Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu April 23 2015

Opinion Home | A Cruising Couple's Column

  • A Cruising Couple | April 23, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    5 Reasons Why We Love Medellin, Colombia

    5 Reasons Why We Love Medellin, Colombia

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    Medellin, Colombia hasn’t always been the trendy tourist destination it is today. In fact, it was once considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, the notorious hideout of drug lord Pablo Escobar. But things have changed in Medellin. Today a visit to the city is not only safe, but also utterly enchanting. If you’re ready to consider a visit to this "City of Eternal Spring," then read on to discover the top five reasons why we love Medellin, Colombia:

    The Art

    Medellin is home to one of my favorite artists of all time: Fernando Botero. The Colombian artist is perhaps most well-known for his “voluptuous” artistic representations, and the way he plays with sizes and proportions in people, animals, and things. Given his unique style, it’s no wonder that Botero is one of the most famous artists from Latin America; experiencing his work in his home city of Medellin is an absolute must. The best place to begin your art exploration is in the Botero Statue Park. Adjacent to the equally impressive Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture and the Museum of Antioquia, here you can wander along the whimsical statues as you please. After enjoying the “al fresco” artwork, hop in the museum for more on Botero’s life and whimsical artwork.

    The Nature

    Take advantage of the beautiful weather on offer in the “City of Eternal Spring” by exploring the great outdoors. Just on the edge of town is the verdant Arvi Park. Take the city’s iconic cable car all the way up to the entrance of the 1,761-acre valley. From here you’ll have numerous hikes and trails to explore on both paved and unpaved paths. For an excellent day trip, take the bus to El Penon de Guatape outside town. You’ll first have to conquer the 659 steps to arrive at the top of the giant rock, but you’ll be wowed by the incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding lakes and islands when you arrive. After your climb, you can enjoy hiking and kayaking in the area, or meander the colorful town of Guatape.

    The Nightlife

    Medellin is known for its nightlife, which is equal parts rowdy, kitsch, and fun. El Poblado has some of the best bars in the city. It’s a hotspot with tourists and expats, but locals tend to drink and relax in the neighborhood as well. Head to Parque Lleras for the center of the action. There are heaps of places for salsa and reggae dancing as well. El Eslabón Prendido, Kukaramakara and Sixttina are a few popular places on the weekend. Finally, if you’re looking for somewhere as unique — and tacky — as it gets, then don’t miss a stop at Dulce Jesus Mio. The club was designed to resemble a traditional Colombian town, but is more like a hyped-up Disneyland for adults. Expect waiters dressed as cartoon characters, Christmas lights, and overpriced beers.

    The Food

    Heavy and hearty, the cuisine in Colombia isn’t necessarily the best for your waistline — but it sure is delicious. Don’t miss bandeja paisa, a national specialty. The plate consists of soup, meat, fried plantains, fried egg, chorizo, chicharron (thick pork fat), beans, avocado, rice, and a small salad. You’ll find the dish around Medellin, but Brasarepa (made famous by Anthony Bourdain) is one of the best places to sample it. Another must-try dish is mondongo. Its unique flavor isn’t for everyone, but it is a specialty that you can’t leave Medellin without trying. The soup consists of diced tripe (cow’s stomach) and slow-cooked vegetables. Head to the restaurant by the same name, Mondongo’s, for some of the most delicious in town.

    The People

    It might sound cliche, but it is entirely true: the people of Medellin are some of the most friendly and hospitable you are likely ever to meet. During both of my visits to the city, I had strangers take me into their homes, cook for me, guide me around the city, insist on paying for my activities and attractions, and more. I was left in awe at the genuine generosity of the local people on countless occasions; to this day, I remain in contact with the Colombians I was fortunate enough to meet on my travels in Medellin. I’ve found that the local people tend to be the best part of most travel experiences, but I have rarely encountered the level of extreme hospitality that I experienced in Medellin.

    These are just five of the reasons why we love Medellin, but there are countless more!

    Have you been to Colombia? What was your experience like?

More Colombia


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
Finding Your Transportation at the Cancun Airport

Vacation Packages