Medellin is more than just tall brick buildings. This city is massive but once you arrive here you will soon understand how it is different than many others. The city is full of life and by that I mean nature. Right outside of Medellin in the mountainside is a popular national park called Arvi Park or Parque Arvi.
Getting to this park is an adventure on its own. The easiest way is to get on the metro and then get onto multiple cable cars that lead you straight to the park’s entrance. With a picturesque view of the whole journey up, you won’t want to miss out on this. Expect to spend more time here than in other popular parks in Medellin like Cerro Tres Cruces and Cerro El Volador. Here are the park hours:
- Monday – Closed
- Tuesday – 9 am to 6 pm
- Wednesday – 9 am to 6 pm
- Thursday – 9 am to 6 pm
- Friday – 9 am to 6 pm
- Saturday – 9 am to 6 pm
- Sunday – 8:30 am to 6 pm
In this guide, I will be going over some of the main details about Arvi Park as well as the trail that we ended up choosing: Ancestral Trail.
Ancestral Trail Hike Details (Arvi Park)
- Distance: This is a 2.7-mile point-to-point trail. If you walk to the trailhead like us, it will add on even more.
- Duration: It should take no more than 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete this trail. This all depends on how long you sit for lunch and how often you take in the beauty of this park.
- Difficulty: This hike is rated as easy on alltrails. I completely agree with this rating as the majority of this hike is on flat land.
- Incline: The elevation gain is around 472 feet or 143 meters. This elevation gain is spread far along the trail that you will barely notice it.
- Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
If you’re looking for places to stay, check out the best hostels in Medellin!
Where is Medellin?
Medellin is a bustling city in Colombia. This large city is located in the Northwest province of Antioquia. It is popular amongst backpackers and world travelers alike.
Below are directions to Medellin from a couple of other popular places in Colombia.
The cost of travel in Colombia is cheap, which helps you to be able to see as much as possible of this amazing country!
Salento to Medellin
When visiting Colombia, you will see many travelers talk about the tall palm trees in the south. This area is called Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) and is next to Salento.
- Head to the Terminal de Buses en Salento. This is where you can buy tickets to any location. Buses from Salento to Medellin will take one day. Prices on Redbus range around $70,000 COP.
- We decided to stop by the town of Jardin. This was a long day of 2 separate buses but La Cueva Del Esplendor Hike made it all worth it.
Cali to Medellin
I didn’t end up having time to make it down to Cali during my trip to Colombia. I’m going to make it a point of emphasis when I return.
- This trip is around 9 – 10 hours. A more popular route, so there are plenty of companies to choose from. I found a deal on Redbus for $68,000 COP for a night bus.
- Another viable option is to fly from Cali to Medellin. All flights domestic flights in Colombia are very reasonable prices. These normally range from $20 to $50 USD.
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
How to get to Arvi Park in Medellin
The easiest way to get to Arvi Park in Medellin is by taking the metro and then hopping on the cable cars. Not only is this the easiest way but it is an experience in itself. Some travelers get on cable cars by themselves just to do it. It gives you great views of the city. The cable cars are mainly here to help give the people living in the upper towns a cheap way to get down to the lower areas for work.
The cost to get on the metro and go anywhere throughout the city (including cable cars) is around $2900 COP ($0.71 USD). You might have to first get on the bus that takes you to the metro system but that price is included as well. Once you leave the metro station then you will have to pay again.
Below is the map of the Metro lines. Most likely you will be going north. Get on the Line A Metro towards Niquia. Get off at the Acevedo stop. You will then want to transfer to the line K cable car to Santa Domingo. All of this will cost you $2900 COP. If you want to then take the cable car to Parque Arvi it will be an additional $11,000 COP each way.
Related Post: 9 Amazing Hikes in Medellin
Getting to the Ancestral Trailhead in Arvi Park
Once inside the park, you will first come across the market. This is a great place to grab any water or snacks that you still may need for your hike. After this, you will then want to walk around the information desk and go past the restaurant. This is where you will begin your journey. Most trails will start to the left but in this one, you will have to take a right and start walking.
You will be staying on this road for a while and probably won’t see many people. There are houses and some shops along the way. We used alltrails for this one but you can also download Maps.me or Wikiloc. These have offline options which can be helpful when traveling.
Once you get to what appears is some sort of dead-end, the entrance will be to your right. You will see a large wooden gate and also a sign stating that it is the Ancestral Trail. This trail is very popular for biking (as you will see why) but also has some of the best views of Medellin.
I think this park absolutely has to be added to any itinerary in Colombia because of its beauty and the experience on the cable cars.
Related Post: 17 Unique Hikes in Colombia
My Experience Hiking the Ancestral Trail in Arvi Park
When we got to the trail we saw nobody besides a couple of people on motorbikes. The trail was first made up of a lot of random cobblestones. It was very flat and rocky but that was quite alright. The weather was perfect for a stroll in the park and we weren’t going to let anything stop that.
After about 15 minutes the trail begins to change as does the scenery. It starts to feel as though we are going through the dense mossy forest in some kind of faraway land. The air is crisp and the vegetation looks healthy. We stumbled upon a nice picnic area where you could sit down and eat if you’d like.
Cable Cars and Views of Medellin
After a short 10 minutes or so past the area above you will then see the first cable car hover over. It’s a wild feeling but there are even better views of them ahead. As you keep walking the areas to your right start to become more open and you begin to see farmhouses. Once you take your second left you will begin to see the cable cars again but this time with the backdrop of the city below.
We threw the drone up around this area and got some insane-looking shots. It’s an interesting feeling being so high up and away from the city but also looking down at it and picturing the craziness. Past this area, you will come across more farmhouses and even some cows!
End of the Trail + Medellin View
After walking past many farmhouses you will come to a crossroads. Stay on the straight path and not to the right with fenced sides because that is more farmland. We got told to turn around. As you keep going you will see more dirt paths that you can either take a left or right on. This is where the view of Medellin is.
One unique thing about Arvi Park is how much higher up in the mountains it is than any other park in Medellin. Everything below looks so small but at the same time, you know it’s a massive city.
After taking in the city below, you will want to go through the blue gate pictured above. We were on the trail for another 10-15 minutes before hitting the road again. You can walk past some blocks that will bring you back to where you began your hike on the Ancestral Trail in Arvi Park.
Right before this section, you will see what looks to be a clay building to your left. It looked to have some writing on it but we weren’t too sure of what it actually was. Keep along this road for another 20 minutes and you will be back at the main area of Arvi Park.
Other Popular Activities to do Around Medellin
As I said before, Medellin is growing in popularity weekly. Everyone I have talked to that has been here loved it and so far and I do as well. Some of the popular activities here include visiting Communa 13 tour and visiting Pablo Escobar’s house. Communa 13 used to be one of the most dangerous parts of any city in the world and now it is completely redone with graffiti and art. If you are down for a little bit more of an adventure, then visiting the famous El Penol Rock in Guatape is a must when coming to Colombia.
Final Thoughts on Arvi Park (Parque Arvi)
This is a great place to get away from the city for a little bit. It’s easy to get to and the trails are suitable for all fitness levels. If you are looking for some intense and challenging hikes then maybe this isn’t the place for you. We went on a Tuesday but I’m sure the weekends can get very crowded. There are multiple other fun activities to do here as well like paragliding and mountain biking.
Comfama Parque Arvi is a popular section of the park as well that has ziplining and classes for all to join. Overall I really enjoyed my day here and would come back the next time I’m in town to check out the other trails.