How to Hike to Parque Arvi and the Metrocable via the Back Door

Parque Arví Through the Back Door

This post is part of Everything to Know Before Visiting Medellin, a collection of no-B.S., unique guides to an unforgettable stay in Colombia.

Taking Medellin's urban gondola, El Metrocable, up to Parque Arví is Medellín's equivalent to going up the Eiffel Tower in Paris or visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing. Everyone who visits has to do it.

So we didn't.

As our blog's name implies, we tend to avoid hordes of tourists, so in the four months we've lived in Medellín it never once crossed our minds to go take the Metrocable to Parque Arví. We hiked other trails around the city instead.

That is… until we found a trail that took us to Parque Arví and the Metrocable by the back door.

Offering the best view there is of Medellín from Cerro Pan de Azúcar, a tour through the city's authentic rural roots, an escape into the woods, a delicious farm-to-table meal up top, and a unique ride back down, we consider this hike to be the must-do activity for active and adventurous visitors to Medellín.

Safety Notice

Three readers have reported being robbed on this hike, so take extreme caution. Go in a group and avoid the twilight hours. Sadly, even then, you aren't guaranteed safety.

Consider this from Alison, whose group of ten was robbed:

"If you still want to go, we recommend taking Metrocable to '13 de noviembre' and go through the parc called Jardín Circunvalar. The parc itself is great and quite safe with some police presence. Talk to the people who sell juices and fruits and ask them if there have been reports of robbers in the hills before continuing."

Quick Facts

  • Duration: 3-4 hours plus whatever time you spend eating and hanging out in Parque Arví.
  • Difficulty: Moderate. The only challenge for some may be the overall distance and elevation gain.
  • Distance: 9 km / 5.6 mi
  • Distance from Medellin: The trailhead is a 30 min taxi or 50 min bus from the center of Medellín.
  • Elevation: 675 m / 2,200 ft net (800 m / 2600 ft up, 124 m / 400 ft down)
  • What to Bring: A fully-charged phone to follow the maps; money for lunch, souvenirs, and Metrocable tickets; and a light sweatshirt or jacket for Parque Arví. If you don't want to bother carrying snacks or water, you don't have to. There are vendors located by the top of Pan de Azúcar, Laguna de Guarne, and many points between the laguna and the Metrocable station.

2021 Update from Will M:

Will left such a helpful comment that I'm copy-pasting it up here:

"A couple of 2021 updates: to start this hike, you can now simply catch the tram from San Antonio and transfer to the M metrocable at Miraflores: take that up to Trece de Noviembre (final station) and then walk about 300 meters up the steep road straight ahead until it ends, an entrance to Pan de Azucar park is on the right.

Regarding security: I did this by myself, but dressed down and didn't take anything of value with me: I have an old generation phone with a cracked screen that I use as a sacrificial device, and I took only a bit of money and a Civica card. Nothing happened to me and – despite the other reports here – this did not feel like a dangerous undertaking and I would recommend it to others, with the warnings given in the main article and by others in mind. Pan de Azucar and Parque Arvi both seemed very secure, with only the hike through the fields between the two being a little sketchy (but no more so than many other parts of Medellín).

If you want to add a little additional hike, the hiking trails Sendero El Arroyuelo and Sendero La Flora branch off to your right some kilometers before you hit the MetroCable station (El Arroyuelo is the first you hit, and is clearly signposted). These have some gradient and add distance, but they're lovely and worth doing if you have the energy. You then end up arriving at the MetroCable station from the east, not the west."

Looking down on Medellin from base of Pan de Azucar
View of downtown Medellín at the beginning of the hike to Parque Arví. It gets even better as you climb higher.

Downloadable Maps

In yellow is the conventional route to Parque Arví, which starts at Acevedo metro station then takes the Metrocable up. In blue is the backdoor route. We recommend you take the blue route up, then the yellow route back down to make a loop.

We also recommend you save this map to your phone before heading out. To do so, follow our easy instructions for using Google Maps offline.

Better yet, download Wikiloc, pay $2.99 for a three-month account, and use your phone's GPS to follow our exact route up Pan de Azúcar, through Parque Arví and to the Metrocable station. With Wikiloc the only way you can get lost is if your phone's battery runs out.

