Go ahead and plan a trip to Colombia, start in Medellin


Who should go?

Adventure Seekers/Nature Lovers
Paraglide through the clear blue Antioquian skies, hop on a horse and discover surrounding towns, take an adventurous trip up a mountain or a thrilling kayak journey down the Cauca River for an unforgettable experience. Ecotourism abounds in Medellin with its indigenous trails and unique natural reservoirs. From birdwatching to exploring caves, the opportunities to discover the natural beauty of this area are endless.

Experienced Travelers
From Bogota and Medellin to Cartagena and everything between, many surprises await the seasoned traveler. Visit bustling fruit markets, take a city bike tour, trek through forests, learn to tango or simply taste and inhale the aroma of Colombian coffee for an unforgettable and unique experience.

Food Connoisseurs
Colombia is a popular gourmet destination. The cultural and climatic diversity adds to the variety of mouthwatering local cuisine ranging from traditional South American classics to barbecue and international cuisine. Taste your way through Medellin’s local culture by day and experience the city’s trendiest wine bars and nightclubs well into the night for a gastronomic adventure at its best.

Art & Culture Enthusiasts
With a history rich with the cultural influence of colonial Spain, opportunities to immerse in art and culture abound in Medellin. There are numerous art galleries, especially in and around the Zona Rosa area of Poblado, where works of art created by local Paisas (countrymen) are displayed. Paintings and statues sculpted by Fernando Botero are also on display throughout the city including the Botero Plaza in El Centro. And if dancing is your passion, Medellin is the best place to learn how to tango.

What’s the climate like?

Winter Spring Summer Autumn
Average High 75° F 80° F 82° F 83° F
Average Low 55° F 66° F 68° F 60° F
Average Rainfall .5″ 1.4″ 3.8″ 5.9″

How do I get around town?

Round-trip transfers between airport and hotel are included with your air and hotel vacation package.

Taxi and buses
Taxis are plentiful and available at the airport and in the city. Taxis are metered. Bus transportation is available and connected to the Metro stations and the rail system. Another option is the TuriBus, which is a modern hop on/hop off bus that stops at city parks, historic sites and most attractions.

Most of the city of Medellin is built on a grid system of elevated Metro stations. Traveling through the city is easy and quick with the Metro train system in addition to a Metro cable car powered with natural gas.

What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?

Medellin offers a wide variety of regional dishes based on a mixture of Spanish and African influences. Traditional dishes are prepared with pork, potatoes, beans, corn, rice and soups. To accompany these tasty dishes, it is common to find refreshing fruit juices made of passion fruit, strawberries, blackberries and guava.

A typical breakfast consists of baked corn arepas (flat unsweetened corn pancakes) topped with butter and white cheese served with coffee or hot chocolate. Colombians also love to cook out and party, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

There is a wide variety of restaurants and cafés in Medellin, especially around the Parque Poblano and Parque Lleras such as:

Here are some popular choices:

  • Alambique
    This cozy restaurant is hidden up in an unnamed stairwell, but worth the effort to find it. The friendly and attentive staff serves great Colombian dishes including tasty soups, baked meat pies with spicy sauces and a delicious basil and coconut ice cream. Wine and cocktails are also available.
  • Anita’s Cafe
    This modern French café serves breakfast and lunch with indoor and outdoor seating. The breakfast menu includes eggs any style with bacon or French toast, and for lunch order a ciabatta or baguette sandwich with a delicious coffee or fruit juice concoction.
  • Las Luisitas
    Don’t let the size of this tiny restaurant fool you. It has lots of character and serves mouth-watering Colombian meals and drinks.
  • La Provincia
    If you’re looking for a relaxing and elegant place to dine, this establishment won’t disappoint you. It’s beautiful garden and swanky ambiance is complemented by a selection of great food and wine.
  • La Cantine
    Known for its great food, friendly service and lovely atmosphere, this inviting eatery serves classic French and Mediterranean cuisine with an extensive wine and cocktail list.
  • Restaurante Malevo
    Specializing in Argentinian cuisine, this small restaurant and pub has delicious cuts of steak imported from Argentina, traditional Argentine soups and fantastic desserts.

