You are currently viewing The Best Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia
There are so many things to do in Medellin, Colombia, making it one of the best places to visit in the country.

The Best Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia

Sharing is caring!

When people think of Medellín, Colombia, they often think about danger, poverty, drugs, and the one and only Pablo Escobar. This city has a dark past, but we can promise you that there are so many things to do in Medellín, Colombia, and plenty of other reasons than entering the wild party scene.

Delicious coffee, colorful neighborhoods, and vibrant art are just a few of the things you can look forward to on a visit to Medellín, Colombia.

In this article we're going to cover everything you need to know from the best things to do in Medellín, Colombia, to safety and getting around.

*Please note that this blog post may contain some affiliate links, which we make a small profit on, at zero cost to you. Links are only used on products & services that we've used and believe in, to give you the best buying experience. Purchasing from these links helps us to continue providing free travel guides for you- so thank you for your support!

Where is Medellín in Colombia?

Medellin is located in central Colombia, in the state of Antioquia. The city is situated in a valley in the Andes Mountains, close to the famous coffee region of the country.

Colombia is the northernmost country in South America, and its land borders are Ecuador at the south, and Venezuela on the east of the country. Panama is located north of Colombia, but can't actually be crossed by the land border.

where is Medellin Colombia

Medellin in located in the center of Colombia in the Antioquia.

How to Get to Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is one of the most popular cities in Colombia. It has an international airport, which is located just 30 minutes outside the city center. Not to be confused with Medellin International Airport, the main airport is actually called Jose Maria Cordovin, with the code MDE.

Other Colombian cities that fly direct to Medellin include Barranquilla, Bogota, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cucuta, Monteria, Pereira, Riohacha, and Santa Marta.

International destinations that fly to Medellin include Aruba, Beef Island, Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Guayaquil, Lima, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, New York, Orlando, Panama City, Punta Cana, Quito,  San Jose, Santo Domingo, 

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for flying to Medellin.

Search for a flight to Medellin:

How to Get from Medellin Airport to the City Center

Medellin airport has a bus that runs to the center. I got in quite late, and didn't see it, but it supposedly runs 24/7. Upon arrival you will find that there are a tons of men asking if you need a taxi. They'll claim the rate is 120,000 pesos, but I got a guy to take me for 90,000. Ubers were also available, and ran for around 80,000 pesos.

How to Get from the City of Medellin to the Airport

To get back to the airport you can take a taxi to San Diego. From there they have "colectivos", which are shared taxis, and go directly to the airport for just 20,000 pesos (around $4 USD).

There are also public buses that leave from San Diego Mall. These tickets are a bit cheaper. but the ride has stops so takes around an hour compared to the half hour in colectivo.

You can also book your transportation in advance by clicking the link below:

Don't want to fly and would rather take a bus to Medellin? Here are a few options:

How To Travel Cheaper and Better in 15 minutes!

How much more would you travel, if it costed you less resources?

With our Free eBook, you will learn how to save money and time on your future trips. Plus, you'll see the exact system we use.

Grab your copy for free when you sign up for our newsletter 👇

Book cover 2021

Entry Requirements for Colombia

The next step for getting to Colombia is making sure you have the right documentation to enter. Here is everything you need to know for entering Colombia in regards to Covid requirements, as well as visa requirements.

Visa Requirements for Colombia

There are many countries that can enter Colombia visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. You can check the official website to see if you need a visa or not. If you do want to stay more than 90 days, you can apply to stay an additional 90 at the ministry of foreign affairs in Colombia.

Covid Entry Requirements for Colombia

Covid requirements have been constantly changing, especially since the last time that we visited Colombia.

Currently the majority of requirements have been lifted. Masks are no longer obligatory, and you don't need a negative Covid test to enter the country. The only requirement is that you must fill out the Colombia health questionnaire.

Local Adjustments for Visiting Medellin, Colombia

Whenever traveling somewhere new, there are things that you may forget about. Certain things may be different than where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to have in mind while traveling to Medellin, Colombia.

What Language Do They Speak in Medellin?

The official language in Colombia is Spanish. Colombians are a bit easier to understand than the surrounding countries, but at times they can speak a bit fast. There are plenty of people who do speak some English, but it is definitely better to try to speak a bit of Spanish to get by.

