know more about the city’s history, areas, and traditions.  

If it’s your first time in Medellin, I highly recommend you book this Half-Day Bike Tour in Medellin, which costs only $26 USD per person. This is a great tour to get to know Medellin and its streets. The tour includes a guide, bike, helmet, and refreshments (some snacks and tea/coffee). You will learn about Medellin, and you will have contact with native people who can recommend fun activities or places to visit. 

If you’re not a first-timer in Medellin, then this tour is a great way to explore new places you probably didn’t know about before. The guide will also take you to lesser-known places so that you can get off the beaten path a bit!

Related Read: Heading to Bogota, Colombia? Learn about the popular Bogota graffiti tours before you go!

29. Cooking class  

A soup cooked on a cooking class in Medellin
Cooking traditional food is such a fun experience!

This private cooking class ($114 USD per person) was one of those experiences I would recommend to anyone who wants to get closer to Medellin’s people. Cooking for friends and family is always fun, and learning how to cook some traditional Colombian food was very entertaining and useful.

Plus, the entire experience of cooking with a local family and visiting one of Medellin’s markets was a pretty fulfilling experience.  

You will learn tricks to get the real Colombian taste of their typical dishes. You will also learn how to cook special Colombian dishes like ajico and sudado de muchacho. Plus, you’ll get a cultural and historical lesson through cooking and, of course, lots to eat! The hosts were incredibly nice, very knowledgeable, and had these amazing vibes all day long. 

30. Clinica Antienvejecimiento & Wellness Spa 

Clinica Antienvejecimiento & Wellness Spa
Photo credit: Clinica Antienvejecimiento & Wellness Spa

For the most relaxing day, you can book a day at Clinica Antienvejecimiento & Wellness Spa, which is a high-end and unique spa. It costs around $119 USD/person, and includes two amazing treatments.

First, enjoy first a sensorial hydric session in which you will release all your stress and heal any pain caused by stress. Then, get a relaxing massage in which one of their super nice massagists will take care of any tension you may be accumulating.  

The place is absolutely gorgeous and very romantic. It’s a perfect thing to do in Medellin with your partner if you need some time to unwind. You will be sure to enjoy the peacefulness of the experience and your body will be so relaxed afterward!

31. Try Bandeja Paisa  

A huge meal of Bandeja Paisa in Medellin, Colombia
It’s a huge meal!

Trying typical food is a “must” for us in any new country that we visit. Through flavors and textures, one can get to know a lot about a culture and its people. The food that really talked to us in Medellin was the “Bandeja Paisa,” a typical plate in Colombia, especially in the Antioquian area.  

Bandeja Paisa is famous for the size of its portions and the variety of foods a single plate contains. In a Bandeja Paisa, you will find pork, eggs, white rice, blood sausage, plantain, beans, beef, and avocado. But this can vary slightly from place to place. Every restaurant uses its own seasoning, so you probably will not find two Bandeja Paisas that taste the same. 

You can have a Bandeja Paisa in many different restaurants around Medellin. In a restaurant named Hato Viejo, they serve pretty generous portions, and the seasoning is just what we were hoping for. Believe me, you will not be disappointed with their food, nice environment, and wide variety on their menu. 

Related Read: Eating delicious food is also one of the best things to do in Cartagena and there are some excellent food tours in Cartagena to check out!

32. Play Tejo 

Tejo in Colombia
Tejo in Colombia

Playing Tejo is one of those activities in Medellin you won’t want to miss if you’re one of those who like to learn about a place’s history and traditions. Or, if you’re just into games and beers, well, you’ll absolutely love this! 

Tejo is a traditional game played on a long alley in which you have to throw a disc at a target that contains gunpowder (for a fun explosion if you hit it!), and the team that reaches 27 points wins. Keeping score and learning how to play can be a bit tricky, so I recommend this private tour to play Tejo to get the most out of the game and your day. You will spend a day having fun, drinking beers, and really getting to know Medellin’s culture. 

33. Go on a hike 

beautiful view while hiking in Medellin, Colombia
I love the mountains around Medellin!

Hiking is always on my mind when traveling to a new place. This was honestly one of my favorite Medellin activities. As an adventurous person myself, hiking always makes me feel more connected to a place’s land and nature. And Medellin’s forests have this special essence that will make you feel you’re in a fairy tale.  

On the plus side, you won’t have to get too far away from the city to spend a day hiking. Medellin is surrounded by mountains with beautiful forests you won’t believe the city is just right next to you. 

You can book a hiking day for $48 USD per person. You get transportation and a nice guide to make the trip more pleasurable. This hiking tour will take you to beautiful waterfalls and caves. Don’t forget to bring enough water and snacks (and I would advise you to take a towel too). 

