Medellin and Guatape, Colombia
My wife and I have quite a few methods that we use when it comes to travel, checking certain flights every week via Kayak, for example. One resource that I have now used a few times has been The Flight Deal, a page that I follow on facebook; the flight deal posts the best deals they find on their page, and they are usually tailored to where you live. Sometime at the end of 2015, a deal was posted for a flight to Medellin, Colombia, a city that I had never considered going to. Delta was opening a new route, so their introductory price was $269.00 was too good to pass up, we booked tickets. We figured, "we really love South America" and this was just another chance to see more of it.
This trip, unlike many others we have taken, was something out of the blue, to a place we had never considered, so we were not fully aware of what there was to do; my wife hopped over to Trip Advisor for some ideas.
The first day there, we took a winding and fast-paced ride from the airport to the city, where we stayed in the El Pablado neighborhood, an upscale neighborhood popular with tourists. We strolled around some after getting to our hostel, but not too much as we had arrived later in the evening. Our hotel was right across the street from a pizza place, and just a few blocks from a super-market, so we would be set for food when it came time to eat.
My wife had booked a day trip out to Guatape and El Penon with a driver. He picked us up at our hotel and headed out. As we left Medellin we ended up at a police checkpoint and pulled over to the side of the road. Apparently, our driver had to tell them we weren’t illegal passengers or something of that nature, and away we went!
El Penon is a massive rock in the middle of nowhere looking as though a giant just set it down. It towers over the surrounding area. In a massive crack in the side, steps have been built in so you can get to the top. Up top, there are a few shops and a restaurant as well as a panoramic view of the surrounding area. I would highly suggest a visit here if you’re going to visit Medellin.
The closest town to El Penon is Guatape, which is situated next to a river whose main attraction in the city is the zocolos. Each house has had theirs restored, with unique as well as classic designs. It is absolutely amazing to see such a small and picturesque town. At the suggestion of our guide we at a riverfront restaurant and then headed back to Medellin.
The next day we stayed in town and rode their new Metro. The metro in Medellin is two lines and adored citywide. After years of violent crime, people have said “this is the nicest thing we have” and they have Metro Culture. From what I can gather, this is treating the metro with respect, keeping it clean and safe. It is efficient, clean, and safe, one of the nicest I have had the pleasure of riding.
We rode it across town to transfer to the Metro Cable so we could go up the mountain to Parque Arvi. The ride up the cable, which carries the same paint scheme as the metro, was comfortable, our gondola had two other people in it. There are two stops on the way to the top, and long flat stretch once you’re at the top until you get to the final stop at the park. The views from the cable are vast, where the rider can see most of Medellin tucked in a valley between two mountains.
The park was not that great, with shops and stalls at the top but not much green space. We walked around what space was there and then down the road until we found a path, which we took. The path was in the woods and decent but, just led us back up to the top. We took the cable back down to the first stop we came to and wandered around a few very lively streets and back down to the next stop. Back onto the Metro Cable and onto the metro.
This was our last night in Medellin and we enjoyed pizza at the shop across the street from our hostel. We both really enjoyed Medellin, a city whose people were friendly and welcoming. It was a nice surprise of a city, one that we were glad to visit even though we had never considered it. I met a few people down there whom I am still in touch with as well. If you have a chance and a passport, consider it as a long weekend destination.