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There are plenty of rewarding day trips from Medellin ranging from charming hilly areas to beautiful towns. Read on to discover about these fun destinations to explore beyond Medellin.
Medellin is an amazing place to visit in the Columbian region and I won’t be surprised if it makes it to the top of your bucket list to visit. Many people prefer to go to Medellin and enjoy the local tourist spots only. However, if you are planning to spend more time staying in Columbian hospitality and want to know more about this place, culture and how beautifully evolved these regions have become after fighting the centuries-old poverty and slavery, then you must visit some of the nearby places listed below.
You will see how the people are connected to their roots as well as culture. The sites, the nature spots would make your jaw-drop on your trip to these places. Here are our highly recommended day trips from Medellin. You will also find details on how to get to the destination from Medellin and very convenient tours if you did like to save time on transport and have a trip pre planned.
Best Day Trips From Medellin
Distance From Medellin : 50 miles (81.2 km approx)
One of the most popular and unmissable day trips from Medellin is Guatape. It is quaint, elegant and lavish in all its definitions. Surrounded by a beautiful lake and greenery on the outskirts of the city. There is a range of activities that you can do here in a day. You can go on a boat ride through the lake to explore the unexplored and untouched regions of the city. You would love the community centre because of its colourful aesthetic and a musical evening. The lip-smacking food and freshly brewed coffee in the cafes are enough to attract anyone to this quintessential town.
If you prefer booking a hassle free tour from Medellin to Guatape, you can check out one here. It is inclusive of round trip transportation, breakfast, lunch, a boat tour, a professional guide to lead you through all the must visit attractions in Guatape. Check availability and latest price here.
2. Paragliding Over The Waterfalls Near Guatape
Distance From Medellin : 50 miles (81.2 km approx)
Guatape offers an amazing chopper ride programme. However, if you are a person who requires more adrenaline rush and closer views than the helicopter ride, then the paragliding programmes that are run on the outskirts of the city would be best for you. The reason it is appropriate for a complete day is that you need to be trained and cautioned for the experience. Many people prefer the paragliding experience, as the views are outstanding on these lavishly green regions. There won’t be a single spot you would want to miss by any means.
Watching a community on one side, the green forests on the other side and then a lovely lake or multiple waterfalls here and there are more than enough to surprise you while you gradually descend to the ground. Check availability and latest prices for Paragliding adventure in Guatape from Medellin here.
3. El Penol
Distance From Medellin : 41.6 miles (67 kms)
There is a giant rock that distributes two beautiful regions named Guatape and El Penol. The name of the rock also involves both the names as it is called El Penol de Guatape (Rock Of Guatape). However, once you have visited Guatape, you must spare some time to visit El Penol as well. It has the same luxury and beauty as Guatape but with a sound touch of El Penol.
While the people of Guatape mainly run-on traditional business and cultural practices, El Penol is more modernized. It has historical centres that have become the prime location for main architectural sites. Multiple exhibition halls where various carnivals and festivals take place also find their home here. Volcano Galeras could also be a good sight to see on a bright sunny day.
4. Santa Elena
Distance From Medellin : 12 miles (19 kms)
Santa Elena is a sub-division of Medellin. You can presume that the basic values in the community would remain the same. But here you are going to observe another magical element in the Columbian people, that is the perfect amalgamation between nature and how the local people preserve it.
If you are a person who cares about the environment and loves natural surroundings, then this place would certainly seem like a haven to you. All the things that you can plan here would be surrounded by nature as the core in it. You will find an abundance of blooming flora and tropical plant species in this little town. A flower farm tour is a must do in Santa Elena for one of the most memorable day trips from Medellin. Find out more on this experience here.
Distance From Medellin : 50 miles (80.9 kms)
Cocorna is a picturesque sub-division town of Medellin. But this place is nothing like Medellin. If you enjoy adventurous activities and would like to indulge in things that would give you the most savage memories from your trip, then Cocorna is the best spot for you.
