Medellín Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Medellín

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    Pueblito Paisa – learn about architecture

    by Trekki Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    Pueblito Paisa - the tiny village replica

    Pueblito Paisa is a replica of an old Antioquian town.
    It's located on Cerro Nutibara, southwest of the town center.

    It's touristy, but definitely worth a visit, definitely for those on business trip, who won’t have much time to explore the surroundings (as it was the case with me). You can learn a lot about the local Antioquian architecture, mainly the richly carved wooden balconies.

    It is arranged in a shape of a horseshoe, the tiny little church in the middle, flanked left and right by shops and a restaurant.

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    Pueblito Paisa - the typical houses

    by Trekki Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    Balcony of Pueblito Paisa's restaurant

    White (chalked) walls, wooden doors, usually painted in bright colors, some steps, and the first floor surrounded by balconies - this is the typical style of the old colonial colombian towns.

    This balcony is part of the little restaurant in Pueblito Paisa, and consequently less decorated with flower pots (to make sure that the passengers on the square are not killed by flying pots – Colombians can talk very “indicative”).

    If you want to see more of these adorable balconies, check my photos, I have posted for Villa de Leiva. These ones, however, are dark green.

    Oh, and if you fall in love with these balconies as I did, you should get a replica for your own. Given the popularity and picturesqueness of them, it is logical that you can buy small ones in any souvenir shop. Of course you will be overwhelmed by some kitschy ones, but if you look long enough, you can find nice ones as well.

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    Parque Bolívar

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 5, 2010

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    Parque Bol��var with Catedral Metropolitana
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    Located in the downtown of Medellín, Parque Bolívar was inaugurated in 1882 and named in honor of the liberator Simón Bolívar. It is situated between Calles 54 (Caracas) and 56 (Bolivia) and Carreras 48 (Ecuador) and 49 (Venezuela), named after places related to the liberation. The park has a large green area with native trees providing welcome shade from the midday sun and is also one of the main meeting places. In the evening the atmosphere can turn a little seedy and you will probably encounter transsexuals and drug addicts.

    Parque Bolívar is historic and cultural place. Around the park are several cultural sites such as the Catedral Metropolitana on the north and Teatro Lido on the south. On Sundays people visit the park to listen to the free concert of the Symphony Orchestra of the University of Antioquia. The park gets especially lively on first Saturday of the month when it hosts the craft fair of San Alejo, a place to buy arts, handcrafts and antiques.

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    Pueblito Paisa - the typical balcony

    by Trekki Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    Balcony in Pueblito Paisa

    No matter if you are visiting Colombia on business or on private, you most probably will notice the lovely wooden carved balconies all over most of the towns (even in bigger cities). Often, they are only (well, only sounds stupid) pure wood, but you will also see painted ones – green or red.
    If you look closer, you can see pots of flowers at the balcony roof in the photo. Other balconies have flower pots on the balustrade, on the flooor – practically all over.

    This one here in Pueblito Paisa is red, just as the other wooden house details in the tiny village. Red gives a nice contrast to the white houses :-)

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    Catedral Metropolitana

    by MalenaN Written Sep 26, 2008

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    Catedral Metropolitana
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    The Cathedral is standing on the north side of Plaza Bolívar and it is the biggest church in Medellín. It has a neo-Romanesque design and it was built using more than 1.2 million bricks. The colour of the bricks become very beautiful when the sun is low. Construction took about 55 years and it was completed in 1931.
    The cathedral was open only once when I passed and of course I took the chance to enter. On the walls there are some paintings by Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos. The fine stained-glass windows are from Spain and the organ is from Germany.

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    Catedral Metropolitana

    by mircaskirca Updated May 3, 2010

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    Overlooking Parque Bolívar is the Medellín's cathedral, Catedral Metropolitana, the city's largest place of worship. This impressive structure stands behind a fountain at the end of the square. It is one of the biggest brick buildings in whole South America, using more than 1,2 million bricks in an attractive neo-Romanesque design. The cathedral was designed by various architects which is reflected in an interesting mixture of influences. Construction began in 1875 and was completed only in 1931.

    The inside of this spacious cathedral is rather dark. Walls are decorated with paintings by Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos and huge stained-glass windows glow in a number of colours. The cathedral generally remains open during the day but closes at night.

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    Plazoleta de las Esculturas

    by mircaskirca Updated Mar 30, 2010

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    City planners have prohibited new constructions in central Medellín that doesn't include public art. The result is a glorious outdoor gallery Plazoleta de las Esculturas at the doorstep of Museo de Antioquia. Fernando Botero, the most famous artist of the city, donated 23 of his sculptures to the city which placed them on this square. The plaza is now known as Plaza Botero in his honour.

