One of my favorite things to do with kids (or aunts, uncles, friends, anyone really) in Medellin is to take the metrocable to Parque Arvi. This day trip will take you from the most urban to the most rural areas of Medellin, and give you a whole new perspective of the city. And, a real plus when traveling with kids, the journey and the destination are equally great.
If you’ve visited or read about Medellin you’ve probably heard about the metrocable.The city’s metro system includes three cable car lines that provide access to the city for the thousands of residents that live on the steep mountainside neighborhoods, and helped Medellin earn the distinction as the “most innovative city.” For tourists, the metrocable offers a unique view of the city, and easy access to Parque Arvi, a 60 square mile naturere serve outside the city. For kids, traveling in a gondola over a mountain distracts them from their urge to ask if you’re there yet or beg to play a game on your phone.
The metrocable starts by the Medellin River and then soars up past steep hillside neighborhoods, over the rooftops and narrow streets and eventually to the Parque España library, an impressive structure that stands like giant boulders overlooking the city. From there, you switch lines and continue up, where the landscape becomes more rural and the temperature drops a few degrees. You’ll probably see a horse or two, and perhaps some potato farmers, before the cable car reaches the top of the mountain and soars over the forest below.
The Arvi metro station has a small visitor center, and hosts a produce and craft market on the weekends. You could spend days exploring different areas of the park, including rope courses, zip lines and miles of trails, and there are guides available to help you plan your trip. But for those with limited time, or young kids, one of the easiest options is to head to Piedras Blancas, a hotel and park in the nature reserve. From the road you can take a shuttle, chiva, taxi or horse (always so many transport options in Colombia!) right to the entrance.
Check out the views from the Piedras Blancas hotel and then head down to the nature trail, which is marked with pictures of the wildlife you might see on the way. The trail will lead you to the insect museum and also to a beautiful butterfly house.The park has a zipline course and boats available for rent. Paddle around the lake, enjoy the fresh air, and the gorgeous birds and flowers of the Antioquian countryside. When you’re ready to go, it’s 15 minutes back to the metro and a soaring gondola ride down the mountain into Medellin.
I’m Megan Kennedy; I lived in Chile and traveled in Central and South America in my pre-kid days, when the Internet was young and so was I. I didn’t make it to Colombia until 2012, when I moved with my husband and two young boys to Medellín. I immediately fell in love with the country and, like See Colombia Travel, I am committed to correcting outdated stereotypes and misconceptions about Colombia and convincing everyone I know to come visit. I work in international education, occasionally teach English, and try to keep up with my five-year-old’s Spanish.