3-4 Days in Medellin | Itinerary + Best Things to Do

Planning a trip to Colombia? Here are the best things to do with 3-4 days in Medellin!

The view from the top of a mountain looking over the city and the mountain range.

As the capital of Antioquia, a city with year-round pleasant weather, nestled among the hills and mountains of the Andes, Medellin is a popular tourist destination in Colombia. We spent four days in Medellin and really enjoyed learning about its culture and history. It truly is a fascinating city!

Travelers all around the world love Medellin (pronounced like “Meda-cheen”) and it is particularly popular with backpackers and digital nomads seeking the best things to do in Colombia. Locals are friendly, nightlife options abound, there are a variety of attractions, and we ate a lot of great food in Medellin!

In this article, we’ll be discussing how to spend 3 days or 4 days in Medellin, including an in-depth look at all the spots I recommend and insider tips for visiting Medellin.

Helpful Travel Resources for Medellin

Top Excursions and Activities in Medellin:

Top Hotel Options in Medellin

  • Don’t forget travel insurance! I always purchase insurance from Insure My Tripget a free quote here

A Summary of Your Itinerary for 2-4 Days in Medellin

Medellin Day 1:

  • Pueblito Paisa
  • Explore the sites of Candelaria
  • Go on a Comuna 13 tour
  • Parque de Las Luces at night

Day 2 in Medellin:

  • Head outside the city for a paragliding adventure
  • Back in the city, head up north and take the cable car up to Parque Arvi
  • Finish up your day at a futbol match, or down at Parque Ileras

Medellin Day 3:

Day 4 in Medellin:

  • Plaza Minorista Fruit Market
  • Cerro el Volador
  • Parroquia El Señor de las Misericordias Church
  • Cementerio Museo
  • Jardin Botanico

A Detailed Breakdown for Your 4 Days in Medellin

Medellin Day 1 Itinerary

For day 1 in Medellin, you’ll be spending the majority of your time in Candelaria, plus 2 great stops at the beginning and end of the day. If you only have one day in Medellin, this is a great way to experience a lot that the city has to offer.

Pueblito Paisa 

A small square with colorful buildings and a small fountain in the middle.

This little town, or “pueblito” is set on a hill in Medellin, with views overlooking the city. It’s a touristy re-creation of a typical small, Colombian village, with the town square and church and colorful buildings.

I know I’m probably supposed to be a little disparaging of the place since it’s obviously a blatant tourist attraction, but we actually really liked it.

I’m sure a big part of that is because we arrived here at 8:30 am, about 1/2 hour before the shops and restaurants open, and right before most tourists arrived. There were only a few other people in the area as we walked around, admiring the colors and the cute little setup.

Besides having the town square, and associated shops and cafes, there are several nice walking trails, and some truly great views over the city.

I’d highly recommend you also come early, and then stay longer if you want to shop and eat up at Pueblito Paisa.

There is a walking path up to the top of the hill where the pueblito is, but it is quite a long walk. Cabs can take you all the way to the top, and that might be the better choice if you’re not up for a decently long uphill walk.

  • Hours: Shops start opening around 9 am
  • Cost: No cost to enter
A woman in a blue floral dress walks past a white and yellow house with yellow shades.
A woman sits on the edge of a stone fountain in the middle of a stone square with colorful buildings surrounding the perimeter.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellin

A very old and beautiful cathedral with jade green doors and dark brown bricks. This is one of the best things to do in the area..

This beautiful, large, brick cathedral sits on the Parque Bolivar in La Candelaria of Medellin, and was such a gorgeous church to visit. The entirely brick interior was unique and lent an interesting feel to the structure.

Note: The area around Calle 57 in the Estacion Villa neighborhood (west of the Metropolitan Cathedral) was super sketchy – I would not enter. Just make sure you head south from the cathedral (which is the direction of all the tourist sites, you should be going that way anyway).

A room with lots of wooden pews leading up the room with white stone pillars leading that way. There are lights hanging from the ceilings also leading up towards the front

San Alejo Handicraft Market in Parque de Bolivar

A market with lots of huts with colorful tops. There are an assorment of displays and lots of people shopping around. It is located in the middle of a park with trees everywhere.

If you’re visiting Medelin on the first Saturday of the month, you must stop at the San Alejo market in Parque de Bolivar.

