Developer at Suncel
Indeed Medellín, the city of eternal spring, really surprised me in a positive way! What a diversity and flexible city. Every traveler I run into was enthusiastic about this city and everybody stayed longer than they intended to. For me that was not possible I booked a flight out to Santa Marta, but the five days where long enough for me as well in this amazing city! In this travel blog my tips, information and inspirations on Medellín, Colombia; Enjoy & Disfrutar!
Medellín is a big city located in a narrow valley; you see apartments and office buildings against every hill in the city. The city has two airports one in the city center (Aeropuerto Olay Herrera) and one 35 km outside the city over the mountain range called Aeropuerto International José María Córdoba. If you booked or will book a flight, please check from which airport you depart!
Tip: You can get a shared cheap taxi (15,000 COP) to the airport at the “San Diego” taxi stop. If the taxi is full with people they go; I went directly when I arrived. Super easy, my taxi that brought me there was not happy that he could not bring me all the way to the airport; be strong and firm to say to stop here and change taxis!
The most easy and cheapest way of transportation within Medellín is Metro. The Metro is the pride of the city that has been opened since 1995; it is untouched, clean and respected by every citizen. It runs through the whole city even the three cable cars are included in the price far of 2,800 COP single ticket. The cable cars give you an amazing view over the city, an attraction by itself.
I had four full days in Medellín, so booked tours and walked around by myself. I wanted to see the Piedra de Peñol & Guatapé area and the city of Medellín tour. After some research and talking to people in the hostel (some tourist already stayed here for weeks…) if figured out what a really must do is here. They all said the Commune 13 Graffiti tour, so that was decided three Medellín tours. I organized the Guatapé tour in the middle; I was still tired of the bus ride from Salento.
To get to know the cities background and history I recommend the Free Walking tour around Medellín; which is superb. You can easily book it online even one day in advance; they offer a morning and an afternoon walk. Your will receive an email where the meeting point is (Alpujarra Metro Station) pointed out. It was well organized but a big group (21 persons), luckily more solo travelers so was good fun in the end. Our tour guide was Pablo, what a coincidence right?! He learned all our names in no time; how clever!! Pablo spoke very good English and had a great history knowledge and transferred his passion for Colombia and Medellín.
He explained the situation about the left FARC & ELN, the right rich farmers, the government and the drugs-lords. Still a complicated situation which now finally resulted in an agreement with the FARC. He told us that is school the kids don’t get history here; history is something that happened in the past and is the whole “Pablo Escobar” history? ….or is it still going on? The younger generation is idealizing him; they don’t know and haven’t experienced the terrible things that he has done.
When the tour guides talk about “Pablo Escobar” they say “Don’t say his name” because most of the Colombian people don’t speak English and they don’t know what the guides are saying when they hear Pablo Escobar, to prevent any discussion they say “Don’t say his name”. Actually this says enough.
The stories of our Pablo were so impressive and touching that at some point made me drop some tears. I was moved by the pain the Colombians have gone through but happy at the same time that they are incredibly positive now and looking at a hopefully brighter future.