Or use AllTrails. Fellow reader Marty shared in the comments that he did the hike in 2021 and recorded his route here.

Wikiloc map of Pan de Azúcar, Parque Arví, Metrocable hike
Download Wikiloc and pay $2.99 to be able to use GPS to follow this and many other hikes in the Medellín area.

The Hike

1. Up, Up, and Away to the Trailhead

On the map, the trailhead looked nice and close to downtown Medellin. In reality, it was a lot farther and harder to get to. It's way up high in the hills in Medellin's Comuna 8—so high up that the city is constructing a new metro cable to get there!

Since we didn't have time to wait for construction to finish, Kim and I took an Uber.

Our driver was from Cali and didn't know how to use his phone's map app. He got lost multiple times, so it took us twice as long as it should have. Nevertheless, it only cost 14,800 COP from El Poblado. That's only 4,800 COP more than public transit.

(For penny-pinchers looking to take public transit: take a metro to Prado station for 2,400 COP each, then hop one of the frequent buses that say "Sol de Oriente" or "Cerro Pan de Azúcar" on the front and pay 2,100 COP each.)

The drive to the trailhead was a sightseeing experience in itself. It took us through the narrow streets of the working class neighborhood that we wouldn't dare walk on but felt safe enough to spy on from the safety of our car's tinted windows.

We got off at the trailhead in front of an impossible-to-miss, newly built concrete structure that says Sol de Oriente. Click here to see the street view.

Sign saying Hacia la Cima pointing to top of Pan de Azucar
Hacia la Cima = To the Top!

2. Cerro Pan de Azúcar (2.3 km far, 350m up)

Within only a couple of flights of stairs from where we got off our Uber, we'd entered a different world. It was surprisingly peaceful, green, and well-kept compared to the urban chaos we'd left behind. We felt totally safe and completely removed from the city.

It was a Saturday and the park was busy with Paisas from all walks of life. Some had on broken flip-flops and well-worn clothes, others new brightly colored Nikes with matching spandex. We were somewhere in between, but the only foreigners around. What we all had in common was our destination: the peak of Cerro Pan de Azúcar.

Downtown Medellin and sign at base of Pan de Azucar
The city has done a great job of maintaining the trails up to and around Pan de Azúcar
Kim walking up colorful stairs
Colorful stairs up to Pan de Azúcar temporarily distract you from the effort of walking up them.

The 2.3 km long, 350 m high hike to the top of Cerro Pan de Azúcar was easy and took us only thirty minutes. The entire way was cobblestone path and stairs. There were plenty of "Hacia la Cima" ("To the Peak") signs to show us the way, and we asked the locals when in doubt. For you it'll be even easier because you can follow the above maps.

At the peak of Cerro Pan de Azúcar, we saw why it's so popular. We'd been to a lot of fantastic Medellín viewpoints before, but this view took the cake. Actually, not cake; it took the sugar bread, which is how "pan de azúcar" literally translates to in English.

Chris looking down at Medellin view
We've been to all the viewpoints and can tell you that Cerro Pan de Azúcar has the best view of downtown Medellín of all of them.

3. Stroll Through Rural Medellín (1.2 km far, 90 m up)

Turning back from the Cerro Pan de Azúcar viewpoint, we followed the sign pointing to "Parque Arví," passed by a little refreshment hut, and continued straight along the wide hard-packed dirt road through a farming community.

The farms were surprisingly rustic and rural considering how close they were to the city. It was as if someone plucked tiny farms from the most far-flung part of Colombia and plunked them down on the mountainside with million dollar views of Medellín. Million peso views, I guess.

Our farmland tour came to an end at a big open field where it took us a moment to find the narrow path between some hedges that continued on to Parque Arví (see photo below).

Narrow path to look for that leads to Parque Arví
At the open clearing take this narrow path to continue on towards Parque Arví
Farm along way on the Parque Arvi hike
It doesn't take long to feel like you're far, far away from Medellín.

