National Geographic named Medellin as one of the Top 10 cities in the world to see holiday lights. In their words: “(Medellin) … pulses with new vitality and, during the balmy holidays, fantastic lights. Tree canopies drip with oversize ornament shapes; giant 3-D figures twirl along Medellín River and above a carnival-like sidewalk packed with food stalls.” The Christmas lights in Medellin are known as “El Alumbrado” – The Lighting.
Display the largest and most magnificent Christmas light, but there are numerous other parks and plazas throughout the 16 sectors of the city that hold light arrangement are the main locations to see the lights, but there are smaller displays in other areas of Medellín.
With such multitude of options how can you how to make the best use of your time? Which locations should you choose? What are the best food stands? What are the must-see attractions? The options can be overwhelming. A perfect solution – travel with InsiderExcursions and let La Gringa Latina be your guide. Lauren’s first-hand knowledge of all things Medellin is matched by her deep affection for the city, its people, and its cultural celebrations. As your host, she will make your visit unforgettable.
Your excursion leader, InsiderExcursions’ Richard Rosser, is an experienced, organized and witty world traveler. Lauren and Richard are the perfect team of experts to bring you the most magical experience of Medellin’s famous Christmas lights.
Lauren is originally from Omaha Nebraska but lived in many parts of Latin America before moving to Medellin in 2017. She is the face behind the YouTube channel La Gringa Latina which has more than 47,000 followers and showcases her passion to inspire the world to visit Latin America and Colombia, to share and celebrate Latin culture, and to break negative stereotypes. She is a true creative and enjoys singing, dancing, modeling, writing, and producing digital content. It is her mission to make you fall in love with the city of Medellin the same way that she did, which makes her the perfect host for your trip to the City of Eternal Spring.
RICHARD ROSSER is the founder of Insider Excursions and the President & Publisher of Point! Publishing. Last year he led group trips to Bogota, Colombia and Quepos, Costa Rica.
“We believe in the greatness of fine arts to create memorable experiences. Our Colombian roots inspire us to transform the traditional into luxury experiences. Using each of the senses to elevate the soul to Heaven.” Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia wants his guests to spend some of their finest hours at El Cielo.
In addition to being a hotelier, this loved and respected son of Colombia is known as ´Juanma, the executive chef of Elcielo Hospitality Group. He is recognized internationally as one of the most important entrepreneurs, businessmen, and peace leaders in Colombia.
The El Cielo Hotel in Medellin is Juanma’s latest venture and he has infused it with the same attention to detail and respect for those who will visit that he has every other project. He strives for excellence and is satisfied with nothing less. He knows that is what his guests deserve.
The suites are luxurious and elegant with marble floors, Italian-style free standing tubs, comfortable beds. So many experiences from which to choose during your stay – the bistro, the full service El Cielo restaurant, several bars. Spend time relaxing on the rooftop.
Juanma believes hospitality is an art. El Cielo is his latest masterpiece.
We’ll begin the festivities in the afternoon by introducing you to the flower scene in the city’s outstanding Botanical Garden which features over 4,500 flowers, 139 bird species, and the famous flower displays created by the flower farmers and their families during the Feria de las Flores. You will also become familiar with the local culture through various vendors selling their handicrafts. We will finish the day by dining at El Cielo, an award-winning restaurant by Medellin native and internationally known chef Juan Manuel Barrientos Valencia.
After waking up refreshed, we will hit the streets of Medellin by first visiting one of the main focal points of social transformation: Comuna 13. A neighborhood once known as the most dangerous in all of Medellin, Comuna 13 underwent a massive revival through graffiti art and community projects to become a main tourist attraction today. We will meet one of the most famous mural artists in the area and hear about his contributions to the revolutionary urban development projects. We’ll continue the discussion of the city’s social transformation by riding the metrocable, a key factor in the city’s economic advancement. Later, we will visit the Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a typical Colombian town, where we will eat traditional Colombian dishes and see beautiful day time views of the city. In the afternoon, we will visit the city’s famous Plaza Botero, which holds 23 abstract bronze sculptures created by world-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. We’ll try typical street food and have time to buy souvenirs and watch street performers. We will spend the evening enjoying the Feria’s festivities near the Museum of Modern Art which features live music, food stalls, vendors, and games.
The excitement builds as we will attend what is considered to be the second biggest event of the Feria de las Flores: the Classic Car Parade featuring antique motor vehicles from all over the country. Colombians have some very old cars, some as old as 100 years old, that they keep in excellent condition. After, we will eat lunch before heading to the buses that will take us to Santa Elena. It is an age-old tradition named La Ruta del Silletero where friends and family visit the nearby town of Santa Elena, where the flower farmers live, the night before the biggest and final event of the Feria, the Flower Parade. Along the way we will go from farm to farm to see these spectacular flower arrangements up close, listen to typical montanero music, and take in the beautiful panoramic views.
On our final day, we will attend the 63rd Desfile de los Silleteros aka the Flower Parade, the closing event of the Flower Festival which exhibits the extraordinary silleteros carrying their silletes on their backs through the streets of Medellin. Colombia is the second largest flower exporter in the world and for generations this event has been the epitome of cultural and regional pride. The parade holds several different categories of silletes as well as dancers, children silleteros, floats, horses, and more. For our evening plans we will dine at The Charlee Hotel, a fine dining restaurant located in the heart of the nightlife zone with a rooftop bar to watch the sunset. To top off the trip you’ll get a taste of how Colombians party by riding in a chiva, the ultimate Colombian party vehicle that basically looks like a decked out school bus straight out of a psychedelic Beatles song. You’ll be sure to take this away as a memorable experience… or not. (Drinking optional)
During the month of August, La Feria de Las Flores (The Flower Festival) attracts people from all around Colombia and the world to the city of Medellin. Tourists arrive to the city from all parts of the world including the USA, Australia and Europe just to witness the special attractions that include a trail ride through town on horses, an orchid competition, music festivals, and the parade of silleteros. Steeped in rich tradition and botanical excellence, the city of Medellin truly comes alive as it displays its proud heritage in the brilliant colors of its flowers that grow in and around the countryside.
On this tour we will attend the Flower Festival and explore the historically-rich city of Medellin. Once infamous for dangerous gangs and drug activity, Medellin has been transformed. It’s now a vibrant destination for travelers seeking a culturally rich vacation. Medellin rises proudly from the belly of the Aburrá Valley, and its natural beauty makes a perfect setting for hiking, zip lining and horseback riding. Travel through lush jungle to Piedra de Penol, then climb the 740 steps to the top—a journey within a journey that rewards you with unforgettable views.