We flew into Medellin from Cartagena, again making use of the ridiculously cheap flights. On the drive from the airport the city looked magnificent, sitting nestled inbetween the mountains which surround it. The weather in Medellin is perfect, around 25 degrees all year round and mainly sunny—it reminded us of English summer. We really fell in love with Medellin and quickly, largely because everything is so easy. The metro system is clean and really easy to use, the best thing about it being the cable cars that join up to the metro stations, installed in an attempt to unite the poorer areas with the centre of Medellin. It is even thought to have had an impact on crime figures, dramatically reducing crime as more people from underdeveloped neighbourhoods (up the mountains) are now able to easily travel through the city.
We took it quite easy in Medellin, taking the time to use the very well equipped hostel kitchen to make some nice meals.
One of the highlights was visiting Parque Arvi, a beautiful nature reserve accessed by cable car from the city. It is amazing how quickly the city turns to lush countryside, as you travel above forest as far as the eye can see. Pleased to escape the buzz of the city, we hardly saw anyone on our walk, enjoying a picnic in perfect weather.
We also took a day trip to Guatapé, a lakeside town 1.5 hours away. The main attraction here is the “Peñol Rock” (La piedra del Peñol), a 200m scalable rock with stunning views of the local area. The town itself has quirky colourful buildings; however, has sadly become overly touristy. For example, many people visit the town to play paintball in Pablo Escobar’s old mansion.