    His sculptures are famous for the exaggerated forms of the figures. The majority of them are naked women but there are also a few men, and animals - cat, dog and horse. Lots of people pass through the park every day and these oversized sculptures are the much-photographed site of Medellín. The sculptures are attractive, they invite people to touch them. Colombians tend to believe that Botero's sculptures bring good fortune.

    Besides the Plazoleta de las Esculturas, you can see his massive bronze of woman's torso, La Gorda, in front of the Banco de la República in Parque Berrío while in the Parque San Antonio three of his sculptures include Pájaro de Paz (Bird of Piece).

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    Museo de Antioquia

    by MalenaN Written Sep 28, 2008

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    Museo de Antioquia, Medell��n

    The Museum of Antioquia is situated in a large building by Plazoleta de las Esculturas. Here there are collections of pre-Colombian, colonial, independence and modern art. There are also temporary exhibitions. When I visited there were one with cloths designed by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. The highlight is the donation made by the artist Fernando Botero (who comes from Medellín). He has donated some of his best paintings and sculptures to the museum as well as paintings made by other artist like Picasso and Jeff Koontz.

    The museum is open between 9.30 - 17.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and between 10.00 - 16.00 on Sundays.
    Admission was 8000 pesos (July 2008).
    There are two museum shops, one in the front and one behind (maybe the one behind is not officially a museum shop). And there is a café, Café Sophia, which looked closed when I visited and restaurant Botero with a terrace overlooking Plazoleta de las Esculturas..

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    Parque Periodista

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 26, 2010

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    To know and interact with local people in Medellín there is no better place than Parque Periodista, a small square right in the centre of the city. One day Eduardo brought me here. We had a beer and I also found it a great place for people watching. With bars, restaurants and nightclubs located around the square, this is the most happening spot in the city, a place where the bohemian and alternative people meet. It's an ever changing cultural mixture of punks, hippies, rappers, dealers, pot smokers, gays and the occasional transvestite, joined by university professors, students, poets and musicians.

    The bars on the square are mostly rock and underground oriented. They play different music, from salsa, electronic, reggae and alternative rock. But most of the people are on the street instead of inside the bars. Guys on the square play guitars and rappers do their freestyles. Parque Periodista is a place where underground culture of Medellín gathers at night to smoke their marihuana or have a beer. It has become a kind of free zone where the police somehow tolerate it.

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    Jardín Botánico

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 4, 2010

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    Across from the Universidad de Antioquia is a beautiful Jardín Botánico. It was founded in 1972 in memory of one Antioquia's most respected naturalist, Joaquin Antonio Uribe. This garden is a wildlife refuge where a number of Colombian animal and plant species are found. Since opening the garden has grown in size and stature and is now a wonderfully green space with more than 600 spices of trees and plants, including a vast collection of orchids.

    There is a small open-air auditorium with frequent concerts at weekends. Other attractions include a lovely lake full of beautiful white water lilies, a herbarium and Orquideorama which houses a significant display of orchids in March and April. If walking makes you hungry, there is a gourmet restaurant called Itu, serving mostly traditional food and drinks, and Café del Bosque. And even better, you can enjoy this quiet, relaxing surroundings having your own picnic :)

    At the end of my walking tour I visited La Tienda del Jardín, a shop with some beautiful pieces of art, all made from natural materials. I was pleasantly surprised to also find Natura, an eco-friendly Brazilian cosmetic brand that I like a lot.

    This well worth visiting botanical garden is open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm and admission was free (December 2009).

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    Pueblito Paisa

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 4, 2010

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    Built at the top of the 80m-tall hill called Cerro Nutibara, Pueblito Paisa is a rather well-constructed miniature replica of a typical traditional Antioquian town. With a colonial-style architecture, it's one of the region's favourite tourist sites and receives a lot of attention in the travel literature. Despite being completely tourist-oriented, the place is worth a trip as there is something rather charming about it.

    The pueblito is constructed in the shape of a horseshoe with a cobblestone town plaza where you find the little faux church, a fountain, two-storey houses with wooden balconies and mayor's residence. It offers decent souvenir and handicraft shopping as well as an excellent restaurant that serve the traditional bandeja paisa, a typical dish of the Paisa region. From the adjacent platform there are magnificent panoramic views of Medellín which are particularly impressive during December/January for alumbrados (Christmas lights).

    more pics in the travelogue

    Pueblito Paisa is within walking distance from the metro station Industriales. The walk from the bottom of the Cerro Nutibara requires hiking uphill for a while.

