We spent 10 days in Medellin with a toddler. We had a wonderful time there and plenty of things to see. The city hides some nice surprises and you won’t have time to get bored if you visit Medellin with kids. Do not worry about safety! Leave aside al the stereotypes, forget what media and popular TV shows are telling you! Medellin was a dangerous place to be 20 years ago. Now it is a modern vibrant city. From many criteria (infrastructure and urban planning being the most impressive), Medellin is actually better than the big cities we have back home.
Here are some ideas on what you can do in Medellin with kids:
1. Take a city tour
A great way to explore Medellin with a toddler is to take a city tour. It is a very large city located in a valley, expanded on the nearby hills and slopes. Not to mention the high traffic, typical for a city of 2.5 million citizens. So, despite the great infrastructure, it is quite difficult to cover all the sights with a little traveler.
We chose a tour with Turibus, as they start each morning from Parque Poblado, a very convenient location for tourists. The full tour takes about 3 hours, with 20 minutes stops at 7 key points. It was a bit long, but Eric enjoys a lot the double decker buses and loves to observe the world from above.
During the short stays of the bus, we could get a feeling of each location and we returned to a couple of them the following days. Eric loved to climb on Botero’s disproportionate sculptures, to feel all the textures in Parque de los Pies Descalzos or to play with sound in Parque de los Deseos.
Cost: 40,000 COP for a ticket for 2 people
Time: 3 hours for the full tour, but you are flexible to hop-on/hop-off at any station
2. Parque Explora
One of the most child-friendly museums I’ve ever seen, we spent a whole morning in Parque Explora. You can even stay longer with an older child! But Eric got tired after a few hours of wandering through various exhibits, play hide-and-seek between the dinosaurs on the terrace or try the ground floor outdoor park that combines playing with funny experiments. He could not yet understand many of the sections, but we also had fun trying work in a TV studio or the 3D auditorium.
Cost: 25,000 COP
Time: 3-4 hours
3. Jardin Botanico
Right next to Parque Explora you can find Medellin’s Botanical Garden, so we stopped by in the afternoon, after visiting the museum. Jardin Botanico is actually a huge park, so it was perfect for Eric to take a short nap in his Isara baby carrier. We could walk and relax through tropical vegetation, colorful flowers and dense bamboo fields.
We were here in a weekend, and the garden was also hosting a large book fair. So it was quite crowded and with so many snack/food options, but I am not sure how it looks on a regular day. On the large greensward there were lots of families with kids and groups of friends, spending the day out for a picnic.
Time: 1-2 hours
4. Cable Car ride & Parque Arvi
Medellin Metrocable was designed to connect the city with the poor barrios uphill. This was extended with a touristic line that takes you beyond the city limits, up to the green lush mountains. You need to take the metro to Acevedo station and then take the cable car line K to Santo Domingo. From here, you need to purchase an additional ticket for line L that will take you up to Arvi station. On the way, the cable car will take you above the most poor neighborhoods of Medellin and you will barely believe you are in the same city. After that, all you will see is wild nature or maybe some horsemen on the narrow muddy paths.
Park Arvi is a large natural reservation that also features a pre-Hispanic archeological section. The park covers 16,000 hectares with several walking, hiking or cycling trails. Since it is a protected site, most activities can be done just in an organized tour.
If you plan to take this activity, be aware that the Cable Car line L does not work on Mondays.
Cost: 2*(2,400+5,200)=15,200 COP (metro+cable car round trip), plus the cost for the desired tour
Time: depending on the tours you take through the park
5. Day trip to Guatape & La Piedra
A visit to Guatape and La Piedra del Penol is the most popular day trip outside Medellin. We have special article just about our trip there, including information on how to get to Guatape and La Piedra.
As we had an early morning flight when we left Medellin, we wanted to spend the last day close to the airport. This is located in Rio Negro, about one hour drive from El Poblado, so we were trying to avoid waking up very early. Every hour of sleep counts when you have to wander the whole day through airports with a toddler!
So we stayed for one night at Movich Hotel Las Lomas, just minutes away from Jose Maria Cordova International Airport. Actually, if we knew how much we would enjoy Movich Las Lomas, we would have choose a longer stay there.
Movich is a local chain that nicely incorporates Colombian traditions in a very stylish hotel. From the lobby couches to the colors and motives used in the decorations and tasty food options, everything reminded us of what we experienced in the last few weeks. This was perfect for our last day in the country – we loved Colombia and we will miss it for sure!
Movich Las Lomas is a perfect for families with kids. Eric loved the large garden, where he could carefully observe the peacocks and chase the ducks. In the afternoon, him and Andrei had a lot of fun at the heated pool, while I could peacefully relax in the sauna and spa, recharging my batteries for the next adventures.
Hopefully I convinced you that a holiday Medellin with kids is a great choice for your family. You can find here more ideas if you decide to visit Colombia with kids.
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Disclosure: We were the guests of Movich Hotel during our stay. All the opinions expressed here are our own.