4. Up to the Top (1.7 km far, 340 m up)

Despite having rained a lot the past week, the next hundred meters or so of this narrow path was the only muddy and treacherously slippery part of the whole hike. At some parts, we had to grab onto the non-pointy parts of the barbed wire for balance.

After that, the trail widened into a less-slippery dirt and rock path up the mountain, with small trees and shrubs on either side. There were some forks in the road, but they all seemed to reconnect eventually. Keep an eye on the waypoints from the maps above to ensure you're going in the general right direction.

Towards the top of the mountain, we reached a shrine and a fork in the road. Two young local guys and their dog were resting there guided us to the left. The road was fenced off, but there was an open path to its right that ran parallel to it (see photo below).

Fenced road and side path
Just past the shrine, the road is fenced. Take the path that runs alongside it on the right.

5. Laguna de Guarne and into Parque Arví (3.8 km far, flat)

After the turn-off, the young guys and their dog caught up with us. They asked where we'd hiked from and were surprised when we told them Pan de Azúcar. Even they didn't know about this backdoor hike to Parque Arví.

We walked and chatted, with the main topic of conversation being the same as we always seem to have with curious Colombians: the weather in Canada. As per usual, they were surprised to hear it's not always cold and that in the summer it's sometimes hotter there than in Medellín.

Speaking of cold, the air had gotten brisk now that we were no longer hiking uphill and were over 2,500 meters above sea level, so we put on some long sleeves.

After about a kilometer along the wide, impossible-to-get-lost-on road we arrived at Laguna de Guarne. The guys told us we could swim in it and I was eager to do so, but I kiboshed that idea as soon as I saw it. The laguna was half dried up and not inviting whatsoever. Even the dog only went in up to its belly. Maybe after the wet season it fills up a bit and becomes more inviting.

Photo of dried up Laguna Guarne in Parque Arvi
Laguna de Guarne was not inviting when we went. Even the dog wouldn't go all the way in.

At Laguna de Guarne we said hasta luego to the guys, skirted the shore past a shack selling refreshments, and continued along the wide road we'd come in on. Soon we started seeing more and more groups of people, which told us we'd officially entered Parque Arví.

The path turned into a paved road and got busier and busier all the way until we arrived at the end of the hike, the Metrocable station.

Barranquero bird in Parque Arvi trees
Keep your eyes peeled for birds like this colorful barranquero while hiking in Parque Arví.

Things to Do in Parque Arví

Once in Parque Arví's tourism vortex, we found plenty to do. And plenty of people doing it.


The sidewalks around the Metrocable station were teeming with vendors selling street foods like obleas filled with arequipe (syrup in thin pancake-like wafers), empanadas, and alfandoque (sugar on a stick). We resisted those temptations. Instead, we followed a tip from fellow Canadian bloggers, Goats on the Road, and headed to Cable a Tierra Restaurant to refill our engines with some high-quality fuel.

The hippy, homey restaurant was surrounded by the garden that provides many of its ingredients. It was decorated like a kid's dollhouse, with random, colorful furniture.

(Heads up: As someone helpfully pointed out in the comments, there's another Cable a Tierra restaurant right in front of this one we recommend, so don't get confused, eat at the wrong place, then blame us for crappy recommendations! And please do share your experience in the comments to help future readers out.)

By the kitchen, we chatted with Paula, the manager/chef while her friend worked away at grinding up a huge mound of chickpeas. She explained there is no a la carte, just a 20,000 COP daily menú del día. My eyes bulged at the price, but Kim and I forked up the dough and each got the meal anyway. (It is only $7 USD after all.)

It was worth it.

The dishes, like a cornbread, broccoli, and cheese casserole, and the three-potato quinoa soup were unlike anything we'd had down in the city. And the hot drink was the perfect pick-me-up in the chillier temperatures. The whole meal ended up being one of our favorite menu del dias in Medellin and a well-earned post-hike reward. We heartily recommend it.

Eat some of the Colombian junk food after for dessert, if you must.

Looking into Cable a Tierra restaurant in Parque Arvi
Cable a Tierra is set among the farms that provide many of its ingredients.
Server at Cable a Tierra bringing out food.
Chris: "Could we get a discount if we write nice things about Cable a Tierra?" Laura: "Let me think… No."


