What to See and What to do in Medellin – Medellin Private City Tour

Researching a place can you only give you so much dimensional input. After reading tons of facts about Medellin it was time to actually get my feet whet.

views from Cerro Nutibara, medellin colombia

Quick info on my Medellin trip:

1. This is the first time I am doing a solo trip in almost 15 years. Not that I’m less courageous as I was before (i.e. hitchhiking all of Mexico on my own), it’s just that I’m simply more cautious nowadays.

2. Now that I’ve been introduced to luxury hotels, hostels where meeting up with other travelers seems such hard work.  I prefer my luxuries over socializing in small kitchens or living spaces.

3. Medellin is so huge, that even though I’m on my own, I know that I can’t really see it on my own.

4. My time in Medellin is truly limited (can’t leave my family alone for too long).

5. The best solution, and something I never did before – work with a private tour guide.

Why Hiring a Private Tour Guide Is the New Black

It’s been a long time since I’ve traveled to a large city. When I was younger I tackled cities on my own all the time without concerns if I got lost or not. I guess I’ve matured and my time is way more precious now.  Or, I simply can’t be bothered to tackle things on my own anymore.

Regardless, being with someone that lives in the city and really knows their way around, while filling you in on cool info about all the spots you visit is something difficult to get unless you befriend a local willing to spend that much time with you.

But the best part was simply not worrying. You know when you’re in a new place the first time you venture outside is always intimidating. You feel like an outsider. It’s an inevitable feeling cause its totally unfamiliar. You don’t know where to go, how the people are, what the transportation situation is, and a ton of other thoughts that flood your mind. This cuts all that out in a snap.  The guide takes care of it all for you.

And it’s not what you think. There is no doofy guy holding a big ugly sign showing the world you are a tourist. It’s totally laid back. You’re in their car. And its actually like a friend that is truly there for you and wants you to have the best time ever. What can go wrong with that.

What to See and What To Do in Medellin 

Have you seen photos of Medellin? Or looked at it on a map? The city is HUGE. I’m not one to be deterred by big cities, but honestly, I had no idea where to even start.

After doing a ton of research for an extensive city tour, I contacted Julio from Colombia Travel OperatorTheir overall tour sounded exactly what I wanted to see.

My actual guide was John, who was awesome. He spoke fluent English. A pure Paisa, with pride and love for his city. In his car we had the city at our disposal.

shield of medellin, colombia

What the Medellin City Tour Was All About

We started at Poblado Park, which is considered the oldest park in the city and where the actual city of Medellin began over four centuries ago.

poblado plaza, medellin, colombia

Handicraft markets – I love these in every country I ever visit. Unfortunately, in Medellin they aren’t as popular as they are in Central America, so I had a blast when we found one that is open year round right near Bolivar Park.

handicraft market in medellin, colombia

Bolivar is a huge figure in every single Latin American country so a statute for him is an inevitability, hence the name of Bolivar Park.

bolivar park, medellin, colombia

Cerro Nutibara – Pueblita Paisa

Cerro Nuibara is actually a hill that is close to the center of town used by locals for recreation, running, BBQ’s on weekends, spending time with family. But at the very top it also has Pueblito Paisa. This adorable replica of what Medellin’s first villages looked like. Typical colonial style.

cerro nutibara, pueblito paisa, medellin, colombia

Did you know that they material used to build these houses was called Tapia and it was made from: earth (clay), animal blood, cow byproducts and egg.

Botero Plaza – A-Can’t-Miss-It Place

Botero is a world famous artist born in Medellin. He donated 23 sculputures and a ton of his art work to the plaza and the Museum of Antioquia that stands in the plaza as well. Read more about Fernando Botero and Botero Plaza in detail here.

botero plaza, medellin, colombia

Botero Plaza is incredibly lively with tons of characters and interesting things for sale.

fruit vendor, botero plaza, medellin, colombia

I’ve never seen so many hats and hat sellers in my life all in one place. Interestingly enough, with all these hats around, not a single person – other than the hat sellers – were wearing them (and even they were barely wearing them).

hat seller, botero plaza, medellin, colombia

And I love, love, love the coffee sellers. They are everywhere selling the famous Juan Valdez coffee (I actually have no idea if they sold that brand, just wanted to romanticize  about it. ) You can get a cup for less than 50 cents.

coffee vendor, botero plaza, medellin, colombia

Did you knowJuan Valdez is not an actual person, but a personification of the typical coffee grower and arriero (country folk who took merchandise from one place to another on mules). He represents the coffee growers and businesses of Colombia and the coffee is truly one of the best in the world.

What I learned – there is just so much that I have learned and am learning about Medellin. But the one thing that truly stuck out for me was how much the Medellin government puts in to help their people. Even though it is a huge city, community is important. And this holds true as much for senior citizens.

enior citizen programs in medellin, colombia

Living in Central America I can say that the elderly are a forgotten breed here. You either have to be rich to live with help, or depend on your family. And if you’re poor, well you’re simply out of luck and are happy to be thrown some scraps.

Medellin has tons and tons of free activities all over the city for the elderly (as well as the young – but I’ll cover that in another post). Needless to say, this one thing really shows the face of the people, city and government.

Video Fun

Information about Colombia Travel Operator

My itinerary was mainly following this private city tour of Medellin. However, we did tweak it so that I got the most out of what I wanted to see.

They also offer tons and tons of tours all over Medellin and outside of Medellin.

Stay tuned, I also did a one-of-a-kind tour with them. Coming up next.

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

One Response to What to See and What to do in Medellin – Medellin Private City Tour

  1. Looks like it was a lot of fun in Medellin! From the pictures I can see the city is very alive and definitely worth a visit! Thanks for sharing!
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