I’ve now been in Colombia for two full days, yesterday a day trip to Guatapé and El Peñol and today was spent doing a walking tour of Medellin.
When looking for tours of Medellin, I came across Real Tours Medellin as the number one tour in the city. So not only was it listed in the top, it was also a free tour meaning you simply make a reservation, show up, and give a tip to the guide at the end, if you feel so inclined. They offer tours twice daily Monday through Friday.
I opted for a Friday morning tour and had to book my tour on Wednesday after 6pm ET since reservations open 1.5 days before.
This morning I planned to walk to the Poblado metro station, the meeting place for the tours, which is less than a mile away but due to the way the city is constructed a .80 mile walk was estimated to take 1 hour and 13 minutes. Nope, I’m good. Instead I decided on taking an UberX, yes they have those here. It was on surge today because they are celebrating No Car Day for Earth Day. My ride that would have cost $2.20 cost $4.40, I’m totally fine with that.
Strangely, I was the first to arrive by at least 10 minutes. Then the masses began to arrive there was a couple from Detroit, another couple from Toronto, a group of college students who study in Canada but were from all over, 2 people from Sweden (they weren’t together), a few others from Europe, a woman from Curaçao, and of course me from Washington, D.C. It was nice to see a mix of young and old, solo travelers, couples, and friends.
We spent 4 hours walking around the city learning about the good, bad, and the ugly about Medellin, which was once the most dangerous city in the world. We learned about the history, the architecture, the food, and even a little bit about Medellin’s dark past, aka the Pablo Escobar era, which locals are still very reluctant to discuss.
I’d read reviews and our guide Alejandro definitely did not disappoint in his ability to remember everyone’s name, mind you there were about 18 of us. Still don’t know how he does it.
After the tour, I ended up going to lunch with the newlywed couple from Detroit. Since my hubby is from there, it’s like my honorary hometown and we instantly connected. We had lunch at La Hacienda and I ordered the Bandeja Paisa. The portion was huge and I only ate about 1/3 of it. Crazy to think it only cost about $7USD.
I would have to say today was definitely a great experience, day 2 of my solo trip went off without a hitch. It was fun getting to know and connect with other travelers. Although I’m an introvert, I can easily navigate my way through group situations.
Tomorrow, I’m heading to Cartagena. Looking forward to getting a taste of all that city has to offer.
Here are a few photos of my trip so far. Oh and please excuse any typos, I typed this on my phone, I’ll edit later :-).