Around the Metrocable station was a farmers market called Mercado Arví.

Being the weekend, it was running at full blast, with forty plus vendors from nearby Santa Elena selling their fruits, veggies, and treats. We only bought some chard and radishes and would've got some more interesting and souvenir-items like local honey and wine made from the Andean blueberry, mortiño if we weren't so cheap.

Note that, according to the Parque Arví website, on weekdays there only about ten or so vendors.

Hike Some More

We weren't interested in more hiking, but if you haven't had enough or want to walk off your big meal from Cable a Tierra, Parque Arví offers multiple guided tours (5,000 to 7,000 COP) and un-guided trails. Find more info here on the official Parque Arví website.

Metrocable Back to Medellín

[Note: As Nic helpfully points out in the comments, beware that the last cable car leaves at 6 p.m. If you miss it, a bus leaves from across the street and saves you money (only 3,000), but costs you a lot of time (2 hours).]

When it was time to head back down to the warmth, noise, and pollution of Medellín, Kim and I paid 5,500 COP each and rode the Metrocable fifteen minutes to Santo Domingo station. This part of the ride is mostly flat, going over Parque Arví. Get your camera ready for when the plateau ends and Medellín's Aburrá Valley opens up below you.

At Santo Domingo, we got off and walked half a block to the adjacent station. There we paid again (2,4000 COP) to take another Metrocable down to Acevedo station.

Riding the Metrocable was a different experience. The sounds and sensations of riding in an eight-person gondola brought back flashbacks of childhood winters on Whistler Mountain. I felt naked without my ski gear and poles. And it was strange to be flying over sub-tropical forest and urban jungle instead of snow-topped trees and ski runs.

We got off at Acevedo station, transferred to the metro (free) and rode home, thereby completing the Pan de Azúcar, Parque Arví, Metrocable loop.

Kim sitting in Metrocable over Parque Arvi
The first 15 minutes of the Metrocable ride from Parque Arvi down to Medellin is mostly flat over the park.
Metrocable car with view of Medellin
Then the Metrocable dives back into the city.

More Medellín Hikes

Once you've crossed Medellín's top two tourist attractions, Parque Arví and the Metrocable, off your list, what next?

Try one of these other Medellin hikes.

More Magnificent Medellín Experiences

For all the ingredients you need to put together a magnificent Medellin trip—where to stay, what to do, what to eat, where else to visit in Colombia—see our Medellin Travel Manual.

And if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions to share with other readers, please share them in the comments!

Disclosure: Whenever possible, we use links that earn us a cut if you pay for stuff we recommend. It costs you nothing, so we'd be crazy not to. Read our affiliate policy.

48 thoughts on “How to Hike to Parque Arvi and the Metrocable via the Back Door”

  1. Hi guys, I did this hike yesterday with my friend. We absolutely loved it!
    I have moved to Medellin recently but my friend is born and raised here, and had no idea about this secret entrance into Parque Arvi. It was great surprising him.
    Your instructions were all very clear. I didn't end up using any maps, just the pics and text!
    Thanks again, you gave us a fantastic day.

    • Hey Elsa, You made our day with all this comment! Muchisimas gracias. If you're looking for any other adventures in and around Medellin, don't hesitate to reach out.

  2. Hey, thanks for the wonderful recommendation.

    Just a correction: Paula's restuarant is not Cable a Tierra, it's the one right next to it, to the right. It doesnt seem to have a name, but it does have a sign saying vegetarian meal on dpsbish. Hopefully you can correct the post so Paula doesn't lose any customers 🙂

    • Hey OO, Thanks for highlighting this. Paula's restaurant is truly called Cable a Tierra, but there is also a non-veggie and not-as-unique restaurant in front of it and closer to the road called Cable a Tierra too. I'll update the post to clarify. And maybe the next person who reads this comment and does the hike can ask why both restaurants took the same name!

