A relatively new destination on Colombia’s tourist map, Medellin is the country’s second city and is often described as one of the most striking cities in South America. Set in the mountains, it is blessed with a temperate climate and a famous annual flower festival, as well as beautiful views across the Aburra Valley. All around the city there are mountainous peaks, peering down on the now dilapidated colonial buildings that owe their former successes to the coffee boom of the 20th century.
It wasn’t always this way however; once dubbed the ‘most dangerous city on Earth’, Medellin holidays have become popular only in the last decade, and like much of the country it is now much safer, wealthier and set up for tourists than it was during its crime-ridden heyday. Schools, beautiful parks and playgrounds now lie where slums once stood, and visitors can take a walking tour to appreciate just how far the city has come since the days of Pablo Escobar. Street art tours are a particularly fascinating way to take in the vibrant culture here. At Western & Oriental we particularly love taking the cable car to get a jaw-dropping bird’s eye aerial view of the city.
Now one of Colombia’s liveliest and most creative cities, Medellin is set within a narrow valley, with a varied skyline of colourful barrios and jagged skyscrapers. Holidays to Medellin can take you into the heart of the bustling city, where you can explore the textile manufacturing and cut flowers business, or dance until dawn in one of the city’s pulsating dancehalls. Around Medellin you’re likely to spot a number of forward-thinking public artworks, like the sculptures by Fernando Botero which decorate the central plaza. Visitors to the El Poblado neighbourhood will find stylish boutiques and hotels alongside fine dining gourmet restaurants.
As well as the city itself, Medellin holidays can take you off the beaten track to the Nuqui Valley. Located between the mountains of Baudo and the Pacific Ocean, this coastal paradise is set where the jungle meets the sea. Intrepid travellers make the short 50-minute flight to the coast from Medellin, to stay in the remote villages, relax on deserted beaches and enjoy bird watching and fishing. Santa Fe de Antioquia is a fascinating day trip – this colonial town is perfect for a relaxed afternoon of wandering and discovering. Photographers will love Guatape – labelled the world’s most colourful town; buildings, bridges, balconies and staircases are painted impossibly bright colours. Situated on the shores of the sprawling Guatape lake, visitors can take boat tours as well as ascend the famous El Peñol rock; an enormous monolithic 10 million tonne rock rising up over 650 feet. Views from the top of the surrounding lakes and mountains are unforgettable.
If you’re feeling inspired by our holidays to Medellin call our Destination Experts for advice and booking information today.