Things to do in Medellin Colombia + Bus to Cali

Medellin is the second biggest city in Colombia and capital of the Antioquia province.  Things to do in Medellin Colombia include;

  • El Poblado
  • Plaza Botero
  • Parque Explora
  • Museum of Antioquia
  • Botanical garden of Medellin Colombia
  • Metrocable to Aburra valley and Arvi park
  • Day Trip to Rock of Guatape
  • Day Trip to Hacienda Napoles, former home of Pablo Escobar

It’s also said that the Spanish spoken in Medellin is the most beautiful to listen to.  I recommend you stay choose a hotel in the El Poblado area of Medellin.  It’s worth nothing that Medellin is famous for its eternal spring climate therefore you can visit anytime of year and experience good weather.

El Poblado

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - El Poblado

You’ll find that the best area in the city to stay is El Poblado, you’ll feel safe during the day and night here.  Also from El Poblado it is easy to get to the metro and go to other parts of the city.  There is a park called Parque Lleras and around here you’ll find lots of restaurants, bars and discos.  Additionally, there are shopping malls and all kinds of city life.  Furthermore, the El Poblado skyline is an impressive point of interest of Medellin too.

Plaza Botero

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - Plaza Botero

You can easily take the metro from El Poblado to downtown Medellin.  Take note that you should only visit downtown in daylight hours, it doesn’t feel too safe.  On the other hand, there are lots of tourists who choose to stay downtown.  The famous Plaza Botero is located in the center of downtown Medellin.  In Plaza Botero you’ll find larger than life sculptures of famous Botero paintings.  Of course, Fernando Botero was born in Medellin, for this reason they celebrate his unique artwork here.

Parque Explora Medellin Colombia, Things to do, Parque Explora

The largest fresh water aquarium in South America is located inside Parque Explora.  In addition they often have different exhibitions.  When I visited there was an interesting Charles Darwin exhibition.  Visit the Parque Explora official site to see what’s showing when you visit.

Antioquia Museum

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - Antioquia Museum

As with the Parque Explora, the Antioquia Museum is often showing different exhibitions.  One exhibition which is always there however is the Botero collection which is located in the Pedrito Botero room.  For the latest exhibitions visit the Antioquia Museum official site.

Botanical gardens of Medellin Colombia

Medellin Colombia, Things to do, Botanical Gardens 
Located alongside the Parque Explora are the Botanical Gardens of Medellin Colombia.  It’s worth taking a walk through these gardens as you’ll see some colorful flora and fauna.  In addition, it’s likely you’ll see, butterflies, squirrels as well as small turtles.  For more information and latest events visit the Botanical Gardens official site.

Metrocable to Aburra valley and Arvi park

Medellin Colombia, Things to do, Cable car to Aburra valley and Arvi park

As Medellin is a located in a valley it’s not possible to build a metro up the hills.  The solution to this problem was resolved by building a Metro cable, essentially a cable car which climbs the hill.  Commuters use this metrocable to connect to the city.  Tourists however, use the metrocable for a panoramic view over Medellin.  When you reach the first station, there are a couple of restaurants but you’re more or less in a favela.  I don’t recommend walking too far away from the metrocable station!  If you take the metrocable to final station however, there’s a park and restaurants there.

Day Trip to Rock of Guatape

Medellin Colombia - THings to do - A view from La Piedra Del Peñol (The Rock of Guatapé)

The rock of Guatape is a 2 hour bus ride from Medellín.  As you can see from the above photo, it’s a worthwhile journey just for the views from the top of the rock.  From the terminal del norte bus station, take a bus to Guatape and get off when you see the rock.  Alternatively, you can visit Guatape on an organised tour.

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - You don't have to count the steps on the The Rock of Guatape

There are 650 steps to ascend up the rock.  You don’t have to count them however as every 50th step is numbered.  Returning from the rock, just stand at the opposite side of the road to which you got off and flag the next bus to Medellin down.  Alternatively, you could make your way to the colorful town of Guatape which is less than 10 minutes away.


Guatape is a small Colombian town which is perfect for Instagram photography.  There are several Spanish colonial buildings which are in perfect condition.  Additionally, these buildings are some of the most colorful in Colombia!

