Medellin is high up on the to-do list of any traveler in South America, and for good reason. Its reputation as a vibrant, exciting, warm city really does hold true. For 3 days in Medellin itinerary I’d say it’s the city in Colombia that visitors are most likely to fall in love with the quickest, and for some people, this means they never actually leave. Colombian is known for many things but Medellin is known as the City of Eternal Spring due to its year-round hot weather. Increased foreign interest has been a steep incline in the cost of living and traveling in Medellin in recent years, but it’ll still feel very cheap compared to Western Europe or North America.
As one of the most highly developed barrios in Medellin, El Poblado is the regular haunt for tourists and ex-pats. However, to get a real taste of what this city is about, it’s highly recommended that you get out and explore other areas, too. The most popular places to stay in Medellin are:
- Central Poblado
- Envigado (though this is a little far out if you want to be in and amongst all the action)
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Safety in Medellin
While a lot safer than it used to be, Medellin still has its problems. There are many things you shouldn’t do in Colombia and a lot of crimes against tourists involve theft, and this is sometimes done with weapons. To avoid being a target, don’t flash your things (even if you don’t think they’re expensive, someone else might) and be especially aware when using public transport. Always know where you’re going, and never leave your drink out of your sight – this doesn’t only apply to females. Generally, though, be smart about your surroundings and your 3 days in Medellin itinerary will go smooth.
3 Days in Medellin Itinerary
Walking tour of center Medellin
To get your bearings of the city of Eternal Spring, spend a few hours on an informative walking tour. The downtown free walking tour Medellin by Real City Tours is a huge favorite among travelers, so much so that you have to book your place on their website a day or two before. Luckily there are 3 departure times a day!
This tour takes you from Alpujarra station all around the Centro area of Medellin, running you through the history of Colombia and showing you all the beautiful architecture, culture, and art of this barrio. You’ll make a stop at Plaza Botero, a square dedicated to the funny sculptures of Colombia’s most famous artist.
Carrera 51 #41 Alpujarra Metro Station
Mon-Sat at 9:14am, 10:24am and Mon-Fri at 2:19pm
Your choice of the tip (average 25-40k COP per person)
Botanical Gardens in Medellin
The Jardín Botanico is a much-loved slice of lush paradise to escape the hustle and bustle during your 3 days in Medellin itinerary. It’s home to many different species of wildlife, from terrapins to exotic birds, and its paths are gorgeous to stroll around. There are a few cafés on-site to chill with a cup of Colombian coffee.
Calle 73 #51
9 am – 4:30 pm every day
Night in El Poblado (Envy, Octavo)
No stay Medellin 3 day itinerary is complete without a night on the town in the barrio of El Poblado. Parque Lleras is the main hub of nightlife here, and on it, you’ll find a huge number of bars to pick from – ranging from small and dinghy to damn-right swanky. One of the best hotels Medellin of all is Envy, a rooftop bar on the top floor of the Charlee Hotel, from which you can see over the whole barrio. You don’t have to pay for entry unless there’s an event on, and though you can just turn up it’s best to book ahead to guarantee a table on an evening. You do need to dress up a little more than when your backpacking South America but nothing too glamorous.
Parque Lleras, Calle 9a #37-16
Mon-Weds open till 11:45 pm, Thurs, Fri and Sunday till 2 am, Saturday till 4 am
Casa de la Memoria
Spend a couple of hours at the Casa de la Memoria browsing through the many fascinating exhibitions about Medellin’s past. This is a Colombian bucket list place you can go to begin to soak up the history of Colombia’s troubles and progress, without glorifying a certain Netflix hit. Email the museum ahead of time if you’d like to organize a guided Medellin city tours in English.
Parque Bicentenario, Calle 51 #36-66
9am-6pm Tuesday- Friday; 10am-4pm Saturday
Hugely popular amongst tourists in Medellin is the tour of Comuna 13. This takes you around the neighborhood that used to be ravaged by narco gangs and paramilitaries. Nowadays, it’s been turned around into a community that strives for peace and opportunity. The building of escalators throughout the neighborhood makes this a particularly fascinating tour. Your guide will take you through all the history of how the Comuna came to be, the struggles they went through, and the residents’ outlook now. A lot of the story they tell is illustrated by the graffiti painted around the neighborhood.
Meet at San Javier Metro Station
10 am or 2pm daily (book your place ahead of time)
Your choice of the tip (average 25-40k COP per person)
Day trips Medellin
Bogota and Medellin have amazing day trips but in Medellin, my favorite day trip is without a doubt to Guatapé, a small but hugely vibrant town about 2 hours away from the city center. It’s a must for any 3 day itinerary Medellin. known for both the beautifully-painted murals along every house’s wall and also the giant rock just outside the town that sits in the middle of Guatapé Lake. You can climb the steps up this rock for almighty views of the incredible landscape around you. Make sure you leave some time to explore the town itself too, though; learn about the old style of serving coffee in Café Sin P, eat a cinnamon bun from Carrera 29 off of la Plazoleta de Los Zócalos and stock up on souvenirs in one of the tiny local shops.
For these Medellin day trips, go to the North bus terminal and catch a local bus to Guatapé. Ask to stop at La Piedra if you’d like to climb the rock first (if not you can easily get a tuk-tuk or taxi from the town).
frequent departures throughout the day, no need to book in advance
14K COP each way on the bus
Lozzy is a British photographer and long-time blogger who has been using her 26 months in Latin America to write all the tips she wishes she’d had when she first arrived. So was born Cuppa to Copa Travels, once just a creative outlet that accidentally snowballed into a borderline-unhealthy obsession with showcasing all the best that Latin America has to offer. Lozzy also writes about her digital nomad life, being able to work anywhere in the world as long as there’s an internet connection (and why wouldn’t you choose Colombia?!).
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