  3. Hey guys! We’ve been using your blog as our “Google” for Medellin. Muchas gracias :). We took the “conventional” route to get to Parque Arvi because we are unconventionally traveling with a 5 and 2 year old and thought the hike would be too long. Alas we ended up walking nearly 5 miles anyway. However, your restaurant recommendation was spot on and an experience we will remember forever. Not only did Laura give us two blankets for the girls (to keep, she insisted, “Con amor”) but she gave me a mini-massage because I guess she could see into my mama soul that traveling with little people is hard. Thank you again, and if you hadnt mentioned the restaurant in front being the wrong one, we would have missed this gem. Our veggie cassoulet, patacones con aguacate y sopa de brécol we’re all truly amazing. My meat eating partner left full and happy! Muchas muchas gracias, y amor también.

    P.S. If you ever want to expand some of your posts to include tips for those of us traveling con niñas, let me know!!!

    • Hola Theresa, Exitoooo! I'm really glad you guys managed to make it to Cable a Tierra and had the same awesome experience we did. And it's inspiring to hear parents with young kids can take the (simplified) unconventional route too. One day that'll be us hopefully and we'll have to rely on YOU as our resource for tips. And on that note, I'll email you about your interest in sharing some tips on this site.
      All the best!

  4. Hi, I have a silly question (maybe I missed it elsewhere on the blog) – is your Duration of 3-4 hours one way, or round trip? I am so interested in doing this hike but need to manage our limited time in Medellin and also the preference to be back down before the sunsets. Thank you!

    • Hey Janette, 3-4 hours one way. We left around 7:30 a.m., got to the start of the hike around 8:30, got lost for half an hour finding the way (which hopefully you won't with these instructions), ade it to the top of Pan de Zucar by 9:30, got to Cable a Tierra by 11:40, ate very leisurely for an hour and a half-ish, checked out the market atop Arvi until about 1:30, then took the Metrocable and metro hope by 3.

    • Hey Malou, Good question. If I were you, I'd ask around at some hostels and find people to go with. The odds are you'll be fine doing it on your own—the lower part to Cerro Pan de Azucar is always busy and you'll be fine, then the latter part of the hike is so remote nobody would think of going there to rob people—but it's certainly a better idea to go with others. Another idea would be to ask for a hiking buddy on the Medellin Hiking or Kinkaju Facebook group.

    • I did this hike on 11/14 on my own without issue. I saw a couple of farmers in the distance but no other hikers. Beware though, I did run into quite a few dogs at various points on the trail and they were not happy to see me. I was chased by a few and thought I might get attacked a couple of times.

      I did run into policía on horseback just past Laguna de Guarne. For what it’s worth they were very concerned that I hiked from Azúcar alone and told me the route should only be taken in large groups.

      In the end it was quite the adventure and I was happy that I did it.

  5. BEWARE – we did this hike yesterday and halfway up we were mugged and held captive for 20 minutes by 6 guys who had machetes… we are lucky to be alive but they took everything. We begged for some of our cash back so we could take the taxi home. Lost 3 phones, our backpack, snacks, watch, hats, jewelry… pretty much everything. We were using this post as a guide and the hardcopy was in the backpack they took. So they know this route too…

    • That's horrifying! I'm so sorry this happened to you. Thanks for sharing with us. I'm going to email you privately for more information so I can use every connection we and our friends might have in Medellin to let to let police, parks, and tourism know these guys are out there and hopefully deter them from doing this again.

    • Thank you for commenting this, M! As a single woman alone I was considering this and now I think I'll take the recommendations and go with a group or someone else. 🙂 I'm definitely not a scaredy-cat for sure (I regularly hike 12 miles entirely alone in 12,000 ft in remote areas of Colorado…) but I was also robbed at gunpoint in Sayulita (and I was with a man, who was also robbed), and so I definitely don't want to put myself at risk, because I know personally how terrifying that is. And, thank you to the blog owners for responding with such compassion.

    • Thank you for your great hikes around Medellin! I've already happily completed La Catedral & Campanas waterfall. A small group of us (4) tried doing this (Parque Arvi) hike on Sunday. We took a taxi from Prado to Sol de Oriente, however, when we reached the start of the walk, our taxi driver refused to let us out. After crossing himself, he said that it was dangerous to go in a taxi as we clearly stood out as tourists and that we were being watched. He tried taking us to another point where we could join the walk, but we were advised again not to get out of the car. The vibe was definitely a little unwelcoming. I would advise going in a larger group or with a local guide to do this walk and use precaution. Hopefully I'll have the chance to try it again in the future!

