Last updated on August 9th, 2023 at 12:24 pm
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Medellin Colombia Trip Summary
Day 1 – Medellin
Day 2 – Medellin
Day 3 – Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Day 4 – Medellin – Santa Elena – Medellin
Day 5 – Medellin – Hacienda Napoles – Medellin
Day 6 – Medellin – Santa Fe de Antioquia – Medellin
Medellin is the most populated city after Bogotá. The city has a fortunate geographic location in the widest part of the natural region known as the Valley of Aburrá, located in the central Andes mountain range at 1.495 meters (4.905 feet) above sea level. This gives the city pleasant temperatures ranging between 14°C and 26°C (57°F to 79°F). This spring climate of the Eastern Antioquia grants the region the privilege of being the world’s second producer and exporter of flowers, that is why Medellin is known as the “city of the eternal spring” and “the mountain’s capital”. The city has a modern infrastructure – it is the only city in Colombia with a metro transport system- and is considered the country’s innovation center. Museums, interactive parks, churches, and urban tours are among the attractions in Medellín. Some must-do activities in Medellin are the Graffiti tour in Comuna 13, visiting the Arvi Park, taking pictures in Botero Square, and exploring the Botanical Garden
Guatapé is a picturesque and colorful town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, approximately 79 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of Medellín. Nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by stunning landscapes, Guatapé is renowned for its vibrant streets, unique architecture, and a mesmerizing man-made wonder that draws visitors from all over the world.
One of the main attractions of Guatapé is “La Piedra del Peñol” or “El Peñol Rock.” This massive granite monolith stands at an impressive height of about 200 meters (656 feet). Visitors can climb a staircase of 740 steps to reach the top, where they are rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the labyrinthine waterways of Guatapé’s reservoir.
Guatapé is famous for its vibrant and artistic buildings adorned with colorful bas-reliefs, known as “zócalos.” These intricately designed decorations can be found on the lower part of the houses, depicting a wide range of subjects, from daily life scenes to geometric patterns and symbols. Strolling through the town’s streets becomes an enchanting experience as the zócalos create a lively and captivating atmosphere.
The Guatapé Reservoir is a vast body of water surrounded by green hills and scattered islands. Also known as Lake Guatapé, it offers numerous opportunities for water-based activities, such as boat rides, jet skiing, kayaking, and fishing. The reservoir’s tranquility and natural beauty make it an ideal spot for relaxation and enjoying the great outdoors.
Guatapé’s waterfront promenade, known as the Malecón, runs along the edge of the reservoir. It’s a popular spot for leisurely strolls, where visitors can enjoy views of the water and the colorful houses lining the streets. The Malecón is also home to several restaurants, cafes, and handicraft shops, making it a lively and charming area to explore.
Santa Elena is a quaint and charming rural town located in the department of Antioquia, Colombia. Situated in the Andes Mountains, just a short distance from the bustling city of Medellín, Santa Elena offers visitors a serene escape into nature and a chance to experience the region’s unique culture and traditions.
Santa Elena is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. The town is surrounded by lush green hills, fertile farmland, and picturesque landscapes. Agriculture plays a significant role in the local economy, and visitors can witness terraced hillsides covered in crops, including flowers, vegetables, and fruits, creating a colorful and enchanting panorama.
The people of Santa Elena have preserved their traditional way of life, including farming practices and culinary delights. Visitors can explore local farms and learn about sustainable agriculture methods. Additionally, the town offers a range of delicious dishes featuring fresh and organic ingredients sourced from the surrounding countryside.
Hacienda Nápoles is a historical estate located in Colombia’s Magdalena Medio region, near the town of Doradal in the Antioquia Department. Once belonging to the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, the estate has transformed into a unique theme park and tourist attraction.
Hacienda Nápoles gained notoriety due to its previous owner, Pablo Escobar, one of the most notorious drug traffickers in history. In the 1980s, Escobar built this massive estate, spanning over 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres), as a private residence and a hideout for his drug operations. After his death in 1993, the property was seized by the Colombian government.
Today, Hacienda Nápoles has been transformed into a theme park and wildlife sanctuary, attracting both local and international tourists. The estate features various attractions, including amusement park rides, water parks, and animal exhibits. Visitors can learn about the history of the estate and its connection to the drug trade through museums and exhibits on-site.
One of the unique features of Hacienda Nápoles is its African wildlife exhibit. Escobar had imported several exotic animals to the estate during his ownership. After his death, many of these animals were relocated to other zoos in Colombia, but some remained at the property. Today, visitors can see hippos, giraffes, and other African species in a setting that mimics their natural habitat.
The park boasts an extensive water park with slides, pools, and other aquatic attractions, making it a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike. There are also opportunities for recreational activities such as zip-lining, horseback riding, and safari-style tours of the vast estate.
Hacienda Nápoles has sparked controversy due to its connection with Pablo Escobar, as his violent drug empire caused immense suffering and instability in Colombia. Some argue that the transformation of the estate into a theme park may inadvertently glorify Escobar’s legacy, while others see it as a way to repurpose the property for positive purposes.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
Santa Fe de Antioquia is a charming colonial town located in the western region of the department of Antioquia, Colombia. Steeped in history and colonial architecture, this picturesque town offers visitors a step back in time to the days of Spanish colonization and has earned the status of a National Monument of Colombia.
