Our first day in Medellin and we saw a lot! This morning we did a self-guided tour of Medellin’s fancy metro system, including the cable cars (more cable cars!). This city is sprawling, and the cheap metro system is a great way to get around. Here’s what we learned and saw in our first day touring around Medellin.
What They Say About Medellin
Things I have heard about Medellin from Colombians: It’s the best climate; the people are very impressed with themselves; they love their subway; they like plastic surgery. Things I’ve noticed: the climate is pretty good!; the people are very nice (like everyone across the country); their subway is very nice and clean!; I have not noticed plastic surgery. It’s certainly not like Beverly Hills where you can’t avoid it.
Riding the Medellin Subway
We started the day on Medellin’s impressive and cheap subway system. Less than a dollar gets you a fare anywhere on the metro line. And most of the route is above ground so you can take some cool photos of the views!
Cable Cars in Medellin
After a while, we transferred from the subway to the northern cable cars. These are so impressive! It’s an additional cost from the regular subway but so worth it for the experience and views.
Medellin is in a valley, and there are favelas – poor barrios – on the hillsides. The people living there had limited transport into the city until these amazing cable cars were built about 20 years ago. We used the cable cars for tourism, but they are very important to people’s livelihoods.
We took the cable cars on an extended trip and even went out to the other side of the mountain to a park called Parque Arvi that felt like it was in another world rather than just a cable car ride from Medellin! The park is the size of a state park with lots of hiking trails, and even allows overnight camping.
In addition to the obvious natural attractions of the park, it is an archeological site. We inspected ancient buildings and other relics from the pre-Hispanic era.
We randomly visited this park, so didn’t plan for all there was to do there. If we had known in advance, or ever return, we could rent bikes or horses, dine out, and even stay overnight.
On this ride, we got a ton of amazing views for way less money, time and sickness than the bus. Win for cable cars!! And people from Medellin have every right to brag about their public transit. We had a great time using it for touring around Medellin.