Medellin | What to do and where to stay?

Medellin | What to do and where to stay?


What to do in Medellin? We invite you to discover this atypical Colombian city, a surprising city that continues to develop and modernize.



We’d heard some pretty negative things about Medellin from other tourists we’d met! It is the country’s second largest city, which has suffered a bad reputation by being voted “most dangerous city in the country” due to the strong presence of narco-traffickers until 1993 with the famous Pablo Escobar, a name that rhymes with drugs and trafficking! However, we found it very charming during our visit.

I invite you to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:



Today, Medellin is rebuilding its image as a young, modern, trendy and trouble-free city. Medellin is home to many foreigners and expatriates, including French, Canadians and English. Discover this iconic city.

We had just left Salento, the coffee fincas and the Cocora valley, so we had planned to spend very little time in this huge city! However to our surprise, Medellin was a very nice stop and we liked the town! This was without counting on the invaluable help of Jean Paul, owner of thehotel Casa Reloj, that we were able to discover the lively El poblado.

Like all capitals and large cities in South America, like La Paz in Bolivia, the big cities have many barrios, poor neighborhoods spread out over the hillsides. The cable car is not only a tourist attraction and a symbol of Medelin, it’s also the means of transport used by many locals to get to their neighborhoods or work.

From the el poblado metro-train station, a 5-minute cab ride from the neighborhood the Poblado where we were, take a cable car ride to admire the expanse of the city, the brick houses, steep alleyways and stop at a huge hidden park overlooking Medellin. You’ll need to take the first train from the village jusqu’à Avecedo for 2150 pesos/p, then take the cable metro from San Antonio (price included). From here take the cable car to Parc Arvi, a very pleasant and gigantic place for picnicking, walking, horse-riding, camping or strolling along the ponds. (cableway price 9700 pesos round trip per person).



Due to lack of time, we were unable to visit the center of Medellin with its Plaza Botero, Basilica, Black Library, el Castillo Museo and its gardens. There would be gigantic shopping malls! On the other hand, we have heard that there is an unusual guided tour of Medellin, presented by Pablo Escobar’s brother, Roberto Escobar. You’ll discover the particular history of this man, leader of the Medellin cartel at the time, a wanted character and a great assassin of the last century, the places he frequented, his house, his tomb… in short, a tour I would have loved to have taken! Expect to pay around $30/p for the tour



We were in the last country of our round-the-world trip, at the end of our long journey, and were looking for a comfortable hotel to stay in. What we discovered attracted our curiosity because we came across a private property called Clock House. No words to describe the place except that it’s modern, up to date and located in the populated quartier of Medellin. The owner, Jean Paul, hails from the USA and has never studied design or architecture – he’s just passionate about decorating. The style of the house is therefore enchanting, with particular attention to detail. The name Maison de l’horloge (Clock House) came about because a giant clock was placed high up on the tower that serves as a staircase in the house.

Its facade is colonial in style, but at the same time it’s nothing like what we’ve been able to experience over the past few months in some of South America’s or Asia’s historic cities! Wooden balconies and windows evoke the South American style of yesteryear. The house opened its doors to the public barely a year ago and is already a great success.



So it was here that we put down our suitcases for a night to try out a appart hotel. La Casa Relojoffers 6, 2 of which are top-of-the-range with a spa. Each apartment is uniquely decorated, with hand-crafted furniture such as wooden and leather beds and chairs, an interior patio, bedrooms with double beds and private bathrooms, and a large, fully-equipped living room and kitchen. Jean-Paul found inspiration during his many travels in South America and Europe, and developed an obsession with physical and aesthetic convenience. Great comfort at a rather affordable price, as the nightly rate is 200$ for an apartment of 2 bedrooms sleeps 4.

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During our short stay in the Maison de l’Horloge, Jean-Paul and his administrator Cindy showed us various apartments. Some have gardens and the penthouse, a magnificent 370-square-meter creation, featuring beautiful open spaces, two TV rooms, 4 enormous bedrooms, fans and air conditioning in every room, and other unique touches that would enchant any hotel!



The Poblado district is the city’s trendiest neighborhood, and the one we recommend to get a feel for its atmosphere. Day or night, you feel safe here. You’ll find plenty of small cafés, pretty inns like the alternative in Manila’s bohemian district, trendy restaurants with chic, modern decor that may remind you of beautiful Parisian or New York places, as well as supermarkets and currency exchange offices.

We also tried out some of Medellin’s best spots, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful hotel. So you can go for a drink or a bite to eat at the Still restaurant bar (adress, Carrera 43A No. 25 on-43). It’s one of the few roof top in a unique atmosphere serving modern Colombian cuisine. The decor is very bohemian, with lots of wood, pallets and plants. The city’s young hipsters love coming here, and it’s a great place to meet new people. You can also dine at an Italian restaurant a stone’s throw from the hotel, the Toscano Trattoria which offers good antipasti with olive oil, very good pasta and pizzas of which we hear the highest praise. A good table that gave us a break from our diet of fried food!

For those who’d like to extend the evening, the place Lleras located a few streets away, is The place to go out, with its many bars and nightclubs surrounding it. A place that won’t leave you indifferent. To find it, let yourself be guided by the sound of Cumbia and salsa that Colombians love to listen to very, very…. very strong!




Before you leave, don’t forget to read all our other articles on Colombia to help you prepare for your trip:





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