What to do in Medellin

Medellin is a place that’s been tainted by high levels of crime, drug trafficking and corruption. However, in only two decades, this country has turned itself around to be one of the safest cities in South America. Medellin was once known as the “murder capital of the world”, and was home to infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. It has only been in the past few years, that this city is safe for tourists to visit. Now it has become the “go-to” city in South America.

The “central” area for tourists is El Poblado. It’s a more affluent area of the city which is packed with cafes, vegetarian restaurants, yoga studios and it’s thriving with gringos, backpackers and all-night partiers. It’s commonly referred to as “Gringolandia” and it’s not a bad place to hang out!

Where to stay:

Happy Buddha hostel is without a doubt the place to stay in Medellin. It’s where you’ll party, it’s where you’ll meet people and it’s where there’s always something going on.

Things to do in Medellin:

Pablo Escobar Tours

The legacy of Pablo Escobar is still a cause for division amongst residents of Medellín. Curiosity from tourists, many of whom know nothing more of Medellín before than its association with Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, this led to a boom in Pablo Escobar tours and visits to the city in general.

A half-day tour will include visits to Monaco, the eight-story apartment building where the Cali Cartel detonated a car bomb in an assassination attempt, his final safe house where he was killed, and to his family grave in the city of Itagüí, south of Medellín.

Medellin Travel Blog

Pablo Escobar House

Another Pablo Escobar tour that’s available, is the day trip that takes you to his old house in El Penol, this tour takes you on an hour’s trip to his Medellin country home where you have the option to partake in a paintball experience through the ruins of his former home. The Los Pepes blew this house up in the early 90s and today its own by one of his former bodyguards, who you can meet! You also get a tour around his home from a very knowledgeable tour guide. After half a day here, the tour takes you to small tour via boat where you can enjoy the wonderful coffee of Colombia. And finally, the tour ends with a visit to the famous El Peñón rock!

Medellin Travel Blog

Medellin Travel Blog

Watch a Soccer match

South America has a reputation for passionate fans, making soccer matches between Medellín’s two local teams, Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín a real spectacle. Tickets are cheap to local matches and the experience is well worth it with supporters shouting, singing, and waving massive banners throughout the 90 minutes. The quality of football is not great but it’s a great experience. Once thing I will add is that you can’t wear belts inside the stadium. The security will take your belt off you if you have one on (and you won’t get it back).

Take the Cable Car

Recently, the city built a cable car system that reaches up to the highest neighbourhoods so that its residents can commute to the city. This has created opportunities that have enabled people to earn money. There are some stunning views from the top.

Medellin Travel Blog

Enjoy a Free Walking Tour

Everyone who visits the city should take part in this tour and preferably on the first day or two of arriving. The tour gives travellers a much better understanding of not just Medellin and the people, but of Colombia as a whole.


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