      • Thanks Louise for sharing your experience. It's too bad you didn't get to do the hike this time, but I too would trust your taxi driver's instinct.
        We too felt sketched out at the base of the hike, but that vanished once we got into the park and there were lots of other day hikers around. Since you went on a Sunday, I'm surprised there weren't more Paisas from other parts of the city around the entrance when you got there. Too bad.
        Hopefully you'll get the chance to do the hike. And hopefully at some point someone from Medellin tourism will clue on to the potential of this hike and take the initiative to make it more accessible and secure for independent tourists.

  6. We are here as a family of 7 with kids ranging from 15 to almost 7. This was our Thanksgiving day celebration. It was a tough hike for the kids who are born and raised at sea level but it was fantastic! We loved it, instructions were clear, scenery amazing and the food at the Cable al Terria was delicious. We saw only a handful of people all locals during the hike but felt safe the whole time. We saw several police near the Lake. Thank you for helping us have a great day.

    • Wow, now it's our turn to give thanks to you for sharing this! (Even though it's a bit delayed… and very delayed for us since we're Canadians who celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than you.) We're so glad your group enjoyed the hike!

  7. Me and my friends tried this hike today but unfortunately we got lost just after the open farm part. We were so lucky we came across this guy and his 4 horses and 5 dogs that led us back down to the road where we could take a bus back to Central Medellin.

    This hike is a great idea but in my opinion doesn't have enough pictures or guidance, especially for people who don't hike that much.

    It's a shame we didn't make it to the top but at least we got a couple of good pics of the Medellin landscape when we were in Pan De Azucar.

    • That's a shame! And that's why we recommend downloading and paying the $2.99 (or whatever it is) for Wikiloc. We too didn't download it for our first couple of hikes around Medellin and also got lost. Maybe we should recommend Wikiloc even more strongly… it's funny how people (us included) are opposed to such a small fee, even when it's definitely worth the investment.

  8. Did this hike by myself this past Saturday morning, and got robbed by two guys with a (big) knife right before I got to the shrine. Extremely fortunate that they only took my phone and nothing else. A couple of hostel-mates said they did this hike alone without issues, but I wouldn't recommend it for any groups smaller than 4-6.

    If you do decide to do this, bring plenty of water – this is a LONG hike, and I didn't see any vendors until after the Laguna. There's also 3 different spots labeled Cerro Pan de Azúcar, keep following the signs for La Cima and the real one has a 20ft statue of a mother and baby.

    • Damn. I'm really sorry to hear you got robbed, Nick. Thanks for letting everyone know so that they take extra caution and hopefully avoid the same terrifying experience you went through. To make this extra clear, I've added a safety warning to the top of the post.
      Extra props to you for nevertheless sharing the additional tips about water and finding La Cima! Thanks again, sorry for having a role in leading you down this unfortunate path, and hopefully the rest of your trip is extra awesome to make up for it.

  9. Just completed this hike with our family of four and we followed the advice of getting the Wikiloc app. That's a fantastic app and made the route-finding foolproof. Without it, I think we would have had some arguments within our group about which path to take at various points. So, the app is good for familial harmony.

    • "Good for familial harmony"! Haha, I love that description. It's great for the harmony of your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend too, as Kim and I can attest. There was no shortage of bickering when we got lost on Medellin hikes prior to using Wikiloc.

      Thanks for making me smile with this comment, Rebeca. It was good for my day's harmony.

  10. Great hike – you should do this, no doubt. HOWEVER:

    1) GET THE WIKILOC ROUTE! You will not be able to guess your way through and your friends/family will be pleased.

    2) Cable cars close at 6PM. If you miss it (like us), there is a bus across the street that picks up for 3mil. It takes about two hours to get back into Medellin.

    3) Just because the locals can do it in flip-flops doesn't mean you want to. I did, and it slowed me down because there are so many slippery parts.

