Attractions Abound in Aranjuez

The orchid show is one of my favorite parts of the Feria De Las Flores.
Not too many tourists see the Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez, but they should.
Not too many tourists see the Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez — usually only locals, like the group of students above, stop in — but they should.

Aranjuez and art are synonymous.

You might not think that, especially if you haven’t spent much time in Medellín, but it’s what I think of when someone mentions this northern city district.

Other things associated with Aranjuez:

  1. Beautiful women: some people think the comuna is home to the prettiest girls in the city.
  1. Danger: Just five years ago, the murder rate was quite high. But because the rates have dropped drastically, people now think about…
  1. Improvement: like other once-rough districts, Aranjuez is improving and is becoming a must-see sector of the city.
  1. Sightseeing: The Jardín Botánico is one of the most popular places to visit in Medellín, and there are several other great sites nearby.

I guess you’ll just have to see it for yourself to determine what Aranjuez means to you.


Aranjuez has not been around too long, maybe 100 years or so, but it feels old because only now is redevelopment starting to creep in.

There just under 200,000 people who live there. It is a working class community, and will probably remain that way into the foreseeable future.

It will also continue to draw visitors, and more so as foreigners get to know all of the comuna’s attractions.

Meet one of the new residents at Jardín Botánico.
Meet one of the new residents at Jardín Botánico.

Points of Interest

Aranjuez might have more sights to see per square kilometer than any area in the city.

I’ve already told you about the Jardín Botánico but what you might not know is that it’s home to a monkey that showed up last summer and hasn’t left.

I was lucky to come across him one day last July. He stared at me, wondering what I was doing with my camera.

The gardens are also home to several large iguanas, various fauna — including the orchid display during the annual Feria De Las Flores — and a great restaurant, In Situ.

Next door is Parque Explora, an interactive science museum that is a hit with most kids. And across the street is the Universidad de Antioquia, one of the best institutions of higher learning in the country, which has its own museum as well.

If that’s not enough to satisfy the artsy crowd, there the Cementerio San Pedro just a few blocks away, where some of the country’s most elite members have been buried, including a handful of ex-presidents. The good folks at Medellin Buzz just had a language exchange event there.

Farther north in the district, you can find the Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez, the former house of the famous artist.

He not only is known for his paintings but for designing the streets of the Laureles area like an Italian neighborhood, because he studied art in the European country.

His blueprints are on display at the museum atop Pueblito Paisa.

The salmon tartar is one of my favorite dishes at In Situ.
The salmon tartar is one of my favorite dishes at In Situ. (photo: David Lee)


Unlike many of the more traditional comunas, you actually have some variety here, not just Colombian food.

If you want fine dining, In Situ is the place to go.

Just make sure you’ve brought enough money because you’ll need to spend a bit to get full.

By the university, in the big courtyard area that sinks into the ground, there are a cluster of places to eat, one of them with sushi, and while it’s nothing special, it’s not terrible.


A great starting point is at Calle 93 and Carrera 49A, one of the corners of Parque Aranjuez. You’ll find a lot of bars and clubs in this area.

Zircux might be the best one.

You can also go to the area near the Universidad de Antioquia, which is becoming more and more popular but technically you’d be in Manrique and we’ll tell you about that comuna later.

Shopping Malls

There are none, not in the style of the big malls that are everywhere. Small business rules here.

With so many attractions in the area, including Parque Explora, it's in the city's best interests to keep the area safe.
With so many attractions in the area, including Parque Explora, it’s in the city’s best interests to keep the area safe.


It’s becoming monotonous to write this, so I’m sure you feel the same about reading it, but these kinds of posts require this section.

I would not walk around at night alone on dark, lonely streets. Otherwise, Aranjuez is fine.

At one point it wasn’t. In 2009, there were 93 murders for every 100,000 residents. That rate has been cut 66 percent.

With so many points of interest nearby the city wants to make the area safe for everyone, locals and visitors, and the numbers support their commitment.

I think it will only get better.

Cost of Living

But you can’t shake your reputation overnight and that will keep costs down.

You can find a comfortable, unfurnished, two-bedroom place for 400,000 pesos a month (about $210).

Maybe you should take advantage of that. It is hard to tell how much longer prices will stay that way.

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  1. As someone who lives in the area with two small children, I can vouch for the areas safety. It’s a very friendly neighborhood where you actually get to say hello to everyone in your street, and everyone looks out for you.

    • yeah, i got that feeling there. thanks for sharing andrew. it’s a comment like yours that will go a long way in showing people that medellin has a lot of great areas outside poblado. cuidate!!

      • This is starting to sound like the local rags – painting an overly rosy picture of the place hiding the true reality of things.

        • well please humor me, des, by telling me how much time you’ve spent in medellin and aranjuez for that matter and your comments will be duly noted. thanks 🙂

          • Been in Colombia for over a decade, and in Medellin around 6 years. I understand not wanting to focus on the bad stuff but readers should be made aware of the dangers as well and not an unrealistic rosy picture.

        • Medellin Living has always been about presenting the city in a positive light, based on the personal experiences of our writers. We’re a tourism and entertainment-focused publication, not a local news outlet.

          This does not mean we’re ignorant of the hardships and dangers faced by Colombians. I encourage our readers to dig deeper into those problems (including forced displacement), but they’re better served by reading Colombia Reports.

          In the coming months, we’ll be launching a new series to highlight the work of local NGO’s and volunteer organizations which operate in the poorer comunas and countryside surrounding Medellin.

          If we’re going to be discussing the problems facing Medellin’s poor and disadvantaged, we want to do it in the context of what’s being done to help them (and how our readers can help).

  2. Also in Aranjuez is Parque Norte, Medellín’s amusement park, which is one of the more popular attractions in Medellín and can be a fun place for a date or also with kids.

    2013 statistics from the government show that Aranjuez is predominately an Estrato 2 or 3 neighborhood (89% of homes) with no Estrato 4, 5, or 6 areas. I personally prefer other neighborhoods in Medellín to live but the many attractions in Aranjuez make it worth visiting.