Where to Eat in Medellin

Avocado and feta at Pergamino Cafe
Avocado and feta at Pergamino Cafe

Medellin is the ultimate place to visit in Colombia for foodies. There are so many incredible restaurants in the city, you’re sure to find a few that you absolutely love! Here are a few of our personal favorites:

  • Cafe Zorba: Cafe Zorba is my favorite restaurant in Medellin and a place I eat at all the time. The specialty here is pizza and it’s all vegetarian or vegan. Don’t worry if you’re a meat-eater, either; this pizza is so good! Cafe Zorba also serves great sides and huge cocktails. A pizza here will cost you around $8 USD and is easily big enough for one person. The restaurant also has live music on the weekends and is always busy.
  • Pergamino: Working online means I am always on the lookout for a cafe to enjoy a cheap breakfast with amazing coffee. For me, the place I loved the most was Pergamino Cafe in El Poblado. This place was cheap and served amazing food. But that’s not even the best part – the coffee here was some of the best I had in Colombia. For $4.50 USD I would get a coffee with avocado and feta toast every morning while getting some work done. There is no better way to start your day!
  • Betty’s Bowls: – Ready for the most colorful and healthy meal ever?! Betty’s Bowls is an iconic restaurant in Medellin that serves beautiful smoothie bowls and salads. Honestly, their meals are so beautiful – almost too pretty to eat! Betty’s Bowls is located in El Poblado and is open for breakfast and lunch, however, be prepared to wait for a seat as it is often a busy place. Oh, and bring your camera, you’re going to want a photo of your meal!
  • The Greek Connection: The Greek Connection has a beautiful outdoor dining area perfect for enjoying the atmosphere of Medellin’s most iconic suburb. The food is amazing and the charming vibe made for a fun night out. I recommend the prawn dish “Langostinos” or the Lamb, which is very tender. Prices here range from $8 to $16 USD for a main, and the restaurant is located near Parque Lleras in Poblado.
  • Toscano: Toscano was the best Italian restaurant I found in Medellin, and this small family-run establishment is amazing. Prices here aren’t the cheapest, but the seafood pasta (pictured above) was only $10 USD! The seafood was fresh, and the pasta was cooked perfectly. I also loved the service here, and the friendly waiter really makes you feel like you’re in Europe. They also serve good red wine from Argentina and Chile!

Related Read: For more detailed travel info, read our huge guide to visiting and traveling around Colombia!

Where to Stay in Medellin, Colombia

Elcielo Hotel & Restaurant
Photo credit: Elcielo Hotel & Restaurant

Picking the right area to stay in a big city can really affect your experience and Medellin is no different. So, this is an important part of our guide to Medellin, Colombia.

However, picking the right area to stay in a big city can affect your experience, and Medellin is no different. For most people, safety in Medellin is the most important factor when deciding where to stay. Below are the best areas to stay in Medellin along with accommodation options for all budgets.

El Poblado

This vibrant upper-class neighborhood offers amazing nightlife, top restaurants with cuisine from all over the world, and a safe friendly atmosphere. The streets in El Poblado are safe to wander day and night providing you use some care when it’s really late.

This area is a perfect base to explore other parts of the city and the area I recommend staying in Medellin. It’s also the starting point for many of the best tours in Medellin and tours to Guatapé. Some places I recommend staying are:

Los Patios Hostel – A great budget option for backpackers. this hostel is famous in Medellin, and the place is beautiful. There’s a rooftop swimming pool, communal spaces, and a fun terrace. Rooms are themed according to different regions in the country which is a nice touch. While dorm beds aren’t the cheapest (starting at $30 USD), the reviews and standards are really good. You can also easily book on either or Hostelworld.

14 Urban Hotel – This medium-budget hotel is stunning and perfectly located in El Poblado. The rooms are spacious and modern, the staff is friendly, and the price includes a delicious breakfast. Plus, this hotel can cost as little as $93 USD a night when booked in advance.

Café Hotel Medellín – Cafe Hotel is your typical hotel and comes with everything you’d expect from classic hotel brands such as Hilton. The location is a little up the hill from the main restaurant and bar area of El Poblado, but this makes it much more of a quiet stay. It has a beautiful view and a rooftop jacuzzi which is perfect for relaxing after a long tour! Rooms start from $120 USD on

For luxury travelers, Elcielo Hotel & Restaurant is easily the best choice. Not only is it still affordable (starting at $319 USD), but the hotel comes with a fantastic location, luxurious rooms, a swimming pool, a spa and wellness center, a fitness center, and fantastic views of the city. It’s beautifully decorated, and the quality of the service and on-site food is superb. It’s a popular choice, so best to book this one ahead of time.


Laureles is another upmarket neighborhood that’s a great area for tourists to stay. This area is where the stadium in Medellin is located, and it’s very similar to El Poblado. The reason I like Laureles is that it’s closer to downtown and more central so you don’t have to travel as far to visit many attractions in Medellin. Some places to stay in Laureles are:

The Wandering Paisa Backpackers Hostel is a top choice for backpackers in Laureles. It has a fantastic atmosphere perfect for meeting other travelers, a great location, and clean facilities. What more could you want? Plus, a bed in a shared dorm starts from just $11 USD a night. You can check availability and book on or Hostelworld.

Hotel Vivre – If you want a quiet and comfortable stay then Hotel Vivre will suit you. It’s right off the strip with lots of shops, bars, and restaurants nearby. The rooms here are modern and clean, and breakfast is included in the room rate (which begins at just $66 USD).

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and daniel take a selfie in Medellin, Colombia
Thanks for reading!

Now, you should be completely ready to visit Medellin, Colombia. With all the amazing things to do in Medellin, I’m certain you’ll fall in love with the city (like we did!) In fact, after your first visit, I’m sure you’ll find yourself already planning your return trip (also like we did!)

If you found this blog helpful, be sure to read our other blogs about Colombia including a few related reads below:

Guide to the Old City in Cartagena

13 Things to know before visiting Tayrona National Park

The BEST Things to do in Santa Marta, Colombia