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TLDR? Parque Arvi is the best place to get out in nature and explore some trails in Medellin!
After being cooped up inside like battery chickens for far too long we all need a little free-range action. What do we mean? We mean we deserve a chance to get back in touch with nature.
There are some wonderful parks you can check out in Medellin. City hall has been investing heavily in new parks. And, they’ve been greening the streams that connect the city to its natural surroundings.
The result? A once super-urban city is slowly becoming an oasis of green spaces.
If you’re looking for a pleasant way to stretch your legs, this guide is for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best parks and nature trails in the city.
Exploring Parque Arvi and Santa Elena is one of the easiest, but equally infuriating ways to get out into nature in Medellin.
It’s easy to get there. Simply jump on the metro to Acevedo and then take the cable car to Santo Domingo. Then, change into a second cable car for a wonderful 20-minute ride over the pine tree forests that cover Medellin’s biggest natural park.
If you’re trying to learn how to get around Medellin, going out to Parque Arvi is a great way to start. You’ll definitely get the hang of the metro system by venturing out there!
The infuriating bit is that when you get there it’s difficult to work out where to go next. There’s very little signage.
You can also go off-road and enjoy a rigorous trek through some wonderful woodlands. However, you should think about hiring a guide to discover some of the best nature trails in Medellin.
If you don’t take someone who knows their way around you’ll end up following the rest of the masses walking along the road aimlessly. That is until you get bored and want to come back.
High up in the hills above Sabaneta, the smallest municipality in Colombia has created a nature reserve. This spot is blessed with wonderful trails cutting through the 200-hectare estate, La Romera.
The lush Andean rainforest flanks the steep climb up to La Romera Ecological Park. This is a rich playground for more than 190 species of birds. That’s almost 10% of the total number of species in the world’s number one country for bird watching.
The climb is an early morning paradise for bird watchers. It’s also a popular challenge for hardcore mountain bikers and trekkers.
The climb takes you up almost 750 m in altitude to 2,650 m above sea level. When you reach the former farmhouse high up in the hills, the real fun starts. This is where you get the chance to explore native Andean rainforests in close vicinity to Medellin.
Trails reveal the waterfalls and rivers that supply most of the city’s drinking water reserves for Sabaneta. It also gives you some spectacular views of Medellin from above.
Medellin’s Botanical Garden, found in the heart of the city, is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s the perfect place for those who want to experience an impressive selection of the flora and fauna found in Colombia.
This garden has a wonderful mix of Colombia’s biological riches. There you’ll find 1,200 different species of butterflies, tropical rainforest, desert cacti, rare orchids, and wetlands. There are also some spectacular public spaces given over to morning yoga and exercise sessions, festivals and celebrity weddings.
Families will enjoy the playful, science museum Parque Explora opposite and the landscaped gardens of Moravia. This is a former rubbish dump that was inhabited by some of Medellin’s most desperate residents. It gives a fascinating insight into the transformation taking place in the city.
Check the cultural agenda of the Jardin Botanico to time your visit with one of the city’s events. You could learn some really interesting history, and it’s a completely free activity!
If you get hungry, Del Bosque Restaurante Café is a great spot to grab lunch and do a little work in a spectacular setting and El Situ is a good option for a date. Picnics are allowed also.
Empresa Publica de Medellin has a hand in most of the public spaces and schools being built by the mayor.
The organization also came up with UVAs (Articulated Life Units). These were the latest initiative to improve the quality of life for the city’s residents.
Each of these exercise areas has converted areas for life, exercise, and culture. They act as public parks where people can get out and let off steam.
The UVA below El Tesoro shopping center is one of the most interesting culturally as it has created democratic space in upscale Poblado where all segments of society meet. Its steep incline makes it a good place for a workout as well as people watching.
As well as getting you into outdoor mode, the UVA’s are great examples of new city improvements. They’re a window into understanding why Medellin is considered one of the most sustainable and innovative cities in the world.
High up in the hills to the northwest of the city, the thermal conditions in San Felix are perfect for paragliding and grabbing a bird’s eye view of Medellin.
Soar high over the city on an exhilarating tandem trip with a fully qualified instructor. As well as paragliding there’s a chance to rappel down one of the nearby waterfalls and trek into the paramos of Las Baldias.
The paramos are the ecosystem of the regions above the continuous forest line, yet below the permanent snow line and the source of Medellin’s rich water reserves. The diverse scenery in the surrounding area offers up special opportunities to get some fresh air and spectacular views.
If you are going to trek to Las Baldias, it’s best to go with a qualified guide. You can book a trip with Palenque Tours so that you don’t get lost!
Ready for a little adventure? Medellin’s more than just a mountain metropolis, it’s the gateway to some of the most stunning scenery in Colombia.
Leave your comfort zone and get out and about by visiting our blog with information on the best places to explore Medellin’s natural riches.
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