The title of this post might sound a little bit tacky, but I couldn’t come up with a more suitable one than this one. Medellin has been known for years as probably one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but has made such a transformation in the last decade or so. Nowadays it actually might be quite famous as being one of the most exciting cities in South America, with many travelers stating ‘they could move to Medellin’. You wouldn’t have found many people claiming that back in the ’90s. So here we are today, in the capital of the proud Paisas. An ever-evolving modern city with so much to do. Where to start you’d probably think, right?

pillars of hope square medellin

Eye-opening walking tour

Well, start with the free city tour of Real City Tours! A walking tour through the city center guided by two really knowledgable and entertaining local guys, or better said; storytellers. In four hours they tell you all about the history, culture, and inhabitants of Medellin, with all its flaws and achievements. Proud as Paisas are, they talk about their city with such admiration and passion, even about their horrible history. It’s refreshing to hear the stories behind this city and leave all the prejudice behind.

Medellin from above

The city of Medellin is huge, and that’s not an understatement. To get an idea of the size of the city we took the cable car to Parque Arvi. A thirty-minute ride that takes you over the favelas of Medellin into a beautiful park perfect for Sunday picnics. Staying mostly in El Poblado, Laureles, and the city center, this really was a good way of seeing the other, less fortunate side of Medellin.

Cable car in Medellin
Guatape town colorful houses

A colorful daytrip

If you’d like to escape the bustling city, there’s plenty to do in the rolling mountains around Medellin. About two hours outside of Medellin there’s a town that seems to have walked out of a children’s book. The moment you set foot in Guatapé it’s like you just took a time machine to a different world. All the houses are painted in different colors and patterns, the tuk-tuks have adapted to the houses, and the men with their bowler hats fit right in. Just sit on a bench and see how life passes by here. If you’re keen on walking 740 steps I would recommend climbing la Piedra del Peñol while you’re there. It’s a bit of a climb, but the view is worth it! Guatapé is surrounded by little islands and the 360 view upon this monolith is one to take in for a while.

Paintball in Pablo's mansion

Does all of this sound a bit too soft for you? Wanna step up your game? In that case, what do you think about playing paintball in one of Pablo Escobar’s mansions? After watching Narcos on Netflix, this guy definitely got me fascinated, and playing paintball at his house is as ridiculous as it sounds. The ruins of what was once an impressive mansion, are one hell of a good setting for an afternoon game of paintball. The adventure includes a tour through the whole Finca. So seeing where Pablo himself played soccer, danced the night away, and kept his horses, this day couldn’t have been more absurd.

Medellin art Botero musuem

Medellin; The city that never sleeps

I don’t want to bother you with a list of those thousand activities Medellin and its outskirts have to offer, so I think you just have to go there and discover the other 995. Medellin is an amazing city that will spoil you with good museums, amazing restaurants, and crazy nightlife (alright, one more; go party at Calle 9). They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but I think they got some serious competition from Medellin. Enjoy this special city and let their hopes become reality!


Ps. Of course, you can always shoot me an email or leave a comment if you’d like to be bothered with the other 995, I’m ready to spill them all over you! 😉

Botero street art Medellin metro

Photos by: M. Barends, L. Folkeringa ©

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