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    Pueblito Paisa - the little church

    by Trekki Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    Church in Pueblito Paisa

    As already mentioned, in the center of the horseshoe shaped pueblito is a little church, also in the old style. You can visit it, it is open until all shops and restaurants close.

    Paisa, by the way, is the name of Antioquian’s inhabitants, the name derives from “pais” = the land.

    It must be lovely to be up here during Christmas time. I once saw a photo in a magazin, Christmas decorations all over and magically illuminated.

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    Cementerio de San Pedro

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 15, 2010

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    the main chapel
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    Cemeteries are often pretty interesting and Cementerio de San Pedro in Medellín is quite impressive. Established in 1842, it has been declared a museum and a national monument. The cemetery is located in northern Medellín, close to the city centre. It's a heaven of peace and tranquillity, where you find beautiful graves adorned with statues and flowers, funeral chapels and mausoleums, surrounded by palm trees. Walking around the cemetery along the many colonnaded lanes for quite some time I realized that it is actually much bigger than it appeared at first sight.

    Walls with tombs are decorated with flowers and notes, sometimes also with personal possessions related to passions of the dead person. In the central section many local celebrities from the political, intellectual, business and literary scene are laid to rest. There is also a memorial for the most famous Argentinian tango singer Carlos Gardel, who died in 1935 in a plane crash in Medellín. The main chapel of the cemetery is lovely and close by there you find some astonishing statues depicting angels, Jesus carrying cross and weeping widows.

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    El Poblado

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 5, 2010

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    Calle 10
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    El Poblado became the new place to live for wealthy residents of Medellín. Located about 4 km south of the city centre, much of the neighbourhood is set in steep hills which means it is less humid than other parts of Medellín. The hillside setting offers incredible views of the city, while views of El Poblado from other parts of the city are quite spectacular because of the number of high rise buildings jam-packed together.

    The neighbourhood is packed with best hostels and stylish hotels, upscale restaurants, trendy bars and cafés, and it's a popular area with travellers. Parque Lleras (the so-called Zona Rosa) has some of Medellin's best nightlife and Parque Poblado is where the more alternative scene hangs out. For some fine shopping head to the upscale malls, such as Oviedo and El Tesoro.

    El Poblado is safe to walk around at any time. There are a lot of trees, plants and flowers, and it has several streams that descend from the mountains towards Medellín's river. Although large open green spaces are not common, Parque Lineal de la Presidenta is a welcome exception. One evening Natalie from Hostal Tamarindo asked me to join her on a walk to the park. We made a circle around the area and she kindly explained about the notable sights.

    The best way to get to El Poblado from the city centre is taking the metro to Poblado station and then walk up Calle 10 for about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can take the bus no. 133 from which leaves from Parque Berrío but it takes much longer.

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    Paragliding

    by MalenaN Updated Nov 21, 2008

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    Getting started
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    The wind currents in Medellín are very good for paragliding and the landscape is beautiful with green valleys. So I thought it was a good place for me to do a first tandem flight. I asked in the reception of the hotel for a good paragliding club and the receptionist made a telephone call to get a number which she gave me. I called and talked to the secretary Jessica, who gave me directions in Spanish. In the evening the instructor Ricardo called me to confirm the flight and he gave me instructions in English.

    The next morning I took the metro to Caribe and Terminal Norte. There I took the 8 o’clock bus for Belamira (desk 17). I bought a ticket to San Felix for 2600 pesos (July 2008). I had been told to get off at a restaurant called Voladero. On the opposite side of the road there was an airplane and the bus ride here took about 45 minutes. The Aeroclub is in the red building. Soon the instructor Ricardo arrived with Andrés, who was also doing a tandem flight.

    We walked up the hill (not a long walk) to the starting and landing place for the paragliding. It was a sunny Sunday morning and there were many people there. Several had their own equipment and some did a course and a few made a tandem flight like me.

    For the flight it is good to have long sleeves, sunglasses, sun block and a camera. Below us was Bello (north of Medellín) and a valley. To the south was Medellín and another valley. The flight was lovely and it felt very safe. It lasted for 22 minutes. Then I waited for Andrés and we went to the restaurant above before taking the bus back to Medellín.

    I can absolutely recommend this Aeroclub and the instructor Ricardo Esgerra Flórez.
    The flight was 70 000 pesos (July 2008).

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