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, 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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#1 DAY TRIP
This FIVE Star rated day trip from Medellin to Guatape is stunning. It’s the best way to visit Guatape, including a boat trip, visit to El Penon + an English-speaking guide.
No trip to Medellin is complete without visiting Guatape. This is the most popular day trip from Medellin and it’s 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. Read more about what to see on a Guatape Day Trip from Medellin here.
This colorful Colombian town is known for its coffee shops, where you get coffee in real china cups, and for the colors 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
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 in the typical costume of the Paisa muleteer with a hat, poncho, paruma, and the tail of a rooster. Coffee Culture is amazing in Colombia and this is a perfect way to learn more about it.
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!
Comuna 13 was once Medellin’s most dangerous neighborhood. 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 neighborhood.
You can even arrange to be picked up from Poblado 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
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 it’s just something that you fundamentally don’t understand unless you go along to a game. It’s an amazing experience (that photo below is mine and we were right in the middle of it all). I truly, truly recommend this as something completely unique to do in Medellin! Book a trip to the Medellin football now!
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!
Parque Arvi is an easy day trip from Medellin and it’s possible to reach it by the Medellin Metro system. (read our guide to the Medellin Metro here) The Park is higher in the Andrean Mountains and a little cooler and it’s 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. I wrote 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.
Jardin was quite simply our 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 and 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 it’s 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! Come on down and find out more!
You’ll get to learn about coffee on a local coffee farm, go through a tasting process and then head into the village itself. If you’re planning on staying longer in Jardin (and if you have time, I seriously recommend it, then my guide on how to go to Jardin from Medellin is here)
Take a day trip to Jardin from Medellin here, or read our guide to all the things to do in Jardin here.
This tour of Medellin and her surroundings 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.
I wrote about the Medellin Metro system for tourists here, but if you find a metro system that incorporates some cable cars and goes to some areas that have been some of the world’s most dangerous, then you might want to take a guide.
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
You’ll find Cocorna just 2 hours from Medellin and there you’ll find the center 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! (please make sure that your travel insurance covers you for adventure sports before booking this tour! Our guide to Colombia travel insurance is here.)
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, and the Garcia barrage, with the spectacular backdrop of the mountains.
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!
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Final words on the Best 9 Day Trips from Medellin
We really enjoyed basing ourselves 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!
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