One of the main attractions of Santa Fe de Antioquia is its remarkably well-preserved colonial architecture. The town’s historic center features cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings with colorful facades, and charming balconies adorned with flowers. Visitors can explore the quaint plazas, churches, and colonial houses that reflect the town’s rich cultural heritage.
Santa Fe de Antioquia is also famous for the Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West), an iconic suspension bridge that spans the Cauca River. Built in the late 19th century, this engineering marvel was one of the first suspension bridges in South America. It offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular spot for photos and sightseeing.
The heart of Santa Fe de Antioquia is the Plaza Mayor, a large and picturesque central square surrounded by historic buildings and arcades. The plaza serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike and is an excellent spot to soak in the town’s atmosphere and enjoy some traditional Colombian snacks and refreshments from the nearby cafes.
The town is home to several beautiful churches and religious landmarks that showcase the region’s strong Catholic heritage. The most notable of these is the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Fe de Antioquia, an impressive architectural masterpiece with a stunning interior and religious artifacts.
Santa Fe de Antioquia has a thriving arts and culture scene. Visitors can explore art galleries, craft shops, and workshops where local artisans display their talents. The town also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing a glimpse into traditional music, dance, and customs.
heritage, picturesque landscapes, and cultural attractions, this charming town offers a delightful escape from the modern world into the heart of Colombia’s colonial past.
Day 1: Medellin
Arrival to Medellin
You will be picked up at the airport in Medellin and driven to your hotel.
The bilingual guide will be waiting for you at the exit of the airport.
Here you will find the best hotel recommendations in Medellin.
Day 2: Medellin
Full Day City Tour Medellin and Comuna 13
Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel to discover the charm of a city in constant evolution and development. A tour of the main sites of interest that reflects the daily life of the inhabitants, the stories of hope and change, the contrast of neighborhoods, the style of old and modern buildings, the use of new spaces, the style of churches and the artistic works of world-renowned masters.
- Museo de Antioquia: The most important museum in Medellín, it houses paintings, drawings and sculptures by Fernando Botero.
- Museum of Modern Art: Art and contemporary artistic practices.
- Pueblito Paisa: definition of the Antioquian tradition that is reflected in the handicrafts gastronomy and architecture of the place; the majestic view of Medellín and the mountains that run through the Aburrá Valley.
- Comuna 13: Comuna 13, also known as San Javier, is a historically significant neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia. Situated on the western slopes of the Aburra Valley, it was once one of the most dangerous and violence-ridden areas in the city during the 1980s and 1990s, primarily due to the influence of drug cartels and guerrilla groups. However, in recent years, Comuna 13 has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now hailed as a symbol of urban renewal and positive change. The neighborhood’s turnaround can be largely attributed to various social and infrastructural initiatives implemented by the local government, community organizations, and residents themselves.The installation of the city’s innovative Metrocable system in 2004 played a crucial role in the revitalization of Comuna 13. This cable car system connected the neighborhood to the city’s metro network, vastly improving transportation access and connectivity for its residents. Additionally, the Metrocable opened up economic opportunities by attracting tourists to the area. Comuna 13’s transformation was further supported by various urban development projects, including the construction of public escalators, brightly painted street art, and recreational spaces. These initiatives not only enhanced the neighborhood’s aesthetics but also improved safety and accessibility for residents.Residents, along with local organizations, worked together to create spaces for cultural expression, education, and skill development. These efforts have helped foster a sense of pride and ownership among the community members. The neighborhood has become an important hub for street art and graffiti, with colorful murals adorning the walls, depicting stories of its tumultuous past and hopeful future.
Day 3: Medellin – Guatape – Medellin
Full day tour to Guatapé and El Peñol
Approximately two hours away from Medellin is Guatapé, one of the most colorful villages in the country. The town is located on the shore of an artificial water reservoir built in the 70s. One of the main attractions in the area is the big rock called “El Peñol” because it offers a beautiful view of the reservoir. However, if you want to get to the top you must climb the 740 steps. The best reward after climbing down the rock is a typical “bandeja paisa”, served in the local restaurants. Visitors in Guatapé can practice water sports, such as jet skiing, fishing, among others.
Day 4: Medellin – Santa Elena – Medellin
Half Day Santa Elena Silleteros Tour
The Medellín Flower Fair is held every August. It is a popular and traditional festival in Colombia, especially for its “Silletero Parade”. During the fair, the “Silleteros” (the flower growers) walk through the city streets, carrying wooden structures on their backs embellished with beautiful and creative designs of animals, people, and objects made only of flowers. Santa Elena is one of the largest farms where these flowers are grown. It is located 40 minutes from Medellín and thanks to the lack of seasons, you can enjoy the aroma and incredible beauty of flowers all year round.
Day 5: Medellin – Hacienda Napoles – Medellin
Full day Hacienda Napoles
You will be picked up in your hotel and drive to the airport. With a helicopter you will fly to Hacienda Napoles. You will have 3 hours on site to discover the different offers of the park. Then you will fly back to Medellin.
Day 6: Medellin – Santa Fe de Antioquia – Medellin
Full Day Tour Santa Fe de Antioquia
The Santa Fe de Antioquia Tour contrasts the thriving present of Antioquia and the memorable past of its ancestors. It is a colonial town of cobblestone streets and large houses with large doors. There you can visit its churches, parks and the imposing Puente de Occidente, declared a national monument of Colombia. Constructions that attest to a prosperous and successful past.
You will be picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport Jose Maria Cordova