The bus ride from Santa Marta to Medellin is long, 16 hours long. Taking the overnight bus helps time pass by a little quicker. The sleep is restless and you’ll do just about anything to get comfortable including getting on your knees and resting your head on the seat. However, this only applies to people under 5’5”. As we entered into Medellin, there were high rises made of brick as far as we could see. We stepped off the bus at North Terminal, into refreshing cool air. Amen to no humidity.
The metro is the best option for ease of travel throughout Medellin. The rails run through the center of the valley from north and south, with a few lines running east and west. The metro is clean, unusually clean for public transportation. Since then we’ve learned the locals take extreme pride in their metro. No food is allowed on the platforms and if you put your feet up on the seats while riding, its likely you’ll get yelled at. Anyways, the metro is clean, easy to use, and gets you just about anywhere.
Here are a few parts of the city we’ve explored…
Poblado is definitely the ‘hippest’ and most famous neighborhood of the city. When tourists go to Medellin, they usually end up in Poblado. The streets are lined with international restaurants, hip coffee shops, and nicely dressed business folk. Poblado is part of the 2.5 million inhabitants of Medellin, but you can step off the main roads into quiet, canopy covered side streets. It’s refreshing to be in a big city and not be shoulder to shoulder with the masses.
Did we mention all the greenery? It’s amazing. The people of Medellin take pride in their trees, much like Chico, California. During the expansion of the city the trees were preserved in order to filter the polluted air from the millions of cars and factories. Brilliant work!
Overall Poblado is a great place to stay in Medellin. We loved the atmosphere plus the ability to easily reach the rest of the city (via metro/uber/taxi).
2. Parque Explora
We hit Medellin in the middle of the rainy season. Therefore, it was raining all day our first day. Apparently it’s typical in Medellin. One of the first suggestions on the internet to do was Parque Explora. An indoor exploratorium never fails to entertain so we decided to go for it. When we got there we learned that five major sections make up the complex: an aquarium, physics, mind, film, and time.
You can spend a whole day in there trying out the many different interactive displays. Starting with the aquarium we got to stare down eels and stand face to face with fish bigger than Alaina. Learning all these animals were endemic to Colombia was fascinating. The amount of diversity bottled into one building left us oohing and ahh-ing (except for the giant cockroaches).
3. Parque Arví
In order to get some outdoor time we decided to check out Parque Arví. It’s a short metro cable ride. The rad thing about heading up to the park via the metro cable is flying over the Medellin “comunas”. The hillside below is completely covered by tin roofs and make shift brick walls.
The park is close to Medellín, but remote enough to have the trails to yourself. Every day of the week you’ll be able to find at least 10 stalls at the Arví Market. The market is held at the top of the metro cable and boasts local foods and products from the region. Snacking on some delicious food prior to walking around the park kept us full and happy the entire time we were there.
4. Hit the Town
Poblado is poppin’ Thursday through Saturday nights and we got to enjoy a couple nights out. One of the great things about Medellin, and a lot of South America, is sitting in the city plaza with your friends, drinking a beer.
Clubs, restaurants and bars line the streets with well dressed Colombians and underdressed tourists eager to dance. Cover charges are pretty steep at the clubs but people will pay for good music and dancing. It’s common to be out until the early morning hours.
After spending some solid time in Medellin we were ready for a break from the city and decided to make our way south towards Salento…