Now that we have a young child, we want to take her to all the places abroad where we’ve spent time before we were parents! Luckily, we have good friends (Alex and Ryan) who have a toddler, and have chosen to call Medellin home.
What better way to figure out the best things in Medellin to do with kids than to have Alex provide all her vetted suggestions? In this guide, you’ll see all what Alex and Ryan have done for safe activities around the city, all while having a young child in tote.
Read on, to see all the proven ways to have fun on your trip in Medellin as a family.
Is Medellin a good place to travel as a family?
Alex and I were chatting, and she reminded me that when you think of Medellin, “Your mind doesn’t automatically think of a kid-friendly place!”
But as a couple with a young toddler, she and Ryan can tell us that Medellin is a growing hotspot for expat and visiting families. Having been to Medellin myself and lived there as an expat, there’s no surprise here!
Alex mentions that not only are Colombians warm and loving toward children, but the tropical wildlife, exotic local fruits, and beautiful countryside lend themselves to one of the best family-friendly vacation destinations in South America.
Plus, there are plenty of agencies to hire a trusted babysitter if parents want to let loose for a night out in El Poblado or Laureles!
Is Medellin safe for traveling as a family or with kids?
The fact that Alex and Ryan have chosen Medellin as a place to settle down and buy a home and have a baby goes to show that Medellin is a wonderful (and adventurous, of course) place to go with kids.
Of course, when traveling abroad, expect a language barrier, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Colombia is no different! The difference with Medellin is that neighborhoods like El Poblado and Laureles have a considerable amount of English, due to the number of foreigners who live there, as well as the number of tourists who come annually.
For a complete check on safety in Medellin, visit our guide that answers the question, “Is Medellin safe for travel?”
Best Places to Visit in Medellin with Children
While of course Dan and I have written our Medellin travel guide with backpackers, solo travelers and couples in mind, the things to do with kids in Medellin are slightly different. They’re more fun, and geared toward young ones!
Here are all the things Alex likes to do around Medellin with her young child, including some day trips and private half-day tours.
Visit the Jardin Botanico & Parque Explora
The Jardin Botanico is a place to which Dan and I have gone every time we’ve been in Medellin. We love the tropical feel, the peacefulness, the greenery and the animals to spot in the trees!
Alex likes to group a trip to Medellin’s Botanical Gardens with a visit to the Parque Explora, Medellin’s science museum for kids. Located across the street from each other, the Botanical Gardens and Parque Explora make it an easy and educational all-day, one-stop shop.
Alex says: Don’t miss the excellent restaurant inside the botanical gardens called In Situ, but make reservations in advance.
Exercise as a family at the Sunday Ciclovía
Every Sunday morning in several parts of Medellin, select roads are closed for families, joggers, dog walkers and bikers for the “Ciclovia.” We recommend the same type of Ciclovia as one of the key things to do in Bogota as well!
Alex highly recommends the El Poblado Ciclovia, the same Ciclovia we have frequented in this neighborhood! It runs every Sunday from 7am-1pm, except for certain holidays and election days.
Along the road are bands, musicians, entertainers, food tents and more! It’s Alex and Ryan’s favorite part of living in Medellin with children. It’s something to look forward to every week, it’s free and it encourages exercise! Just watch out for fast bikers and follow others who are walking.
Try nature walking in Parque Arvi & take the Metrocable
Parque Arvi is a family-friendly way to spend a day in nature, and you could think of it as a day trip, or an activity within the city! Parque Arvi is a natural reserve that’s technically within Medellin’s city limits, but also feels far away at the same time.
For children who like hiking, Parque Arvi will be fun because there are small wooden bridges, little waterways and some wildlife to watch. There are not many steep hills or dangerous hikes. For more information, check out Medellin.travel’s website. Also, kids under 5 enter for free.
Going by Medellin’s public transport is a cool adventure for kids as well, as the Metrocable cable cars provide great views and are thrilling (and inexpensive!). We detail the experience among our list of the best day trips from Medellin.
Take a fruit tour at Plaza Mayorista
The largest fresh market in Medellin (Plaza Mayorista) boasts row upon row of amazing sights, sounds and smells for the whole family to enjoy.
Alex recommends taking an “exotic fruit tour” with the best-known tour company, Real City Tours (below). The good thing about this tour in particular is that it is limited to 6 attendees, so everyone, including kids, can get attention from the bilingual expert guide.
Don’t miss trying some native Colombian fruits like the lulo, and our favorite, the pitahaya.
