The second city of Colombia, Medellín has transformed itself perhaps more than any other city in the world. Though its violent, tumultuous past is well-known, today the city is modern, innovative, and just generally lovely. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its nearly perfect weather, you’ll find plenty of parks and plazas where you can enjoy the sunshine with a fresh juice from a street food vendor and a couple of empanadas.
The Medellin Metrocable
Medellin lies in a big Andean bowl, and the best way to take in the panorama is simply to hop on public transportation and connect to the Medellin Metrocable. These futuristic cable cars soar above the city into the surrounding hills, offering unrivaled views that are perfect for avid photographers. One option is to ride Line J over social housing towers and smaller shantytowns to an outstanding overlook near the final station at La Aurora. A more popular thing to do, however, is take Line L up to Arvi Park, an urban oasis of forested hills that feels a world away from the city center.
Museum Of Antioquia
A former city hall turned museum, this place houses a great collection of works by Fernando Botero.He’s one of Colombia’s most famous artists, and he had a penchant for painting all things chubby.Born in Medellín, the artist patronized his hometown museum by donating many of the works himself.Guides recommend starting on the top floor with his earlier pieces and making your way down to see his evolution as an artist.The museum also houses works by international artists and offers an audio guide if you want to learn even more.
Comuna 13 was once the most dangerous neighborhood in Medellin. Now it’s fast becoming one of the city’s top tourist attractions, with tour groups wandering through its graffiti-filled streets. Why? An ever-growing system of open-air escalators linking together Comuna 13’s cliff-clinging communities has helped drive down crime and elevate community pride. Many of the escalator operators are also street artists who’ve livened up the edges of the escalator route with colorful murals that both reflect the neighborhood’s tough past and offer hope for a promising future.
Drink Colombian Coffee
Ah yes, the world famous Colombian coffee. No visit here would be complete without savoring some of the local coffee. Colombians themselves most commonly drink tinto — small cups of instant coffee loaded with sugar — while the majority of the best coffee is exported abroad. But, coffee culture has been on the rise here and a number of local chains and independent coffeehouses have sprouted up.