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The 9 Best Day Trips From Medellin You Should Experience


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Linea Grieco



Welcome to the breathtaking country of Colombia, where vibrant cities and stunning natural landscapes await you. Nestled in the heart of the Andes, Medellin serves as the perfect base to explore the wonders that this diverse country has to offer. While Medellin itself boasts a plethora of attractions, including its lively street art scene and bustling nightlife, it would be a shame to miss out on the incredible day trips that lie just beyond the city limits.


In this article, we will take you on a virtual journey to discover the nine best day trips from Medellin. Each destination offers a unique experience, encompassing both natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a deeper connection with Colombian history, these day trips will leave you in awe.


From the picturesque town of Guatapé, known for its colorful buildings and stunning views, to the tranquil Santa Fe de Antioquia, with its colonial charm, each day trip has something special to offer. Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of the Cocora Valley in Salento, where towering wax palms paint a mesmerizing landscape. Or explore the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, where lush forests and crystal-clear rivers beckon you to hike, swim, and zipline through nature’s playground.


But our list doesn’t end there. Discover the hidden gems of Jardín and Jericó, where you can experience traditional Colombian coffee culture and immerse yourself in the warmth of the local communities. Don’t forget to visit El Peñol and the famous La Piedra del Peñol, an enormous monolith offering panoramic views that will take your breath away.


For those interested in the natural wonders closer to Medellin, Santa Elena and Parque Arví provide a refreshing escape from the bustling city. Enjoy the vibrant celebrations of the Flowers Festival in Santa Elena or explore the vast forests and trails of Parque Arví.


So, get ready to embark on unforgettable adventures and create lasting memories as we delve into the nine best day trips from Medellin. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply in search of new experiences, these day trips will showcase the very best that Colombia has to offer. Let’s begin!



Located just a couple of hours east of Medellin, Guatapé is a charming town known for its vibrant colors and breathtaking landscapes. As you explore the streets, you’ll be greeted by brightly painted buildings adorned with intricate bas-reliefs, telling stories of the town’s history and culture.


The highlight of Guatapé is undoubtedly La Piedra del Peñol, a massive rock formation that towers over the town. With over 700 steps leading to the top, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the sprawling reservoir of Guatapé. The stunning vistas from the summit are worth every step, and it’s the perfect spot to capture Instagram-worthy photos.


Besides conquering La Piedra, you can also take a boat tour of the Guatapé reservoir, exploring its tranquil waters and scenic islands. As you cruise along, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, with lush green hillsides and picturesque villages dotting the shoreline.


After exploring the town and its natural wonders, don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and crafts. Guatapé is known for its delicious traditional Colombian dishes, such as bandeja paisa, a hearty platter featuring various meats, beans, and plantains. You can also browse through the local shops and markets to find unique handicrafts and souvenirs, including colorful textiles, ceramics, and traditional artwork.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, picturesque views, or a chance to immerse yourself in Colombian culture, Guatapé is a day trip that should not be missed. With its vibrant colors, stunning landscapes, and welcoming atmosphere, it offers a truly unforgettable experience.


Santa Fe de Antioquia

Step back in time and visit the historic town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, a colonial gem located approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Medellin. This charming town, founded in 1541, is celebrated for its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage.


As you wander through the cobblestone streets lined with colorful colonial buildings, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a bygone era. Admire the intricate wooden balconies, vibrant facades, and beautiful courtyards that adorn the houses. One of the most iconic landmarks in Santa Fe de Antioquia is the Juan del Corral Museum, housed in a former Spanish colonial house. Here, you can delve into the town’s history and explore artifacts that tell the story of its past.


A notable attraction in Santa Fe de Antioquia is the stunning Puente de Occidente, a suspension bridge spanning the Cauca River. Built in 1887, it is one of the longest and oldest suspension bridges in South America. Stroll across this impressive engineering marvel and marvel at the scenic views of the river and surrounding landscapes.


The town also offers a range of cultural and outdoor activities. Visit the majestic Catedral Basílica Metropolitana, an imposing cathedral with a grand interior. Explore the local markets, where you can find traditional crafts, delicious snacks, and fresh produce. For nature enthusiasts, nearby ecological parks provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the region’s biodiversity.


No trip to Santa Fe de Antioquia is complete without savoring its gastronomy. You can indulge in traditional Colombian cuisine, including regional specialties like fried river trout and mondongo, a hearty soup made with tripe. End your day trip with a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the Porce River, which runs alongside the town.


Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Santa Fe de Antioquia offers a glimpse into Colombia’s colonial past and a chance to immerse yourself in its vibrant culture. Its cobblestone streets, well-preserved architecture, and warm hospitality make it a must-visit destination.