Note: You will see Bolivar parks, monuments, and plazas all over Colombia (and much of South America) as he led the revolution against the Spanish. He is the South American equivalent of George Washington and has similar acclaim and namesakes. This plaza features a nice statue of him and some informational plaques.

This market had dozens and dozens of stalls of handmade goods and handicrafts. We noticed mostly jewelry, purses, wallets, clothing, and art pieces for sale. The market had a chill and pleasant vibe to it, with people unhurriedly strolling around, and it wasn’t too busy.

The area right next to the church is more of a flea market, and the part of the market furthest from the church had some food for sale. This is where we tried solteritas (a crunchy, orange-flavored snack served with orange jelly and creme), and where we got some fresh-squeezed sugar cane + lime juice.

If the market hasn’t satisfied your shopping itch, keep going south from the Parque de Bolivar down Carrera 49 for a nicer shopping area.

An orange that has been cut open and has a white frosting and different juices filled in the middle
A glass of bright yellow sugar cane and lime juice in a plastic cup. There is a market in the background.
Fresh squeezed sugar cane + lime juice

Palace of Culture Rafael Uribe Uribe

A white and blue mosaic checkerboard like cathedral with trees in front of the doors.

This was one of the most unique buildings we saw in Medellin – with it’s cool checkerboard exterior done in a Gothic Revival style. Originally, the “palace” was built to be the seat of government, but before it was even finished, it was changed to become a cultural center.

The building is most interesting to look at from the outside. However, there are some art galleries inside, and you can go up on the roof for a view over the plaza.

This building sits right on the Plaza Botero, and is a funky and cool backdrop for all the Botero sculptures situated around the square.

Plaza Botero

A square with cement and bricks. there are many buildings and statues assorted around and many assorted plants around.
A bronze statue of a squat man with a bowler hat on a horse with a very small head.
A silver statue with a bare chest stands on a child.

This wide open plaza is shaded by trees, is right next to the Palace of Culture and the Museum of Antioquia, and houses 23 very large, bronze sculptures by Fernando Botero. Botero is a contemporary artist, and is the most famous artist in Colombia, possibly all of Latin America currently. His style is very distinctive – called “boterismo” – with large, exaggeratedly fat subjects.

This is really a one-of-a-kind plaza – it’s rare to see so many amazing works of art just out in the open for the general public to enjoy. This is a must do spot to visit during your 4 days in Medellin!

Note: On a map, the Botero Plaza looks like it’s a park or a greenspace. While there are trees, it is definitely paved. We noticed this a lot – squares and plazas are often marked in green on Google maps (which usually indicates a park), but in reality they are usually plazas featuring paved paths, some trees, and very little grass.

Museum of Antioquia

A hotel with many rooms on 3 different stories, on the main level there are palm trees and bushes surrounding a blue water fountain

Bordering the Plaza de Botero, this museum is dedicated first and foremost to the works of Fernando Botero.

Botero personally donated over 100 to the Museum of Antioquia. The top floor of the museum is completely dedicated to his works (mostly paintings), with the first and second floors holding paintings from other Colombian and international artists.

This is a great place to see more of the works and paintings of one of the greatest and most-esteemed artists in Colombian history.

  • Hours: 10am-5:30pm, closed Sundays
  • Cost: 21,000 COP (5 USD)

Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria

A white stone colonial church standsin the middle of the sidewalks with many vendors outside the doors selling food.

This church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Candelaria, is a beautiful colonial church right in the heart of Candelaria, and just opposite Parque Berrio. This area is extremely crowded and busy – as you can see from the picture, there are many vendors set up right in front of the church, and Parque Berrio (again, more like a square) is full of people and vendors and people entering/exiting the metro.

Once you go inside, however, the experience becomes much more serene. The church is designed in a stark white with dark wood design, with some beautifully tiled floors. I liked the Metropolitan Cathedral more, but this was still a nice church to stop by.

A very pristine church with white pillars and dark brown wood pews leading up to the gold altar.

Explore Candelaria

The street in Medellin with checkered sidewalks with trees lined up parrelell to the buildings
Calle 52

Walking around the Candelaria area is an interesting way to see a lot more of what Medellin is like, particularly because different areas have very different feels to it.

For example, we really liked Calle 52, which curves into Calle 50. It was a really nice street, with wide sidewalks, trees, nice shops, many food options, and still many street vendors, but it also wasn’t too crowded or chaotic.