This is a picturesque town with greenery and mind-blowing forests all around. There are many adventurous trips that you need to book from Medellin. Then along with a guide you move to Cocorna to do ATV tours, rafting, paragliding and hiking. The wildlife on the way and the waterfalls will keep enriching you with more life. Learn more about the ATV and Paragliding activities in Cocorna here.
6. Parque Arvi
Distance From Medellin : 25 miles (39.5 kms)
Parque Arvi is located in the northeast area of Medellin, on the eastern slopes of Aburra Valley. You can absolutely spend an entire day exploring this amazing site. It is an ecological nature preserve and pre-Hispanic archaeological site. Centuries-old culture and practices can be discovered here, well preserved by modernization.
The list of things to do in Parque Arvi goes long. Activities like ziplining, the metro cable ride, exploring the Piedras Blancas Ecological Park and spending your evenings at Laguna de Guarne would be magical. Check current ticket price for Parque Arvi here.
Distance From Medellin : 82 miles (130.9 kms)
Jardin is a three and a half hours distance from Medellin. Though it is considered a smaller town than Medellin, there is a lot to explore here. The Basilica Menor of the Immaculate Conception is the biggest architectural attraction site here. The three beautiful waterfalls would refresh you namely Cascada La Escalera, Cascada del Amor and Chorro Blanco. The Libertadores Principal Park and Mi Jardin Encantado are the best places to lose yourself at.
8. San Carlos
Distance From Medellin : 75 miles (120 kms)
Staying in Medellin will give you a magical blend of culture and nature in one place. A few kilometers far from Medellin, there is San Carlos which is bestowed with nature’s best sights which you can add to your vacation list. You may end up spending more than a day in this town. The crystal clear rivers, nature trails and the beautiful waterfalls become a must-visit here. This quaint town is also known to be the land of hundred waterfalls.
Moreover stay-ins are made around natural water sources and pools. They are the best way to spend your vacation after long hours of work. The little rocks near waterfalls would be lovely to rest your backs or catch some breath. San Carlos is certainly one of the best day trips from Medellin for the ones who are nature enthusiasts.
9. Pablo Escobar Private Group Tour (A Popular Day Tour In Medellin)
The Netflix documentary about Pablo Escobar, a bundle of newsletters and blogs say a lot about this man who was wealthier than people normally assume. Though there had been a lot said about him, the world is still divided among the group of people who either used to consider him a crime-lord or The Godfather. After consuming so much information about the legendary man. It is only up to you what you decide about him.
If this man fascinates you as much as millions of people who watched its empire turn into dust, then you must visit Pablo Escobar’s town, his house as well as the streets where once his fear was widespread. These places, houses and mansions and Pablo’s grave where people leave weird things and flowers are not the only things you would find on this tour. The local stories about the man from the native villagers, old and new generations are the real gold to look forward to here on this tour. Know more about the Pablo Escobar tour here.
10. Comuna 13 district (A Colorful & Intriguing Neighborhood In Medellin)
This neighborhood is one of the most populated parts of Columbia. It is settled beside the mountains surrounding Medellin. You can take a metro station ride to Comuna 13. This area was once considered the area where drug peddlers and street mafias used to carry out their business. Gradually through time, the people who moved on from these illegal affairs came together and started making a better living together. Hence, the sense of togetherness and community is the most prominent in this area.
The graffitied walls, the colourful community centres, cafes, music bands on the corners of the streets and regular festivals are common events. If you are interested in understanding the modern ways of Colombian culture and how people embraced modernization with traditional culture, then Comuna 13 is a must-visit.
Here is an incredible guided tour that allows you to explore Comuna 13 at its fullest. You can learn about its notorious history, go on a cable car ride, enjoy the incredible views, see the graffiti walls and more.
There are so many places to visit near Medellin that it can be difficult to choose from. If you only have a week in Medellin, we recommend you to take at most one or two day trips to towns like Guatape, San Carlos and Jardin.
Which of these day trips from Medellin caught your attention the most or do you have more recommendations to share? Drop us a comment below!