A route through Medellin in one day is our plan today after visiting the Tayrona Park during the last two days, which we have spent staying at the Hotel Jasayma Parque Tayrona.
After a night surrounded by nature and breakfast at the hotel, at 8:30 am we receive a message from the cab that was supposed to pick us up to take us to the airport in Santa Marta, where we will take the flight to Medellin, to tell us that the car has broken down and can not pick us up. Faced with this situation, we talk to Nore, the owner of the hotel, who leaves a minute later with the motorcycle to go get a cab at the door of the park, which takes us to the airport of Santa Marta for 120000COP, where we arrived at 10:30 am, after 45 minutes of travel.
And so, much calmer and after checking in, we approached the boarding gates where we took off on time to land in Medellin an hour later at 12:30h.
How to get from the Medellin airport to downtown Medellin
The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that Medellin has two airports: Enrique Olaya Herrera, for domestic flights and Jose Maria Cordova, which receives international and domestic flights. It is essential that you check which airport your flight arrives at to avoid any problems and to know exactly what means of transportation are available to get from the Medellín airport to downtown Medellín.
José María Córdova (MDE): located in Rionegro, about 40 kilometers from the city, this airport has good infrastructure to get to the city.
- Buseta: this transportation is provided by Combuses S.A. and are small buses that make the route between the airport and the Nutibara Hotel or the San Diego Shopping Center. The frequency is every 15 minutes and the price is 12000COP.
- Bus: there are different companies that make this route: Transporte Chachafruto, Flota Rionegro or Rápido Medellín are three of them. Depending on each one they have a price, a schedule and a destination/s. We recommend you to ask for information at the airport so they can recommend you which is the best option depending on your destination.
- Cab: the price is 75000COP to go from the airport to downtown Medellin.
- Private transportation: in case you are several people, it may be interesting to opt for private transportation to make this journey. With this service a driver will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it, to take you directly to the hotel. You can book private transportation here.
Enrique Olaya Herrera (EOH): located 5 kilometers from the city center next to Medellín’s South Terminal, this is a local airport, where domestic flights are operated by EasyFly and Satena companies.
Although there are buses to go to the airport for about 2000COP that go to the South Terminal, which is a few minutes walk from the airport, in this case we recommend you to opt for a cab, as this has a price of 10000COP and will leave you directly at the door of your hotel.
Although the metro does not stop at any of Medellin’s airports, it is a very fast and interesting means of transportation, which we believe is highly recommended to visit the main attractions of the city and make the route through Medellin in one day.
It has 2 lines and 28 stations and operates Monday through Saturday from 4:30am to 11pm and the price is 2550 pesos and also includes the metrocable.
So that you can use it in a comfortable way, it is highly recommended that you look for an accommodation that has a metro station nearby, so that it is much faster to make the transfers between the most important places to visit in Medellin in 1 day.
In case you do not find one or your destination is far from the subway stop, you can use the subway and then a cab to make the last kilometers and avoid much of the congestion that often exists in the city.
Where to stay
As you can imagine there are many options where to stay in Medellin although in this aspect you have to be cautious as there are areas that are more recommendable than others.
On this trip to Colombia we chose to stay at Medellin Vives Hostel, in one of their private rooms and we can only recommend it.
It is located in the area of El Poblado, one of the most recommended areas to sleep in Medellin and is also a few meters from the metro station “Poblado”, so it is perfect to move by subway to the main attractions of the city and also go to the Caribe station, where the North Terminal is, to take buses and go to visit the surroundings of the city or make longer trips and also go to the San Javier station, from where the tour starts by the Comuna 13.
In case you do not want to use the subway, you can take a cab that usually costs about 12000COP more or less from El Poblado to the downtown area. Remember that whenever you can it is preferable to take cabs booked directly by the hotel or restaurant. We also have to say that we took some directly on the street and nothing ever happened to us.
Once at the airport and with our luggage, we take a cab that takes us to the Medellin Vives Hostel, our accommodation in Medellin for the next 3 nights, in about 45 minutes for 75000COP.
After checking in and settling in, considering the time it is, we go to a nearby coffee shop where we order some toast with avocado, water, dessert and a juice for 22900COP that give us energy to start today’s route through Medellin in a day that will take us to the most central area of the city.
Although we initially thought of going downtown by cab, the hotel told us that it would take much longer because of the traffic, so we go directly to the Poblado metro station where we pay 2550COP per person to go to the Parque Berrio station where the historic center of the city is located and which will be our visit this afternoon, as a first contact with the city.
Known as the city of eternal spring for its pleasant climate throughout the year, Medellin is one of the must-see places in Colombia if you want to get to know the country a little better.
Located in a narrow valley, in which some of its poorest neighborhoods dot the hills, while commercial areas, financial and high-rise buildings are sheltered from these, in the flatter areas, highlights the construction of the Metrocable that has allowed these families to go to the city in a much more comfortable way than before when it did not exist and had to spend several hours to go to the bottom and back up.
Although our recommendation is that your stay in Medellin is 3-4 days to get to know the city in one or two days and then make a day trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia and another to Guatapé, these days can be reduced by making only a route through Medellin in one day that includes the visits that we will talk about later in the morning or afternoon and then the tour of the Comuna 13 that we believe is a must on any route through Colombia by yourself.
What to see in Medellin in one day: the best route
In this case, having made the transfer in the morning and having arrived in the city at noon, we have decided to focus in the afternoon on visiting the most central area, where some of the places that you can not miss on a route through Medellin in one day are located.
