We provide a self-guided metro tour, which uses the inexpensive Medellín Metro system for a self-guided city tour of Medellín to visit several top attractions in the city. Our guide is a self-guided tour of Medellín that is budget friendly, which costs less than $10 USD for the metro fare at the current exchange rate.
During this tour you will see many of the top tourist attractions in Medellín and experience using the metro system including obtaining a Civica card and using the Metrocable cable cars.
This tour is designed for one-day but if you spend much time at one or more of the attractions during the tour this could be split into more than one day.
Also, be careful of printed tour guides of Medellín. For example, the list of top things to do in Lonely Planet that is missing many places in Medellín and nearby and has out-of-date information about the Medellín Metro.
In addition, TripAdvisor can’t be trusted for Medellín. For example, TripAdvisor lists the Metrocable as the top thing to do in Medellín. While the Metrocable is nice and worth seeing as part of a trip to Parque Arví, it isn’t the top thing to do in Medellín. The Metrocable in itself is just a cable-car transportation system.
Here is our self-guided metro tour of Medellín:
1. Poblado Station: Starting Point
El Poblado is where many tourists stay in the city so we start our self-guided Medellín city tour at Poblado station.
If you don’t have a Civica card to use the metro, you will need to buy an Eventual Civica card at the ticket window at the station for 5,000 pesos and charge it.
In addition, we have a separate comprehensive guide to the Medellín Metro. And a map of the Medellín Metro system is found here in PDF format, which can be printed to take with you.
If you plan to be in Medellín for a while and plan to use the Medellín Metro for over 17 trips, it is worth getting a personalized Civica card due to fares being cheaper with a personalized Civica card.
We include out our self-guided metro tour, stopping to get a personalized Civica card.
So, if you plan to get a personalized Civica card, charge the Eventual card just with a minimum fare of 2,650 pesos. Or if you plan to just use the Eventual card while in Medellín, charge it with at least 34,000 pesos needed for our tour.
From this metro station go north on the A-Line of the metro towards Niquia Station.
2. San Antonio Station: First Stop
Our first stop on the metro is at San Antonio Station. Look or ask for the Civica office at this station and this is where you can get a personalized Civica card for free. You just need an ID like your passport or a cedula (Colombian ID card) to obtain a free personalized Civica card.
If you get a personalized Civica card, charge it with at least 33,000 pesos needed for our tour.
From San Antonio station you can stop to see the nearby El Hueco. El Hueco is an area in El Centro full of thousand of shops of all types with good prices. This is an area where you can find cheap prices for almost anything.
You can find so many products in this area with typically the cheapest prices in the city. You can find clothing, shoes, baby items, toys, home improvement items, sports equipment, textiles, art supplies, furniture, watches, jewelry and so much more. You can find almost anything but it may take some time to search in the large area. We have a separate guide to El Hueco.
After checking out the shops, go back to San Antonio Station and head north on the A-Line towards Niquia to the next station.
3. Parque Berrio Station: Second Stop
Near the Parque Berrio Station are three of the main tourist attractions in Medellín: Museo de Antioquia, Plaza Botero and Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture.
Museo de Antioquia is reportedly the most popular museum in Medellín. In addition, it’s considered one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Inside the museum are about 100 pieces of artwork donated by World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The museum also includes pre-Colombian, colonial and modern art collections.
No visit to the city of Medellín would be considered complete without visiting Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero located in front of the museum. Museo de Antioquia is considered one of the top attractions in the city of Medellín.
Plaza Botero is one of the top tourist attractions in Medellín. Plaza Botero is an outside park in front of Museo de Antioquia that displays 23 abstract bronze sculptures created by World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
Botero donated the statues and many other artworks found in Museo de Antioquia.
The 23 bronze statues found at Plaza Botero include chubby women and men, a cat, a dog, Adam and Eve and many others.
Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture (Palacio del la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe) is a very distinctive building located next to Plaza Botero and Museo de Antioquia.
The building was designed by Belgian architect Agustin Goovaerts in the Gothic Revival style. With its use of intricate black and white bricks the building really stands out as an architectural gem in the city.
The dome in the building was modeled upon New York City skyscrapers. Most of all it was built using metal supports from Belgium with a complicated structure of nuts and bolts, rather than traditional welding methods.
Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture is a very impressive building from the outside. So, it’s likely the most photographed building in Medellín. While the city considers this building a museum, you will likely be disappointed by how few exhibits there really are to see in the building. But at least it’s free to enter.
During the day, there will be many tourists taking photos in the area where these three tourist attractions are located. But still take care to watch your valuables. There is normally a noticeable police presence, so it is relatively safe. However, keep in mind that street crime is common in El Centro.
After seeing the attractions near Parque Berrio, go back to Parque Berrio Station and head north on the A-Line towards Niquia to Universidad station.