    NOTE: Some of that trial goes directly up hills, and isn't the most obvious. Sometimes it connected up to the "main" route (real-looking trail), so I'd be curious if there is a more leisurely walk.

    As to safety: Don't do it alone, our hike was a Sunday afternoon and we saw barely anyone, which is dangerous. The people we encountered were just smoking weed and enjoying the view, but also saw people with machetes.

  11. We tried this hike today, on a Sunday. The stone steps up to Cerro de Pan de Azucar were lovely and well-maintained and we didn't see any other gringos. We made our way along the dirt road (when there are 3 dirt roads that intersect, go straight) to the big field. At the gate, we encountered some men fixing a fence who told us the path was very dangerous for three women. After they said this enough times, and reading the other comments about muggings on this blog, we decided to turn around, and headed back a slightly different route to the 13 de Noviembre metro station, which gave us an inside peek at life along the hillsides. Even if we didn't make it the entire route to Arvi Park, it was still a great hike.

    • That's a good idea for an alternative, route, Elle. You still get the views, the Metrocable ride, and the glimpse at hillside life. And if it's safer, great. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi guys! Update: spoke with the neighboring restaurant that shares the exact same as “cable – Tierra” de Paula. Spoke with the Some men occupying her seemingly abandoned and boarded up restaurant’s backyard said that The restaurant is closed and that she took off and went elsewhere that they’re not sure of. All the same, some of the workers did come to work at the still standing neighboring restaurant.

    • Hi DP. You mean to say it's permanently closed? Or it was closed when you were there? I tried finding a contact, but failed, and the Parque Arvi people weren't helpful. If it's closed for good, that's a real shame…

  13. DO NOT GO! We annexed ourselves to a large local group of over 10 people and part of the group was robbed. The robbers are well prepared, spotting you with binoculars far before you get to their attack point. There were 4 robbers, one of whom was visibly armed with a machete. The others stated they were armed but did not reveal their weapons.

    This occurred after the gate, on the hills, before the lagoon.

    Luckily we were in the middle of the group and when the people in front were stopped, the rest of us ran back down the hill.

    That being said, if ever they do try to rob you you can try to ask to keep all your cards and IDs. From speaking with the couple who did get robbed, the robbers were mostly after their cellphone and cash.

    If you still want to go, we recommend taking Metrocable to "13 de noviembre" and go through the parc called Jardín Circunvalar. The parc itself is great and quite safe with some police presence. Talk to the people who sell juices and fruits and ask them if there have been reports of robbers in the hills before continuing. We were there during a local holiday, more preys for burglers…

    We really recommend taking the metro cable and walking up to jardín circunvalar as the uber we took got lost and couldn't get up the hills either… 🙂

    • How horrible for you and your group, Alison. I'm sorry to hear it.

      Thanks a ton for sharing the details and for the alternative recommendation. I've added it to the warning at the beginning of the post.

  14. Hi guys I just wanted to thank you for this great article. My girlfriend and I did the hike today and we followed your route on Wikiloc. You perfectly described the hike and your route on the app made it super easy for us to follow your track. Thanks for a great day!

    • Hi Axel! Thanks to you. Really. We've considered taking this post down because of the reported robberies, so it's heartening to know people like you benefit from it and enjoy the hike as much as we did. Hopefully the good outweighs the bad.

      …and hopefully you're not secretly a robber who's writing this to suck in unsuspecting hikers!

      All the best!

  15. Don't send blond people with short pants to this neigbourhood please . el salado area is fine and communas that are main routes for tourist fine, but this is another story. Never crossed my mind going more east from Candelaria, especially not up, and to go from there into remote area really… The taxi driver that was scared to let them out and locals warning 3 women should be enough to take this post down, why take the risk.

    • Thanks. I did my best to make the risks as clear as possible and feel that people should be aware of the hike because it is fantastic and that they can decide themselves, including asking around about the current situation, whether or not it's worth the risk. All the best.

