Medellin – City of Eternal Spring
Rich coffee plantations catalyze the Colombian economy
The striking hillside metropolis of Medellin in Colombia has transformed from one of the most nefarious cities in the world to an enchanting destination supporting its charming nickname, “City of Eternal Spring.” The city rests at the bottom of a narrow valley rising along the edging walls with high-rise apartments imitating the surrounding jagged peaks. The weather averages a year-round 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit for a comfortable and consistent temperature even at an elevation of 4,900 feet above sea level.
As Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin attracts visitors from the Antioquia region, across the country, and from around the globe eager to experience the year-round flower blossoms, lush trees, and intermittent rainy days where the local ambiance always feels exuberant. Industry and commerce focus on manufacturing and pre-cut flower exports with the neighborhood of La Comuna 13 embodying the importance of public works in the city with a reputation as once being the most dangerous neighborhood in Medellin. La Comuna 13 clings to the mountainside and has changed from a symbol of gang violence to a center of artistic expression and transportation with fascinating street art and the escaleras electricas, a set of escalators adorned with murals leading from the once-isolated suburb to the center of Medellin.
As one of the fastest-growing economies in South America, Medellin has become one of the world’s most innovative cities highlighting fantastic urban art and architecture at the eco-arbol, an air-purifier resembling a large tree only enhancing the image of the city’s Eternal Spring. When visiting Medellin, you will step into a vibrant, welcoming, and beautiful city seemingly worlds away from its nefarious past of names like Pablo Escobar and highlighting the ways distinctive public and private works projects, as well as receptive citizens, have revealed the true heart of Medellin.
The importance of flowers in Medellin is even built into the architecture
The Orquideoram was built in the image of wooden flowers and stands more than 50 feet tall forming a delightful shady canopy alongside the edge of the Botanical Gardens. The architectural feature was established in 2006 with 14 interconnected structures creating a honeycombed roof. The canopy collects and funnels rainwater to the large flower bed and plants decorating the interior acting as an ever-blossoming garden worthy of eternal spring.
Orchids thrive in the warm, paradisiacal weather adding to the city’s luscious colors inside an elegant synthesis of organic and humanmade design. You can walk around the intricate lattices of the patio where steel reinforces the strength of the six hexagonal petals while keeping the style of the structure light and natural through elements such as weaving translucent pine wood. The sweet, fragrant aromas of the flowers and trees provide an extra layer of comfort accounting for the locals and visitors who relax in the tranquil, shady ambiance of the Orquideorama.
Centers of cultural life are springing up all around the city
Parque de los Deseos is known in English as the “Park of wishes,” and boasts lovely long esplanades along which cafes, restaurants, and concert halls border. The walkways create a life at the heart of the park bringing locals and visitors into the outdoor space by enjoying the open seating at the cafes, filling the air with the aromas of specialty dishes in the restaurants, or adding luxurious art to the skyline in the form of the Museo de Arte Moderno and University of Antioquia.
The open space immerses you in the spring-time weather of Medellin as well as themes of science and discovery where families, couples, and children of all ages learn to indulge in their curiosity. Sand pits create playful corners leading to wade pools. Children and adults avoid the jets shooting up from the floor as groups of people participate in stretching or exercising in the comfortable temperatures. Weekly events in the park include concerts, cultural displays, and lectures creating the sense of a central destination filling the cultural and civil needs of the community as opposed to simply acting as a green space in a city filled with flowers and surrounded by greenery.
The cable cars have a wide range of applications from interesting tourists to connecting the people of Medellin
The Metrocable in Medellin acts as an aerial tour of the city’s skyline and surrounding hillsides soaring above the valley carrying over 30,000 people per day. The public gondolas have become an icon of innovation in Medellin and a symbol of socially conscious, urban development connecting the outer suburbs tucked into the mountains with the bustling city center. Not only did the public transportation system help reduce the violence and destitution of the city but it remains a fantastic place for you to find a comprehensive and photogenic panorama of the city from the favelas to the high-rises.
