Currently, I live in the neighborhood of Laureles in Medellín. On a lazy Saturday morning, I knew I needed to get out of the house, but couldn’t commit to full day hike. Luckily, my roommate knew just the spot. A beautiful, but challenging hike, to a hilltop named “Cerro El Volador” (Volador Hill), which isn’t very far from where I live.
It’s no secret Medellin is full of fun and enjoyable activities. Not only is it an up and coming world class city, with numerous restaurants and bars, but Medellin also has an astounding number of hikes, greenery and nature.
More About Cerro El Volador
Cerro El Volador is located in Robledo. It’s reportedly the largest natural park located in the city of Medellín, sized at 262 acres.
Furthermore, Cerro El Volador was even named a natural Colombian heritage site in 1993. The large hill and park is located in an area that was once sacred ground for Indians, the original inhabitants in the Aburrá Valley.
Activities in the park include biking, bird watching, hiking, jogging and kite flying. There are even a few places to buy food, snacks and drinks. The park is a popular location for family picnics. In addition, many families take their dogs along.
Also, the park has a small museum with exhibits showing the historical evidence of the indigenous people that lived there in the past. Also a guided tour is available that takes you on a historical Indian trail.
Cerro El Volador rises to an elevation of 269 feet and offers very good views of the city. It’s a good place to hike or jog while enjoying the views, read a book or have a picnic and get away from the city. Police regularly patrol the park, but it’s a large park. So, we recommend sticking to the main paths with other people around.
How to Get to Cerro El Volador
One hiking entrance to Cerro El Volador is located 10 minutes from the Estadio metro station or a 25 minute walk from the Laureles neighborhood. On the other side of the hill in Robledo is the main entrance to the park with a paved road up the hill.
This hiking entrance we used is not marked clearly (many are not marked here in Colombia). However, there is a park and a smiley face sign next to the stairs that take you to the top of the hill. Use these as indicators.
Once you find the stairs and begin to climb, you will notice a third marker. There is a sign that will read “Sendero Aviturismo la 70”. This is how you know you are headed in the right direction!
This sign provides a brief overview of the hike, in both English and Spanish.
What to Expect at Cerro El Volador
Although the hike we went on is steep, in total it should take no longer than 40 – 45 minutes. You will see many stairs and red brick pavement similar to the photo below.
After approximately 15 minutes, there is an option to go left or right. This fork is marked by a small grey stone wall with graffiti (at the time of publication). For the purpose of this article, we advise taking a left (as we are not sure where the right leads). The path suggested will lead you to the top of the hill.
As you ascend, be sure to look around. Within minutes of starting the climb, there are some pretty spectacular views that only continue to get better.
After another 10 minutes, you will reach a paved road. Again, take a left and walk approximately five minutes up the road. You will see a small park. This park will have several vendors, free Wifi and a butterfly garden.
My friend and I stopped to get a green juice and it was absolutely delicious. It’s a nice midway point in the hike.
If you come on a weekend, you’ll notice the park has an abundance of families (often with children flying kites), dogs and cyclists. In addition, this spot is known to attract butterflies.
Climbing to the Top of Cerro El Volador
Once you are ready to continue the next part of the hike, look for the sign that says “Un paraíso para las mariposas”.
To the left of this sign, is another set of stairs that will lead to the top of Cerro El Volador. Take this set of stairs for another 10 – 15 minutes and you will be at the top of the hill.
When you see this resemblance of old tiles/perhaps an old helicopter pad you know you’re at the top.
The top of Cerro El Volador was much bigger than I had originally imagined it to be. You have 360 degree views of the entire city. In addition, there is plenty of space to allow your kids to run around, have a picnic or enjoy a glass of wine.
I was surprised by the grandiose trees that stood in the middle of the hill. They made for some great photo ops. If you time, be sure to explore the entire mountaintop as each step brings new views.
We used the same route to go back down the hill as well. All in all, after a leisurely climb, lots of jump photos and a nice juice break – we spent three hours at Cerro El Volador.
The climb up Cerro El Volador is a perfect hike if you have a few spare hours and want to escape the business of Medellin down below.
However, we recommend going with a group, as there have been reports of thefts in the park. The park has a police presence but it’s a very large park and the police aren’t everywhere.
Location: Carrera 65 #67-51
Hours: The Cerro El Volador eco-park is open daily from 8:00 am in the morning until 6:00 pm in the evening throughout the week.
Parks and Plazas in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 12 different parks and plazas in the Medellín and Aburra Valley area:
- Parque Arví – a very large nature reserve, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín.
- Parque Lleras – the top nightlife district in Medellín.
- Piedras Blancas – an ecological park near Medellín worth visiting.
- Parque Sabaneta – arguably the nicest park in the Medelllín metro area.
- Plaza Botero – a popular outdoor plaza with 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero.
- Plaza Cisneros – Parque de las Luces, Medellín’s Park of Lights in El Centro.
- Jardín Botánico – the popular Medellín botanical gardens.
- Parques Del Río – Medellín’s ambitious River Parks project along the Medellín River with the first stage open.
- Plaza San Antonio – a large plaza with four Fernando Botero sculptures and sometime has concerts.
- Cerro el Volado – a huge park with incredible views of Medellín.
- Cerro Pan de Azucar – a park with amazing views of Medellín.
- Parque de los Deseos – a popular park in Zona Norte offering a wide variety of free cultural activities.
Hiking in Medellín
We also have looked at three different hikes in Medellín:
- Cerro de Las Tres Cruces in Medellín With Amazing City Views
- Cerro el Volador: A Quick and Beautiful Hike in Medellín
- Cerro Pan de Azucar in Medellín With Incredible City Views
And we plan to look at additional hikes in the Medellín area. We also looked at two other popular hikes in Colombia:
- Guide to Hiking the Spectacular Cocora Valley in Colombia
- Ciudad Perdida: A Guide to Hiking to the Lost City in Colombia
The Bottom Line: Cerro El Volador
The bottom line is the hike to the top of Cerro El Volador was definitely worth doing, as it has some amazing views of the city. Amazing views of Medellín can also be found at Cerro Pan de Azucar (Sugar Loaf Hill) and Cerro Nutibara (Nutibara Hill), which is included in our Recommended Tourist Itinerary for a Day in Medellín.
Also, we included Cerro El Volador as one of the five best panoramic views of Medellín.
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