TLDR? If you’ve got just 3 days in Medellin, follow this 72-hour itinerary for what to do!
Medellin is one of those destinations where you’d love to stay for many days. However, sometimes things are a bit tight, and there’s just not enough time.
If that’s the case for you and you’ve only got three days in the City of Eternal Spring, there are still plenty of things you can check out.
Read on for the perfect 72-hour itinerary in Medellin!
Breakfast: Hija Mia
Activity: Downtown tour
Breakfast: Jardínes de Oriente
Activity: Guatape village
Breakfast: SMASH Cafe
Activity: Parque Arvi
Lunch: Street food
Activity: Comuna 13 and Graffiti Tour
Lunch: La Amistad
Activity: Piedra del Peñol
Lunch: Cafe Arvi
Activity: Botanical Gardens and Parque Explora
Activity: Get some rest!
Activity: Live music at Z Bar
Dinner: In Situ
Activity: Nightclubs and dancing
Day One: Exploring the City of Medellin
Your first day in Medellín will have you landing at the Jose Maria Cordova airport. And, hopefully, you’ll arrive early enough to make the most of your day.
After checking into your hotel, this is the perfect time to drop off your bags and start exploring the tour. Here’s how to spend the first day in town.
As it’s your first day off the plane, I’d recommend getting the day started with a good Colombian coffee. While there are plenty of places to go for breakfast, since you’ll be exploring the downtown area anyway, I’d say you should swing by Hija Mia.
Hija Mia is a good place to have a hearty breakfast with fresh Colombian ingredients. My personal favorite are the pancakes, but anything on the menu is good!
After that, let’s start the day tour!
In the center of the city there are many cultural, historical and tourist places to visit. And, while you can definitely book tours that take you around these places, it’s actually pretty easy to go there on your own.
Just take the metro to Parque Berrío and you’ll find yourself right in the heart of the central district.
All are within walking distance and are some of the more iconic sights in the city!
After you’ve spent the morning wandering around Medellín’s center, you’ll probably have worked up an appetite. There are tons of street food vendors around the plaza and central areas selling classic Colombian food such as:
Treat yourself to one of these snacks before getting back on the metro and heading up to the San Javier station!
From San Javier station you can take a bus out to Comuna 13. Comuna 13 has been one of the neighborhoods whose improvements in infrastructure have allowed it to rise from the ashes, and in the process, offer incredible tourism to visitors.
Today, you can enjoy the best of art and urban culture. You can hire a guide or simply stroll around the streets and admire the graffiti, street performers, and snacks.
Once your graffiti tour is over, it’s time to go prepare for a good dinner. Since it’s your first night in Medellín, why not treat yourself to some of the city’s gourmet haute cuisine and signature food.
There are a number of restaurants that will fit the bill, all of which are located in the Poblado district of Medellín. Here are a few top picks:
Restaurante La Provincia
After dinner, head back to the hotel to rest up, since the next day will have you up with the rising sun to enjoy nearby Guatapé!
Day Two: Exploring the City of Medellin
Your second day in Medellín is the perfect day to head out to Guatapé. Although you can do the trip on your own, there are also daily tours that run from Medellin and will pick you up at your hotel.
Here’s how to spend your second day in Medellín!
The trip from Medellin to Guatape is approximately two hours, which isn’t too bad all things considered.
However, the earlier you go the more time you’ll have to spend exploring the area. Most people take a tour bus that leaves around 7am. Or, you can go on your own, but I’d still recommend getting out the door early!
Once you’re on the road, about halfway to the village of Guatape you’ll find a restaurant called Jardínes de Oriente. Most tour buses stop here, but you can also make a pit stop. They have a fixed breakfast menu of calentado, cheese, arepa, and hot chocolate.
Alternatively, you can wait until you get to Guatape. There, you can have breakfast in one of the many restaurants in the town. A few favorites include:
Cafe La Vina
In addition, you have time to take a tour of the boardwalk of the dam of this town, as well as walk through the streets with colorful zocalos. There you can pick up handicrafts, sweets, and souvenirs.
In the dam, there are different water activities to try, such as boat rides or small boat rides driven by you. My personal recommendation is the Barco rumbero, a party boat with drinks and trovadores!
After spending the morning in the town, it’s time to head out to the big rock—the Piedra del Peñol. If you’re on a tour, they’ll take you there directly. Otherwise, you can take a moto-taxi to the base of the rock.
At the base of the lot, there are different restaurants that offer typical paisa and Colombian food as well as viewpoints with a beautiful view of thick and green mountains! Go for a bandeja paisa at La Amistad restaurant, or try one of the grilled fish dishes. They’re all cheap and taste great!
Once you’re done eating, pick up your ticket next to the stairs at the base of the stone. From there, you’ll have to climb the 704 steps up the rock.
When you finish the climb, treat yourself to a michelada beer. Or, check out some of the souvenir shops at the top.
And of course, don’t forget to take lots of photos!
By the end of the afternoon, you’ll be more than ready to head back to Medellín. Even though Guatape is close to the city, it’s still a pretty exhausting trip.
To return, just take a bus at the bus terminal from Guatape to Medellin that leaves approximately every hour. The journey takes just two hours. Or, if you’ve gone with a tour group, they’ll drop you at your hotel.
Most people get home around 6 pm or 7 pm, so you’ll have time to grab dinner.
My personal recommendation would be to grab some grub at Abbiocco by Carmen, a unique mix of gourmet Italian food with Colombian flavors and ingredients. Then, head downstairs to finish off with a night of jazz at Z-Bar and one of the tasty cocktails.
Day Three: Spending Time in Medellin’s Nature
On your third day in the city, it’s time to explore some of the surrounding countrysides in Medellín! Just remember that the countryside is a little colder than in the city. So, remember to bring your coat!
Here’s what to do on your third day in Medellín!
To start your day, pick up some breakfast at SMASH Cafe in Manila. SMASH is a healthy café that offers both breakfast and brunch menus.
With your stomach full, it’s time to head to Parque Arvi. Arvi is one of the most touristed places in the city and is famous for being a natural reserve.
To get there, just take the Metro Cable Arvi through the city’s northern sector. It’s approximately a 20-minute ride on a cable car. Just the ride up there is an experience itself, so it’s definitely worth checking out!
Once you’re there, you have the opportunity to choose what to do. You can take a simple walk and explore the park on your own or you can check out the area with one of the park’s guides. You can also take a bike tour.
In Arvi Park, in addition to walks, you can have a picnic and spot birds and unique flora species in the area. And, if you want to go a little further, you can get to Santa Elena, the cradle of the Antioquian silleteros and land of flower exports.
Before heading back out of the park, it’s not a bad idea to grab some food. There’s an open-air market and a quaint café, both of which offer typical food and liquors. If you haven’t tried sabajon and merengon, this is the time for you to give it a try!
After having lunch, you can head back down the mountain and head over to Parque Explora. This science center and aquarium is a great place to learn a bit more about our planet and how it works.
Once you’re done, head next door to the botanical gardens! This stunning park has tons of nature trails for you to explore and is a nice way to wind down the afternoon.
At the end of the afternoon, finish up with dinner at In Situ, a restaurant located in the botanical gardens. Then, get ready to hit the town for some final fun.