Escape to the picturesque town of Jardín, nestled in the southwestern region of Antioquia. Known for its lush green landscapes and coffee plantations, Jardín offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling urban life of Medellin.


As you arrive in Jardín, you’ll be captivated by its colorful colonial architecture and quaint town square, surrounded by restaurants and cafes. Take a leisurely stroll along the streets, lined with vibrantly painted houses adorned with flowers and intricate murals. Admire the beauty of the Basílica Menor de la Inmaculada Concepción, a neoclassical-style church featuring stunning stained glass windows and ornate altars.


Jardín is also renowned for its picturesque coffee farms, where you can learn about the coffee-making process and sample some of Colombia’s finest brews. Take a guided tour of a coffee plantation and participate in picking, processing, and roasting the beans, while gaining insights into the rich history and cultural significance of coffee in Colombia.


For nature lovers, Jardín offers breathtaking landscapes to explore. Take a ride on the iconic Willy Jeeps, traditional jeeps that transport visitors to nearby attractions. Embark on a scenic journey to Cueva del Esplendor, a hidden gem known for its stunning waterfall and natural caves. Marvel at the cascading water as it splashes into the crystal-clear pool below.


Another must-visit destination in Jardín is the La Garrucha cable car, providing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Hop aboard and soar above the treetops, enjoying majestic vistas of rolling hills and lush forests as you make your way to the top. Once there, you can savor a refreshing drink while taking in the breathtaking scenery.


Don’t forget to indulge in the local gastronomy of Jardín. Try a cup of tinto, traditional Colombian black coffee, accompanied by delicious pastries and local snacks. Explore the bustling market, where you can find fresh produce, homemade cheeses, and traditional sweets to satisfy your cravings.


Jardín offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a deeper understanding of Colombian coffee culture, Jardín is a day trip that will leave you mesmerized and rejuvenated.



Discover the hidden gem of Jericó, a charming town nestled in the southwest region of Antioquia. Known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes, Jericó offers a unique and authentic Colombian experience.


As you wander through the colorful streets of Jericó, you’ll be captivated by the town’s colonial architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Admire the well-preserved buildings adorned with wooden balconies, flowers, and intricate murals. Take a moment to visit the iconic Basílica Menor de Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, a beautiful church boasting exquisite artwork and a stunning view from its bell tower.


Jericó is also famous for being the birthplace of Mama Laura, the first Colombian woman officially declared a saint. You can pay a visit to her childhood home, now converted into a museum, to learn about her inspiring life and the impact she had on the local community.


For nature enthusiasts, Jericó offers the opportunity to explore the breathtaking landscapes that surround the town. Hike through the lush green hills and marvel at the stunning views of the Cauca River Valley. If you’re up for a challenge, embark on a trek to Cerro Cristo Rey, a towering hilltop adorned with a statue of Christ, offering panoramic views of the entire region.


Jericó is also renowned for its authentic coffee culture. Take a tour of a local coffee plantation and learn about the intricate process of coffee cultivation, from bean to cup. Participate in a coffee tasting session to savor the rich and flavorsome brews that Jericó produces.


To immerse yourself in the local traditions, visit the Plaza de Bolivar where you can witness the vibrant traditional dance known as the Balsada del Río Sucio. Watch as dancers adorned in colorful costumes perform intricate choreography, showcasing the region’s cultural heritage.


Indulge in the local cuisine of Jericó, where you can savor traditional dishes such as bandeja paisa and arepas, freshly made corn cakes filled with cheese or meat. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the renowned local cheese, renowned for its creamy texture and exquisite taste.


Jericó is a true hidden gem, offering a unique blend of culture, nature, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat, a journey into Colombian history, or a taste of the region’s rich coffee heritage, Jericó will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the beauty of Colombia.


El Peñol and La Piedra del Peñol

Prepare for an awe-inspiring day trip to El Peñol and La Piedra del Peñol, located just a short distance from Medellin. These two iconic landmarks offer breathtaking natural beauty and unforgettable panoramic views.


El Peñol is a small town characterized by its picturesque landscapes, rolling hills, and serene lakes. As you approach the town, one sight stands out above all else—the magnificent La Piedra del Peñol. This enormous rock formation rises over 650 feet and is often referred to as the “Stone of Guatapé.” Its unique shape and sheer size make it an iconic symbol of the region.


Embark on a thrilling adventure by climbing the 740 steps to reach the summit of La Piedra del Peñol. Each step offers a rewarding view of the surrounding countryside, which becomes even more astounding as you near the top. Once you reach the peak, prepare to be mesmerized by the spectacular 360-degree panorama that unfolds before you. Marvel at the vast expanse of lush green hills, winding rivers, and sparkling lakes that stretch as far as the eye can see.