4. Universidad Station: Third Stop
At Universidad Station there are four major tourist attractions located here – Jardín Botánico, Parque Explora, Planetario de Medellín and Parque Norte. We recommend seeing the first two attractions and Parque Norte is good if you have children.
Jardín Botánico is the popular Medellín botanical gardens, which offers many sights to see and activities to enjoy. The botanical gardens are set in about 34 acres of land (14 hectares). And it has over 1,000 different living plant species.
The ambience of the botanical gardens is relaxed. You will see families, students, groups of friends plus individuals enjoying the green gardens and open space. The botanical gardens are free to enter.
Also, if it is lunch time, we recommend eating at Restaurante In Situ located in Jardín Botánico. This is a popular restaurant with excellent food.
Parque Explora is Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium with over 300 activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
While its name is Parque Explora, it isn’t really a park. It’s actually an interactive science museum with over 300 interactive activities. In addition, there is a large aquarium, a terrarium (with frogs, snakes, turtles and other reptiles), an outdoor dinosaur exhibition, a small television studio, a 3D movie auditorium, restaurants, cafes and a souvenir shop.
Planetario de Medellín is a planetarium and museum located in Medellín that is very popular and worth seeing with many exhibits plus films on a huge screen.
Planetario de Medellín along with Parque Explora are both perfect places to go for families with children, as there are plenty of things for kids to do and these attractions are considered very kid-friendly.
Parque Norte is a traditional amusement park in Medellín that is open year-round. This amusement park is popular with tourists, families and kids of all ages.
Parque Norte is in a good location with lots of greenery around a small like. And it has nice views of the mountains surrounding the Aburrá Valley. But don’t go expecting to see a large-scale amusement park like in the U.S. However, Parque Norte is a nice amusement park with some fun attractions.
When you are done seeing the attractions near the Universidad Station, return to the station and head north on the A-Line north to the Acevedo metro station.
Note there is construction going on in the Acevedo station for a new Metrocable line. So, if you are arriving from the south you should be in one of the first three cars of the metro train or from the north (Bello) be in one of the last three cards of the train.
5. Take the Metrocable to Parque Arví: Fourth Stop
At the Acevedo metro station walk upstairs and to the right to transfer to the K Line Metrocable (cable car) to Santo Domingo station. And at Santo Domingo station (the third station), transfer to L-Line Metrocable to Parque Arví. The L-Line Metrocable ride takes about 20 minutes.
Parque Arví (Arví Park) is a very large ecological nature reserve in Medelín, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín. Parque Arví is located in in Santa Elena, which is a corregimiento (rural area) of Medellín.
This is a huge park with 39,500 acres (16,000 hectares) of forest, plants and ecosystems. And it has 33 miles (54 km) of walkable trails. Activities include hiking, picnicking, cycling and horseback riding.
Parque Arví is a very popular tourist site in Medellín and in the first six months of 2019 over 450,000 people reportedly visited this park. And we have a separate detailed guide to Parque Arví.
Parque Arví is definitely worth visiting if you like hiking, picnicking, cycling and horseback riding. Even if you don’t like these activities this giant park is still worth a trip to experience the impressive park and the Metrocable cable cars.
When you leave Parque Arví using the Metrocable make sure to arrive at the Arví station no later than 5:30 pm as there are normally lines for the return trip. The Metrocable closes at 6 pm.
Also, keep in mind the L-Line to Parque Arví is not open on Monday (unless Monday is a Colombian holiday).
To return to Poblado Station where this self-guided metro tour started, take the L-Line Metrocable back to Santo Domingo station. At this station you will need to exit the station and re-enter to get on the L-Line Metrocable back to Acevedo Station.
Once you get to Acevedo Station take the A-Line south towards La Estrella to the Poblado Station where you started.
Medellin Guru’s Step-By-Step Self-Guided Metro Tour of Medellin
Here is our step-by-step self-guided metro tour of Medellín:
- Poblado Station – start here and buy an Eventual Civica card for 5,000 pesos and charge with a minimum fare of 2,650 pesos per person if you plan get a personalized Civica card. Take the A-Line north towards Niquia and get off at San Antonio Station:
- San Antonio Station – this is where you can get a personalized Civica card for free and a personalized Civica card has a lower fare than the Eventual Civica card. Go and see El Hueco near this metro station and then go back to San Antonio Station and go north on the A-Line towards Niquia station to the next stop, Parque Berrio Station.
- Parque Berrio Station – go see Museo de Antioquia, Plaza Botero and Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture. After sightseeing, return to Parque Berrio station and go north on the A-Line towards Niquia station to Universidad Station.
- Universidad Station – stop here and see at least two of the four major tourist attractions here – Parque Explora, Jardín Botánico, Planetario de Medellín and Parque Norte. After seeing the attractions, return to Universidad station and go north on the A-Line towards Niquia station and get on one of the first three cars of the train.