A busy crosswalk with taxis awnd people crossing to the assorted stone buildings on each side
Carrera 53 – notice all the umbrellas set up on the street

The area around Carrera 53 (particularly between Plaza Cisneros and heading north) had a totally different vibe. It was really busy, crowded, and the sidewalks were lined with stalls and street vendors, in addition to the regular storefronts in the buildings. It was a cacophony of sites and sounds, but also interesting to see and observe.

You could find stalls specializing in all sorts of different niches. For example, one stand sold exclusively office supplies, another sold cleaning supplies, another sold pest control. There are a lot of clothing stores in this area as well – I bought a cute skirt here!

As I mentioned above, I would avoid the Estacion Villa/Calle 57 area of Candelaria, as it felt extremely unsafe as we drove through.

Museo Casa de la Memoria (only if you have time)

A park like exihbt with stone guardrails looking over the mountain sceney, Inside the overhand area there are lots of colorful flowers and trees.
A very modern room with dark floors and different exibits showing information of the drug cartels and guerilla groups

The House of Memory Museum Museum of Remembrance had some very interesting interactive and multimedia exhibits, that paid tribute to the many victims of the violence from drug cartels and guerilla groups that terrorized Medellin for years.

We definitely got a sense of sadness and the toll of the violence, and the complicated history of Medellin. However, we felt that the exhibits did not really tell the “story” very well, which we would have enjoyed. It was more of a tribute to the people that died and the violence they endured.

I don’t want to downplay the awfulness of that period of time, but we felt the museum was a bit piecemeal in its exhibits, instead of guiding you through the story, timeline, and what happened.

For Colombians who are very aware of the intricacies of Medellin’s history, this was probably a good museum. For foreigners who were still learning the history, we were left wanting more information.

NOTE: Because I think this is a good and interesting museum, but not a MUST SEE place, I would only do this museum if you have time during your morning/afternoon in Candelaria before you go to the Comuna 13 tour. If you don’t end up having time, I think it’s okay to skip it.

  • Cost: Free, but you do need to register at the entrance
  • Hours: 9 am-6 pm Tues-Fri, 10 am-4 pm Sat-Sun, closed Mondays

Comuna 13 Tour

A very poor neighboorhood area with houses leading up the mountain and fences surrounding the neighborhood. The buildings are all brown brick colored and very small.

Comuna 13 is what Medellin is best known for, both for its history and for its present day tours like the Comuna 13 Grafitti tour. It was for sure the thing I was most excited to do during our 4 days in Medellin, and was such an interesting experience.

Comuna 13 used to be the center of the drug trade in Medellin, and was controlled by drug lords and guerillas for years. In fact, it was actually completely cut off from the rest of the city of Medellin for a long time. In the early 2000’s, the government decided to launch a few operations to take down the drug lords and guerillas, which ended up being fairly successful.

However, the years after the operation were almost equally brutal for the citizens of Comuna 13, as the paramilitary group the government tasked with patrolling was also corrupt and terrorized the people of the Comuna.

Today, drug trading is still prevalent in the Comuna, but the neighborhood really has undergone a transformation, is open to the rest of the city, and is considered a safe place to live and visit.

A mural of an African American woman holding a stick with different colored birds perched on it.

Interestingly, graffiti and street art became a big source of relief and expression in the Comuna, with beautiful and meaningful pieces popping up all over the Comuna.

This is one activity you can’t miss in Medellin – I would recommend it to anyone and everyone visiting the city.

Check rates and availability for this Comuna 13 tour here

The view of Medellin at night with the whole city lit up and extending over the multiple mountain ranges.

Parque de las Luces 

A square with around 300 skinny stone pillars that light up at night. The pillars are brown and tan-ish.

This square, officially known as the Plaza Cisneros, is filled with 300 skinny stone pillars. By day they are interesting, but they light up at night, creating a really cool effect. This area used to be a very dangerous spot, but was revitalized and renovated into this really lovely square. A library is right next to the plaza, and there are benches and places for people to hang out.

If you come to see the lights at night, take a taxi, and don’t linger. It’s not particularly dangerous, but I would still exercise caution.

Pay attention here to the giant birdhouses tucked away in the trees! You’ll actually find these at every plaza with each having a unique style.

Day 2 in Medellin

For the second of your days in Medellin, you’ll be doing a few fun activities outside the city center.

