This is the first in a series of posts from Andrea, one of our brand ambassadors who will be sharing her insights, tips, and tricks from living abroad in Medellín. We hope these posts help you get to know one of our program sites, and inspire you take the leap to travel or live abroad. If you are joining our program in July, then read on, and get ready to Venture with us!
After my first month living in Medellín, a rising global hotspot for digital nomads and people doing work and travel remotely, I had already visited many of the top tourist sites in the city. Most guidebooks, hostels, and taxi drivers will immediately recommend a trip to Guatape, Parque Arví, Comuna 13, or a free downtown walking tour, all excellent ways to get to know Medellín if you only have three days to visit. But what if you have a month to explore Medellín? Here are some of my favorite hidden gems around Medellín that you won’t find in your guidebooks.
Take a Self-Guided Tranvía Graffiti Tour. From the San Antonio Metro Station, hop on the new tranvía (Medellín’s downtown street car) and check out the beautiful murals along the tracks. Stop for lunch at Mercado de Tranvia in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Buenos Aires. From the final stop on the tranvía, take a ride on the metrocable or enjoy an urban hike up to Cerro Pan de Azucar where there is a stunning view of the city (find the pedestrian trail that starts at Ecoparque Las Tinajas).
Visit the Tilín Tilín Cacao Factory. Try some locally made chocolate at the Tilin Tilin Chocolate Factory, which combines Colombian cacao and distinct flavors from all over the country. Don’t leave without trying the “Guandolo y Limon” (lime and panela - the word for sugarcane in Latin America). If you’re lucky, you may even get a free chocolate tasting.
Participate in “Ciclovía” on Sundays. One of Medellín’s innovative efforts to reduce traffic and increase citizen health, the city closes a major street (Avenida Poblado) every Sunday morning until 1 pm for community exercise. Rent a bike, join a street-side Zumba class, or go for a run with the locals, and make sure to quench your thirst with a salty-sweet “limonada de mango or sandia michelada” along the way. Then head to the “Mercado Campesino” (Farmer’s Market) in the urban oasis of Parque Presidenta for an ice cold, freshly made guandolo or guarape (freshly squeezed sugar cane juice with lime).
Go to a Movie at Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM). Independent movies from Colombia and around the world play at the MAMM throughout the evenings Thursdays - Sundays. Or, wait until the end of the month to visit the museum for free until 10 PM. Then grab a snack from one of the food trucks surrounding the park outside the museum, and have a local craft beer at Cervecería Libre down the street.
Learn about Medellín’s history in Moravia. Once the site of the municipal garbage dump, Moravia is a neighborhood in Medellín near the Botanical Garden that is in the process of an incredible transformation. One of Medellín’s most densely populated neighborhoods, visit this neighborhood to see another side of the city. Climb atop “el morro” where an urban greenspace and plant nursery have replaced the former dump. Visit the Cultural Center (Centro Cultural de Moravia) for local music festivals, theater, and dance performances. If you prefer a guided tour, Real City Tours offers a “Barrio Transformation Tour” in Moravia.