A city steeped in a bloody history, this economic and cultural hub in Colombia is now one of the most up-and-coming tourist destinations in South America. Medellin is nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring" because of the constant warm but mild climate. With a growing population currently around 2.5 million, the city is becoming known for its innovative ideas, social advances and increasing business opportunities.
Located in a valley and snaking its way up the mountainside, this city that was once home to the Narcos and Pablo Escobar has worked hard over the last two decades to shed its brutal image and become a thriving metropolitan hub. Now people come to learn about the city's history and art in Botero Plaza and explore Parque Arvi. Visitors in July/August are able to join the biggest event on the calendar: The Festival of the Flowers which includes pageants, concerts, parades and historic automobiles.
Things to Do
The vibrant city of Medellin is full of things to see and do, which is why it attracts millions of visitors every year. The combination of commercial and touristic success (after a turbulent history) and the gorgeous location offers visitors an almost never-ending selection of interesting things to fill their days with.
In the City
Visiting Botero Plaza in the central city is a great way to start your visit. See the massive Botero statues in the plaza and buy some local street food before heading into the Museo de Antioquia to learn more about the artist and see hundreds of his donated works.
A tour of Communa 13 and its giant orange escalators and street art is a fantastic way to get to know the history of the barrios (neighbourhoods) and see the urbanisation of these areas in the last 15 years. Considering that as recently as 2006 this community was under siege from paramilitaries, the popularity boom here is no small feat.
For nature lovers
Parque Arvi is located to the north of the city and is accessed by the Metro System. Visitors take a series of cable cars up the mountainside and over lush green forest before arriving at the oasis above the city. Here there is a farmers' market, an ecological butterfly sanctuary and several hikes.
Calendar of Events
Throughout the year, the city is home to some great events, so be sure to check the calendar before you book your trip!
Festival of the Flowers. Originally, this festival was created to represent the end of slavery -- a time when slaves carried people up the hills on their backs using wooden braces called silleteros. Now the braces are filled with flowers and hundreds of people march through the streets in celebration and remembrance. Many events take place throughout the month of August as the festival continues to grow.
International Festival of Tango. Occurring in June each year, dance enthusiasts celebrate the music and love of the tango in parks and public spaces all over the city.
Bird Festival. Celebrated in the first two weeks of October, birdwatchers descend upon the city to celebrate the incredible bio-diversity of Colombia. This is certainly an event that solidifies Medellin's title as Bird Capital of the world.