Currency Used in Medellin

The currency used in Colombia is the Colombia peso. Currently (September 2023) the exchange rate is 3,930 pesos for every $1 USD. Many shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit card. However, if you'd like to purchase street food or small souvenirs, it's always good to carry some cash on you.

Can You Use USD in Medellin?

In order to pay with cash, you'll need to use Colombian pesos. It's always better to take local currency out of the ATM rather than bringing USD and exchanging them in an office.

What Power Outlets are in Medellin?

Colombia uses the same plug types as the United States, which are types A & B. The standard voltage in Colombia is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Can I Drink Tap Water in Medellin?

The tap water in Medellin is perfectly safe to drink from the tap, so there is no need to buy bottled water. We suggest bringing a reusable water to refill whenever you can.

How Much Do You Tip in Medellin?

The tipping culture in Colombia is a standard 10%. Sometimes people tip more if the service is great, even up to 20%. However, this is only if you feel the server has truly gone above and beyond.

Travel More. Spend Less.

Let us help you plan your dream trip.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia

Now let's jump into the fun stuff! There are a ton of fun things to do in Medellín, and we're here to share some of the top highlights.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #1: Take a Free Walking Tour

When it comes to visiting a new big city, a free walking tour is always the way to go. Not only is it great because you can see the main sites with a small group, but locals always know the hidden corners that get overlooked by many tourists.

free walking tour, things to do in Medellín, Colombia #1:in, Colombia
free walking tour, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
free walking tour, things to do in Medellín, Colombia

Taking a free walking tour allows you to see the highlights, and hidden gems.

I used GuruWalk, and absolutely loved my guide Juan. Originally from Medellin, he really was able to educate us on the history, politics, and growth of Medellin.

Free walking tours are in fact free, and with this company start at 9:30 am. Make sure to reserve on time, and don't forget to tip your guide!

road to Zabljak Montenegro

Stay Up To Date📫

We have a non-spammy weekly newsletter, where we give travel tips, and exclusive content and discounts.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #2: Check Out Parque Las Luces

One of the ways that the city of Medellin was able to change drastically, was it transformed horribly dangerous squares into beautiful meeting areas.

One of the examples of this is Parque de las Luces, where you will find 300 "light beam" structures that reach 4 meters each. To me they actually look like giant swords, but are supposed to represent light. Make sure to check it out at night so you can see the colorful lights beaming from the statues.

Parque de las luces, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
Parque de las luces, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
Parque de las luces, things to do in Medellín, Colombia

This square had a massive transformation.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #3: Visit Plaza Botero

One of the most important squares in Medellin (and one you'll definitely visit if you do the free walking tour) is Plaza Boteros. This plaza is home to the most important museum in the city, as well as 32 unique statues made by the artist Fernando Botero.

Plaza Botero, things to do in Medellín Colombia

Plaza Botero has 32 unique statues.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #4: Admire the Palacio de la Cultura

Located right inside Plaza Botero is one of the most beautiful architectural pieces in Medellín. The palace actually looks like a European church, and was only finished on one side. Due to this you can actually be able to appreciate the two different styles.

palace, things to do in Medellín Colombia
Palacio, things to do in Medellín Colombia
things to do in Medellín Colombia
Palacio, things to do in Medellín Colombia

Palacio de la Cultura was not finished by the original architect, so it has two different styles.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #5: Stop at Parque Berrio

Located just around the corner from Plaza Botero, is another great meeting point and hangout spot in Medellin. Parque Berrio is an urban park beloved by both locals and tourists, with statues, street food, and more.

All Your Travels

in One Book

Transform your travel memories into a unique book, with personalized pages, country by country.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #6: Discover the Colorful Neighborhood of Comuna 13

This is hands down my favorite part of Medellin. Once considered the most dangerous neighborhood in the world, the city of Medellin made an incredible transformation. Originally an ugly and crime ridden place, now artists come here to express themselves. From vibrant murals to energetic street performers, you could spend hours upon hours enjoying Comuna 13.

Comuna 13, things to do in Medellín Colombia
Comuna 13, things to do in Medellín Colombia
Comuna 13, things to do in Medellín Colombia

Comuna 13 transformed from danger and crime to passion and art.

Want to learn more about how to get here, safety, and what to expect? Check below for our full article about one of our favorite things to do in Medellín, Colombia.

