Medellin is one of the must-stop cities on any Colombian itinerary. It’s a fabulously vibrant city with a huge amount to keep you occupied, and the glorious weather – a temperate European spring-like will keep you there for longer. Sometimes, though, it is nice to get out of the city and explore the surrounding countryside. So when you feel like a change, of, if you want to keep Medellin as your base and take time out, here are the best day trips from Medellin. You’ll find adventure in the jungle, white water rafting, coffee tours and chilled out villages and some foodie extravaganzas.
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Guatape – No.1 day trip from Medellin
No trip to Medellin is complete without visiting Guatape. You might read its overrated, but we don’t think so. This is the most popular day trip from Medellin and its for good reason. Not only can you hike up to the top of the stunning natural rock formation of El Penol and see the magnificent views, but you can also head into the small lakeside town of Guatape.
This colourful Colombian town is known for its coffee shops, where you get coffee in real china cups, and for the colours of the town.
Guatape is just 90 minutes from Medellin and is easily reachable independently, or by a cost-effective tour from Medellin. Here’s our guide to visiting Guatape and how to get there by yourself, – or this is the most highly rated tour to take to Guatape from Medellin here
Take a Day Trip to Jardin for Peace, Coffee and Waterfalls
Jardin was quite simply our most favourite place in Colombia. It is the quintessentially Colombian pueblo and it’s not quite been discovered by mass tourism. You’ll find a central plaza lined with colourful buildings, cafes and you’ll find rural Colombians getting on with their lives, almost as amused by you, as you’re intrigued by them. To come here for the day you’ll need to take an organized trip, as while its only 135 kilometres from Medellin, the public transport takes an age to get there. Come to Jardin for a day trip to experience coffee. It is a coffee lovers paradise!
You’ll get to learn about coffee on a local coffee farm, go through a tasting process and then head into the village itself.
Take a Day Trip to Parque Arvi
Parque Arvi is an easy day trip from Medellin and it’s possible to reach if by the Medellin Metro system. (read our guide to the Medelllin Metro here) The Park is higher in the Andrean Mountains and a little cooler and its possible to hike some of the trails in the park, or simply head up here for some peace and quiet from the city. There are lots of places to eat up here and you’ll need to take one of the guided tours to visit the trails at this time. There’s more on what to do in Parque Arvi here
You can visit Parque Arvi independently, but for a more in-depth visit, you’ll want to take a tour with a local who can explain and take you to all the right places – this tour explores Medellin and then heads to Parque Arvi for an in-depth tour.
Go to a Football Match in Medellin
I can honestly say this was one of the wildest experiences we had in Colombia. Football here is on a different level. Oh, I’m not talking about the game, I’m talking about the crowd and the entire experience! Football is Colombia’s national sport (alongside Tejo of course) and its just something that you fundamentally don’t understand unless you go along to a game.
Going to a football match in Medellin means you’ll experience the pre-game, paint your faces, hoist your flags, learn the chants and the songs and stay on your feet for the entire game. Your seat will also be in the area where Medellin’s most enthusiastic fans are and your local guide will ensure you get a full-on Colombian football experience. Don’t miss this, it truly is awesome – book your spot now!
Visit Comuna 13 – once Medellin’s most dangerous neighbourhood
Comuna 13 was once Medellin’s most dangerous neighbourhood. Gang warfare reigned here in this community perched high on the hills above the city. You can take a trip to Comuna 13 to understand how this community has turned around and what sparked it. While it’s possible to visit Comuna 13 independently – and you can read how we did that here – you can also arrange to take a tour with locals from the neighbourhood.
You can even arrange to be picked up from Polbado for your tour to Comuna 13 – and experience the fun of the Medellin metro with a local. Understand more about this community, what happened here and why – and see how the neighbourhood is now undergoing a resurgence. Plus of course, you get to ride the famous Comuna 13 escalators too! > Check out this tour to Comuna 13 here
Cocorna – Go Paragliding in the Colombian Andes
You’ll find Cocorna just 2 hours from Medellin and there you’ll find the centre of paragliding adventure tourism in Colombia. Corcorna isn’t that well known, so if you’re looking for an off the beaten track day trip from Medellin, this is for you. The take off site of the paragliding is stunning and you’ll get to see both the town below and a waterfall in the jungle!
Picks up are from your hostel or hotel in Poblado or there’s also a meeting point in the city. This paragliding Colombia experience is for beginners and intermediates and you’ll get full instructions from qualified instructors. You’ll get to view the Medellin River, the El Quitasol hill, the Garcia barrage, with the spectacular backdrop of the mountains.
Take a Day Trip around Medellin by Metro
This tour of Medellin and her surrounds will take you through the city to the outlying neighbourhoods by the city’s famous Metro system. Led by English speaking locals you’ll get to understand the history of Medellin, and her hopes for the future. You’ll get to ride the fabulous metro cable system and visit some of the villages higher up out of the city that most tourists just don’t get to see. At the highest point, you’ll get to the Santo Domingo Library and get to understand how some of the projects here are turning this area around. If you want to see more of the real Colombia outside of the city, then this is the tour for you and you can book it here
Take a Foodie Day Trip from Medellin
This four-hour culinary adventure will take you to places high in the Andes to experience some of the traditional Paisa foods that you won’t find anywhere else. As you travel you’ll stop at viewpoints and Miradors to see the city falling far away and you’ll be driven in a private vehicle to various locations to experience from of the tastiest Paisa food on offer. All food is included in this four-hour trip and your local guide will be a food connoisseur and ensure you understand the history and tradition surrounding the foods that you’ll be tasting.
Take a Day Trip to Santa Elena from Medellin
This easy day trip from Medellin takes you to the Antioquian mountains – Santa Elena is located at 2,000 metres above sea level and is famous for the flower farms that you’ll find here. Traditional life is still very much in play here, and you’ll find out about traditions and how the flowers are grown here.
You’ll get to understand the history and traditions behind the Feria De Flores – the massive flower festival that takes place n Medellin each year and you’ll learn about the life of a sillertero – a flower vendor and what life is like farming and selling flowers. Check out your Santa Elena Day Trip Options here!
Take a Coffee Experience Day Trip from Medellin
This coffee experience tour from Medellin will have you understanding the coffee culture of Colombia. You’ll take guided coffee tastings and learn the processes behind Colombian coffee. Your experience of a Colombian coffee farm will include the change to dress int eh typical costume of the Paisa muleteer with hat, poncho, paruma, and the tail of a rooster.
You’ll also get to harvest coffee and then experience what it goes through before it makes it to your cup. You’ll taste various snacks throughout your trip, that are locally prepared and eat the typical dish of the paisa muleteer consisting of rice, yuca, ground beef, boiled egg, sausage, and banana.
Take home a gift of some of the coffee from the farm that you just visited and also buy additional products at the farm shop. You can also take an optional 2 hour horseback ride through the farm. > Book now and reserve your place!
Final words on Day Trips from Medellin
We really enjoyed basing our selves in Medellin, the climate is glorious (especially after hot, hot, hot Cartagena), and the city has a fabulous vibe, but we also truly enjoyed getting out of the city to explore – and taking day trips from Medellin gives you the best of both worlds – you get to see more of Colombia, without packing your bags again!