Looking for fun, easy day trips from Medellin?
Beyond the valleys of Medellin lie beautiful towns, pueblos and cool things to do. Whether it’s a 1-hour bus trip or a 3 hour one – there’s always something new and exciting waiting for you around every corner of this beautiful state in Colombia.
Whether you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city or you just find yourself with an empty weekend – you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to day trips from Medellin.
If you’ve got extra time as a tourist or you’re a digital nomad spending a couple of months in the City of Eternal Spring…
…it’s easy to fill your weekends or free days with some really cool day trips from Medellin that are actually worth your time, planning and journey.
In this blog, you’ll discover the 5 best day trips from Medellin, the things to do and how to get to them from the city.
4 Fun Day Trips From Medellin & Things To Do
In recent years, Medellin has climbed to the top of the tourist destinations in all of Latin America. The Colombians should be very proud of how far they have come! I know we couldn’t help but feel inspired while we were living there as digital nomads.
Medellin is located in the state of Antioquia. Within this state alone, you can enjoy the beautiful waterfalls, hikes, landmarks, pueblos (towns), mountains and perfect weather. It’s hard to ever get bored while living here!
However…the city life does ware you down at times. I know we felt that after 2 months of straight city living – even in an urban jungle that literally has greenery on every corner!
Thankfully, there’s so much more to explore beyond Medellin! The best part is that you can visit each thing on the same day. This is great if you are a tourist with an extra day or maybe you’re a digital nomad looking for a new adventure.
Whether you’re looking for something to do, a new adventure or you just want to soak in more of the Paisa culture – there’s something for everyone and it’s only ever a couple of hours away. If you want to see and experience more of Colombia, you can’t miss these fun day trips from Medellin.
Without further ado, here are the 4 best day trips from Medellin that are actually worth visiting.
1. Santa Fe de Antioquia
This is my favorite day trip on this list, probably because it’s totally underrated and we felt it was a hidden gem that not many foreigners knew about.
Santa Fe de Antioquia is the oldest pueblo in the state which was founded in 1541. To this day, it is the most well-preserved colonial town in the state as some of the churches and buildings remain intact. This was a prominent town back in the day, so much so it was the capital of the Antioquia department before Medellin took its place in 1826.
Why Visit Santa Fe de Antioquia?
In one sentence: You’ll be transported back to the 1500s, walking through the charming cobblestone streets, sitting in the main plaza like a local and experiencing what life is like in the countryside of Medellin.
Matthew and I went to Santa Fe de Antioquia for a long weekend vacation. At the time, the weather in Medellin was pretty cold and we were looking forward to some sunshine. We had no clue what to expect from this small, colonial town but anyone we asked about it, only raved about the pueblo. After our visit, we concluded the same! We felt super safe our entire time there and the locals are so welcoming.
If you’re only going to do one day trip from Medellin, make it Santa Fe de Antioquia.
Weather In Santa Fe de Antioquia
A lot of local Colombians will have fincas in Santa Fe de Antioquia. This is somewhat like a ‘summer’ house where you go to escape the city.
Santa Fe is the perfect place to get some sun because the average annual maximum temperature is 82°F (28°C) which is much hotter than Medellin which is renowned as the City of Eternal Spring.
Things To Do In Santa Fe de Antioquia
This is a perfect day trip from Medellin because there’s only a handful of things to do. Unless you want to have a vacation, relax or lounge in the sun for the weekend, you don’t need more than a day to explore this colonial town.
Here are some things to do, eat and explore while visiting Santa Fe de Antioquia:
- Punte de Occidente (oldest suspension bridge in South America)
- Santa Barbara Church (old church dating back to the 1700s)
- Plaza de Bolivar (sit with the locals and enjoy the slow life)
- Restaurante de la Comedia (funky place, order the lomo de res a la pimienta)
- Restaurante Gourmet Carnes y Carnes (for meat-lovers)
- Al Alma Cafe (best brunch spot)
- Canela Cafe (best coffee and cafe in town)
- Amoreremio Gelateria (best gelato, get maracuya flavor)
- Curazao Hotel (we stayed here + budget-friendly)
- Al Alma (mid-range hotel with great brunch menu)
- Hotel Mariscal Robledo (famous high-end hotel with the best pool)
Distance From Medellin & How To Get To Santa Fe de Antioquia
It only takes 1-1.5 hours by driving to get from Medellin to Santa Fe de Antioquia, making it the 2nd quickest day trip from Medellin on this list! The views themselves are absolutely stunning – you can see the highs and lows of the mountains surrounding Medellin.
