Recently, Medellin and the region of Antioquia in Colombia are places that have grabbed the attention of travel photographers. Due to frequent rains, moderate tropical temperatures and plentiful sunshine, it’s always green and lush.
Aside from the mountainous landscape and bountiful wildlife and plant life, Medellin and the surrounding villages are excellent places to take photos and feel safe with a camera. In Guatapé and Santa Fe de Antioquia, tourists are rarely bothered and crime is low.
Thinking of getting your hands on some Colombian scenes for your next travel photography adventure? Here’s where to go for memorable photo experiences.
Rooftops in El Poblado (Medellin)
El Poblado is known as Medellin’s traveler neighborhood. Here, you’ll find all the tourist accommodations, various Airbnbs, restaurants of every flavor and bars that pump music 'til late. What’s special about El Poblado is its location out of the valley and along the hillside. Even getting off the Medellin metro train will provide you with an expansive view.
Once you’ve got your bearings in El Poblado, check out rooftop bars like the Charlee Hotel or the upper floors of another hotel (look up, to see what’s tallest). Go for sunset, and catch a breathtaking view of the moving clouds against the mountain and urban sprawl backdrop.
The public transport cable cars of Medellin
Medellin is a special city. A public cable car system was built to link neighborhoods that crawl up the steep mountains of the valley to the rest of the city. Leave your drone at home, because taking photos from the windows of the cable cars will get you the best views in town. There are several cable car systems, and each one links the city center to a different neighborhood.
The best time to go is surely at golden hour, when colors come alive and shadows make the city look dramatic. Seeing the city from above makes you wish every city had a public cable car system.
Street vendors and park life in Medellin’s historic center
After walking around and eating your way through El Poblado, take the metro train to the Centro Histórico. Take the Medellin Free Walking Tour (reserve in advance) to learn about Medellin’s history from a local.
In parks, markets and streets, you’ll see vendors selling heaps of fresh fruit, men playing guitar and singing in the parks. Typically, you're welcome to take photos, if you ask. Try the street food—you can’t go wrong!
Medellin’s Botanic Garden (Jardín Botánico)
Sometimes overlooked by travelers is Medellin’s Botanic Garden. This is a must for your photography list. If you want to see tropical plant life in its natural habitat (the tropics), look no further than this expansive garden and park.
On weekends, the Jardín Botánico is a place for families and friends to gather. You’ll see lots of people relaxing, having picnics and playing.
There are gardens in a few different areas. Here, you can see desert plant life including cacti and giant agave plants, tropical species and flowers. If you head toward the pond you may even see a big resident iguana.
Whitewashed buildings in Santa Fe de Antioquia
For a day trip, go to one of my favorite new findings—the town of Santa Fe de Antioquia. Known for being hot all year round, you’ll want to book a hotel with a pool to cool off if you’d like to stay overnight!
The charm of this mountain town is that there isn’t a whole lot to do except eat, drink, walk and relax. That’s the whole fun of it! There are several historic churches, many cobblestone streets, classic town squares and a few museums to visit. Best of all are the historic whitewashed homes and buildings featuring a backdrop of bright green mountains and valleys.
You can travel to Santa Fe de Antioquia by public bus for a small fee from Medellin’s Terminal Norte de Transporte.
Tip: Get up early and walk around the streets after sunrise; as shop owners are setting up. This is also a great way to beat the heat and get great lighting.