Medellín parks provide a refreshing counterbalance to Medellín’s confining spaces, traffic and noise. Medellín parks are an intersection of nature and civilization. Who hasn’t enjoyed the simple pleasure of sitting down for a moment in the shade of a fragrant tree?
Medellín is blessed with dozens of parks. Some are tiny (Manila Park), party zones (Lleras Park), more concrete than nature (River Park), neighborhood hubs (1st Park of Laureles or Sabaneta Park) and underdeveloped and sprawling (Arví Park).
But the most vital ingredient in the great Medellín parks is what existed here long before civilization. What other urban area claims river frontage, waterfalls, seven ‘guardian’ hills, and topography so crinkly and dramatic that you can hop on a cable car and within 30 minutes notice the temperature has dropped?
Medellín has all these, and the parks to celebrate them.
The following five Medellín parks are less well-known and haven’t been covered on this site. I also chose them for physical beauty, variety of experiences offered, potential for an encounter with the unexpected — art, memorable design, endemic species, free activities. These aren’t just green places to relax; they’re settings for surprise and wonderment.
The above photo is a view from the summit of Cerro La Asomadera, looking towards Nutibara hill.
1. Canal Parque Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Located between Avenida Poblado and Las Vegas, this 28,000 square meter urban park is adjacent to the TeleMedellin main office. It was originally the site of Medellín’s city nursery. Consequently, approximately 1,600 trees, some over 50 years old, are living in the park. Nearly 60 different species of birds have been counted. The main entrance to Canal Parque Gabriel Garcia Márquez is located at Carrera 43F #1860.
In honor of Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the park is loosely divided into different zones all named after his famous works or characters. There is a doggie obstacle course, picnic zone, solar powered charging station and gorgeous playground. There are also several food vendors and lots of boardwalk trails winding through the trees.
Every Sunday from 10-11am free movement classes are offered (Rumba, Pilates, Yoga or Stretching, rotating schedule). The fourth Wednesday of every month from 3 – 5pm there are free classes (greeting card creation, cocktail lessons, floral arranging, casual make-up). All materials are provided. Plus, every Sunday from 9am – 2pm there is a Farmer’s Market.
In addition, there is a padded climbing wall and optical illusion photo activity for kids on one side of the TeleMedellín building. There are even kid level windows that offer an up-close look at the studio set inside.
Come during the week and you’ll have the whole park to yourself.
2. Parque La Presidenta
During my first visit to Medellín back in December of 2015 I stumbled upon this beautiful park in the heart of El Poblado. I followed the curvy boardwalk, mesmerized by the diversity of flowers, stands of guadua, prehistoric looking plants. Parque La Presidenta is located at Calle 8 #42-25.
It’s relatively small, at 7,000 square meters. But Parque La Presidenta still manages to attain a sense of tranquility and respite from the chaos between Parque Lleras and Avenida Poblado.
I believe the sound of its namesake stream soothes the senses, as does the sight of butterflies and hummingbirds, both commonly seen. There is a well-maintained and shaded workout area. In addition, there is a popular Farmer’s Market held every Sunday from 8am-1pm.
3. Uva Ilusión Verde
The view from El Tesoro mall is spectacular. However, an alternative place to drink in the full complement of Medellín’s natural and man-made attributes is simply across the street at UVA Ilusión Verde located at Calle 3B Sur with Carrera 29, behind El Tesoro mall.
At 31,000 square meters, this repurposed land is a joint project of EPM, Inder and the Mayor’s Office. Not only does it have multiple playgrounds, walking paths, sport court, picnic and workout areas, but it also has a theater, cultural center, preschool and library (with computers, free wifi and comfy bean bag chairs).
In addition, every day from 10:30-12noon and 2:30-4pm there are a series of vertical spouting water fountains and misters for children to run through.
A popular spot on a hot day, the fountains are located in front of the library, easily accessible to the bathrooms.
4. Cerro La Asomadera
The vast wooded hill behind San Diego mall is one of Medellín’s guardian hills. Measured at 33.5 hectares, Cerro La Asomadera is known as the most extensive natural arboretum in the city containing anywhere between 300-400 species of trees. It is located at Carrera 38 and Calle 39, B-20.
Last week, when I’d finally reached the natural summit of Cerro La Asomadera (walking up from the San Diego neighborhood on Calle 39A), I heard the unmistakable whine of a motorbike.Looking around, I spotted someone doing wheelies on a Yamaha motorbike. On the basketball court.
Nearby, in a newly created garden, five men were planting trees. Walking in the opposite direction I found a semi-Olympic sized pool where half-dozen children were swimming.
Initially, I was drawn to the majestic view of the city and meandering trails. But I was also fascinated by the guy on the motorbike who kept doing more and more sophisticated tricks. And I was definitely envious of the kids in the pool.
Entry to use the pool is straightforward: passport copy, bathing suit, bathing cap and white plastic bag for personal items (available for purchase for 1,000 pesos). No membership is required and admission is free.
Swim times last one hour and twenty minutes beginning at 8am (Tuesday-Friday), and the last session begins at 3:40pm. Sundays and Holidays begin at 8am, but the last session starts at 2:30. There is a locker room, shower and lounge area.
Getting there is probably easiest by taxi. However, walking is an option too. Simply walk up Carrera 44 which begins behind the San Diego roundabout and turn right on Calle 39A. And follow this until you reach the sand soccer field and enter the park.
5. Cerro El Volador
Our last of the less well-known Medellín parks is Cerro El Volado. A casual glance at any Medellín map reveals many green spaces. However, two in particular are larger than the rest: Cementario Campos de Paz by the Olaya Herrera airport and the Cerro El Volador park. Cerro El Volador is located in Robledo at Carrera 65 #67-51.
At 107 hectares, El Volador Park is the largest green space in the city. It is also another of the ‘guardian’ hills. Plus, archaeological remains from the Aburráes tribe (the Aburrá valley of Medellín is named after them) have been discovered here.
There’s plenty of competition for the best hiking destination within the Medellín city limits. And El Volador park arguably claims the prize. In addition, the three hilly interior trails – El Indio, La Espiral del Tiempo y La Cima – weave among trees and peek-a-boo views.
The moderate walk to the summit provides sweeping 360 views of the city, the ever-expanding Medellín skyline, and traffic flowing along the highway below. It’s a beautiful contradiction—a park that’s intimately connected to the modern city, and also a recollection of what was here before.
Although adventurous types can access a walking trail into the park from the end of Carrera 70 (Estadio Metro station), an easier way in would be by taxi.
Sonja is from Whidbey Island, WA. She has traveled to 46 countries but never wanted to settle down in any of them until she discovered Medellin. She is currently living here in Medellín temporarily until she figures out how to be a permanent resident.
Please leave suggestions for other Medellín parks worth visiting.