After descending from La Piedra, explore the charming town of El Peñol. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and enjoy the tranquil ambiance. Indulge in local delicacies at one of the lakeside restaurants, feasting on freshly caught fish or regional specialties.


A must-do experience in El Peñol is taking a boat tour of the surrounding lakes. Hop aboard a colorful wooden boat and navigate through the emerald waters of Lake Guatapé and Lake Peñol. Admire the lush landscapes, hidden coves, and vibrant birdlife that call these lakes home.


If you’re seeking adventure, try your hand at various watersports, such as kayaking or jet skiing. There’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of the lakes than by immersing yourself in their refreshing waters.


El Peñol and La Piedra del Peñol offer a breathtaking escape from the city, transporting you to a world of natural wonders and serene landscapes. The climb to the top of La Piedra is a rewarding challenge that promises unparalleled views, while the town of El Peñol provides a laid-back atmosphere and opportunities for exploration. This day trip promises unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.


Salento and Cocora Valley

Experience the stunning beauty of Salento and the enchanting Cocora Valley, a true paradise for nature lovers. Located in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region, this day trip will take you on a journey through breathtaking landscapes and the iconic wax palm forests.


Salento, a charming town nestled in the Quindio department, will captivate you with its colorful buildings, traditional architecture, and welcoming atmosphere. Explore the vibrant streets lined with artisan shops, where you can find unique crafts and souvenirs. Indulge in a traditional Colombian coffee experience at one of the local cafes, as you savor the rich aroma and flavors of the region’s famous beans.


From Salento, venture into the Cocora Valley, home to the towering wax palms, Colombia’s national tree and one of the tallest species of palm trees in the world. The valley is a nature lover’s dream, with its rolling hills, lush green landscapes, and mist-covered mountains. Embark on a hike through the valley, immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature and breathing in the fresh mountain air.


As you hike along the well-marked trails, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the majestic beauty of the wax palms up close. These slender giants reach heights of up to 200 feet and create a surreal atmosphere, as their long, skinny trunks rise towards the sky, adorned with vibrant green leaves. The picturesque scenery of the Cocora Valley is truly a sight to behold.


For an even more unique experience, ride a horse through the valley, allowing you to cover more ground and witness the stunning landscapes from a different perspective. The gentle sound of hooves against the earth and the cool breeze in your hair will make for a memorable adventure.


After exploring Cocora Valley, make your way back to Salento and treat yourself to a traditional Colombian meal at one of the town’s cozy restaurants. Try typical dishes such as the hearty bandeja paisa, or savor a delicious trout dish prepared with fresh ingredients from the region.


Salento and Cocora Valley offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural charm, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this day trip will leave you in awe of Colombia’s incredible biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes.


Santa Elena

Escape to the tranquil beauty of Santa Elena, a peaceful retreat located just outside of Medellin. Known for its lush green landscapes, floral abundance, and festive celebrations, Santa Elena offers a picturesque getaway from the bustling city.


One of the highlights of Santa Elena is its famous Flowers Festival, held every year in August. This vibrant celebration showcases the region’s rich floral heritage and cultural traditions. During the festival, the town comes alive with colorful displays of flowers, parades, music, and dancing. You’ll be immersed in a feast for the senses as the streets are adorned with intricate flower arrangements and locals don traditional costumes.


Outside of the festival period, Santa Elena enchants visitors with its natural beauty. Take a leisurely stroll through the town’s charming streets, lined with quaint houses and gardens bursting with vibrant blooms. The peaceful ambiance and fresh mountain air create a serene atmosphere that will leave you feeling rejuvenated.


For a deeper connection with nature, explore the nearby Arví Natural Reserve. This vast protected area offers a wealth of hiking trails, where you can immerse yourself in the lush forests, discover hidden waterfalls, and encounter diverse wildlife. Take in the stunning views from viewpoints scattered throughout the reserve, offering vistas of rolling hills, dense forests, and the city of Medellin below.


Santa Elena is also famous for its orchid farms, where you can witness the beauty of these delicate flowers up close. Learn about the cultivation and care of orchids, and marvel at the variety of colors and shapes that these stunning blooms display.


After a day of exploration, indulge in the delightful gastronomy of Santa Elena. The region is known for its traditional dishes such as tamales, empanadas, and arepas. Sample local delicacies and savor the flavors of Colombian cuisine.


Whether you visit during the vibrant Flowers Festival or simply seek a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature’s beauty, Santa Elena offers a truly magical experience. Its colorful streets, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality will make your day trip a memorable one.


