A visit to Medellin itself is a complete education in how people see life and how getting around says so much about the city. It was a real shock coming from the fun-loving, haphazard tropical coast, to the mountains and valleys of Medellin where organization and a societal logistics are prized.
Coming into the valley
Medellin as the city proper is shaped like a bowl, encircled by massive mountains which have little towns and farms that are very fertile. The city itself is divided into neighborhoods and sections which have seen every extreme from crime to prosperity.
For a great stay at a good price, we chose to rent out a full apartment in the Poblado district. It came to around $60 USD per night and offered excellent city views, the city’s largest mall across the street and plenty of cafe’s restaurants and nearby public transportation as well as affordable taxis. There is a nice art and theater section here too.
Getting around Medellin, a city specialty
One of the city’s biggest wonders is the metro system. The trains and platforms are futuristic and clean. Much of the city’s infrastructure reforms, power supply and green innovation began with this Metro so it marks a distinct moment when the city began to think ahead for its future, so people love using it.
The Botanical Gardens
I’m not usually one to check out botanical gardens even when I enjoy amateur botany, but this is really a special place. The sheer space, architecture, collections and even a modern restaurant called In Situ make this an excellent few hours spent in Medellin.
The Cable Cars
Look towards the mountain slopes and you will see neighborhoods that rise right up to the skyline. These areas were badly neglected and full of crime once upon a time, but the city efforts to connect them with public transit, to build libraries, homes, schools and bring water has brought about a transformation unlike any other. Ride all the way to the top to see some neighborhoods or view public parks at the top of the mountain.
In the historic center of the city one can stroll about plazas filled with vendors, admire the works of Botero right in his home town and check out centuries worth of colonial and classic architecture which culminates in the fascinating cathedral of Medellin.