It’s easy and cheap to get from Medellin to Santa Fe de Antioquia. You can drive yourself or you can take a public bus. We did the latter!
- Duration: 1.5 hours
- Cost: $14,000 COP
Take an Uber to the Terminal Norte Medellin. As you enter, head down the escalators where you can buy a bus ticket. We went with the company, Gomez. Just look for the signs that say that! Tell them you’re headed to Santa Fe de Antioquia and they will book your seats on the bus. You’ll sit and wait till your departure time, once it gets close go through the ticket check and find your bus company. Line up and show your ticket to make sure you get on the right bus!
If the sign on the bus only says ‘Antioquia’, that means it’s going to Santa Fe de Antioquia still. We got worried like why didn’t it say Santa Fe but we asked the locals and they said they shorten it because it’s too long but we were on the right bus.
Going back from Santa Fe de Antioquia to Medellin?
Walk to the bus station ‘Terminal de Transporte Santa Fé de Antioquia’. Line up and say you’re headed to Medellin and they will choose the bus that’s closest to departure. Pay and get on!
That’s it! It’s a very easy and safe day trip from Medellin for tourists and digital nomads.
La Piedra del Peñol (aka that rock you see on Instagram) is one of the most popular tourist attractions that isn’t actually in Medellin. It’s located close to a colorful town called Guatape.
Thousands of tourists flock to this small town to climb the 740 steps it takes to get to the top of the rock and see the beautiful views of the man-made lake. You can easily book a day tour to visit the rock and the town of Guatape – that’s exactly what we did!
We simply booked it on Airbnb Experiences and it was only around $25 USD for the whole day including transport, lunch and a cruise on the lake. While it’s a long day (from 8am to 8pm), it’s one of the best (and most popular) things to do while visiting Medellin!
Why Visit Guatape?
In one sentence: Climb the 740 steps up the famous La Piedra del Peñol rock which is a beacon of tourism for Medellin and experience the most colorful town in all of Colombia – Guatape.
Weather In Guatape
The weather in Guatape is generally warm all year round.
The average annual temperature is around 81°F to 83°F (27°C-29°C). We recommend bringing a jacket in case it does get windy or rainy when you go!
Things To Do In Guatape
There’s so much to do on your day trip to Guatape! Here are some things we recommend putting on your list:
- La Piedra El Peñol (climb the rock)
- Walk and explore the colorful streets of Guatape
- Go on a boat cruise on the lake
- Restaurante Balcón Paisa (try the bandeja paisa)
- Vecchio Forno (Italian food)
- Cafe La Viña (best coffee in town)
- Lake View Hostel
- Hotel Portobelo Guatape
- Hotel Los Recuerdo
Distance From Medellin & How To Get To Guatape
If you leave early enough (before 8am), you can make it to Guatape within an hour and a half.
Otherwise, it might take you 2 hours to get there. You’ll be driving through the 2nd longest tunnel in Latin America on the way!
- By Tour: If you take a tour bus, you won’t need to figure out how to get anywhere. Simply hop on and off as they say. It’s really easy and super convenient – just go to the pick-up points which may be located in Poblado or Laureles.
- By Public Bus: Head to Terminal del Norte and there are plenty of companies driving from Medellin to Guatape. Simply pick one – the prices don’t vary too much! Hop on the bus and they will take you to the town of Guatape. Note: if you decide to go this route – you’ll need to walk 15-20 minutes to get to La Piedra del Peñol and back. You can also take a tuk-tuk but it comes out to almost the same total cost as a tour!
Want more details? Check out our complete guide on how to get to Guatape from Medellin.
Don’t mind traveling a little further out?
Jardin is located 3-4 hours away from Medellin. A lot of people consider this pueblo (town) as one of the most charming towns in the department of Antioquia. Why?
It’s easy to fall in love with the greenery, hills, coffee farms and colorfully painted homes. This town attracts tourists both local and foreigners due to its abundance of outdoor adventures such as hikes, waterfalls and farms. But if that’s not your thing – the town of Jardin is charming enough for you to walk through the cobblestone streets, appreciate the architecture and drink some coffee.
Why Visit Jardin?
In one sentence: Jardin is the best adventure day trip where you can hike hills, swim in waterfalls and walk through the charming colonial town with a delicious coffee in hand.
