Arvi Park: An honest review and how-to guide

Arvi Park

Understanding Arvi Park: A Must-Visit Destination in Medellín, or not?

 

Arvi Park is a 1,700-hectare natural reserve that belongs to Medellin. Situated behind the mountains to the northeast of the bustling streets, this pristine park offers clean air and fresh water to the city. For visitors, it is a tranquil escape into the heart of Colombia’s lush landscapes.

 

Arvi Park
Arvi Park

 

However, I personally do not believe it is a must-do while in Medellin; the trekking possibilities are limited, wandering on your own is not recommended and when you add up everything you pay as a foreigner, it doesn’t end up beig that cheap for what you get. So for me, the walking tour or going to a football game are must-do activities unique to Medellin, while Arvi Park can take quite a long time of a potential short staying and the experience might be limited. In other words, Arvi Park is nice, yes, but not outstanding; it might even be disappointing if you have no idea how to navigate it. So if you have enough time and really want to go, here is the guide to make the most out of it.

 

Getting to Arvi Park:

 

First off, take colombian cash, you will need at least COP 80,000 – 120,000 per person to buy: the Cable Car tickets, the entrance to the safe part of the park (guess what? the free part of the park is lonely and is not safe, so don’t be cheap and pay the entrance) and to buy food.

 

Getting to Arvi Park is rather easy, though it takes time as you have to use public transport. Although technically speaking you can also get there by car (this really applies to locals), as a foreing tourist you should use the Metro. Read here our practical guide to the cable cars in Medellin.

 

Arvi Park
Arvi Park – Cable Car

 

Take the Line A of the Metro system and head to the Acevedo station. Once there, transfer for free to the cable car Line K and get off at Santo Domingo. There you have to take another cable car (Line L) and pay an additional ticket which costs COP 13,200 per person ( approx 3.5 USD 2024). This will take you directly to the entrance of Parque Arví. To make the most out of your experience, in the way back walk around Santo Domingo, it’s a very local barrio, where you will feel the drive of the people in this communities and you can enjoy a beer and an empanada before taking the cable car back to Acevedo.

 

Important: Cable Car line L does not operate on Mondays or on Tuesdays if Monday was a holiday.

 

In my opinion, riding that cable car is one of the best parts of the whole experience, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains, it’s like leaving the metropoli and entering into Jurassic Park.

 

Exploring the Arvi Park:

 

Once at the entrace, you will see a little food market and the ticket booths of Corporación Parque Arví. This is, in my opinion, the key of the whole experience as a tourist. If you choose to skip the ticket booths and to wander on your own, you’ll end up walking on some standard rural paved-roads, or worst than that, out of the hiking trails that are safe. So, pay the entrance.

 

Arvi Park
Arvi Park – Ticket booth

 

They have 4 pre-defined routes that are safe:

  1. Myths and Legends
  2. Orchids and bromelias
  3. Vital (around the topic of water)
  4. Portón del Guayabo (scenery)

There are two ways to explore them:

  1. Guided Tours: Knowledgeable local guides lead informative excursions that delve into the park’s flora, fauna, and indigenous history. Departing every 30min approximately, one route at a time. So depending on the time you arrive you will be assigned to a route. If you want to take one specific route, you have to wait until it’s time for that one. They walk at a hiking pace (not trekking pace, meaning: they take it easy). The tours are in spanish and they take their time to explain the name of the birds, the trees, the flora, etc. Each one takes around 1 hour.
  2. Solo: You can explore the 4 routes on your own and go at your own pace. This is the most common choice among foreigners. Depending on your pace, the combined route might take 1 to 1,5 hours.

Independent whether you go solo or whether you go on a guided tour, you have to pay the same price. Below are the prices per person of 2024.

  • Low income Colombians included in the SISBEN system:  COP 10,000.
  • Colombians not included in the SISBEN system: COP 30,000.
  • Foreigners: COP 60,000 (approx 16USD 2024). They take cards for this fee.

 

Tips for visiting Arvi Park

 

  • Pack Accordingly: Be sure to bring plenty of water, sun protection, a pull-over (it gets chilli up there), as well as comfortable walking shoes and lightweight layers. You can buy food at the entrance of the Arvi Park, still, pack some snacks.
  • Fees: The entrance to the safe treking routes costs approx COP 30,000 (less than 10 USD 2024). It’s better cheaper to be safe than to be sorry. Don’t be cheap. Remember to bring cash to buy your cable car rides and to buy food there.
  • Hours: Cable Car line L does not operate on Mondays or on Tuesdays if Monday was a holiday. Highly recommended to do this first thing in the morning. When it rains in Medellin it almost always rains in the afternoon. Plus, they count how many people have entered into the park, once they reach their limit, then close it, so go in the morning. If you can not, make sure to be there before 2pm.

Enjoy!

 

All images are courtesy of the Bureau of Medellin and Medellin.travel.