All I can say is, “MEDELLIN IS AMAZING!”. Multiple people we’ve met on the road have raved about Medellin, but it wasn’t until I experienced it for myself that I truly understood why. So big, so beautiful, so historical, and literally something for everyone. Not to mention, the most gorgeous countryside I’ve ever seen!
With one full day to explore this beautiful city, we knew we had to act fast. Jumping on a quick tour to a coffee plantation, and what Colombian is known for (besides cocaine), we learned how real Colombian coffee is produced. Michael, being the coffee connoisseur, was very excited about this one. I, on the other hand, am more of a tea drinker 🙂
There are other large coffee farms a few hours outside of Medellin, but this was a small urban farm in the city, which was perfect for a half day tour. We had a private tour with Fabian, the owner, who showed us how to pick the berries, process them to remove the skin, dry them out, and then enjoyed a fresh cup of 100% Colombian coffee. I don’t like coffee, but that was actually really good. Straight Black too! Their motto: “Good coffee doesn’t need sugar, bad coffee isn’t worth it.”
Step 1: Harvest – Pick the ripe berries
Step 2: Depulping.
Step 3: Fermenting
Step 4: Drying.
Step 5: Roasting
Step 6: Enjoy!
Oh yeah, and puppies!!! 🙂
Seeing as I’m a big wine fan, the process was very similar to me. Minus the alcohol 🙂
Laguna de Guatape.
Laguna de Guatape is one of the most popular destinations outside of Medellin. The drive alone is worth it; the landscape outside the city is so green and gorgeous, with huge ranch homes. Truly breathtaking. In my opinion, Colombia is the most beautiful country in South America. Absolutely stunning – Green, lush, temperate. A nice change from the humidity in Cartagena and Santa Marta. Medellin is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I’d agree it lives up to that reputation.
The strenuous hike up…
Of course, the celebratory beer at the top! After our hike up, we walked around the sweet town of Guatape and explored the colorful streets. I love how much character all of the towns exude in Colombia.
And lastly, if you have time, take the Metrocable for a great overall view of the city.
Colombia, you have been more than I EVER imagined. And one of my favorite countries in South America. I can’t wait to come back and explore more of your mesmerizing country. THANK YOU for an unforgettable South American send-off!!
- Visit during the Flower festival – 2nd week of August. Take the chivas (public transportation truck), which turn into a party bus and people ride on top of the buses. Terrifying, but looks exciting!
- Rent a house boat on Guatape
- Gorgeous city and countryside
- Great food and great people
- Compared to other countries, Medellin has the best roads; smooth, and new. You’ll see the entire city is built of red brick buildings. This is a cheap, strong material that the government enforces.
- Crazy drivers – 4 cars deep on a two lane road – I had multiple thoughts of: “If we make it through this drive alive I’ll be surprised.”
- Expensive – Overall, Colombia has been the most expensive country in South America
- Medellin Metrocable – A great way to see the city. There are actually two of these, but you really only need to see one. If staying in Poblado, take the metro north to Santo Domingo station and then the metro cable up to the Spain Library Park. For lunch, come back down to the botanical garden at Universidad Metro Station.
- If you get car sick, don’t go to Guatape – Windy roads and the drivers are crazy. I was surprised we came out alive. However, if you only have one full day, use Land Venture and Andres to do the Express Coffee Tour in the morning and Guatape in the afternoon. 8am-6pm, full day, but worth it!
- They pronounce “ll” as a “j”, not a “y” like typical Spanish
- Take Malaria pills in Colombia. If nothing else, for peace of mind.
- Cocaine in Colombia is completely frowned upon. The locals here hate Pablo Escobar and don’t even want to talk about him
Thoughts on Colombia Overall:
- Beautiful people
- Good, spicy food
- The most amazing countryside
- Mosquitos – Malaria pills suck
- Not much English
- Hot sauce is all Tabasco based
- This goes for traveling in general – If you prefer, wear a hat or shirt or something with where you’re from on it (i.e. LA, SD). It’s the easiest way for someone to break the ice with you and strike up a conversation. We met a number of other Americans that way.
- Travel in Colombia is cheaper and it’s actually safer to fly than to travel by bus
- Go to the city of Barirchara. Supposed to be the most beautiful city in Colombia. Action sports everywhere.
- Visit Mompox – It’s an island in the middle of the largest river of Colombia, near Macarena Providencia and supposed to be amazing!
Thanks for the hospitality Colombia, and all of South America. It has been a dream, but our time here has come to an end after 100 days, it’s time to switch continents. Europe is calling!