After landing a flight deal to Cartagena, Colombia we decided to extend our trip and go from Cartagena to Medellin. This was a great opportunity to see another, very different city, in Colombia. Here are the details of getting from Cartagena to Medellin and how to spend 2 days in Medellin.
How to Get from Cartagena to Medellin
Fly from Cartagena to Medellin
Flying from Cartagena to Medellin was very easy and affordable. We decided to flying Avianca Airlines. Buying a last minute flight from Cartagena to Medellin only cost us $90 round trip.
Drive from Cartagena to Medellin
Driving from Cartagena to Medellin takes an average of 15 hours. This drive has you going up and down windy mountainous roads. I would not recommend this option at all especially if driving at night.
Where to Stay in Medellin
When deciding where to stay in Medellin we found Airbnb’s to be most affordable. We rented this Airbnb in the El Poblado neighborhood. It was walking distance to a grocery store, shops and restaurants. The bathroom was a little outdated for my liking but for $50/night for a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom apartment I can’t really complain. New to Airbnb? Sign up here and save $40 on your first stay. Nervous about staying in an Airbnb? Read my 8 Tips to Guarantee a Great Airbnb Experience.
Things to do in Medellin: A Two Day Medellin Itinerary
Day One: Real City Tours in Medellin and the Metro Cable
We arrived the night before so we had a full day ahead of us. We were lucky enough to get a spot on the free walking tour provided by Real City Tours. They only offer two tours a day Monday-Friday at 9:00AM and 2:00PM and one tour on Saturday at 9:50AM. You can only reserve the tour 1.5 days in advance so Saturday’s tour would open for reservation Thursday after 6:15PM.
The tour basically goes in a rectangle with about 12 or so stops throughout where you will stop and either sit or stand while your guide gives you some history of that area. The tour shows and talks about both the good and bad of Medellin so there is discussion on prostitution, porn-trade, alcoholism and drug-addiction. My kids are so young I didn’t care about this but you may.You do stop for a quick break halfway through the tour to get a snack, drink, and to relax a bit but I recommend bringing snacks and definitely water. Strollers are allowed on the tour but a carrier is much easier as the streets are busy and you will have to tackle a few stairs. On the flip side if your child is heavy it may be very tiring to carry them for 4 hours.
After the tour we took their subway system to the Metro Cable to head to Parque Arvi. Everyone must exit the metro cable at Santo Dominigo (the last stop) and then switch to another one to go all the way to the park. We heard you can get some nice views of the city from the Santo Domingo stop so we walked around a bit since we would have to change metro cables anyway.
Unfortunately for us it started to drizzle a bit while we were exploring Santo Domingo and because it was windy the metro cables stopped running. They were unsure of when they would start back up again and after waiting 20mins we decided we would just head back to our Airbnb since we were starving. Good thing we did as about 3mins after we got in the cab it started pouring! Although we didn’t make it to Parque Arvi we got a great tour of Santo Domingo and nice view of the city from above on our ride down the mountain.
Day Two- Guatape & Rock of El Penol Tour and flight back to Cartagena
Through TripAdvisor I found LandVenture Tours, the #2 tour company in Medellin, the 1st is Real City Tours. We did the Guatape & Rock of El Penol Tour and I could not have been happier. It was a private tour and they provided a car seat for our two year old. We did this tour on the day we were leaving Medellin. They dropped us at the airport after our tour, saving us taxi fare. We also didn’t have to worry about where we would store our luggage after checking out of our Airbnb.
The price was $59 per adult and $30 per child. While I’m not used to paying for the kids on tours of this nature with a total of $237 it was still cheaper than a lot of the same tours through other companies. Alejandro was our guide and he picked us up from our Airbnb promptly at 10AM.
We made the scenic drive to Penol and Alejandro told us all about the area on the way. They allow you to personalize the tour so if at any point you want to stop to take a closer look at something you can. We made a few stops at overlooks to admire the lakes and cities before getting to the Rock.
We had carriers to use for both kids to make the 750 stair climb to the top. However, we did see children around the age of 3, 4 climbing up themselves with their parents. As much as Jordyn loves to climb stairs I could see her begging to be carried by the 100th stair so I decided against that. It took about 15/20mins to make the climb as we stopped twice to catch our breath and drink some water. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking, one of the most beautiful views I have seen.
After the Rock we went to the town of Guatape, famous for its zocalos (a form of art in Colombia). We first had lunch before Alejandro gave us a tour of the town and taught us all about the history of the zocalos. He was very informative and the homes decorated with this artwork are so beautiful, colorful, and unique.
When we were finished we headed back to Medellin proper. Alejandro was able to drop us off at the airport saving us taxi fare. Getting from Cartagena to Medellin was easy and affordable. Spending 2 days in Medellin was a nice introduction to the city but I recommend at least 3 days if possible. Did you find this article helpful? Please share it!