Most tourists visiting Medellin, Colombia, tend to stick to the city’s usual tourist zone. But there are so many other areas of Medellin to discover.
Parque Lleras is located in the Poblado neighborhood, where tourists and well-heeled locals in Medellin come to play. Surrounded by hostels, restaurants and bars, it has been a magnet for travelers for years.
Not only have I lived there, I’ve traveled to Medellin, Colombia dozens of times. So, one of my favorite things to do is Get out of the tourist zone in Poblado and visit the city’s working-class areas.
If you want to learn more about what Medellin has to offer, you need to travel further to the localized areas of Medellin.
Related reading: Visit Colombia: travel tips for your trip
Leaving the tourist zone in Medellin.
Best Medellin Neighborhoods to Explore
If you want to get out of the tourist zone of Medellin and still be safe, this is an excellent place Barrio of Santo Domingo. It’s accessible by Metro Cable (gondola system) from the city’s easy-to-manage subway stations.
It will give a traveler a glimpse into a working class neighborhood of Medellin. Located in the hills of Medellin to the north of the city, it offers travelers a real glimpse into the life of the Medellin people. If you look up the hills you will see that the houses are really colorful. Many of them are self-built.
Use the subway cable to get around the city
The metro cable helped transform Santo Domingo. Today it is still mostly poor and working class, but with a safer present and a better future to strive for.
What I like about Medellin is that the government has been very progressive in building the metro cable. It serves as potential transportation for the people who live here, but it’s also a tourist attraction. From time to time you will see some tourists here. There is a sizeable police presence during the day, so just hanging out with the people of Santo Domingo is no problem. I think it will really improve your trip.
Robert Rose of Raw Travel TV in Santo Domingo
Neighborhoods further up the Metro Cable
If you want a quick break from the hustle and bustle of Medellin, just take the metro cable a little further up the hill to beautiful Arvi Park.
Parque Arvi is a short subway ride from Santo Domingo, but you are a world away from Medellin.
Parque Arvi is a marvel of urban planning, thanks to Medellin’s progressive, socially conscious government initiatives.
Commune 13 (also known as Commune 13)
Another recommendation is to explore the once dangerous but now crowded area of Municipality 13. Perhaps no parish suffered more than the Thirteen Parish (Comuna Trece in Spanish) during the reign of Pablo Escobar.
This barrio was once ground zero in the war between the government and drug traffickers.
Today Comuna Trece has made a remarkable comeback and is a shining example of tourism’s potential for social inclusion.
Over 1,000 visitors wander into this former no man’s land every day. Experience the breathtaking views, colorful murals, art, local flair, and outdoor escalators.
What I really liked about my tour of Comuna 13 was the fact that I was able to see this area and at the same time help the people there.
And when you think about it, that’s a fantastic turnaround because just a few years ago no one would dare go there. Meanwhile, more than a thousand travelers visit every day, spend their money and get to know the people. And act responsibly and sustainably.
I think one of the reasons it works is because of social inclusion. They lock the people in there. The source of income also makes them proud of where they live. Because it’s breathtaking.
I think it can serve as a model for communities around the world to develop tourism and How tourism can help impoverished communities turn things around and help the locals who live there. While helping the traveler get an idea of what it is like to be how people live in most parts of the world.
It’s a win-win situation for me. And I think as long as it’s done sustainably and responsibly, I really don’t see any disadvantage in it. I’m glad i did. I can recommend it to other travelers as well.
Take this graffiti tour in Comuna 13 with a local guide. You’ll learn about Medellin’s troubled history as you try out amazing street art and meet artists and local residents.
Municipality 13 (Municipality 13)