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While it may not be as big as Colombia’s capital Bogotá, Medellín has just as much to offer. The city is jam-packed with museums, restaurants, bars and clubs to keep you entertained during your visit. Check out the top 10 things to see and do in Colombia’s second largest city.
The sculptor Fernando Botero Angulo hails from Medellin and the Plaza Botero is the best place to see his larger-than-life figures. Centrally located in the “old quarter” of the city, it can be reached via the nearby Parque Berrio metro station. While you’re there, make sure you also check out the Museo de Antioquia. Entrance is free and inside you’ll find many of Botero’s paintings, as well as work from other famous Latin American artists.
Although not a part of the city itself, Guatapé is a town in the larger municipality of Antioquia and is a real must visit for anybody spending time in Medellin. Located two hours out of the city, visitors come to admire the town’s pretty colored houses and soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The main attraction of this small town is El Peñol, a towering rock peering over the whole surrounding area. The steep climb, some 600 steps, is worth the effort and the top offers some truly incredibly views of the lakes and hills below.
If you spend any time in a backpackers hostel in Medellín, you’ll certainly hear about the Medellín city walking tour. The tour guides are all locals and take you on a knowledgeable journey round Medellín’s downtown (El Centro). Completely free to attend, the guides instead accept tips from attendees as payment. The tours run morning and afternoon on weekdays and are extremely popular, we recommend booking a place in advance through the website.
Tour times: twice daily Mon-Fri, once on Saturday and no tours on Sunday.
Located in the ritzy neighborhood of El Poblado, Parque Lleras is a great place to go out any night of the week. The areas welcomes a varied mix of locals and foreigners looking to let loose and have a good time. Around the park there’s a great range of venues, from small salsa bars to bigger, mainstream clubs. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here, just don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.
Bandeja paisa is considered to be the national dish of Colombia and is native to the area surrounding Medellin. Originally, this caloric meal was created to provide peasant workers with enough energy to keep them going throughout the entire day. With rice, plantain, an arepa (corn cakes), avocado, minced meat, chorizo, black sausage, fried pork rind and with a fried egg thrown on top, just in case you’re still peckish. Found all over the city, ask a local and hunt down the best bandeja paisa you can find. You won’t need to eat for the rest of the day.