Living and working in Medellín makes you want to escape the city every now and then. The cars, the people and the air are all good reasons to go and explore the beautiful surroundings of Medellín. Being located in a valley, Medellín offers plenty of routes to get quickly out of the city and into nature. One way of doing this is hiking. In today’s blog I would like to share a hike with you close to Copacabana, a small town, attached to Bello in the north of Medellín.

El Morrón de Copacabana is a pretty intense hike. It starts from the town of Copacabana where you follow a paved path that gets you to Santuario De La Cruz, a church outside the town 200 meters up the mountain. From the cross behind the church you can get a first good view over Copacabana, but it will only get better from here! This is also the last stop where you can buy some fresh orange juice or a snack to bring with you.

Now the hike really begins.. After 10 minutes of steep and bushy area you get out in the open and from now on there’s only one way to go, up. Hiking El Morron is a bit like following the spine of a giant. To get a bit of an impression of how this hike is check the video we shot with our friend Kit’s drone (below). Whenever you stop for a rest and look back the view gets more and more spectacular. This is by far the best hike I have done around Medellín.

The hike ends on top of a tunnel. Look left and right on the mountain you will see a steep cliff where 2 car lanes enter and exit this giant passage. You can stop the hike here and return on the same route or continue to either Guarne or Parque Arví. If you are ready for a full day of hiking, Parque Arví is definitely recommended. The first time I went on this hike we we chose the full day and were accompanied by William, a local guide. I would recommend going with him or another guide that knows the area because the route through Parque Arví is not very obvious.

How to get to El Morron de Copacabana

Getting to Copacabana is very easy and will only take you about 10 minutes in a bus from the most northern metro station, Niquia. When you get out of the metro station look for a bus to Copacabana. There are plenty and they will leave every half an hour. When you arrive to the town you have to make your way to the town square. You have probably already seen the big cross in the mountain but if you’re not sure where to go from there I recommend to ask a local how to get to El Morron or Santuario De La Cruz. A few blocks from the town square you will find a route that zigzags its way up until you reach the sanctuary.

Recommendations

You can do this hike at your own tempo and return whenever you want, but decent physical shape is recommended. Make sure to bring at least a litre of water, snacks and maybe some sandwiches. Sunscreen is a must and a proper outfit will make it a bit more comfortable. If you have any doubts or questions about this hike, feel free to comment below or shoot me a message. I’m more then happy to help you out so you can explore the beautiful surroundings of Medellín.

Showing 12 comments
  • Sasha
    Reply

    Awesome post! We’re new here and were looking for some hiking opportunities for the weekend. Also looking for a place to practice flying my new drone. Looks like we found it! Might even try to extend the hike as you mentioned and check out Parque Arvi as well. Do you think that would take all day?

    • Herman Ritzema
      Reply

      Hi Sasha! Including Parque Arví would probably take you all day but like I said in the post, the route is not very obvious. William, our guide, warned us that it’s quiet easy to take a wrong turn and accidentally end up in a difficult neighborhood when you include Arví. If you want to practice flying your drone, another cool spot is the top of Cerro el Volador. Enjoy the hike!

  • Malc
    Reply

    Can’t wait to discover all this. Moving in December. Thanks Herman

    • Herman Ritzema
      Reply

      You’re welcome Malc, I’m sure you will enjoy Medellin!

  • Malc
    Reply

    What drone did you use for that awesome footage and are the rules for drone filming relaxed in Medellin?

    • Herman Ritzema
      Reply

      It’s a friend’s DJI Mavic Pro. We’ve been going out with his drone a few times and never gotten in trouble but rules are pretty strict here and officially you need a training course as well I think.

  • Peter
    Reply

    Hey Herman, thanks for sharing! Without this post, I wouldn’t have discovered this hike. Two things:

    1. How did you get to the hike? Did you take the metro?
    2. What’s the best way to get ahold of your guide, William?

    Thanks!

    • Herman Ritzema
      Reply

      Yes, we took the metro and then the bus, really easy!

      In the article you can find a link to William’s Facebook profile. If you reach out to him he will probably be happy to join you.

      Let me know if you need any more info and I’ll be happy to help out! Cheers, Herman

  • Ilda Restrepo Difiammarco
    Reply

    Hi, this is Ilda. I lived in holland for + 5 years and I’m now arriving soon to Medellin.used to hike the dunes of the NL ( around 15 to 25 km)! Do you have a regular hiking group or just private tours? 😉

  • Vironika Tugaleva
    Reply

    I went on this hike only because of your recommendation, Herman, and it was by far my most favourite hike around Medellin and possibly in the world! Just a warning to anyone thinking of doing this: it was one of the most physically challenging hikes I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot. I think it should be called “climbing” El Morron de Copacabana!

    Also, a group of us went with Simon. He’s also a local guide. He’s William’s friend and fellow founder of the Medellin hiking group. Simon speaks perfect English, in case anyone needs a guide who can do that!

    Thanks again for the recommendation!

    • Herman Ritzema
      Reply

      Great to hear you enjoyed it Vironika! And a good recommendation 🙂 It’s always a bit difficult to judge the difficulty of a hike, what’s a 3/5 for me could be a 4/5 for someone else. Hope you guys come back to Medellin some day, happy travels!

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