Remember that if you want to get to know the city better it is highly recommended to book this Free tour of Medellin for free, considered one of the best free tours in Medellin or this complete tour.
Located in the heart of Medellin, Plaza Botero is one of the most visited places in the city and it is not for less, because here are 23 sculptures of the incredible artist Fernando Botero, a native of Medellin, and that he donated to the city.
With more than 7000 square meters and in front of the Museum of Antioquia, in this open air museum you can walk among some of his most famous sculptures such as Maternity, Woman with fruit, Woman with mirror, Walking Man, Head, Thought, Dog, Cat or Horse with bridle among many others.
As a curiosity and something that we have to confess that surprised us, the sculptures are there so that you can interact with them in a totally free way. That is, you can climb, touch them or take pictures without any limitations, something that makes you can see perfectly how the traditions have made many of them look with some areas already shiny by the friction of visitors.
Something important to keep in mind that although this is one of the most frequented places by tourists and locals, it is not especially a safe area, especially in the evening. Moreover, even during the day it is advisable to be careful with valuables and not to carry the camera too long in sight to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
With this we do not want to tell you not to visit it, far from it, on the contrary. But it is true that at times the atmosphere can be somewhat dense and we prefer that you take this into account especially if, like us, you visit the area in the afternoon.
Museum of Antioch
Located in the Municipal Palace, this is the second largest museum in Colombia and another of the places to see in Medellin in one day.
Although in the collection exhibited in its rooms you can see different collections of pre-Columbian and colonial art as well as some pieces of modern art, it is the pieces exhibited on the third floor that attract the most attention and why most travelers visit them.
On this floor you can see many of the most important works of Fernando Botero in addition to those of other artists such as the 23 sculptures of the Plaza Botero, were donated by the artist to the city.
Here we want to make a note since you have probably visited or are going to visit Bogota and of course the Botero Museum, in this case with free admission. Although we liked the latter more, we believe that even if you do not like art, a visit to the Museum of Antioquia is one of the must-see in Medellin in 1 day.
We leave you the posts Bogota in one day: the best route and Bogota in two days: the best itinerary so you can see our experience visiting the Botero Museum in this city.
- Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 17:30pm. Sundays until 16:30pm.
- Price: 18000COP
Palace of Culture
Located next to the Berrío metro station, this building stands out among the rest for its black and white colors and its neo-Gothic style, designed by architect Agustín Goovaerts.
As a curiosity you should know that the visits are not guided and you can move around the building freely and even go up to the dome, where on Tuesdays and Thursdays movies are projected at 16pm.
And of course do not forget to go out to the terrace and look through the windows that are in the area of the Museum of Antioquia and from where you will have a unique view of the Plaza Botero and the surrounding area.
- Hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. Saturdays until 4pm.
- Price: free
Berrío Park, one of the places you can’t miss in Medellín in one day.
Right next to the metro station we find this plaza or park, which is the meeting place for many locals who stop here to watch life go by or wait for their families and friends.
In front of the Banco de la República, in Berrío Park is La Gorda de Botero, the main reason for visiting this park, which at certain times of the day, such as after sunset, takes out its less friendly side and becomes rarefied, so it is not at all advisable to walk around the area and less with valuables.
San Antonio Park
Very close to Berrío Park and Plaza Botero is San Antonio Park, another of the must-see places in Medellín in one day and of course, one of the places to visit in Medellín.
Here is one of the most famous sculptures of Botero, the Bird that was destroyed on June 10, 1995 by a bomb that was placed on it and caused the death of 29 people.
After this unfortunate event Botero agreed to replace his work, but as long as it was exhibited next to the remains of the original destroyed, which is how we can currently see both.
Park of Lights
Also known as Plaza de Cisneros, this square located between the EPM Library, the Vásquez and Carré Buildings and the Railway Station is another of the symbols of the city and of course, another of the places to see in Medellín in one day.
Remodeled in 2002 its name is a tribute to Francisco Javier Cisneros, Cuban engineer who was the precursor of the Antioquia railroad.
Today in the square we can see 300 poles of maximum 24 meters that illuminate the city with 2100 reflectors. In addition to these in the square there are water fountains, different platforms and a lighting system with which you can see the moon phases.
Best itinerary if you only have one day in Medellín
In case you have a full day in the city, we only had half a day today, our proposal for you to get to know the maximum of places in Medellin in one day would be the following route:
- Botero Square
- Palace of Culture
- Museum of Antioquia
- Berrío Park
- San Antonio Park
- Park of Lights
- Tour Comuna 13 (starts at 2 pm).
- Metrocable from San Javier to La Aurora, without going down, to see the perspective of these neighborhoods.
- Cerro Nutibara – Pueblito Paisa at dusk
After our route through Medellin in one day we take the metro at San Antonio station to go directly to Poblado, where we arrive at the Medellin Vives Hostel exhausted, with the only objective to eat something quick and rest for tomorrow, to continue our visit to Medellin.
Excursions in Medellin
In case you have extra days in Medellin or want to get to know the city with a Spanish speaking guide, we recommend the following excursions:
- Free tour of Medellin Free!
- Guided tour of Medellin
- Tour of Comuna 13, Museo de la Memoria and Medellín parks.
- Graffiti tour of Medellin
- Excursion to Guatapé + Boat ride
- Excursion to Guatapé
- Excursion to Santa Fe de Antioquia
- More tours and excursions in Medellín here