- Warm Welcome/ Reminiscing
We were both overjoyed to have finally arrived in Medellin, especially Manu who had not been to his home city in over 15 years. At the airport we were warmly greeted with hugs, kisses and even arepa necklaces from his aunts and uncles! The apartment where we stayed was also lovingly decorated with welcome banners and balloons.
Some of Manu’s other family members arrived from different cities and charmingly told stories about his childhood while displaying adorable baby pictures. One of the uncles even brought in his friend to serenade us all with live music. It was all incredibly heartwarming and we felt very welcome.
- Meeting with old Friends
Manu got a chance to meet up with his childhood friends who he also had not seen in over 15 years. They all grew up in the same building where some of the family members still reside. We visited his old neighborhood where everyone was extraordinarily welcoming and polite. It was great spending time with all of these wonderful people.
- Gorgeous Scenery/ Fantastic Weather
Nicknamed “the city of eternal spring” Medellin really lives up to its name. Since we had arrived from Cartagena we found the weather here to be mild and refreshing. Days were never too hot and at night the cool mountain air enveloped the whole city. Lush green mountains and scenic flora surrounded the city. Also, since the Fiesta de las Flores was occurring during the time we arrived, Medellin was festive and alive with color. Amazing flower sculptures could be found throughout the city and it really was an incredible sight. I would highly recommend visiting Medellin during this festival.
- Fincas with Family and Friends
To escape the city for a while locals visit their fincas/farms with their whole family and close friends. This was a great experience for us as we were able to spend quality time with friends who were visiting from Miami and Manu’s family in a different setting. Here we did not have Internet connection and relaxed by playing games, taking in the magnificent scenery and eating meals together. The diverse climates surrounding Medellin provides different experiences. So within a 1-2 hour drive outside the city you can enjoy fresh, cool mountain air or nice warm weather and lounge poolside.
- Paragliding in San Felix
What an amazing and unforgettable experience! This is a must do whether you’re an adventure seeker or not. We took a bus from Medellin and after about a 1-hour drive we arrived at San Felix. We decided to book a 20-minute ride along with 2 other people who we rode with and ended up getting a discount as a group (80,000 COP pp/ $25.61pp). I was somewhat frightened at first but before I knew it my feet were off the ground and I was up in the air. After my nerves had settled I was able to relax, sit back, and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Medellin.
- Parques Lleras/ Parque el Poblado
Frequented by locals and tourist alike, this area is the place to be on weekends. Both parks are located in the Zona Rosa, usually designated as a district with nightlife, bars and restaurants. Here you can find something for everyone including upscale eateries, dance clubs and laid back bars. You can even purchase a beer from a local café and consume it in the park or streets while enjoying local street performers or just people watching. Although one must always be vigilant we felt very safe walking around even late into the night. This area is definitely worth a visit… or two.
- Parque Explora
A great cultural experience, this science museum is perfect for both kids and adults. It features interactive exhibits, an amazing aquarium and incredibly knowledgeable staff equipped to answer all questions. When visiting allow a whole day to enjoy all of the exhibits for an entrance fee of 22,000 COP (Aug., 2015).
- Metro Cable/ Parque Arvi
Medellin is an incredibly progressive city especially when it comes to transportation. In addition to taxis, buses and the metro you can also hop on the Metro Cable/Cable car to get around. This method of transportation allows locals to reach the more underdeveloped areas of the city higher up in the mountains and improves the quality of life for some residents.
When taking the cable car to the last exit one can visit Parque Arvi, a picturesque ecological nature reserve. When you arrive you can take a bus to another park nearby called Comfama where you can enjoy more extreme sports or you can opt to go on a nature hike. We decided to do the hike since we arrived later in the day. The cost was 2,000 COP (Aug., 2015) and included an extremely knowledgeable guide who showed us all of the diverse flora and fauna found throughout the park.
- Cervecería libre
In my eternal quest to find real craft beer wherever I go I stumbled across this brewery in Medellin. Good beer is hard to come by in Colombia, as a lot of the national brands are very watered down and tasteless (sorry Aguila fans). Located in an industrial area among a few warehouses this tiny gem is just starting up but these guys know their beers. They feature four house brews: A passion fruit wheat beer, an IPA, brown ale and a stout. They also offer seasonal beers from larger craft brewers like Bogota Beer Company that are hard to find.
- Piedra del Peñol /Laguna de Guatapé
Although not technically in Medellin, this region is just a 2-hour drive from the city and a great place to visit. A hydroelectric dam located in the area allows for a stunning landscape and also provides electricity to numerous residents. We stopped for lunch in a place called Luxé by the Charlee, a resort with luxury homes that also had a terrific restaurant. We spent the rest of the afternoon there enjoying the incredible views of the water and forest that surrounded us.
The main attraction in Guatapé is a monolith known as Piedra del Peñol/ Peñon that rises 7,012 ft. above sea level. For an entrance fee of 10,000 COP we climbed over 640 steps to get to the top. The climb was challenging but fun and once we reached the top we were rewarded with amazing views of the whole town.