No time to read? The Botanical Gardens is one of the best free things to do in Medellin.
If you’re coming from the United States or a European country, chances are you’ll find Medellin a pretty affordable place to visit, not just thanks to the many free things to do, but also thanks to the low cost of living.
However, that’s not to say that you need to spend money at all once you arrive!
In fact, there are quite a few free things that you can do around the city.
So, if one of your favorite words (like mine) is “free,” keep reading. Let’s take a look at some of the top things you can do around the city that will cost you exactly 0 pesos.
1. Botanical Garden
The Jardín Botánico de Medellín, or the botanical gardens of Medellin, are a completely free activity. And, they’re one of my favorites!
You’ll find the botanical gardens located a fairway north of the main Poblado area. However, you can take a taxi or a short metro ride to get there pretty quickly.
In the gardens, you’ll find peaceful paths that you can walk down. They’re a place where you can take in beautiful, drooping trees as well as well-cultivated rows of flowers and greenery.
During your visit, you can also head over to the butterfly garden. If you’re lucky, one of these delicate insects might just land on your arms – perfect for a photo!
If you want to stop for a rest, you can sit down at one of the cafés. However, this is totally optional. You can also skip this part and just enjoy the plants and wildlife that live in the park.
Those of us who love museums often enjoy wandering the halls of these beautiful buildings on our travels.
One museum that you can visit in Medellin that doesn’t cost a penny is the Casa de la Memoria museum.
This museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (although hours change depending on what day you visit). It’s a museum that focuses on the history of the city.
What’s unique about Casa de la Memoria is that it tells the story of Medellin through the eyes of citizens past and present. The museum is quite large, so be prepared to spend a day wandering among the halls and learning more about Medellin.
If you like parks, it’s worth checking out Parque de las Luces. This is a park unlike any other and is located conveniently in the center of town.
Parque de las Luces is home to more than 300 pillar lights that rather reminded me of lightsabers. Thanks to that sci-fi feel, it’s no wonder that photographers regularly frequent the park to take pictures!
Now, you might have noticed that Colombia no longer has a rail system (yes, the Medellin metro exists, but that’s a metro, not a railroad).
Well, thanks to the fact that the rail system is no longer in place, the main market in Medellin is also no longer present in Parque de las Luces. Instead, we have a beautiful park where you can enjoy fountains, bamboo floors, and unique lights at night.
There are tons of walking tours around Medellin, and a good chunk of them are actually completely free to join.
Now, while there are quite a few groups that organize free walking tours, not all are created equal. And, the general consensus is that the best walking tour is the one offered by Real City Tours.
This is a three-and-a-half-hour walking tour that departs from the city center. If you’re staying in one of the Poblado or Provenza properties at Casacol, you’ll be pretty close to the tour’s starting point!
The tour departs twice a day: once at 9:30 am and once at 2:30 pm.
Real City Tours’ free walking tour is offered in English, which means you can participate even if your Spanish vocabulary extends no further than hola.
Just make sure that you book your spot. Even though it’s free, you do have to reserve your place on the tour in order to participate.
I do have to mention that despite the fact that this tour is free, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t tip your guide. These guys work very hard and provide great information.
Parque Arvi is completely free to visit and is a gorgeous natural oasis located just outside of Medellin. However, it’s easily accessible because you can take one of the metro cable cars out to the park!
Just keep in mind that the metro cable isn’t free. Even though it’s super low-cost, you will have to pay for it. Still, the park itself has no entrance fees.
Parque Arví is a place where you can easily spend an entire day. There are tons of hiking trails to explore, making it a great place for anyone who likes to stay active.
If you do want to spend money at the park, you can take guided tours or go horseback riding. These can be fun ways to learn a bit more about the park and to save some energy while you’re at it!
Although there are plenty of hikes around Medellin, a personal favorite. This is a short hike that will only take you between 30 and 45 minutes to complete, which means it’s pretty doable even if you’re on a time crunch.
At the top of the hike, you’ll get stunning vistas of Medellin (almost as good as the views from Casacol’s Penthouse apartments). I recommend going in the morning when there aren’t too many crowds and the sun isn’t too hot!
The hike is situated to the southwest of the city. That puts it in a unique spot that provides views of the city you really won’t get from other places in town.
Keep in mind that even though the hike is short, it’s not for the faint of heart. This hike is moderate to difficult, so bust out the boots and get ready to work up a sweat.
A fun fact about the Cerro de Las Tres Cruces is that it’s far from the only one in Colombia. You’ll also find versions of this site in Valle del Cauca, Magdalena, and Cundinamarca.