Watch a Colombian soccer match
There are three futbol (soccer) teams in the Medellin area, but the Atlético Nacional are arguably the most popular. The games are fun, loud, and full of energy, so Alex recommends an activity like this for older kids. If you also have younger toddlers, one parent can stay back with them.
Alex’s top local tip is to try for a Sunday afternoon match and book tickets in the family-friendly section of “Oriental Alta.” The website is here.
Hike to the Campana Waterfalls in El Salado
Just a few minutes away from the bustling downtown of Medellin, the family can enjoy a wonderful jungle hike. In this hiking route, starting off on an easy trail, you’ll make your way to a refreshing river. You’ll criss-cross the river for about an hour until reaching a wonderful waterfall called Chorro de Las Campanas.
Note: Hiking in the river is probably best for older, sure-footed children. Carrying a child in a hiking carrier on your back or in a baby carrier on your front might be challenging. However, the beginning trail is suitable for everyone, and small toddlers will love swimming in the fresh jungle river just 20 minutes from the trailhead. Use this location from Alex.
Take a trip to a pueblo in the countryside
There’s no shortage of charming pueblos in Medellin’s countryside. Among the possible day trips from Medellin, she recommends visiting the village of El Retiro (only 40 minutes away, and there are hourly buses).
There are excellent restaurants, an idyllic Colombian plaza with a daily farmer’s market, cowboys drinking tinto (local coffee) and hiking trails abound. Smaller towns are less overwhelming for children, and small towns in Colombia are considered safe places to spend time.
For a weekend (rather than a day trip), Alex suggests to instead consider visiting the magical pueblo of Jardín (3+ hours away from Medellin), where Dan and I took a lovely trip for a night. We liked Jardin a lot and it is probably our favorite heritage town in Colombia.
Catch a seasonal festival with children
While Medellin’s weather is excellent year-round, there are two times a year with wild celebrations and parades. The first is the Feria de Las Flores, Medellin’s flower festival. As one of the largest producers of flowers in the world, this August festival celebrates Colombia’s flower heritage with parades, concerts, shows, and markets.
The other festival time are the days leading up to Christmas, where the whole city lights up with extravagant light displays and concerts. Kids will really like the festive atmosphere!
If Alex had to pick between the two, she would recommend the Feria de Las Flores festival, which is a sensory experience for children. You can see more about it at the Colombia Ministry of Tourism website.
Go horseback riding
Colombia is a country of cowboys, and Alex has said that anyone would be surprised to learn how young children begin horseback riding in Medellin! While you can take a tour with older children into the mountainside coffee farms, let the littlest ones (starting at 1 year old!) begin with a lesson.
The horseback riding club, Club Equino Los Recuerdos, is best reachable on Instagram.
Take a chocolate tour
While the adults may be eager to join a coffee tour, instead consider a chocolate tour so that little ones can get involved!
On a chocolate tour, you’ll not only see how Colombian cacao is grown, but you’ll be able to make your own chocolate from scratch to bring home as a keepsake. Sounds delicious for everyone!
The tour Alex’s family has done is called Chocolate Tour Near Medellin, run by Tourguides Medellin.
Best Places in Medellin to Stay with Children
The hotel and Airbnb options are endless in Medellin. Alex recommends staying in the El Poblado area to be near the best restaurants and to be centrally located. Three of the most family-friendly places to stay are these recommendations below.
Loma Verde Aparthotel by Casacol
For a home away from home accommodation in Medellin, we recommend a Casacol apartment. Casacol is the largest apartment developer in the city, and their Loma Verde apartment building in El Poblado is the most family-friendly property they’ve recommended to us.
If you peruse the photos on the website, you’ll even see a family with a young child, and a high chair, travel crib and other kid items in the photos. Casacol apartments are modern and updated, with concierge desks, gyms and sometimes rooftop pools. You can reserve here and follow the Instagram to get inspired.
Dann Carlton Medellin on Carrera 43A
Hotel Dann Carlton is a popular “staycation” spot for Colombian families, according to Alex! This hotel has a great pool and fantastic location right near all the action in El Poblado. It has “family rooms” and suites, too. Alex says that as a bonus, the Sunday Ciclovía starts right outside its doors.
Intercontintenal Medellin (El Poblado)
With a large pool and tennis courts, Alex thinks the amenities at the Intercontinental are fantastic for children. She knows of many families who opt to stay at the Intercontinental, but note that its location is up the mountain.
Therefore, be prepared for long walks back from the restaurants and busy-ness of El Poblado, but it’s an enjoyable walk if you’re up for tackling it!
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