Once the most dangerous city in the world, Medellín Colombia is now one of South America’s most popular city breaks.
Nestled in the valleys of Antioquia, it stays a perfect 27 degrees all year round. But in a city that loves its empanadas and bandeja paisa (a stacked plate of meat, rice, beans and more), quality nutrition and exercise can be hard to come by.
We have a few suggestions nonetheless.
Yoga Medellín is a sanctuary in the midst of the chaos. Not only is the quality of teaching exceptional, with each yogi offering their own hybridised yogic style and meditations, but every aspect of the experience has been considered. The sounds, smells and spaces all contribute to a luxurious, serene atmosphere the moment you walk in.
A 45-minute fiesta on a bike. Low-impact, high-intensity spinning in a hilly city like Medellín is only possible in a studio (unless you have superhuman quads). The energy of Cyglo’s team is infectious and, in keeping with the reputation of the region, the music is phenomenal.
Salsa at Parque Lleras
What better way to get moving and immerse yourself in Colombian culture than by taking a salsa class. Classes are for people of all abilities, so do not feel ashamed to go with zero experience. Teachers speak English and Spanish and are trained in many alternative dance forms.
The self-proclaimed superfood oasis is your one-stop-shop for smoothie bowls full of the exotic fruits native to this part of the world. Plant-based and pet-friendly, Betty’s is truly a vegan’s paradise in the centre of Medellín – a far cry from the bandeja paisas you’ll find all over.
Located in the heart of Poblado, Café Zorba boasts a delicious selection of vegan and vegetarian pizzas. Be sure to get there early, though, as the queue to be seated builds up fast, and you’ll definitely want to grab a spot outside – it’s like sitting in a jungle.
Here’s hoping the millennial obsession with avocado never dies. Smash Avocadería serves infinite variations of the much-loved fruit: avocado toast, avocado pancakes, avocado bowls… As you might expect of an avocaderia, everything is immensely instagrammable.
Guatapé Day Trip
Many tourists make the pilgrimage to Guatapé, a village two hours by bus from Medellín’s North terminal. In the 1960s, the Colombian government built a reservoir in Guatapé, creating a spectacular view of a series of man-made islands. The best view is the top of El Peñol, for which you must climb 740 steps.
Exotic Fruits Tour
This region is famous for its abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, many unlike what we find in Europe or the U.S. The Exotic Fruits Tour is a way of sampling new and unusual nutritional goodness, hosted by an English-speaking guide in a popular food market.
Viva Spa Poblado
What’s a holiday without a trip to the spa? Viva Spa Poblado provides a range of services to keep you refreshed in the 99% humidity. Our pick has got to be chocolateriapia, or ‘chocolate therapy’, which uses the subject of our sweet tooth to hydrate and nourish the skin.