Go Paragliding

A woman paragliding over the mountains next to Medellin. There are very lush and green trees all around the area.

This paragliding adventure is one of the funnest activities you can do during your 4 days in Medellin. Thanks to its proximity to the Andes Mountains, you can have a fun and relatively inexpensive paragliding experience just outside of the city.

This activity went from about 8 am-12 pm, which included the driving time there and back, the flying time, plus the time we had to wait for the winds to cooperate

We went ahead and booked a driver through the tour company (another 100,000 COP – about 23 USD) for the morning. This was a good choice, as buses didn’t go near the paragliding spot and we didn’t see any taxis go by either.

We had a fantastic time paragliding over the hills near Medellin, with the city visible in the distance and farms, jungle, and waterfalls beneath. The company was really professional and had a really efficient and smooth operation going. I felt very safe and well-taken care of here!

You can add on a GoPro the day of for 50,000 COP (about 12 USD)

This is a really fun adventure that is suitable for many ages and levels of fitness – I mean, how often do you get to say that you’ve gone paragliding in the Andes?

Check prices and availability for this paragliding adventure here

Parque Arvi/metrocable K/L

A popular excursion in Medellin is riding the cable cars that have been installed in the outskirts of the city to help connect the different comunas to the main city thoroughfares. You can check out the metro/cable car map here.

To get another perspective on Communa 13, you can take the J line from San Javier to La Aurora.

However, the most popular route for tourists is to take the K and L line up to Parque Arvi, a quiet and serene woodland park at the top of the mountain.

To do this, take metro line A direction Niquia and get off at Acevedo. You can transfer to Line K at this station. Line K is a cable car that takes you over the neighborhood and partway up the mountain. You’ll get off at the Santo Domingo station, and transfer to line L, which is the cable line that will take you the rest of the way up and over the mountain to Parque Arvi.

You will need to buy a separate ticket for Line L at Santo Domingo, as this section is more a tourist attraction than part of the public transportation system. A ticket for Line L costs 11,000 COP each way per person.

Taking the metrocable car from Santo Domingo to Parque Arvi is a whole attraction in its own right. The trip took about 20 minutes – a really long time for a cable car ride! You ride up the mountain, passing houses stacked close together. The farther up you go, the more you see animals grazing in pastures, and the scenery becomes more wild and natural, covered in greenery.

When you get to the top of the mountain, you think you’re almost done, but no! The line actually continues for a really long time across the top of the mountain, crossing over the tops of trees in the forest. It was incredibly scenic and beautiful, and we really enjoyed this ride up.

The mountain area with the poles and wires connecting the small rectangular cable cars.

At Parque Arvi

When you reach the exit the cable car at Parque Arvi, you can wander around and explore the area. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to do unless you are willing to drop some more money.

There is sometimes a little market with food and souvenirs to buy. There’s a cafe, and a few, short walking paths, even a recreation of an ancient home. You can also take a guided tour through the more natural paths in the trees. During the daytime hours, there are some activities for kids.

You can walk about 30 minutes to a waterfall area. The waterfall was a fairly gentle cascade, but the stream was pretty, the path was nicely maintained, and there was a playground and picnic tables and greenspaces. There is also a bus from this area that you can ride back into town (dropping you off near La Candelaria).

For us, the funnest part of visiting Parque Arvi was the ride up to it.

A small waterfall with white water rushing down the stream and a path right next to it with lots of roots sticking out of it.

Futbol Game OR Parque Ileras

A football stadium with green grass and metal frames all around the top protecting the metal seats all around the arena.

South American futbol is something else! If there happens to be a game when you’re in Medellin, I would definitely try to go!

As an FYI, the most intense fans sit right behind their teams’ goal. If you want a somewhat calmer experience, buy tickets for the sidelines. but the real party is happening behind the goal!

For the schedule and tickets, search “Atanasio Giradot Stadium schedule” to see upcoming events and various ticketing sites.

Alternatively, if you want to have an authentic Colombian futbol adventure, consider this activity where you go to the game with a local who’s an avid futbol fan. Our experience going with a local to a futbol game was LIT.