Want to do an organized tour to Comuna 13? Here are a few options to choose from:

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #7: Head Up to Pueblito Paisa

Want another burst of color during your visit to Medellín? Head up to Pueblito Paisa, a small model village perched up on a hill. Here you can see what typical Colombian villages look like, as well as shop for homemade and local souvenirs.

Pueblito Paisa, things to do in Medellín Colombia
Pueblito Paisa, things to do in Medellín Colombia
Pueblito Paisa, things to do in Medellín Colombia

Pueblito Paisa depicts traditional Colombian villages.

The area itself is open 24/7. However, the shops and restaurants only start opening around 9 am.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #8: Try Different Coffee Shops

You can't go to Colombia without indulging in the delicious coffee. Medellín is right near the best coffee region in the world. 

We highly suggest taking a day trip to learn about the production. However, if you are only in the city for a short amount of time, definitely head to some of the great coffee shops located in El Poblado.

Pink Dot Thessaloniki Greece

Will You Buy Us A Coffee? ☕

As coffee lovers, we always enjoy the energy of caffeine. It helps us get the best free travel guides out there for you! 😄

Want to experience a coffee tour from Medellin? Here are a few options:

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #9: Have a Night Out in El Poblado

El Poblado is the most beloved area by tourists in Medellin. While the streets are known for hosting some of the best cafes and restaurants in the city, they are also known for their nightlife. So meet some friends and grab a drink (or two) to enjoy the best of Medellin's nightlife.

Many people visit Medellín and seek to try the infamous cocaine. It's important to know that this actually really negatively affects the situation for locals, and we highly discourage you to get involved in this.

Preset - before & after

Transform your photos

One click is all it takes to make your photos look stunning. Get our latest package of Lightroom presets, Into The Wild.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #10: Hunt for Street Art

Comuna 13 is home to some of the best street art in the city. However, Medellin has plenty of art covering it! Just wander the streets and admire the beauty of the vibrant murals scattered around.

colorful tree in Medellin

This city is full of color! You can find this piece of art at Pueblito Paisa.

Want a tour to see all of the best art in the city? Here are a few to choose from:

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #11: Hop On a Cable Car

Did you know that one of the main modes of transportation in Medellin is cable car? While many cities use cable cars to reach high points for touristic reasons, Medellin in a bit different. Just like La Paz in Bolivia, cable cars are actually the most efficient (and fun) way to get around the city.

We suggest doing this earlier than later in the day, as around 4-6 the cable cars are full of locals trying to head home from work. Nevertheless, make sure to hop on a cable car to cross the city whenever you get the chance! The views are beautiful, and the ride is the same as the bus or train!

views of Medellin

Medellin has some great views from above.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #12: Visit the National Palace Mall (Centro Commercial Palacio National)

Built in 1920, this former palace has now been transformed into a shopping center. In my opinion, the shopping isn't great. However, the architecture has remained on the inside, and is definitely worth a peak inside to appreciate the beauty hiding from the chaotic streets around it.

centro comercial, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
centro comercial, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
centro comercial, things to do in Medellín, Colombia

This old palace has now transformed into a mall.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #13: Explore the Nature of Parque Arvi

Want to head out of the hustle and bustle of Medellin? Parque Arvi sits high above the city, boasting some beautiful nature. Not only is it a relaxing break from the chaos of the city, but the gondola ride to the top offers stunning views of Medellin and its surroundings.

Travel More. Spend Less.

Let us help you plan your dream trip.

Things to Do in Medellín, Colombia #14: Take a Trip to Guatape

Guatape may just be our favorite place in all of Colombia. Colorful streets, friendly people, and the famous Piedra del Peñol are just a few of the reasons to check out this iconic town. 

Just two hours from Medellin, you can easily visit here as a day trip, or spend a night or two while in the area.

Guatape, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
Guatape, things to do in Medellín, Colombia
streets of Guatape

One of the best things to do in Medellín is to take a day trip to Guatape.

Want to know how to get there, what to do, and more? Make sure to check out our full article about visiting Guatape.