Day Trip to Hacienda Napoles

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - Day trip to Hacienda Napoles

Hacienda Napoles is the former home of the famous drug lord Pablo Escobar.  It’s possible to visit Hacienda Napoles on a day trip from Medellin by taking a Coonorte Bus from terminal del norte to Doradal.  From the Doradal bus station you must call for a rickshaw to pick you up and take you Hacienda Napoles.  Make sure you stop at the gates to get a photo at the famous entrance (above).

Medellin Colombia, Things to do, day trip to hacienda Napoles, Pablo Escobar's hippos

I highly recommend you hire a rickshaw for the day which is around 50,000 pesos.  The hacienda is huge and it can get quite hot so being driven around helps.  Additionally, it will pick you up from the bus station, take you all around the park and back to the bus station in Doradal afterwards.

In the park, the rickshaw driver can take you anywhere you want, he can suggest a route, or you can plan it with him.  As he works there everyday he has a good idea of the best route to take to see everything in the time frame you have.

In the park you will find:

  • Pablo Escobar’s house
  • Family and friends houses
  • Pablo Escobar’s dinasaur collection
  • Mini airport and landing strip
  • Pablo Escobar’s Hippos
  • Zoo
  • Water park
  • Butterfly enclosure
  • Hotels
  • Restarants
  • African museum (In Pablo Escobar’s converted bull ring)

Hacienda Napoles is definitely worth a visit, be it on a day trip from Medellin or on an overnight stay on the way to Bogota.

How to get from Medellin to Cali

Medellin Colombia - Things to do - Bus from Medellín to Cali, 9 hours, 48,000 pesos

To get to Cali you can take a Bolivariano bus service, from terminal del sur bus station.  There are 2 bus stations in Medellín, generally buses going south leave from terminal del sur, and those going north or east leave from terminal del norte.  The journey time is around 9 hours and should be around 50,000 pesos.  Remember, you can bargain the bus prices in Colombia, especially if it’s quiet and other companies are running the same route.  Check out these headphones to listen to music on the bus.

Cali to Bogotá

2019-02-13T10:09:52+00:00November 15th, 2016|Colombia, South America|34 Comments


  1. Noreen January 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Ooooh I definitely know Medellin thanks to watching Narcos! Must be an interesting place to visit, I should put this on our travel bucket list. Will certainly check out Hacienda Napoles too!

  2. Lydia January 16, 2017 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I’ve been go Bogotà but haven’t yet been to Medellin. I keep hearing only good things about it so I would really like to visit one day. The views from La Piedra del Penol are gorgeous – I would definitely like to climb up there!

  3. ROSHNI RAY January 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    Would love to visit Colombia and different places in there. Thanks for the helpful post 🙂

  4. neha January 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    looks like Medelline has quiet some points to attract tourists. And I will love to visit here. The views are absolutely stunning.

  5. Kate January 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Wow that view from La Piedra Del Peñol is stunning! I think i’d find Pablo Escobar’s house fascinating. I had no idea he had hippos!

  6. michele d January 22, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Wow those views are amazing! I would love to visit. So amazing that he had HIIPPPOS! Who would’ve thought?!

  7. Marissa February 7, 2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Looks stunning! I always wanted to go to Medellin!

  8. Stella March 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Medellin looks like an exciting place to visit. I think the countryside looks beautiful and Plaza Botera would be worthwhile since I am an art lover. I would also love to say I saw Pablo Escobar’s hippos!

  9. Siddhartha April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Medellín is such a beautiful place…thanks for introducing it to me! Your pictures are lovely too. I absolutely love the view from La Piedra Del Peñol…

  10. Cynthia April 26, 2017 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Great summary of Medellin! It looks like a very interesting place to visit, especially for fans of the TV show Narcos 🙂 Who would have thought Escobar had hippos!! Good that you also let people know where it is safe to go!

  11. Nico April 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Great piece, the La Piedra Del Peñol looks fantastic! Colombia seems to be the best of South American countries as I have been told by friends that took a recent trip there because of its authenticity.

  12. Judy April 27, 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Ah, that which Narcos made famous! And you’ve visited! It looks super interesting and I’d love to see that stash of million dollars Escobar had framed up though I doubt that’s in his house anymore. Good to know his hippos are still there!