You’ll be taken to the best spots before, during, and after the game to cheer with fans and other travelers who are all excited to watch their favorite clubs compete. It’s a whole different experience in its own right! (And includes tickets in the price)

Check availability for the futbol game here

Option 2 – Parque Ileras

Although I think going to a futbol game in South America is a fun and cultural event in its own right, if sports just are not your thing, then I would recommend spending your evening enjoying the nightlife in the Parque Ileras area.

Parque Ileras is known as the party area and is home to many bars, clubs, and restaurants. The actual park that is this area’s namesake is quite small, but the entire area has lots of options for eating and drinking.

Medellin Day 3Take a Day Trip to Guatapé

A yellow wall with different sculptures and engravings around the house.

Guatapé is one of the most colorful little pueblos in Colombia! Near the town is the large monolithic rock, La Piedra del Penol, which you can climb up to get a view over the reservoir of Guatapé, which has dozens of little inlets and craggles.

Our day in Guatapé was one of our favorite days during our entire Colombia trip. You should definitely plan to spend one of your days in Medellin on this day trip – it’s not to be missed!

The town is about 1.5 hours outside of Medellin. You can read all the details about how to get to Guatapé and what to do there in this dedicated guide!

Medellin Day 4

Plaza Minorista Market

A market stand with different colored fruit in different baskets

To kick off the final day of your 4 days in Medellin, hit up the Plaza Minorista! This fruit market is a large produce market in a covered warehouse outside of La Candelaria. It sold a mix of wholesale and direct to consumers, and was full of hustle and bustle as people wove their way through the stalls, searching out the best produce.

We saw some really interesting things here! Of course, there was a huge variety of tropical fruit that you just don’t see in the US, but there were also beautiful displays full of vegetables, or interesting products being sold, like banana leaves, unique drinks/sodas, candies, flowers, and more.

There were also some areas that were grouped with like products, like the corn on the cob row. This row was super entertaining to walk down, as each stall was filled with corn on the cob, and workers would be using a special tool to quickly “shave” all the corn off the cob. An entire cob of corn was removed in just a few seconds – it was crazy to watch them work!

This is a great place to come where the locals are and visit a really authentic part of Colombian life. However, do watch out for pickpockets here, and definitely, definitely take a taxi there and back and don’t wander around the streets in the neighborhood. The area surrounding the market is one of the more dangerous in town, but you’ll be just fine if you just visit the market.

Hours: 4:30am-6pm (closes 3pm on Sunday)

Note: There is another local produce market in Medellin, the Placita de Florez market. This one is within walking distance from the rest of the tourist sites in Candelaria. Because of its proximity in downtown, the Placita de Florez is definitely the more convenient market to visit, but it is significantly smaller than Plaza Minorista.

We really liked the vast size and huge variety of produce here at Plaza Minorista, and do think it’s worth coming out to see. However, if you’re short on time or just prefer to stay closer to downtown, the Placita de Florez market is a good second choice.

Cerro El Volador Natural Park

The view from the top of a mountain with lots of plants throughout the beautiful city in the valley of lots of mountains.

Cerro el Volador is a large nature preserve in the middle of the city. Its name means “floating mountain.” While you can take a taxi to the base of the hill, vehicles are blocked from continuing to the top about a third of the way up. You’ll need to climb the remainder yourself.

This climb is just along the road, but there are also more trails through the trees you can find. One of these starts by the parking lot the taxi drops you off at and others connect to the road as you climb.

Once you get to the top, there is a loop that goes around the top of the mountain. This loop is on a nice walkway, but you are more in nature, have some great viewpoints over the valley, and see some more exotic plants and flowers.

Along this top loop, there are a couple spots where you can cut up to the top of the hill in the middle of the loop. This gives you the best views over Medellin, and the most “nature-y” experience, as you are finally off the paved road and can go up and over some grassy areas. These grassy areas are also an ancient cemetery, with some tombs.

This is also the nicest place to hang out if you want to just relax and have a picnic. We also saw people flying kites here.

There are some food stalls, restaurants, and bathroom options on the loop at the top of Cerro el Volador. It’s a nice, peaceful spot, and it wasn’t very crowded even on a weekend. This was one of our favorite places in all of Medellin, and felt like a hidden gem in the city.

  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 5am-5pm most days, 5am-7pm Tuesday and Thursday

Parroquia El Señor de las Misericordias Church

A white stone cathedral with a spire that is super tall and has many windows. There are many intricate engravings all around the gorgeous building

This church, the Lord of Mercy Parish, was one that we saw from the metro and thought looked interesting, so we wanted to come back and check it out. It was a really pretty church, with a very tall, inspiring spire with cool carvings along the top. At night, the spire lights up, which is very beautiful.

