Last updated on: Apr 16, 2021
You may be asking why visiting Medellin, or Colombia for that matter, should be on your wish list? Well, Colombia is still one of the most underrated destinations in the world. But that is rapidly changing thanks to a historic peace agreement and efforts at the local and national levels via organizations like ProColombia. Colombia is building a new identity rooted in innovation and resilience.
Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia, is a remarkable city of 2.5 million people. It’s one the largest cities to successfully implement participatory budgeting, a system that gives citizens an opportunity to decide how to allocate portions of the municipal budget.
Medellin has won several awards for innovation, including the Sustainable Transportation Award and the Innovative City of the Year, due to heavy investment in parks, libraries, schools, and urban revitalization projects such as the Medellin Metrocable.
Completed in 2004, the Medellin Metrocable was built to provide better access to the city core for people living within the steep hills that house poorer areas of the city. This city definitely thinks outside of the box!
One thing you should do when visiting Medellin is take a ride on the Medellin Metrocable, and take the Medellin Innovation tour to learn more about its innovative projects.
One of the most amazing cultural experiences you can do in Medellin is visiting Comuna 13. Once the most dangerous district in the world due to clashes between the paramilitary, government, and drug cartels, this community has transformed through various urban revitalization projects, which include the installation of outdoor escalators, as well as community walkways lined with incredible street art that makes certain parts of the community feel like an outdoor museum.
Just outside the city, a must-do day trip from Medellin is a visit to Guatapé, where a colorful town and El Peñól are the major draws. Walk up nearly 700 steps to some incredible, sweeping views of the countryside!
Afterward, visit the town of Guatapé, where you’ll find quaint little shops, churches, local restaurants, and the zócalo, a colorful main plaza that’s great for photo-ops. It’s such a warm and friendly place with lots of bright colors, decorative bas-reliefs, and handmade items to buy.
Other places in Medellin worthy of a visit are the Plaza Botero, an open-air sculpture museum; the Medellin Museum of Modern Art, which is celebrating 40 years of existence; the Rafael Uribe Palace of Culture, which houses the Institute of Culture and Heritage of Antioquia; and Plaza de Cisneros, an artificial ‘forest’ of 300 light poles.
Medellin has an energy that feels progressive. The city’s emphasis on community empowerment; connections with its people, history, arts, and culture; and pursuit of sustainable solutions make Medellin a model city for the rest of the world. Medellin is the future!