Must see and do
If you’re a fan of slick Netflix series, Narcos, you’ll want to take a Pablo Escobar tour. The one offered by Medellin City tours (www.medellincitytours.com) includes a visit to Comuna 13 - a working class suburb on the north-eastern edge of the city, that served as a recruiting ground for the cocaine kingpin, the apartment where Pablo’s wife, Maria Victoria, and bodyguards lived, the roof where Escobar was famously shot down in a hail of police bullets, and the salubrious cemetery where he is buried. Don’t be surprised to see flowers adorning the drug lord’s grave: Pablo remains popular in certain circles owing to his benevolence to the poor.
Next up, make for the Museo Casa de la Memoria (free entry; www.museocasadelamemoria.org) where you can listen to first-hand accounts of what it was like to live in Medellin during the decades of drug violence - and get a sense of just how far Medellín has come.
Staying downtown, potter along to Plaza Botero filled as it is with 23 of Medellin-born artist Fernando Botero’s bulbous bronze sculptures. (If, like TNT, you’re a fan of Fernando, you can find more of his work at Parque San Antonio – the site of the Pájaro de Paz (Bird of Peace) sculpture.)
Then soak up the street-life: Medellin’s crammed, chaotic streets are alive with the vibrant smells of food stalls and English is most definitely a foreign language.
When you’ve had enough of downtown’s grit, take a ride on a gleaming gondola over the green mountains of the Aburrá Valley. Alternatively lose yourself in one of Medellin’s gorgeous gardens and parks. For what it’s worth, Parque Arví (www.parquearvi.org) - arguably the paisas' favourite public park - and Jardín Botánico (www.botanicomedellin.org) - expect to see exotic birds and beautiful orchid displays - get our vote.