I had a feeling Medellin (or may-dah-jean as the locals call it) would be special before coming, and it lived up to its hype. It’s just a very pleasant, beautiful city. The weather is perfect all year and it really is “The City of Eternal Spring.”
That said, it’s not the safest place in the world. But while there, I heard lots of stories but saw nothing bad happen.
I already wrote about Medellin in these posts:
A Day On The Happy Nomad Tour
El Castillo – A Castle And Wonderful Garden
The Garden Of My Dreams – Medellin’s Botanical Garden
Volunteering At Angeles de Medellin – The Children Are Our Future
But below are some other highlights from my time in Medellin.
Parque de Berrio
Though there is a park in this area, I think it is most well-known for the beautiful Palacio de Cultura/Palace of Culture. There are various exhibits there as well as a library and government offices.
Nearby is the Museum of Antioqia, the museum for this province of Colombia. Inside there are art exhibits from Colombian artists throughout the centuries as well as contemporary expositions. I thought it would have more about history, but no, just art.
Just in front of this museum is a small park full of statues designed by Fernando Botero. He makes sculptures with excessive curves, as you can see below.
The Metro Cable is an aerial cable car that ferries people up the mountain. It’s scale is very impressive and it costs no extra to take a ride up the mountain. Of course, you can get great views of the city from the Metro Cable and from whichever station you get off at. I took this daily on my way up to volunteer at Angeles de Medellin. Though I was a bit higher up, from Santo Domingo, the last stop on the Metro Cable, you can get a great view of the city. Below is a video showing what you can see from there.
Superman was my hero as a kid. Imagine the joy when I looked to my right while walking down Avenida 48/Calle Las Vegas and seeing a statue of The Man Of Steel in a small park!
Parque Lleres is the wealthy and touristy area of Medellin. There are lots of nice restaurants, cafes, night clubs, and shops. I often stopped here to get a $1 coffee and use the internet, but it’s definitely the playground for the wealthier residents of Medellin.
I didn’t get a good picture, but in the end it’s a park surrounded by these restaurants and cafes. Not very photogenic.
Pueblito Paisa is a small town on top of a hill in Medellin. After a nice uphill hike, you reach a town stuck in time from decades past. It’s colonial look and small shops are charming. You can see what the old radio station looked like, what the school and barber shops looked like, and what a typical home looked like.
The view of the city from here is amazing. If you ever go, time it so you go when it’s a clear day.
Fresh juice is everywhere in Medellin. A fresh juice at a restaurant usually costs 3000-4000 Pesos/$1.65-$2.20. On the street I got fresh guava juice for as low as 1000 pesos/$0.55. In any case, I tried blackberry, mango, guava, passion fruit, guanabana, and lulo juice. All were AMAZING!
There were a few pedestrian streets in Medellin. Many had markets set up on them, but this one was pretty nice. I stopped to have a coffee here and get online while enjoying the relative quietness of not having cars buzzing by. You have to love the tropical greenery lining the street!
Speaking of which, Medellin is full of parks. It seemed like every neighborhood had one and all were quite nice. This park was the most different of them all though. It’s called Parque de las Luces/Park of Lights and there are 31 poles that light up at night. I only passed by the park at night while on the Metro, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with what I saw to be honest.
Medellin is famous for its struggle with the drug violence and most people here can tell you of a family member or friend who was killed as a result of the violence. As I mentioned, I saw nothing bad here, but I did feel uncomfortable one day while exploring in the Boston/Las Palmas/El Salvador neighborhoods. Nothing happened, but there were lots of young men hanging around, smoking marijuana, and uncharacteristically there was no police presence. I didn’t stay long, but you can see the El Salvador monument below and a nice view of the city from it.
Medellin is a special city for me. It’s not terribly touristy, yet I think there was a lot to see. It wasn’t too expensive, though it wasn’t too cheap either. I met some of the nicest people in the world there, yet some of the rudest as well. My wonderful experience at Angeles de Medellin helps make Medellin stand out as one of the most enjoyable places I’ve visited so far on The Happy Nomad Tour.
About Adam Pervez
In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.