This church is in a slightly dodgy part of town. We felt okay-ish during the day, but for sure would not want to wander here at night. It’s not far from the next two attractions on this list below, so I would consider taking a taxi to and from this church when you are on your way to the other spots.

Cementerio Museo de San Pedro

A stone cementary surrounded with a stone gate with multiple above ground graves and multiple trees places around the edges.

This hidden gem in Medellin was a delightful little spot to visit on an afternoon. This is a working and functioning cemetery, but in “1999 it was declared a national Asset of Cultural Interest by the Ministry of Culture, due to its historical, aesthetic, architectural and ritual values.” (source)

The grounds are beautiful, as palms and tropical plants provide shade to the walkways, large tombs are lined up along the path, and the curved wall of the mausoleums of tombs provided a lot of visual interest to the cemetery.

At the back of the cemetery was a chapel with music playing. It’s a nice spot to stroll through and is definitely a hidden gem on this 4 day Medellin itinerary.

  • Cost: Free
  • Hours:  8am-5:30pm, daily

Jardin Botanico

A park walkway with multiple skinny trees leaning over onto the sidewalk.

On the weekends there are a ton of friends and families out together in this park. It is quite large and hosts a variety of different types of trees, but not many flowers.

  • Hours: 9am-4pm daily, closed Monday
  • Cost: Free, but you do have to register on site with an employee, who will ask for your ID

Mirador Las Palmas 

The view from a mountain at sunrise with the sun reflecting on the buildings and pine trees. There are continuing mountain ranges going behind the city.

This spot is very well known and offers a pretty view over the city and an excellent sunset location. It’s very very busy at sunset though! Cars were parked several rows deep and there were so many people. You’ll also find plenty of vendors selling food.

This spot is a bit father away from the city — I think you’d have a hard time getting a taxi or driver from an app up here to pick you up, so if you want to go, arrange a ride where the driver will wait. We stopped here on the way to the airport, as it’s right on the way. 

Where to Stay in Medellin

A glass building off the side of the road parrellel to the line of trees.

We chose to stay in the Laureles neighborhood of Medellin – we liked that it was quiet, residential, and there seemed to be hardly any other tourists around, just locals. There were a lot of great restaurants in the neighborhood, and it felt safe to be walking around at nighttime.

We stayed at the Hotel Asturias Medellin, a charming and affordable hotel with really friendly and helpful staff (many of whom were English-speaking), located on a quiet side street.

We enjoyed the free, traditional Colombian breakfast every morning, the strong wifi, and a nice place to come back to at the end of the day. We also really liked the little takeout restaurant across the street – the pastels there were delicious!

Check prices and availability for Hotel Asturias here

How to Get Around Medellin


The metro system in Medellin is safe, efficient, and easy to use. However, it is limited where it runs, so there are times when you won’t be anywhere near a metro line. You can access the metro line map here. Rides cost 3000 COP (about 75 cents USD).


The bus system was honestly really confusing to us (and we’re usually pros at navigating public transit!). Schedules and routes weren’t posted anywhere, you really just had to ask bus drivers that come by. This is one means of transportation I really wouldn’t recommend in Medellin.

Ride Sharing Apps

There is Uber in Medellin, but most people use Cabify or InDriver. Cabify works exactly like Uber, but InDriver is different in that the passenger puts in a fare offer, and then the driver can accept or counter that offer. Cabify is linked to your credit card, but with InDriver you will pay the agreed-upon fare in cash.


It was pretty easy to hail a cab in Medellin, and generally, we had okay experiences with the taxi drivers. Fares start at 3800 COP, so make sure the driver resets to that amount when you get in. Occasionally, we didn’t get exact change from a cabbie, but this was generally in very small amounts (e.g. rounding from 2400 to 2500 COP – literally pennies).

Almost all of our rides in the city in taxis or Uber equivalents were between 8,000-14,000 COP (about 2-3 USD)

Getting From the Airport to Medellin

The Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Medellin (MDE) is pretty far out of the city and can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to reach the city.

There’s no metro line to the airport, and buses take longer and would require a transfer/taxi/long walk anyway. I recommend just taking a taxi, or getting a ride through Cabify/InDriver. Plan to pay between 70,000-100,000 COP for a ride into the city.

