Ah, Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring and year-round sunshine. But your Medellin activities can be spoiled rotten when it rains, right? Wrong. Your plans don’t have to be squandered. We have options for you, in this tropical paradise of (usually) perfect weather.
Although much of the time Medellin does indeed have spectacular weather, it has one surprise up its sleeve: afternoon rainstorms that sneak up on you and leave you drenched in minutes.
These rains are particularly common during the “rainy season” between March and November, and are usually in the afternoon. That sporadic downpour can put a damper on your Medellin activities, unless you have a back-up plan. For those visiting during this timeframe –which, indeed, is more than half the year– come prepared!
Keep a raincoat or umbrella handy at all times. The weather can go from perfectly sunny to a downpour in seconds. Be ready! Layers are your best friend. Temperatures can drop in the evenings, so bring a sweater. Don’t forget sunglasses. When it’s warm out, the sun can be searing. No shorts and flip flops. Though the weather is famous for being spring like all year around, locals typically dress conservatively. Jeans are worn even on the hottest days.
We recommend the following Medellin activities for both sunny days and rainy afternoons, so that no matter the weather you can get to see the best of the city.
Sunny Day Medellin Activities
1. Cable cars, or “Metrocable”
The Metrocable is one of Medellin’s star attractions as well as useful public transit. It’s a lift system implemented by the City Council of Medellin to provide a second transportation service to the Metro, designed to reach some of the least developed areas of Medellin. For you, it’s a great way to see more of the city.
The views from the cars are incredible and worth seeing on a clear day.
Schedule: One of the cheapest attractions for tourists, they are open Monday-Saturday 4.30am-11pm and 9am-10pm on Sundays and holidays.
How to get there: Take the Metro northbound in the direction of Niquia to Acevedo Station. Leave the train and walk up the stairs, on the right, you will then be ushered into a car.
2. Jardín Botanico
Wander Medellin’s Botanical Gardens, or Jardín Botanico de Medellin to take advantage of the sunshine. We love marveling the architecture as well as plant life in the sprawling 14-hectare gardens. The botanical garden has more than 1,000 living species including 4,500 flowers.
Hours: 9am-5pm seven days a week; open holidays.
How to get there: Take the Metro northbound towards Niquia Station and get off at Universidad station. You will see a big red building on the right of the station (Parque Explora) and the Botanical Gardens are just across the road.
3. Real City Tours Medellin
Hailed as one of the best walking tours in South America, Real City Tours offers a (free) detailed four-hour tour which takes you to the traditional parks, squares and streets of the city center while teaching you about local history and culture.
Morning tours take place at 8.45am starting at the ticket booth of Poblado Metro station or 9.14am at the north ticket booth of Alpujarra Metro station. Afternoon tours take place at 2.19pm at the north ticket booth of the Alpujarra Metro Station and Saturday tours from the same place at 9.14am.
Cost: The cost of the tour is free but the guides work on tips, so bring extra cash and pay what you think it was worth.
How to get there: The 8.45am tour Monday to Friday starts from the ticket booth at Poblado Metro station. The 9.14am tour Monday to Friday starts from the north ticket booth of Alpujarra station The 2.24pm tour Monday to Friday starts at the north ticket booth of the Alpujarra Metro station. Saturday tours start from the same place at 9.49am.
4. Paragliding, or “Parapente”
Thrill-seeker? Adrenaline junkie? Medellin’s go-to adventure sport is paragliding. You’ll find several tour companies that offer paragliding, most in small towns in Medellin’s periphery. Since these towns offer stunning sweeping vistas not far from Medellin’s urban bustle, paragliding makes a good option if you’re looking to escape the city for a day.
Cost: 125.000COP for a 20 minute flight (varies by provider, as there are a few different companies that offer paragliding in Medellin.
5. Parque El Salado
If you’re craving a BBQ picnic and swimming hole, head up to Envigado’s Parque El Salado. Just a 5-10 minute bus ride from the center of Envigado, it’s the perfect way to escape the city and sit by a river while enjoying a nice day.
Cost: 4.100COP adult entrance
Schedule: 9:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m Tuesday through Sunday
How to get there: from the Metro station Envigado,find the green bus outside the station with the sign that says “Parque Ecológico El Salado”. You’ll arrive with the bus on your righthand side.
For more ideas on Medellin activities, visit our Top 10 Things to Do in Medellin blog.
Rainy Day Medellin Activities
1. Parque Explora
Parque Explora is Medellin’s interactive science museum and also houses South America’s largest freshwater Aquarium. With an impressive array of fish and amphibians, the Aquarium is a really great way to spend a rainy couple of hours. It is also super near to the station, so you can stay dry on your journey too.
Cost: A ticket to the aquarium will cost you 27,000 pesos for full access and 24,000 pesos for students. The park is open 8.30-5.30 Monday-Friday and 10am-6.30pm on weekends and holidays.
How to get there: Take the Metro northbound towards Niquia Station and get off at Universidad. You will see Parque Explora to the right of the station (a big red building.)
2. The Cinema
Going to the movies is a classic rainy day choice. In Medellin, you’ll get the added bonus of getting to practice your Spanish. Theaters will show films in English with Spanish subtitles, or dubbed in Spanish, and you can find a variety of international films at the MAMM (Medellin Museum of Modern Art).
City Plaza is a great choice in Envigado and tickets usually cost 7,500 pesos and on a Wednesday cost just 3,750 pesos when you book via the website. How to get there: You can take the Metro to Envigado Station and then take a bus to City Plaza. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the station for about 8,000 pesos.
The MAMM is in Ciudad del Rio, just north of El Poblado, and offers films Wednesdays through Fridays. They are all offered in Spanish and range from the mainstream to the artistic. Check out the film schedule on their website.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to Museums in Medellin. Museo de Antioquia is the most popular in the city.
How to get there: Take the Metro northbound towards Niquia Station and get off after five stops at Parque Berrio. Walk down the stair and under the Metro line towards Hotel Nuibara. You will see statues in the square to the left before you reach the hotel, the museum is right in front.
Opening Times are from 10:00am-5:30pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4.30am on Sundays and holidays. It costs 18.000COP. There is a 50% discount for students with a valid student ID.
Get out there!
So, as long as you are prepared for the fickle weather and have a list of things to do on the days when it doesn’t stop raining, you will be able to enjoy all the wonderful things Medellin has to offer. Grab your umbrella and ray-bans, and get exploring.
And pick up our Insider’s Guides of Envigado and Laureles for the road!