Check the other cities here: Travelling across South America in 15 Days
After enjoying an amazing time in the Caribbean coast of Santa Marta, the next stop is more down to the south of the country – more precisely in the city of Medellín or, as the Colombians like to call it, “the city of eternal spring”.
In 2013, The Marketing Services Department of the Wall Street Journal crowned Medellín as “The most innovative city of the year” based on pillars of life quality such as economy, urban development, culture, livability, technology and research, among some other factors. The results were so favorable to Medellín that it’s proven itself to be a city definitely worth visiting. But be careful – because if you let your guard down you are taking a very serious danger of falling in love so hard with the city that you will never want to leave it! And prepare yourself, because this part of the Travelling Across South America in 15 Days guide will give you plenty to do for the whole day!
Medellín is known for its variety of public spaces to visit, with many parks and squares to offer. Get there really early in the morning so you can give yourself some time to go around the city and visit some of them, but whatever you do, don’t pass the opportunity to visit the Botero Square, surrounded by 23 different sculptures by Fernando Botero, one of the most famous Colombian artists. The square itself is also near the Antioquia Museum and the Palace of Culture, remarkable for its architecture.
Over lunch time, give yourself the opportunity to try the traditional Colombian cuisine, and I strongly suggest the everyday-meal combination of sides that makes the nationally famous Bandeja Paisa, a dish regularly made with with red beans, pork belly, white rice, ground meat, eggs, plantain, chorizo, avocado and hogao sauce that every Colombian eats when in need of an extra boost. To build up your appetite it is also very common in Colombia to have some light soup before the main course, so you can ask for some sancocho, a delicious chicken broth with vegetables. And the best way to finish a traditionally Colombian lunch is over a cup of the worldwide famous Colombian coffee!
Another very cool place to discover is the Explora Park. Right across the street from the botanical garden, this complex features Latin America’s largest freshwater aquarium and many interactive games that demonstrate the laws of physics. Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures because you won’t see a place like that anywhere else!
For some more local discovery related to the history of the area, you can try Pueblito Paisa, the replica of a small town with its main elements – a town square, church, mayor’s office, barber shop and school. There you will also find some shops for local products, souvenirs and can try some very famous obleas, pastries of sweet, large, round and thin cookies filled with milk cream and jam.
Medellín also features some incredibly exciting pueblos nearby, with many options for those who enjoy some nature and breathtaking landscapes. The most famous of them is Guatapé, a city with an amazing view of a valley which you can see from the top of the Peñol monolith and never forget it.
For the lovers of the nightlife, going to the Lleras Park means a definite night out – Colombian style. It is located in the center of the party district of Medellín and there you can do some club hopping or just hang around with your friends. If you’re brave enough, finish your stay in Colombia trying some local aguardiente, a very strong alcoholic beverage that tastes like absynth. Don’t be scared if you find it in tetrapak packages, it’s just a more sustainable alternative. And when you’re free from your hangover the next day, get ready because the next stop will be in Ecuador!