Want to take a tour to Guatape? Here are a few options you can choose from:

Want to go on your own but have your transportation sortedn in advance? You can book your tickets here:

Things to Do in Medellín: Local Food & Drink

One of the most important parts of experiencing a new city is diving into the local cuisine. "Paisas" (locals) are quite proud of their food, and especially their coffee. We didn't have a long time in this city, but one of the best things to  do in Medellín, Colombia is to indulge in the food & drinks., and we do have a few recommendations to try on your visit.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

things to do in Medellin Pin
things to do in Medellin Pin
things to do in Medellin Pin

Paisa Bendeja

If you are going to try one specific dish in Medellin, then this has to be it. We hope you're hungry- because this dish will fill you for more than just one meal (we suggest sharing one).

This is a hearty mix of rice, beans, meat, an egg, plantain, and avocado. There are quite a few variations, but this is a Medellin staple, and particularly popular for lunch. Not only is it super filling, but a full plate will only set you back around $4-6 USD.

Paisa Bendeja, food in Medellin

Paisa Bendeja is the number one dish to try in Medellin.


When I first got to Medellin I heard that I had to go to Mondongos. Little did I know that this wasn't just the name of one of the most popular restaurants in the city, but also a famous dish of the region.

This hearty stew is full of tripe and/or pork, and served with rice, avocado, lime, an arepa, and aji dulce (sweet sauce) and aji picante (spicy sauce).

Mondongo, Medellin

Mondongo's restaurant offers a killer mondongo.

Arepas de Chocolo

Most arepas found around Colombia are savory, and topped with meat, cheese, or eggs. But arepas de chocolo are made from local corn, and are actually sweet. Topped with butter and fresh cheese, these are the ultimate street snack while exploring the streets of Medellin.

arepa de chocolo, food in Medellin

Unlike traditional arepas, these are sweet.


Salpicon is a special mix of fruits and juice that is typical from the area. If you get it "con helado" you'll get a nice scoop of ice cream on top. If you get it "sin helado", it'll simply be served in a large cup or bowl to enjoy.

Salpicon, food in Medellin

Salpicon can be served with or without ice cream.


Like we said, no trip to Colombia is complete without some good coffee. Head over to one of the many cafes in El Poblado and indulge in some seriously good cups of Joe. 

How to Move Around in Medellin

Now that you know the best things to do in Medellín, Colombia, let's talk about how exactly to get around the city. Medellin is quite large, and although a lot can be seen on foot, there will certainly be times that you'll want to find an alternative way to explore.

Medellin has some of the best public transportation in the world. With a ton of different options, and being super affordable, it makes getting around Medellin a true pleasure. Here are the different options:

Exploring Medellin by Metro

The metro is one of the easiest ways to get around Medellin. The two lines cover quite a few areas, connecting the center, Comuna 13, and plenty of other areas. Metros run frequently, and only cost 3,000 a ride (you'll also have to get the card which is 6,000 pesos, but can keep topping up when necessary).

Getting Around Medellin by Bus

There are so many buses in Medellin, and tickets were all under 3,000 pesos. You can use the same transportation pass as the train, use your credit card, or pay cash to the driver.

Google maps rarely shows the bus as an option, so just ask a local and they'll be able to point you in the right direction.

Cable Cars in Medellin

Like we mentioned before, this is definitely one of the most fun ways to get around. We suggest mapping out the places you want to go, and then you can check which of the spots can be reached by cable car. Not only are the cable cars often connected with other train stations, but you can use the same card that you use for the buses and trains.

Getting Around Medellin by Bike

This was an option that I actually only learned about after doing my free walking tour! Medellin offers bikes to be rented for up to an hour completely free! All you have to do is make sure that you drop it as one of the main areas that has the service. 

We don't have too many details about where exactly they are all located, but you can simply get more info at the tourist office or by a local.

Is There Uber in Medellin?

Ubers are kind of an iffy subject in Colombia. They aren't really "legal" but they do in fact operate. We don't suggest taking Ubers, unless you really need to pay with credit card, and have no other way of getting somewhere.

Taking Taxis in Medellin

Taxis are certainly our least favorite mode of transportation while traveling. It contributes to traffic and pollution, and you don't get a real local sense by riding in one. However, if you are in a rush, or worried about how to get to a certain spot, taxis are pretty easy to come by.

Simply flag one down, and make sure the meter is on! It may sound crazy, but this is the best option. We actually learned so much by taking taxis in Colombia, so we wrote a full article about it that you can read below.

