Travel

Medellin Bucket List – Top 10 Activities

Whether you’re in it for the cocaine and hookers or the nature, fruit and pollution, Medellin has it all! Though I won’t tell you where the best prostitutes are, my Medellin bucket list is a slightly more Disney’fied Medellin bucket list with the best places to check out while you’re here. With that said I present…

Parque ARVI

Whether you decide to go up via the cable cars at the Acevedo metro station or take the Santa Elena bus up the hill, you’re bound for beauty! If you decide to go up via the cable cars, one option is to walk all the way towards Santa Elena and stop at one of the restaurants offering tasty Bandeja Paisa’s a half mile before the actual village of Santa Elena and from there you can take the bus down. Some would argue that the cable ride itself is Medellin bucket list worthy, keep that in mind.

There’s also a Coca shop located right here that sells everything from tea, meal replacements, wine, rum and aguardiente all with coca in it.

And lastly of course you can go picnic, horse ride, zip line or much more. More information can be found here.

parque arvi cow crossing

And if you’re lucky, you’ll see an unmanned cow crossing!

 

Hike in Fredonia, Venecia, Jardín

There’s a lot of hype for Guatapé. While it’s cool, I didn’t find it worthy of my Medellin bucket list because the nature and scenery doesn’t compare to what’s south west of Medellin, in the opposite direction. If you’re looking to escape the Medellin smog then this is where you have to go.

medellin bucket list - fredonia panorama

Country side in Venecia (Click to see full size image)

Thanks to some friends I happened upon an excellent Facebook Medellin hiking group that does trips at least every month, and the hike I went to was from Fredonia up Cerro Bravo (one of the myriad of mountains there) and down to the village of Venecia.

The air is so clean, the landscape so pristine I felt like in another world.

medellin bucket list - fredonia

I decided I would have to return that way and visit the acclaimed Jardin which is a 3-4 bus ride from Medellin. As part of my Medellin bucket list research, I biked there instead and got to see a different version of the magical landscape. From Jardin you can hike in any direction outside of the village, or follow any of the rivers that run outwards and go swimming in the ice cold fresh water!

 

medellin bucket list - jardin

 

Ayahuasca

What’s a Medellin bucket list like without a trip on Dimethyltryptamin with shamans in the hills? There’s a number of them in the hills of Santa Elena above Medellin. You can try to find a group the way my friend Flor did by hanging out in one of the cafés halfway between Santa Elena and Parque ARVI.

Want to learn more about what the experience is actually like? Check out my trip to Ayahuasca.

 

El Salado

I would break a leg for the opportunity to have such a beautiful wilderness so close to where I live. El Salado which is located just a stones throw from the city of Envigado is that paradise.

El salado mountain view

Did I mention that you can go swimming anywhere in the river that you want?

Did I mention that you can go swimming anywhere in the river that you want?

How to get there: The easiest way is to buy an integrated metro ticket to Envigado. In case you don’t know, the integrated includes a bus ticket. Once you arrive at the Envigado station, walk across and down the bridge to where the buses are and take the bus to El Salado. If there’s nobody downstairs to assist you then just go to each bus and ask the bus drivers El Salado? in a confused voice until you get a ¡Si!

 

medellin bucket list - el salado dusk

Pueblito Paisa @ Cerro Nuttibara

medellin cerro nuttibara

View from the top facing north

One of the two big hills smack dab in the middle of Medellin. Compared to Cerro Volador (the other hill), Cerro Nuttibara has the best view and it has a pretty village with restaurants and cutesy architecture!

There are two viewpoints from Cerro Nutibara: one behind the village (see picture below) of north Medellin and the other in the opposite direction, up the stairs and past the vendors where you can see everything from the city center to Envigado.

medellin bucket list - pueblito paisa day

Day time…

medellin bucket list - pueblito paisa night

Night time!

To get there you can take the metro to Industriales from where you’ll cross the river and head on up.

 

medellin bucket list - pueblito paisa

Paragliding

If you’ve never done paragliding then chances are you won’t find it cheaper than here and you have no excuse not to mark it off your Medellin bucket list!

Being ignorant as I be, I assumed paragliding was similar to sky diving: you jump off a high place and you descend while gawking at the pretty things below. I got the second part right but as I learned paragliding uses air currents to actually take you up higher. By being able to use the currents and shifting the body weight the pilots take you waaay higher than where you started from and eventually you land right where you started. You can learn more about how it works here.

medellin bucket list - paragliding

How else would I be able to capture this? (Click to see full size image)

For more information you can reach the friendly Melissa Montoya who will gladly accommodate your daredevil desires!

 

Real City Walking Tour

This is a free tour (free in that you aren’t required to tip though it’s highly recommended).

The tour is 4-5 hours long and what you get is an interactive live show that runs you through the history of Medellin in a way that only they can perform. What sets this tour apart from most others is that these guides have traveled the world and can you give a perspective of their hometown that over 99% of the Paisa’s can’t.

medellin real city tour

Our guide using props to give a timeline of Medellin’s history in the 20th century

Not only do you get a run through of the history, you get to go through the city center and barrage the guide with all the Gringo questions you have pent up. Have a question about cocaine, drugs and gang violence in Medellin and her past, they’re the ones to ask.

To reserve your place you will need to go here and click on the Book Free Walking Tour button.

Medellin botero statue

Get the scoop on the Botero sculptures!

medellin bucket list - real city tour explosion

And learn about Medellin’s violent past

 

 

Parque Explora

Medellin bucket list presents these pretty pictures and videos of which I’ll let them do most of the talking.

medellin bucket list - aquarium

The aquariam

medellin bucket list - parque explora

Brains & Illusions Hall

Along with the aquarium there are different halls for different subjects including reptiles, brains & illusions, movies & scenery, physics.

If I had to pick one hall for the Medellin bucket list it would be the brains & illusions hall where you’ll see a tunnel that you can walk through. I won’t tell you what it is, but you’ll know it when you stumble through it…

 

 

Attend a soccer match at Estadio

Have I mentioned that Colombians are absolutely loco for football *ahem* soccer? That’s an understatement but you get the point.

Estadio football fanaticism

Me and pops soakin’ in the fanaticism!

No Medellin bucket list is complete without immersing yourself into the madness. Most Paisas I’ve asked are prouder of their Nacional soccer team then of their national team. If you can get past the frenzy then you’ll be in for a treat.

To get tickets you’ll have to find out a few days ahead of time when the next match is. Then go to Estadio where you will find the ticket booths open.

If you’re fine with paying more then you can arrive right before the match and buy a ticket off a scalper.

 

 

Bandeja Paisa

To visit Medellin without tasting their dish is utter blasphemy. Lastly, no Medellin bucket list can be righteous without this heart attack waiting to happen, consisting of meat, beans, meat, rice,meat, plantains, avocado and egg. Nuf’ said…

The best Bandeja Paisa (IMHO)

…is Hacienda Real located right…

 

Medellin Bucket List Concluded

Some places that some people may argue should be on the Medellin bucket list include Guatapé and MAMM (Musuem of Modern Art) and Las Palmas. Personally I thought Guatape was great but it wasn’t what it was hyped up to be, and the MAMM is pretty but short and lastly I never got Las Palmas. Otherwise, did I miss anything on my Medellin bucket list?