In Medellin, bars close at 2 am, however, there are plenty of clubs that stay open until 4 am. A favorite cocktail among locals is refajo, made by mixing beer and a local soft drink that makes it refreshing and sweet. A former shopping mall, Rio Sur is a popular nightlife area offering a collection of high-end bars and discos.

Where should I go shopping?

From Colombian coffee and local rum to leather and handmade gifts, Medellin is a shopper’s paradise. Well known for its textile industry, local branded clothing can be very reasonable. You can find unique one-of-a-kind paintings in art galleries

The upscale malls at Santa Fe, Oviedo, Tessoro, San Diego and Unicentro provide retail therapy at its best.

  • Bon-Bonite
    With ten locations throughout the city, this popular leather goods store features artisan handbags as well as shoes and accessories.
  • Centro Artesanal Mi Viejo Pueblo
    This popular tourist market offers a wide selection of arts and crafts including hammocks, handbags and traditional clothing.
  • Centro Comercial Palacio Nacional
    Located in the area around the Palacio in the heart of downtown Medellin, this shopping mall features plenty of bargains with more than 200 shops selling mostly clothing and footwear.
  • Centro Comercial Santa Fe
    In the heart of El Poblado is the most talked about mall, Centro Comercial Sante Fe, which showcases five levels of shopping, entertainment and food.
  • Mercado de San Alejo
    The first Sunday of the month, this open market on Parque de Boliver offers a large variety of handicrafts sold by local artisans.
  • Oviedo
    Considered one of the best malls in town, Oviedo has over 285 stores, eight cinemas and a food court with over 30 restaurants.
  • Vizcaya
    For an upscale shopping experience, head to this unique shopping mall located in Zona Rosa. It has a variety of American and European fashion stores as well as a food court and cinema.

When are the local events?

Medellin’s annual calendar is marked by a variety of musical and artistic festivals including:

April. For ten days Colombian artists display handmade products from traditional and contemporary indigenous communities.

International Tango Festival
June. Tango lovers come together every year to celebrate the music genre’s history and its connection to Medellin. Festival events are held in various parks and plazas throughout the city.

July. Hosted by leading Latin American fashion and clothing companies, this festival and tradeshow demonstrates the latest fashion trends in apparel, footwear, handbags and accessories. Events include forums, seminars and fashion shows.

The Festival of Flowers (Feria de las Flores)
August. Known also as the ‘Flower Capital of the Americas’, Medellin’s annual flower festival draws an international crowd. Key events include parades, horse shows, cultural events, artistic workshops and flower arrangement competitions.

Travel tidbits

Botero Square
This famous square displays two water fountains and 23 sculptures made by master artist Fernando Botero Antioquio, including such works as ‘The Hand’, “Man and Horse’ and ‘Eva’.

Castle Museum
Inspired by the castles of Loire Valley in France, Museum El Castillo is a Gothic medieval castle surrounded by striking French-style gardens located in the El Poblado neighborhood. The museum displays a collection of fine and decorative arts including European and Colombian paintings.

Explore Park
Created with children in mind, this interactive attraction houses a planetarium and an aquarium showcasing 400 saltwater and freshwater species of fish that live in Colombia.

The Golden Mile
Also known as the El Poblado Promenade, this area of Medellin is in a quiet section of the city where colorful flowers and kapok trees mingle with luxury hotels and upscale shopping malls.

Good to Know:

Airport Name:
3-letter Code:
Jose Maria Cordova International Airport
Best Weather: December – March
Best Values: April – June; September – November
Currency: Colombian Peso. ATMs are available. Hotels, restaurants and most shops will accept major credit cards.
Language: Spanish
Time Zone: Central Standard Time.
Proof of Citizenship: Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the U.S. and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
Tipping: 10% is usually added to the bill in restaurants and bars, but if you’re not sure if it has been, be sure to ask. It is also nice to leave some additional change worth a couple of dollars if you were really pleased with the service. 15% recommended tip for taxis.
Dress: Colombians wear light clothing, and are especially fashionable in larger cities; however, may dress more comfortably and casually due to the warmer climate.

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