If you’ve ever seen ‘Narcos’, you may have some preconceptions about Medellín. But it is time to leave them. The dangerous drug-fueled city of the 1980s is a reformed character. These days, Colombia’s second-largest city is a lively, vibrant place, and more importantly, it has sure to shake off its infamous past to emerge as one of the most popular destinations in South America. Whether you’re into cafe culture, shopping, museums, or art, you’ll find no shortage of diversions to keep you busy from dawn to dusk. Your only problem might be getting them all on one trip. If you have a tight schedule and need help choosing what not to be missed from the regular, check out our list of the 20 best things to do in Medellín for beginners.
20. Take a Spanish class
If you want to return from your trip with more than just a tan and a memory, why not use your vacation as an opportunity to acquire a new skill? The city offers many places to brush up on your Spanish and you will be pleasantly surprised how cheap the classes are. Goatsontheroad.com recommends the Toucan Spanish School as one of the best schools in town, but if you prefer to go your own way, a quick Google search should give you endless options.
19. Go up the Comuna 13 Electric Stairs
An elevator may seem like a strange addition to a list of the best things to do in Medellín, but trust us, the Escaleras Eléctricas De La Comuna 13 are no ordinary elevators. While lifts are trusted by locals as a convenient way to get through the hills, for tourists, they are an attraction in their own right. The views as you travel to the top are extraordinary, as are the many murals and artwork that adorn the walls. And don’t feel compelled to do the entire trip in one go. Stopping for a refreshing fruit popsicle or wandering the shops on the different levels is part of the fun. If you want to add a little history, book a guide to accompany you – they are available, affordable, and a great way to learn a little more about the importance of elevators in Medellín’s past. As a way to spend a lazy afternoon, it is the perfect experience.
18. Enjoy the view from Envy
Envy is a rooftop bar above the Charlee Hotel. He’s got a fine line on gin and tonics, by all accounts, but that’s not why he needs to visit. Thanks to its elevated position, it offers some of the best views of the city that you are likely to find anywhere else. Though things start to get lively later in the evening, schedule your visit for dusk to enjoy the view of the sun setting over the mountains. There’s also a DJ, salsa dancing, and an aquarium-style pool to enjoy once you’ve filled up on the view. If you fancy a visit in the morning, the brunch menu is said to be epic.
17. Visit the Museum of Modern Art
If modern art is your cup of tea, a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in Medellín will be a must. The collection is by no means vast, but while it may be small, it is also exquisite. The photography on the lower floor of the museum is worth an hour of anyone’s time, while the permanent exhibitions of the works of local artists as celebrated as Débora Arango are extraordinary. You are free to wander around independently, but a tour is worth taking if you want to learn a little more about the exhibits. If you schedule your visit well, you might even get a chance to see a movie in the museum’s charming little cinema.
16. Soak up the coffee culture
Colombian coffee is among the best in the world, so where better to indulge yourself with a cup of coffee? Take the advice of onegirlwholeworld.com and make it your mission to try as many local coffee shops as you can. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to try out, but one store in particular that seems to have tons of people raving about it is Pergamino. In addition to sourcing their coffee beans from their own farms, they freshly roast three times a week to ensure the freshest and most flavorful brew. The buns are also destined to be quite legendary.
15. Take a day trip to Guatapé
To be fair, there is enough to do in Medellín to keep you from getting bored. But if you want to include at least a day trip in your visit, hop on the bus to Guatapé. Located an easy two hour drive from the city, …