  16. Quick 2021 update on this hike. I did it this past weekend, and as advertised on here, it was absolutely amazing. I hiked it on my own, and not going to lie, I was a tad bit nervous about the comments about robberies. I had no problems and it seemed safe. I made a couple wrong turns and the locals pointed me in the right direction. Absolutely stunning hike and super glad I did it

    I recorded the route via all trails and here is the link if anyone is interested in tracking it. You can see the out and back lines where I took the wrong turn.

    Thanks again Chris for this article and your entire Medellin guide, we have very similar traveling styles and I can appreciate all your content.


    • Awesome. Thanks, Marty, for the update and for sharing your route. I'll update the post with it. Glad you enjoyed the hike as much as we did. Keeping enjoying Colombia!

  17. A couple of 2021 updates: to start this hike, you can now simply catch the tram from San Antonio and transfer to the M metrocable at Miraflores: take that up to Trece de Noviembre (final station) and then walk about 300 meters up the steep road straight ahead until it ends, an entrance to Pan de Azucar park is on the right.

    Regarding security: I did this by myself, but dressed down and didn't take anything of value with me: I have an old generation phone with a cracked screen that I use as a sacrificial device, and I took only a bit of money and a Civica card. Nothing happened to me and – despite the other reports here – this did not feel like a dangerous undertaking and I would recommend it to others, with the warnings given in the main article and by others in mind. Pan de Azucar and Parque Arvi both seemed very secure, with only the hike through the fields between the two being a little sketchy (but no more so than many other parts of Medellín).

    If you want to add a little additional hike, the hiking trails Sendero El Arroyuelo and Sendero La Flora branch off to your right some kilometers before you hit the MetroCable station (El Arroyuelo is the first you hit, and is clearly signposted). These have some gradient and add distance, but they're lovely and worth doing if you have the energy. You then end up arriving at the MetroCable station from the east, not the west.

    Thanks for posting the hike: I did it on the last weekend of a two month stay in the city and I loved it.

  18. We did this hike in October 2021. As noted in the updated intro, best to just take the Metrocable to 13 de Noviembre and walk up to the park entrance that way. The Pan de Azúcar view is beautiful is worth it. Unfortunately farmers stopped us on the next part of the trail to warn us about robbers ahead. Definitely make sure you ask the local farmers at that point before proceeding further. If it’s unsafe, it’s perfectly safe to climb down through Comuna 8, and we really enjoyed the walk through one of Medellín’s working class neighborhoods.

  19. Since we were concerned about safety, we went with a local guide who lives in the neighborhood. Had a blast. He only speaks Spanish, but offered to bring his English-speaking brother along to translate if necessary. His brother showed me the way into an indigenous cave in the side of the mountain – very cool adventure. The guide himself told us plenty about the local history. We stopped for lunch at a farm above the Cerro. We would have gone to Parque Arvi but not everyone in the group had energy to continue. If you’re interested, the guide’s name is Andrés and his number is +57 318 3032978. We paid 50.000 COP each (Jan 2022).

  20. Thank you for these very insightful instructions. I loved the hike even if it was in the rain. Yes you can swim in the Laguna during the rainy season but the temperature is colder so the incentive is not there. I am to report that Cable a Tirra is open again. Leslie the cable car to the start of the trail is open now.

    • Cable a Tierra is open again?! Wonderful news. Now, I can remove the warning that it's closed. Glad you enjoyed the hike, Patrick. And muchas thanks for the update.

  21. Thank you so much for this guide. We really enjoyed the hike. It was a clear day and the views were simply amazing. On the trail we felt safe, and the maps above were extremely helpful. The local farmers were very friendly. One of them near the shrine pointed us toward the trail next to the fence. In fact, three of his dogs lead us from the shrine, around the lake, all the way to Arvi! It was pretty cool. The workers at the park recognized the dogs so they must make the journey frequently. I would say the most unnerving part for us two gringos was walking up the hill in Comuna 8 from the Metrocable to the entrance of the Pan de Azucar trail. We were dressed down and had no issues, but there's only so much we could do to blend in (which is very little). We never felt unsafe though. If people are worried about safety, I would recommend taking a taxi to the trailhead or asking a local to accompany you to Pan de Azucar. Don't let fear prevent you from experiencing this unbelievable adventure!


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