The line from Santo Domingo to Parque Arvi offers impressive views of the hillside and the large nature reserve at the edge of the city. Parque Arvi offers a touch of tranquility in the serene space accessible from the city center. The variety of wildlife hides in the nearly seven-square miles of protected eucalyptus forest, sparkling lakes, and lush canopies. The butterfly enclosure displays the remarkable colors and fascinating diversity of the butterfly species in Colombia while the lookout points offer possible sightings of vibrant avifauna like emerald toucanet and fluttering hummingbirds.
The public space of Plazoleta de las Esculturas is located in the heart of Medellin and home to a collection of 23 curvaceous bronze sculptures crafted by the renowned local artist Fernando Botero adorning the open plaza in front of the entrance to the Museo de Antioquia. The vivacious and eclectic open space draws locals from around the city eager to enjoy the weather and public setting mixed with art, culture, and nature at the heart of what is also referred to as Plaza Botero.
The outdoor exhibit displaying the famous artist’s quintessential tall and bulbous style draws connections with popular public spaces in celebrated cities like New York, Paris, Rome, and Madrid with the sculptures receiving routine maintenance every six months. Towering palm trees and the highland mountains decorate the surrounding views and numerous cafes in the neighborhood bring additional layers of aromas such as coffee, chocolate, and traditional Antioquian pastry dough stuffed with meat and potato accompanied by a delectable spicy sauce.
Medellin is demonstrating is sophistication while also unapologetically letting its hair down
Instead of the divine greenery where families picnic beneath endless rows of trees, Parque Lleras displays a different side of Medellin within the two-square blocks surrounded by bars, hotels, and restaurants. Instead of the familiar public space where locals relax amid the bustling streets of a city, Parque Lleras is a landmark of Medellin’s dynamic and energetic ambiance. During the day, shops and cafés offer visitors a charming atmosphere during which you can sample the local cuisine, sip delicious coffee, and watch local vendors showcase their unique aesthetic in the form of fantastic artwork.
However, after sundown, Parque Lleras turns into the most popular nightlife district in Medellin where clubs, bars, and restaurants fill the neighborhood with pulsing beats attracting young dancers and local business people eager to wind down after a long day at work. Over 100 open-air restaurants, bars, and nightclubs intermingle along the cobbled lanes and alleyways of Parque Lleras including hotels offering visitors elegant drinks and fantastic views of the city’s skyline glowing against the night sky.
Outside of the captivating spring of Medellin are tangible small towns and thriving coffee farms opening the landscape of wild outskirts of the mountains. Colombian national heritage towns reflect the centuries of Spanish colonialism offering a glimpse into the vast history of the country while also leading to plantations decorated with bushels of radiant red cherries poking out against the bushes. The surprising aroma of jasmine fills the air deriving from the coffee plants until the cherries ferment, dry, and roast for the perfect flavor of traditional Colombian coffee. Whether spending a single day on a coffee farm during an exclusive tour or enjoying the verdant scenery among the misty mountains for several days, you will gain a new perspective on the beauty of Colombia and the magnificent flavors of fresh, local coffee.
The annual Flower Festival in Medellin has taken place each year since 1957 in early August capturing the essence of the city’s eternal spring-like temperatures and showcasing Colombia’s greater importance as one of the world’s largest flower exporters. The Flower Festival celebrates the grandeur and charm of colorful blossoms, design ingenuity, and stylistic flair for an entire week before ending with the Silleteros Parade when the flower-growers march through the city boasting distinctive arrangements on their backs. Each silletero or “saddle” can weigh more than 154 pounds and shine with up to 25 different species of flower from roses to carnations, chrysanthemums to lilies. Each elaborate decoration looks marvelous but also depicts an important piece of familial history, cultural connection to the land, or a message of personal heritage reflecting how the flowers and farmers represent the greater Antioquia region.