The one thing I quickly realized about Colombia is that it is hard to do sightseeing during the week if you work a typical 9-5 job. I get off at 4 because I start earlier, but that did not help much because here year round it always gets dark around 6pm and because of that many of the touristy things close at the latest at that time. Only some parts of the mall and typical night scene activities remain open once the sun settles.
So even though I was in Medellin for a month I really only had 4 weekends or 8 days to explore the city and its surroundings. I was okay with that for the time period that I was by myself because I was always busy either cycling in the morning when I had the bike, or running around the stadium, or swimming at the nearby pool.
It was a bit challenging when my friend or my brother were with me because of the short time they were staying and my availability due to work, but I was committed to make sure we could see as much as possible and make the most out of the available time we had.
After an eventful weekend with my brother at la Comuna 13, the soccer game, and the day trip to Guatapé and la Piedra del Peñol, we decided to take it easy for the next few days and then visit El Poblado late afternoon / evening on Wednesday and Parque Arví on Thursday in the afternoon. His return flight to Miami was Friday morning.
I had already gone to El Poblado with my friend during the first week, but its a location every tourist has to go at least once so I took my brother there too. It is probably the part of town that is most known to foreigners. It has beautiful houses, luxurious hotels, high-end restaurants, a bustling nightlife scene, and with its location a bit up a hill many spots have an amazing view of the city. Unfortunately, for many of the locals this area is extremely expensive, but for the foreigner with dollars or euros it is considered a discount compared to what similar luxury would cost in the United States or Europe.
We walked around for a bit with all the bright lights shining in the darkness of the night and then decided to head back home. A little later in the evening my brother would go back out to El Poblado to meet up at a bar with some of his tennis friends that live in Medellin. I did not go because I am not into drinking or late night outings.
I was more interested in our trip the next day to Parque Arví and more importantly taking the metro cable to get there. There are several metro cables throughout Medellin and I could see one from my apartment too. Tourists like myself love them for the views that they provide of the city from above, but for the locals that live on the hillsides it is a fundamental form of transportation to get to other parts of the cities.
My friend and I tried to go to this park during those first few days in the city, but when we arrived at the bottom of the hill by metro we were unfortunately told that the metro cable was out of service due to maintenance. Once more, by the time my brother was in time there were no inconveniences because annual maintenance work had finished and I guess that is obviously one of the main benefits of staying at a place for a longer period of time because even if it does not work out the first time it hopefully will at a later point during the trip.
After another metro ride from the stadium station to the foot of the hill, we were allowed to enter the metro cable. To get to the park you actually take two separate ones. The first one is short and you get off at Santo Domingo which looks similar in structure to La Comuna 13. The second one is longer and takes you to the entrance of the park. This is also the one from which you get the best aerial view from the surrounding areas and the center of Medellin a little bit in the distance.
On arrival at the park you have two options. One is to pay the entrance fee to I guess the main area. Not exactly sure what is within this region of the park since we chose the free route which is to walk along the road and enter a different part of the park. It was a nice walk and it got very busy once we reached a little river with a big picnic area where many families were gathered and grilling all kinds of great smelling food. Before we knew it we had to turn back to make the metro cable before it shuts down and after a long wait we finally were on our way back home.
I definitely think it is worth it to take the metro cable, but unfortunately we did not have much time to explore the park and I also do not know what it is like in the paid section of the park. Next time I will make sure to make it a day trip to see if the park itself is worth it too.