Other Practical Information and FAQ for Spending 4 Days in Medellin

A Few Fun Facts About Medellin

  • Medellin was the first city in the world to use cable cars for public transportation
  • The term paisa refers to a person from Medellin
  • Medellin was home to one of the most infamous (and deadly) drug lords in the world – Pablo Escobar
  • Medellin has been recognized as one of the most innovative cities in the world

Is Medellin Walkable?

In some areas, Medellin is very walkable. For example, most of the tourist attractions are in the Candelaria neighborhood of downtown, and you can easily walk between them all.

However, there are definitely some sites (e.g. Parque Arvi, Cerro el Volador, and the Plaza Minorista, to name a few examples) you will not be able to walk to and you will need to take some form of transportation to get to.

Additionally, the two most recommended areas for visitors to stay are Laureles and El Poblado. These areas are clean and safe for visitors, but they are also well outside the city center and not close to hardly any sites – you will definitely need to transit in from where you are staying.

Best Time to Visit Medellin

Medellin maintains a very pleasant average high temperature of about 77 F/25 C year round. (They don’t call it the City of Eternal Spring for nothing!)

Medellin does tend to be mostly cloudy or completely overcast throughout the year, though you will have periods of sun as well. The wettest seasons in Medellin are the spring and fall, with the dry season running mid-December to mid-February. Mid-June to mid-August is also a period with less rain, though it’s not as dry as winter.

Is Medellin Safe?

A big question people have before visiting Medellin (or even Colombia in general), is if it’s safe. While Colombia has had a very turbulent past, today it is considered a safe destination for travelers.

That being said, I would exercise caution and mainly stay in the tourist areas during your days in Medellin. Some neighborhoods in Medellin can be dangerous – I would be hesitant to wander far off the tourist track.

While it’s generally safe during the day, Candelaria is less safe after dark. I would exercise caution at night and tend to take a taxi or an Uber/Cabify after dark. I generally wouldn’t recommend staying in La Candelaria, and instead definitely recommend staying in Laureles or El Poblado.

Petty crime is common, particularly getting your phone snatched. Be extra vigilant with your belongings and phone, and be cautious about pulling it out on the street.

Walk confidently, be careful with your phone and money, say no immediately to people who come up to you on the street, don’t be out late, and stay in the tourist neighborhoods and you should be just fine.

Is Medellin Expensive?

No, I felt like Medellin was very inexpensive and reasonably priced city in our Colombia travel budget.

Taxis were around $2-4 around town, although it was between $16-23 to get to/from the airport. Restaurant meals were between $10-15 total for two people, and our hotel cost about $40/night. Entrance fees were pretty low (museums were free, others cost $2-5).

A Few More General Tips for Visiting Medellin

ELECTRICITY: Colombia uses 110 voltage and type A or B plugs. This is the same voltage and plugs as the USA, so if you are coming from the states, you won’t need any type of travel adaptor.

TIPPING: A 10% tip is often automatically added to your bill at a restaurant. If it is not added, its polite to leave 10%.

CAN YOU DRINK THE TAP WATER: Yes, the tap water is safe to drink. However, know that if you ask for water in restaurants, they will bring you bottled water.

MONEY: The currency is the Colombian peso, which uses the sign “$” and is abbreviated as COP. At the time of writing, about 4500 pesos equal 1 USD.

Cash is king in Colombia – while occasionally you will find a restaurant or hotel that takes credit card, the vast, vast majority of the time we had to pay in cash. ATMs are plentiful around the city.

LANGUAGE: Spanish is the main language in Colombia, and most people in the country do not speak English. At a minimum, learn a few Spanish phrases, and download the Google Translate app on your phone for communication.

PLUMBING: Do not flush your toilet paper in Colombia – the plumbing pipes are old and not set up to handle the TP in the system. Just toss your toilet paper in the bin next to the toilet.

Spending 3-4 Days in Medellin: Final Thoughts

Medellin has some really cool sites to see and an interesting culture. Two days in Medellin is enough to see the highlights of the city.

If you have 3 days in Medellin, you can see everything the city has to offer OR you can spend your third day in the delightful town of Guatapé. With 4 days in Medellin, you can see everything in the city and visit Guatapé too! Happy travels!

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