Time. The ruler of all. Some of us backpackers have far to much of it whereas others only have a small window of freedom. With this tiempo libre, (Free time) we have many variables to balance. Distance, price, value and many more. With the vast amount of options to choose from in Medellín you may feel overwhelmed on how you should spend your money and time.
Luckily for YOU, I have experienced a majority of what Medellin offers and can help you cut through all the noise. Whether it be a late start to your day after a night of partying or the early bird worming type tour, you will definitely enjoy these tours as they are of high caliber.
Follow this for a range of activities I have felt are worthwhile & of high value to add to any Medellín backpacking trip.
Guatape. This is THE MUST DO trip. Ideally you stay longer but if not make it a priority to at least experience one day here.
- The crisp, non polluted air.
- The tranquility
- Slower pace of life
- Outdoor Activities – Hiking to hidden waterfalls, Biking, Wakeboarding, Paddleboarding
These are just skimming the surface of what Guatape provides. Tours are offered but I would recommend going on your own as it’s far cheaper & extremely simple to do.
If you choose to go your own route simply go to Caribe Norte Station & find window 9/14 & buy your ticket. Whatever the next departure time is, hop on & be in Guatape roughly 2 hours later. This has been my favorite and a plethora of other backpackers highest rated activity to do outside of the city. Below is a more in depth breakdown of Guatape.
You will also love this city if you’re into photography or adding scenic pictures to your Instagram feed. You can find some of my favorite Guatape shots on my Instagram as well. (@errythang__19). This city is like a box of crayons, full of colors.
I know this might stretch some of yours budgets but for what it’s worth, it’s worth it. Parapente or Paragliding, is not a cheap activity elsewhere in the world but for around $40 in San Felix, you can have the sky to yourself for about 15-20 minutes.
Getting here? Book your tour from your hostel or other booking agency you might know. I chose GTopik & it was an excellent choice top to bottom. Safety instruction, English spoken, everything to make the trip that much more worthwhile. The trip is about one hour from Medellín & if done solo I would suggest taking a bus from Caribe station to save some pesos. If in a group of 3 or more, the hired van is about the same price.
Free City Walking Tours
This is a MUST. Informative, enticing, hilarious, everything. Try and do this as early as possible on your trip so you really get the most of Medellín. They are popular and get booked quick, so check your schedule & plan your days accordingly. They also offer other PAID tours but with what I’ve seen & heard, the juice is worth the squeeze. Book below:
One of the most popular tours in Medellín & probably will be yours too. This tour gives you a look into one of the most historically violent barrios of Medellín & the recent transformations that have taken place. From the installment of the escalators to the outstanding artwork of Chota, music & break dancing this tour will touch your soul, just like the hoards of children in Communa 13 will do. Enjoy & listen, as it will be a class of learning not about Colombian history but yourself as well.
I add this to the “tours” list because going to a Colombian Futbol match is like a tour & real look into Colombian culture. The passion these fans express is a cultural display of the pride they have for the things of importance. Many hostels offer packages of tickets & drinks with other hostels & I recommend checking this off your list this way. Sitting in the Sur section or Norte will take your Colombian experience to the next level with constant cheering, dancing, jumping, yelling, crying, laughing & whatever verb you can add to the list. Vamos! If you’re lucky, Atlético Nacional will be in town and you will see the city come to life.
Others that come highly recommended:
Exotic fruits tour – Do you choose destinations based on foods? This tour will dive into the fruits of Colombia & explain the process of seed to market of what you’re about to consume. Done by the same company as the Free City tours, these guys know what they are talking about.
Pablo Escobar – A primary reason many travelers end up in Colombia. This tour will take you around Colombia to many of the important spots that were involved with Pablo. It’s an interesting look at his life especially in his barrio and some of the old artifacts that remain.
Urban Coffee tour – Don’twant to spend a day out in the coffee fields or pay the exorbitant price to do so? Stay local & much cheaper but still learn about the coffee of the region & the importance it plays in Colombian culture. I have yet to do this but badly want to.
Interested In more activities or need additional ideas to plan your 4 day trip? Follow my 4 day guide to maximize your time in this chaotic city: