Nutibara Hill or Cerro Nutibara sits just west of the Medellín River, 80 meters up and is located between Avenida 33 to the north and Calle 30 to the south.
The hill provides a great hike and rewards you with awesome views of the surrounding Aburrá Valley.
As you ascend all 537 stairs1 to reach the top, you’ll pass a jungle gym and an open-air auditorium, Teatro Carlos Vieco, that plays host to outdoor shows, squeezing in around 3,800 people.2 There’s a great article from Vice on the history of the auditorium here. It’s in Spanish, so if you can’t read it, you can always scroll through some of the cool photos and videos from past shows and cultural events.
The hike to the top isn’t too bad, and should only take 5-15 minutes, depending on your pace. When you do reach the end of the stairs, you’ll be greeted with a view of the city to your right. Don’t stop here, there’s way better spots further ahead.
Fake town, real views
From here, it’s easy to spot the main attraction. Go left towards the entrance gate provided for cars and tour buses.
Situated atop Cerro Nutibara is a town square, built to look as it traditionally would, throughout northwest Colombia. This reproduction of a town, or Pueblito Paisa, as it’s known, is the focal point of the hill.
The first thing you’ll see are the colorful accents on the buildings, painted against white walls. There’s a church and reproduction of a school and living quarters, among other things.
You can also pass through a sculpture park, complete with 10 works by both national and international artists. Some of the pieces are giant abstract designs, made of concrete. These definitely left me, the amateur art-goer, wondering just what in the world they represented. They do make pretty rad frames for your selfies, however.
Grab your camera
Once you’ve had your fill of the mock town and the modern art, head back towards where you started. Climb the other stairs to your right that lead up to an observation deck. You’ll pass through a few vendors, then the path opens into unobstructed views of the city and gives a glimpse into the vast size of the valley below.
From one end it’s easy to spot the tall, brick apartments of El Poblado neighborhood. The other sides provide almost complete views of the rest of the city and offer plenty of photo ops.
You can eat and drink at the numerous vendors around the town or buy souvenirs for family and friends. I’d personally limit this, and instead top off the hike with a cold beer, while taking in the awesome views of the city.
I’d also say that this place is more of a tourist trap than anything else, but the entry is free (if you walk) and has almost 360 views of the city. To pass it up would be a mistake, as you can see pretty much everything in under three hours.
Wherever you’re staying, make your way to the Industriales, Exposiciones or the Nutibara stop on metro. You can also take a cab, as the hill is not in the most convenient of locations.
From Industriales, you’ll have to walk down the stairs that crisscross the bridge over the Medellín River, heading west.
From the Exposiciones stop you’ll also head west, across the Medellín River, but you’ll walk along Avenida 33 on the north side of the hill.
And from the Nutibara stop, you’ll walk along Calle 30 and make a left into the park.
It doesn’t feel like you’ll be stumbling on a park soon, as the paths will take you through an industrial zone. I felt perfectly safe here during the day, but if you were to come closer to night, I’d probably take a cab.
- I didn’t count the stairs. If there aren’t in fact 537, then I lied. But there are hundreds that offer a great work out along the way
- The article from Vice provides insight into the history and has awesome pictures of shows from the past. https://noisey.vice.com/es_co/article/6xxjmn/al-teatro-carlos-vieco-se-lo-est-comiendo-la-maleza