Cycling to Medellin involves alot of up, up and ups and down, down and downs. Then more UP!! The road to Medellin wound its way through the Cordillera, beckoning me to push on. Finally arriving in the mountains north of the city felt like coming home. Although an altogether different home–the one full of humongous spiders, never-ending jungle and the Chever tribe. I had been waiting for the cool mountain air, the break from the flats I rode from Cartagena, and the stunning views the altitude gifted.

cycling to medellin

Cycling these 800km has comprised of riding through mostly smaller pueblos where foreigners rarely, if ever, pass through. Arriving at Ivy Hostel in Medellin felt like the perfect moment to take a break from the road, interact with other travelers and enjoy the relaxing space. The historical aspect of the Free Walking Tour in the city was my favorite thing, as it was a fantastic way to dive deeper into some of the stories I had heard thus far on my bike trip. I particularly found the discussions about the “acuerdo de paz” interesting on the tour, especially given the myriad of rumors I had heard as I traveled down south.

The Free Walking tour guide not only showed us the city center, but also gave us a clear picture of the good, bad and the ugly of the city’s history. I really appreciated her explaining both sides of the coin, because it allowed me to better understand how Colombia is seen internationally versus what has actually happened over the last fifty years. The progress that has been made in order to make the country a safer place for both Colombians and tourists is astounding and something I believe is important for me to share with folks back home.

road to medellin

Taking a break from cycling has allowed me to enjoy other aspects of the city that I have not had the opportunity to do in other towns. There is a fantastic music and dancing scene, enormous grocery stores–something all cyclists will love haha– and a wealth of diversity. I particularly appreciate how, like in other Latin American cities, Medellin closes down various roads on Sundays for folks to get out and exercise. It was a blast to go running this morning and people watch. I am extremely passionate about access to the outdoors and it was great to see such a wide-range of people out and about walking, jogging, hobbling, sprinting, cycling and skating. I think we should adopt this practice of closing roads to vehicles in the States because I think it provides a medium for people to get out who normally are not able to.

Now it’s off to the South to take a look at other cities that travelers at Ivy recommended. It has been great to chat with other people to hear about their favorite spots. I appreciate the recommendations that the locals have been giving me but most folks I come across have not had to opportunity to travel, so taking in some ideas from other tourists has been great.


I won’t be surprised if I cycle through Medellin again later in my journey to enjoy the myriad of things the city has to offer and the delicious coffee at Ivy!!

Nicki Bailey