Renting a Car in Medellin

If you only plan to stay inside the city center of Medellin, then it will definitely be better to stick to public transportation. However, if you'd like to travel to other places in the area such as Guatape, then renting a car could be a good option. You can easily rent a car from the airport, or inside the city.

Here is a site we typically use to book our rentals:

Where is the Best Area to Stay in Medellin?

Medellin is a pretty big city, so you'll want to make sure you're staying in a good area. The most tourist friendly area is El Poblado. This is where you'll find plenty of hostels, great restaurants, and the best nightlife.

Look for accommodation in El Poblado, Medellin:

Is Medellin Safe?

Safety in Medellin is actually a huge topic to be aware of! Once the most dangerous city in the world, this place is much better off than it used to be. Run by drugs and crime beforehand, a lot has changed in Medellin- for the good that is.

I traveled here solo, and had no issues. However, there still is petty crime that exists in certain areas. Always make sure to keep an extra eye out for your things, and "don't give papaya" as the locals say.

This basically means don't make yourself an easy victim. Don't wear flashy things, walk solo at night, or keep your bag open/easy to open by a pickpocket. This particularly goes for the dead center, bigger squares, and crowded places like public transportation.

Book 'Ticket For Two' in all devices

Want To Learn How To Get Paid To Travel?

We'll teach you everything you need.

Other Things to Know About Visiting Medellin, Colombia

Now that you know the best things to do in Medellín, how to get around, and some awesome dishes to try, there are just a few other things to keep in mind.

The Best Time to Visit Medellin

Medellín is actually one of those cities that is great year round! While we love some other cities year round like New York or Madrid, this isn't due to the variety of seasons, but quite the contrary.

Medellin is also known as the "eternal spring" due to its pleasantly warm days and cool nights that last all year long. 

A particularly good time to visit Medellin though, is for its famous flower festival, which is held in August each year. The city goes into full bloom and celebrates with parades, concerts, and plenty of events for tourists and locals to enjoy.

Weather & Packing for a Trip to Medellin, Colombia

Due to its spring-like weather, we definitely suggest bringing light clothes for the day, and a light sweater to bring for the evenings. Make sure to not dress too flashy, and have a bag that zips properly.

Packing List for Medellin:

  • Sunscreen
  • Light Sweater for the night
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Comfortable shoes for exploring 
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack (to secure your belongings) - take a look at these backpacks for travelers!
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Drone for Comuna 13 or Guatape (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)

Looking To Travel Somewhere?

Off The Beaten Trips is our travel agency.

But this isn't anything like you've ever experienced before. You'll have an epic trip without having to break the piggy bank.

Unique locations. Epic adventures. Lifetime memories.

Is it Worth Visiting Medellin Colombia?

Medellin is a great city, and has some of the best vibes in Colombia! We definitely think it's the perfect place to spend a day or two to soak up the culture that this great city has to offer.

How Many Days is Enough in Medellin?

If you'd like to hit the highlights, you can definitely squeeze the best things to do in Medellin within 24 hours. In order to really explore the city, we do suggest a second day. We also highly recommend spending 1-2 extra days to see Guatape, which is the perfect getaway from the city, and one of our favorite places in Colombia.

Other Tips About Visiting Medellin

While many people know Medellin for Pablo Escobar or cocaine, these are two things that you should avoid talking about in public, especially around locals. Paisas are quite friendly. and very proud of their city. so it is super offensive when tourists correlate the city with those things.

views of Medellin, Colombia

There are so many things to do in Medellin, Colombia, making it one of the best places to visit in the country.

So are you ready to explore all that Medellin has to offer? Throw away those thought about the past, and come see why Medellin is one of the best cities in Colombia.

Plan on traveling to other areas of the country? We have plenty of other Colombia travel guides about other cities throughout the country to share with you.

Need help planning your trip? Sit back and relax, while we do the hard work. From flights and hotels to building a customized itinerary, Scratch Your Mapa is ready to help you book your dream trip (all while saving money!). Want to learn how it works? Take a peak at the different  travel planning packages that we offer.

Here are some other articles you'll love:

Like this article? Please share it with your family and friends, so that we can continue to keep creating free travel guides for you! It takes just a second, and would mean the world to us. Thanks for being here!

Sharing is caring!