  13. Jennifer April 27, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Such beautiful scenery! La Piedra Del Peñol is absolutely stunning. I had no idea Pablo Escobar had hippos:)

  14. Melissa April 27, 2017 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Colombia is so beautiful! I would love to visit Medellin and see Pablo Escobar’s home. I love history, even bad history and drug lord history. It would be an interesting place to see.

  15. Nicole Anderson April 27, 2017 at 2:46 am - Reply

    It’s great that Colombia is becoming more welcoming and safe for tourists these days. I have heard that many expats from the US have retired to Medellin so I was a little surprised to hear that you did not feel it would be safe at night. I would love to visit though as it seems like there is a lot to experience and enjoy.

  16. Ha April 27, 2017 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I would love to visit Colombia. The view from La Piedra Del Peñol is so beautiful and stunning! It’s useful that you included the price of the bus as well.

  17. Tina April 27, 2017 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness so beautiful! The rock of Guatapé looks amazing! Columbia is definitely on the bucket list now! Such a great post!

  18. Stevie April 27, 2017 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Colombia is definitely on my list of places to go. But I’ve never heard about Medellin. The view from La Piedra del Penol looks amazing. I wonder what makes downtown Medellin feel unsafe.

  19. Deni April 27, 2017 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I’ve seen so many people visit Medellin in the past year, that I’ve definitely added it to my bucket list trip! I definitely want to see the view from La Piedra Del Peñol- it’s spectacular! How do you find getting around in Medellin? Is it easy to communicate with locals if you don’t know much Spanish?

  20. Raissa April 27, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    The place is marvelous so as the first pic in the post. I find it funny 🙂

  21. Iza April 28, 2017 at 2:42 am - Reply

    It is interesting to know that the Hacienda Napoles used to be a home of a drug lord. I would be very curious to see how massive is the ‘hacienda’. He even has hippos. It would be nice to visit this place someday. It looks kinda laid-back

  22. Tony April 28, 2017 at 8:17 am - Reply

    An interesting place to visit. Thanks for the share. Wouldn’t be a fan of the 650 stairs, but the view would be worth it. I found it funny that you can tour an ex drug lord estate.

  23. Bel April 28, 2017 at 10:12 am - Reply

    The La Piedra view is a sight to behold. IT’s so beautiful. In my head, you can hop from one little island/rock to another. This place is just such a beauty

  24. Diana April 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Wow, the view from La Piedra Del Peñol is incredible! Sounds like it is a slight work out to get up there but the view is totally worth it. I would love to visit Pablo Escobar’s park too. Great tips here!

  25. Ronak April 28, 2017 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Hi, great post. You inspire me to travel as well.

  26. eazynazy April 28, 2017 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Your pictures look very beautiful, i wish i could visit this place once in my life

  27. Nati April 28, 2017 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I don’t doubt of the interest and beauty of this city, but personally I wouldn’t risk visiting it. One of my best friends here in Switzerland is Colombian, (now expat like me) and she keeps telling me terrible stories and discouraging me. What was your general impression? Are tourists more at risk than locals or safer? What impression did to you to travel by land from Medellín to Cali? Did it seem safe?

    • Trudy Allebosch March 8, 2018 at 12:40 am - Reply

      I have been in Medellin for a month now and i feel safe. Locals are super cautious about walking around during the evening and this is because the city and the country in general has suffered so much from violence in the past. However things have changed big time but they still live a bit in the past. Cant blame them since they grow up with it. As in every country you should inform yourself on where to walk and where not to walk and after midnight i dont do walks that are more than 15min. Btw, i live in the centre which most foreigners who prefer to stay in El Ponlado or Laureles consider dangereous but i guess they have it more from hearsay cause as i woman i fee safe here.

  28. Jennifer L April 29, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Worn so many incredible sites to see in medellin! The view of the rock of Guatapé is stunning.

  29. Yeu Doi April 29, 2017 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Great photos and adventures! Colombia is on my bucket list now!

  30. Katriza April 30, 2017 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Wow this looks like such a beautiful place to visit! I would love to try to go here ! Need to add this to my bucket list!

  31. Julianna April 30, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Wow this looks incredible. I wish I’d seen as much when I was in Medillin a few years ago. 650 steps… looks like it was definitely worth the climb though!

  32. Eldridge May 4, 2017 at 11:51 am - Reply

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100 positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  33. cours de theatre July 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Major thanks for the blog. Great.

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