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Day 10 – Medellin

Waypoint hostel offers breakfast (eggs, juice, coffee, arepa) for COP 5,000, and considering there are no restaurants or cafes nearby, it’s a good deal.


Medellin Metro

Medellin MetroThe pride of Medellin is the Metro rail. And that is because during the Pablo Escobar days, this is one thing that the locals of the second largest city of Colombia had something to look forward to, while everything else was ‘falling apart’. Paisas, as the locals of Medellin call themselves, are so proud of the Metro that they keep it clean. No trash, no food, no graffiti, but just clean. Having said that, Metro is the most convenient and best way to commute around Medellin.

A single ride costs COP 1,900 per person, and you can fill in as many rides as possible on a single card, including for your family or friends. For example, if you are 4 persons traveling, then get 4 rides on the same card.

The entire city has one main line with four different lines – Line A is the main line that runs north to south and is 23.2 kilometers (14.4 mi) long and serves 21 stations, Line B runs center to west, Line J, K, L are the Metrocable lines.


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Metrocablemed1Starting at Aguacatala station (Line A), which was next to our hostel, we took the Metro south to Andalucia station (Line A), from where you can connect to the Metrocable (Line K) going up to Santo Domingo station (Line K). This stretch of the Metrocable is included in your Metro ride.

Get out of the gondola at Santo Domingo station (Line K) and cross over to the next gondola ride (Line L) all the way up to Paruqe Arvi. This ride on Like L is not covered in the Metro ride and a return ticket costs COP 9,200.

This Line L takes about 15 minutes to reach all the way up to Parque Arvi, with steep ride for half the time and straight-forward ride through the forest in the mountains for the other half. Only 8 persons maximum per gondola are allowed. Station staff will help you navigate in and out of the gondolas.

Overall, it takes about 30 minutes from Andalucia station to Parque Arvi station. It is advisable to start as early in the morning as you can, because as the day goes by, these two lines – Line K and Line L – experience very long lines. IMPORTANT: The Metrocable is closed every Monday for maintenance.

[Starting of Line K at Andalucia station]

[Metrocable Line K]

[View of Medellin from Line L Metrocable]

Upon reaching Parque Arvi station, you are at the entrance of the park, where you will see flee market and food stalls lined up by the locals. This market occurs every Sunday only. Stalls lined up with various Colombian snacks and hand-made or hand-painted souvenirs line up the area. There’s a visitor center where you can get the information about the activities in and around the park.

Most visitors go hiking on various trails at the park, but a lot of them also visit the small lake called Piedras Blancas which is about 30 minutes walk from the train station, or just hop on the chivas bus that takes about 8-10 minutes (and it’s free!). This park is presented as a forest reserve with ecological and environmental attractions such as the entomological museum and butterfly park. It features nature trails, camping area, canopy, restaurant and reservoir. It is a natural place to relax with your family. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

It costs COP 4,300 per person and the butterfly park costs COP 3,000 extra.

[Chivas that goes to and from Piedras Blancas]

[Piedras Blancas]

[Piedras Blancas]

IMPORTANT: Make sure to retain the tickets of Piedras Blancas for a free ride back to the park entrance. If you lose that ticket then you will not be allowed to ride the free chivas.

Arriving back to the entrance of the park, we spent time at the food market trying out varieties of local cuisines. And then took the gondola’s back to Andalucia station, taking the connecting metro line to Poblado station.

Right outside the station is Jardín Botánico de Medellín (botanical garden – website, free entrance), a 14-hectare botanical garden that has more than 1,000 living species and 4,500 flowers. A walk around the park will take about an hour or two, including the butterfly house, cactus garden, exhibition spaces, library, and pond.

A section of the park has local tribes selling hand-made souvenirs, along side a stage where some locals were playing tribal music.

[Central area where the local tribes setup their souvenir shops]

[Local tribes performing]

Having booked a walking tour for tomorrow morning, we knew we would be covering almost all the sights of Medellin then. So after spending almost two hours in the garden, we headed back to the hostel for some rest, before heading out for dinner and watch the Christmas lights around the city center.

Medellin is known to have one of the best Christmas lighting in the world and the main locations of the lights are on and around the Medellín River and La Playa Avenue, although the event has expanded to include over one hundred other locations around the city. The event usually lasts from the beginning of December until the beginning of January.

A lot of food stalls around the place sell delicious street food that is very cheap. Just stop by any stall where you see the locals and try it out. You will not regret it! From empanadas, fresh fruits to obleas and churos, you will find everything here.

[Medellin river Christmas lights]

[Medellin river Christmas lights]

[Medellin river Christmas lights]

[Music center next to the river]

[Medellin river Christmas lights]

[Medellin river Christmas lights]

[Thousands of people on a Sunday at the Medellin river for Christmas lights]

[Locals preparing grilled meat on a stick with potato and arepa]

[Me enjoying grilled meat on a stick with potato and arepa]

Calling it a day, we returned back to Waypoint hostel looking forward to the free walking tour the next day.


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Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = COP 2200 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.

What Cost Notes
Breakfast at Waypoint hostel $2.27 COP 5,000.
Metro tickets $4.32 COP 9,500 per person. Five rides.
Metrocable (Line L) tickets $4.18 COP 9,200 per person. Return ticket.
Piedras Blancas Entrance fee $1.95 COP 4,300 per person.
Food at Parque Arvi $3.68 COP 8,100 per person.
Coffee at Botanical Garden $1.10 COP 2,400 per person.
Street food at Christmas lights $1.36 COP 3,000 per person.
Water & snacks $2.72 COP 6,000 per person.
Total Costs $21.58 Per person
Overall Costs $1,979.55 Per person


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Popayán to Cali to Medellin

Popayán highlights; Travel from Cali to Medellin.

Day 10


Parque Arvi, Jardín Botánico, Christmas lights.

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Day 11 – NEXT »


Walking tour, Pueblito Paisa & bus to Cartagena.


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