If you love to get outdoors, Jardin is the best day trip from Medellin for you! You won’t get bored exploring this town surrounded by nature and greenery. Even if you don’t want to venture out, there’s plenty to see in the town itself.
You might want to spend the weekend in Jardin if you’re thinking about doing a hike or heading to the waterfalls unless you don’t mind having a loooong day. Exploring the town is easy and enough time for a day trip!
Weather In Jardin
It’s warm in Jardin! The average annual temperature is 83°F (29°C) which is pretty hot. This weather makes it perfect for swimming in the waterfalls or caves.
Things To Do In Jardin:
Here are some things you can do, eat and places to stay while visiting Jardin:
- Cascada del Amor (waterfall)
- La Cueva de Esplendor (cave)
- Reserva Natural Jardín de Rocas (nature reserve)
- Camino de la Herrera (hiking trail)
- Bon Appetit
- Oleo Bistro Restaurante
- Don Andres Restaurante
- Hotel La Casona
- Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique
- Hotel Diana Campestre
Distance From Medellin & How To Get To Jardin
Jardin is located 3-4 hours (closer to 4 depending on traffic) which makes it the longest trip on this list. You’ll get great views of the hills and valleys but I must admit – it’s a pretty long drive. Some people don’t mind doing this for a day trip and others will take an overnight bag. It’s up to you!
You can catch a public bus from Terminal del Norte (which is how you get to most day trips from Medellin) and choose a company that’s headed to Jardin. Simply pay and wait for your bus to depart.
You’ll be dropped off at the bus station. Make sure to mark it on Google Maps because that’s the same place you’ll take the bus to go back to Medellin after all your adventures! You can buy a ticket as soon as you arrive at a Jardin or just before you depart.
This town has got to be one of the most charming towns in the department of Antioquia. As you walk through the cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and stunning nature – you’ll see quickly why Jerico is one of the most popular day trips from Medellin.
Jerico has one of the most picturesque cathedrals, Iglesia Inmaculada. This cathedral is taller than any other building Jerico and it stands out from miles away as it’s been painted this bubblegum pink. It’s also a popular town for buying the famous Colombian bags as it was made there. Jerico has a couple of coffee farms you can tour around and learn about the coffee process from bean to cup.
It’s a very small town so you’ll have plenty of time to explore if you go for just a day! You don’t need more than a day and I don’t think it’s worth an overnight stay.
Why Visit Jerico?
In one sentence: Visit a less-known town located southwest of Medellin and be enchanted by the beautiful cathedrals, cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
Weather In Jerico
When you’re in Jerico, be prepared for it to be warm. On average, the temperature in Jerico is around 83°F (28°C) and only drops to 81°F (27°C) during the coldest month.
Things To Do In
Here are some things you can do, eat and places to stay while visiting Jerico:
- Jardín Botánico Jericó (botanical gardens)
- Morro El Salvador (incredible views of the town)
- Isabel Parrilla Arte Café
- Mesón Del Poeta
- Tomatitos Pizza y Parrilla
- Hotel Santa Laura
- Finca Hotel Cabañas y Flores
- Hotel Atenas Jericó
Distance From Medellin & How To Get To Jerico
The drive from Medellin to Jerico takes around 2.5-3 hours depending on traffic. The roads are very long and windy – take care if you get car sick easily.
You can take a public bus from the Terminal Norte station in Medellin. Find a sign that says ‘Jerico’ and buy tickets from that stand. They will get you on the next bus and you’ll be off!
Remember to save the location (Trasportes Jerico.publorrico.Tarso S.A.S) where you get dropped off as that’s usually where you’ll get your bus back to Medellin.
Are These Day Trips From Medellin Worth The Visit?
Yes, absolutely. You should take any of these day trips from Medellin if you want to see more of Colombia’s beauty.
Day trips are a great way to explore other parts of a country without too much effort, cost and time. There’s plenty of things to do, see and eat wherever you choose to spend your day trip in the department of Antioquia.
If you’re pressed for time, the best day trips from Medellin are Santa Fe de Antioquia and Guatape. They are only 1-2 hours away and you can see everything within a day!
If you’re a digital nomad with a couple of weekends to spare, it’s easy enough to see all 4 of these day trips from Medellin. You’ll get a taste of the real Colombia!
Which is your favorite day trip from Medellin? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!