- Acevedo Station – head up the stairs to the exit at the north in the station but don’t exit the station and follow the signs for the K-Line Metrocable to Santo Domingo.
- Santo Domingo Station – once you reach this station look for the L-Line Metrocable to Parque Arvi. Take the L-Line to Parque Arvi, which has a fare of 10,000 pesos per person.
- Arví Station – explore Parque Arví that is open Tuesday to Sunday until 6 pm.
- Santo Domingo Station – when you arrive here from Parque Arví, you need to leave the station and re-enter to take the Metrocable back down to Acevedo Station.
- Acevedo Station – head south on A-Line towards La Estrella and get off at Poblado station.
- Poblado Station – you are back where you started.
The total fare of our self-guided metro tour of Medellín with just an Eventual Civica card including the price of buying an Eventual card – 38,250 pesos.
The total fare for our tour if you get a personalized Civica card – 37,070 pesos. And your metro fares will be 12.5 percent cheaper going forward. If you plan on taking a total of 17 trips on the metro while you are in Medellín, it’s cheaper to get a personalized Civica card due to lower fares.
Using the Medellin Metro as a Tourist to See More of Medellín
If you are a tourist, you can use the Medellín Metro system to get to many of the most popular tourist spots in Medellín. The following is a list of metro stations with some additional tourist spots located near each station:
- Parque Berrio Station – Iglesia de la Candelaria
- Hospital Station – Museo Cementerio San Pedro
- Buenos Aires Station – Museo Casa de la Memoria
- Industriales Station – Museo de Arte Moderno
- Prado Station – Catedral Basílica Metropolitana, Iglesia Jesús Nazareno
- Sabaneta Station – Parque Sabaneta, Iglesia Santa Ana
In addition, seven of the shopping malls in Medellín are located within a block or just a few blocks from a metro station:
- Itagüí station Station – Mayorca Mega Plaza mall
- Envigado Station – Viva Envigado mall
- Poblado Station – Monterrey mall
- Industriales Station – Premium Plaza malland Punto Clave mall
- Niquia Station – Puerta del Norte mall
- Los Alpes Station – Los Molinos mall
So, it is possible and convenient to get to many tourist spots and shopping malls in the metropolitan area by using the metro system. The Medellín Metro even provides a tourist guide (in Spanish) showing additional tourist spots you can get to using the metro system.
Tours in Medellín
We have now covered several different tours in Medellín:
- Two of the best walking tours in Medellín – walking tours are one of the best ways to explore Medellín, especially a tour of El Centro by Real City Tours.
- Self-Guided Metro Tour: A City Tour of Medellin – a self-guided tour of Medellin using the Medellín Metro system.
- Graffiti Tour of Comuna 13 – a community that has been transformed by improved accessibility, street art and community solidarity.
- La Sierra Tours tours – in the La Sierra barrio in Medellín – this community is being transformed with improved accessibility and investment.
- Pablo Escobar Tours – is a controversial Escobar tour worth going on? We do not recommend or endorse activities that appear to glorify Escobar.
- Urban Coffee Tour – a coffee tour in Medellín.
We also provided a recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín.
The Bottom Line: Self-Guided Metro Tour – A City Tour of Medellin, Colombia
Our self-guided tour of Medellín uses the Medellín Metro and is budget friendly, costs less than $10 USD for metro fares at the current exchange rate, and shows how to use the metro to visit several of the top tourist attractions in Medellín.
The Medellín Metro is a comprehensive transportation system in Medellín, which makes it very easy to inexpensively visit many of the top tourist attractions in Medellín.
We have a separate comprehensive guide to the Medellín Metro. And a map of the Medellín Metro system is found here in PDF format, which can be printed to take with you. And there are free Medellín Metro apps available for Android and iPhone, with maps of the metro system.
So, with the above guide we provide a self-guided city tour of Medellín using the metro. The Medellín metro is easy to use and you really shouldn’t pay for a guide to use the metro.
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.
Nice self-guided tour guide with some great photos. If you are here for a week or more, definitely get a personalized Civica card so you save money every time you use the metro.
If someone needs a tour guide to use the metro, I think they should not be traveling internationally. The metro in Medellin is so easy to use with even a mobile app, why would you need a guide to show you how to use it.
I think that the tour you outlined is a three-four day adventure… especially for an old codger like me and my codger visitors. But perhaps two-three days for younger folks. One thing I like to do with my visitors is getting off at various stations for foto ops from the platforms, most of which north of Poblado are elevated. Nice viewpoints. Then back on to the next. Station for some more. Beautiful article Jeff!
Thanks, yes, could be 3-days, depends how much time you spend at each attraction and if you see all of them.