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Porthole Cruise Magazine - July 8, 2020
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Medellin, Colombia: The Ultimate Guide for Exploring the City

When you think of going on a dream vacation, Colombia might not come to mind. However, the country is full of vibrant culture, tasty food, and tropical weather. Medellin is one of Colombia’s gems, and tourists and expats alike flock to the city to experience everything that the region has to offer. If you haven’t thought of exploring Medellin or you’re planning your first trip, this guide provides the essentials for getting the most out of your trip.

The Best Ways To Get Around Medellin

Believe it or not, getting from place to place in Medellin is quite easy. The city has plenty of public transportation, and depending on where you stay, most areas are walkable. However, the first ride you must get squared away is your transport from the airport. When traveling with a group, the most convenient option is to take a cab or get a private driver. If you’re staying in the area of Laureles or El Poblado, it’ll cost approximately $30 to get from the airport— which is a good price if split between multiple people. Alternatively, if you’re traveling on a budget, taking the airport bus is a great choice. The fare is roughly $3, and there are different pickup locations within the city. Even, if you have to take a taxi to the bus pickup spot, you’ll still save a tremendous amount of money. Additionally, Medellin’s metro system is perfect for day to day transportation. The train runs through various parts of the city and stops at some of the main tourist attractions. But if you prefer to be driven to your destination, you can use taxi app like Cabify. Unfortunately, Uber is no longer operating in Medellin.

Medellin

Medellin’s Metro is an easy way to get around the city | Photo: Medellin Travel

Medellin’s Must-See Tourist Spots

There is so much to do in this wonderful city, and there’s something for everyone. For those looking to soak in the beautiful nature of Medellin, taking a trip to Parque Arvi is a great idea for individuals and families. It’s a refreshing way to get experience a side of the city that you won’t get to see in the tourist areas. However, if nature isn’t your thing, going on a free walking tour with Real City City tours is a lot of fun. A local resident will walk with you through downtown and other attractions, while also providing history about Medellin. Afterwards, you’ll feel more acquainted with the city and the people. Speaking of tours, you must visit Comuna 13—it’s a vibrant community full of colorful art and magnetic energy. The kids in the neighborhood entertain guests by dancing and sharing Colombian culture, and the murals on the walls provide the perfect photo op. But if you’re not into excursions, there’s still plenty to do. Medellin has an exciting nightlife for those who like having a good time. But you don’t have to worry if you can’t salsa or bachata because Dance Free offers no-cost classes to help you out. Their free lessons are a fun way to get a workout and learn something new!

Medellin

Make time to visit colorful Comuna 13 | | Photo: Medellin Travel

Delicious Food To Eat In Medellin

One of the best ways to experience a city is by sampling its food, and Medellin is filled with yummy eateries. Its signature dish is called bandeja paisa, and there are numerous restaurants in town that serve it. However, Mondongo’s is a popular restaurant that has one of the best versions of the dish. Plus, if you’re hungry while on-the-go, there are street vendors in many areas that sell snacks like empanadas and arepas. Not to mention, food carts open up at night, making it easy to get a meal after dark. But as a tourist, you might want something that’s familiar to you or maybe you can’t decide what to eat, and in that situation, Mercado del Rio is the perfect option. It’s an open market with lots of different food choices like pizza, pasta, wings, and more. It’s a cozy spot that’s great for a date night or meeting up with friends. There’s also a winery inside where you can sip and unwind after a day of exploring.

Medellin

Bandeja paisa is a Colombian specialty | Photo: Medellin Travel

The Outskirts of Medellin: Places To Visit

There’s so much to do in Medellin, that you’ll never get bored. However, there are a couple of destinations outside of the city that will make your vacation complete. One of the primary locations to visit is Guatape. It’s a cute little town that’s about two hours away. Visitors from everywhere flock to this region to climb the Gautape rock, which is equipped with 740 steps to help tourists get the top. It’s a challenging task to reach the peak, but once you do, the views are breathtaking! This excursion is definitely for people who are adventurous, and there are several tour groups that will put together the trip for you. Another spot you don’t want to miss is the Cocora Valley, which is located in the city of Salento. The valley is home to the largest palm trees in the world, and it requires a steep hike to get to the area where they are most prominent. However, the beauty of the trees makes the climb well worth it. And luckily, getting from Medellin to Salento is really easy. You can book an inexpensive flight or take an eight-hour bus ride. Both options are simple, but if you don’t want to spend time on a bus, choose the flight.

Medellin

Gautape rock is one of the most popular attractions in Medellin | Photo: Medellin Travel

RELATED: 2 Days in Bogota

The Best Spots To Find Souvenirs In Medellin

Medellin is full of souvenir shops that are all over the city. If you want something to bring back from your trip, there are plenty of places to choose from. However, the must-have souvenir is a soccer jersey. Not only will you find them in stores, but street vendors sell them too. Colombians love their futbol, and going to one of the games is a fantastic way to feel the energy of the people and experience the culture. Attending a soccer match allows you the opportunity to buy a cool souvenir and also do something fun!

Have you visited Colombia? Let us know in the comments below! 

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