Rio Claro Nature Reserve

Immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, a hidden gem located a few hours’ drive from Medellin. Nestled in the heart of the Colombian jungle, this breathtaking reserve offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and explore its wonders.


As you enter the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of cascading waterfalls and the chirping of exotic birds. The reserve is renowned for its crystal-clear river, which winds its way through towering limestone cliffs and lush forests. The water of the Rio Claro is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and tubing, allowing you to cool off and enjoy an exhilarating adventure.


For the more adventurous, the reserve offers thrilling activities such as canyoning and caving. Explore the hidden underground caves, illuminated by the ethereal glow of stalactites and stalagmites. Descend into the depths of the earth and witness the awe-inspiring formations that nature has crafted over thousands of years.


Take a leisurely hike through the lush jungle trails and discover the diverse flora and fauna that call the reserve home. Keep an eye out for colorful butterflies, exotic birds, and playful monkeys that may cross your path. The Rio Claro Nature Reserve is a biodiversity hotspot, filled with unique plant and animal species waiting to be admired.


For those seeking a tranquil and immersive experience, the reserve offers eco-lodges and rustic cabins that blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings. Fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the river and wake up to the gentle calls of the jungle, surrounded by the serenity of nature.


Whether you choose to embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure or prefer to relax and soak in the natural beauty, a visit to the Rio Claro Nature Reserve is a must. This pristine paradise offers an escape from the city and a chance to reconnect with nature in all its glory. Let the tranquility and majesty of the reserve rejuvenate your body and soul.


Parque Arví

Escape to the lush green landscapes of Parque Arví, a natural paradise located just outside of Medellin. This expansive ecological park offers a perfect blend of tranquility, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions, making it an ideal day trip for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.


As you enter Parque Arví, you’ll be greeted by a vast expanse of forests, rolling hills, and meandering trails. The park is home to diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and an array of plant species. Explore the well-maintained hiking trails that wind through the park, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and discover hidden viewpoints offering breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscapes.


One of the highlights of Parque Arví is the iconic Metrocable, an aerial cable car system that transports visitors from Medellin to the park. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the cityscape, lush green mountains, and the vast expanse of the park below. The Metrocable itself is an attraction, as it seamlessly combines transportation and sightseeing.


Parque Arví also offers a range of outdoor activities to satisfy your adventurous spirit. Embark on a thrilling ziplining adventure, soaring through the treetops and taking in the stunning views from above. Or rent a bike and explore the park’s trails at your own pace, enjoying the fresh air and serenity of the surroundings.


For those interested in the cultural aspect, Parque Arví is home to a variety of cultural and educational activities. Visit the indigenous village to learn about the traditional customs, craftsmanship, and way of life of the local populations. Explore the interactive exhibits at the visitors’ center, which delve into the history and ecological significance of the park.


After a day of adventure and exploration, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the park’s restaurants, where you can savor traditional Colombian cuisine while taking in the peaceful ambiance. Don’t forget to try a refreshing cup of traditional Colombian coffee, made from beans grown in the surrounding region.


Parque Arví offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing you to reconnect with nature and indulge in outdoor activities. Its serene beauty, cultural attractions, and ecological importance make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a refreshing and enriching day trip from Medellin.



From the vibrant town of Guatapé to the tranquil beauty of Parque Arví, the day trips from Medellin offer a diverse range of experiences that will captivate and inspire you. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or a peaceful escape into nature, each destination on this list has something unique to offer.


Explore the colorful streets of Guatapé and conquer the towering La Piedra del Peñol for breathtaking views. Step back in time in Santa Fe de Antioquia and soak in the colonial charm of its well-preserved architecture. Immerse yourself in the coffee culture of Jardín and Jericó, discovering the rich heritage and flavors of Colombian coffee.


Marvel at the towering wax palms in the Cocora Valley and delve into the vibrant floral festivities of Santa Elena’s Flowers Festival. Embark on thrilling adventures in the Rio Claro Nature Reserve, exploring its caves and cascading waterfalls. Escape to Parque Arví, where you can reconnect with nature, indulge in outdoor activities, and embrace the cultural attractions.


Colombia’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality shine through in each of these day trips. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply in search of new experiences, these destinations near Medellin will leave you in awe.


So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and embark on unforgettable adventures just a stone’s throw away from Medellin. Each day trip offers a unique and immersive experience, leaving you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the incredible diversity that Colombia has to offer.


Whether it’s climbing to the top of La Piedra in Guatapé, wandering through the cobblestone streets of Santa Fe de Antioquia, or exploring the natural wonders of the Cocora Valley, the day trips from Medellin are waiting to be discovered. So, go forth and embark on your Colombian adventure!