Urban Regeneration

Few cities have achieved such a dramatic transformation as Medellín in the past 20 years.

Scarred by the events and atrocities of the 1980’s War on Drugs, Medellin has emerged from it’s own shadows and reinvented itself as a fascinatingly diverse world centre of regeneration and innovation.

Medellín’s homicide rate has nose-dived, nearly 80% from 1991 to 2010. The city has constructed public libraries, parks, and schools, created an excellent transport system and developed the growth of poor neighborhoods.

This astounding Urban Regeneration has been a joint effort on behalf of local government, businesses, community organizations, and universities working together to fight violence and to modernize Medellín.

In this fascinating insight into Medellin’s past, present and future, CAS Trips works in alliance with local walking tours, dance schools, community centres and social projects, to show students a side to Medellin rarely seen by visitors.

Urban Regeneration

All our themes and activities are 100% flexible and can be mixed and matched to suit your group.

7-days from
just $599
per person
all-inclusive*

Day 1

  • Airport Pick-up – Your dedicated CAS Trips tour guides will meet you at Medellin’s Rio Negro airport and take you directly to your accommodation at Santa Lucia country house in Santa Elena (a small town 40 minutes from Medellin city) via private coach transport.
  • Introductory Presentation –  A talk with a local expert will help the students get to grips with the history of the area and what to expect over the coming days.
  • Evening Meal – Enjoy a typical Colombian home-cooked dinner and a first taste of the sumptuous tropical fruit juices.
  • Reflections Challenge – Using the online CAS Connect! network and Reflections Centre, you will be given personal logins in advance of arrival, containing all your CAS Trips’ practical information and food orders etc.  Upon arrival, your tour director will set an exciting digital reflections challenge to be completed throughout the trip

Day 2

  • Your CAS Trips tour guide hotel pick-up
  • Walking tour: Medellin city’s past, present and future – Multilingual local guides will take us on a colourful journey through the region’s beginnings to the present day.  Exploring the ever-entertaining downtown area, the tour will discover the fascinating history and culture of this beautiful city and people. We will encounter vendors selling mountains of luminous tropical fruits like lulos, guavas, and passion fruit, and succumb to the seductive aroma of freshly percolated Colombian coffee. The tour will end with a poignant image of how the city has, and continues, to strive against violence and destabilizing forces. 
  • Lunch – A wholesome Cazuela – a traditional local stew with emblematic frijoles (beans)
  • Colombian Culture & Language Workshop – We return to the country house to engage in a wonderful active workshop lead by local teachers from Medellin’s finest university EAFIT. Topics will include a mini-course in the local language, dialect and culture.
  • Evening Meal – A homemade meal by the in-house chefs at the country house

Day 3 

  • Don Carlos’ ECO Farm- We begin our journey into Colombian sustainability with the visit to an inspiring Eco farm in the town of El Carmen. The farm’s owner, 65-year-old local Don Carlos has an extraordinary story.  About 30 years ago Don Carlos, an el Carmen native, was forced to change his life forever when he became ill because of the pesticides and chemicals he was using on his fruit and vegetables.  On doctors’ advice, he self-learned new organic production methods and now has the only 100 per cent organic agriculture in the area. Don Carlos also owns a shop and a restaurant where the fresh produce is sold, eaten and the waste used for the highest quality compost. Our day journey explores the entire organic agricultural process with a tour around the farm, hands-on practical work, tasters along the way and lunch at Don Carlos’ restaurant.
  • Ceramic Factory – El Carmen attracts visitors thanks to its spectacular ceramic traditions. Students get the chance to design their own plate or mug under the guidance of local experts. We organize for these charming souvenirs to be cast and molded then delivered to the students on the penultimate day.
  • Organic Cooking Challenge – As part of the day trip, students will be challenged in advance to harvest ingredients to later prepare and cook as part of a meal for the whole group back at the country house. Team work, planning and communication will be key to producing a successful meal!

Day 4

  • Visit the ‘Silliteros’ – Medellin hosts one of the biggest festivals in Colombia’s calendar: The Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival). Although this week-long celebration takes place in August, the beautiful floral displays are made throughout the year and students will explore a fascinating community that revolves around this wonderful festival.We explore two traditional fincas (country houses), meeting the specialist flower growers and helping make floral reefs. Students will then get the chance to try of one of these floral reefs, strapping the wooden frame to their backs as the country folk do in the festival. Don’t forget your camera as this is a photo moment not to miss.
  • Lunch – in the beautiful mountainside village of Santa Elena.
  • Salsa Classes – In the afternoon, we will learn how to become true paisas (as the locals are known). With the help of a local dance school, we will take to the dancefloor to learn and master the first steps in salsa dancing.

Day 5

  • The Moravia Community Project – Few places demonstrate Medellin’s remarkable transformation over the past two decades like Moravia. Located in the north of the city, this neighborhood once housed thousands of families atop a huge garbage heap. Now, thanks to a coalition between the community and local council, many residents have been rehoused and the mountain of waste converted into a multi-coloured flower garden.
    Lead by residents and community leaders, we learn of the amazing history of this intriguing place and meet some of its residents.
  • Lunch – We visit the finest local restaurant famous for its mouth-watering fish.
  • Service Challenge: Cross-Cultural Collaboration – As part of the Moravia experience, we will also visit the community centre, a new focal point for the locals. Here, students will be challenged to create a friendly atmosphere and collaborate to plan an afternoon of cross-cultural learning activities at a local school. Through dynamic activities both local and visiting students will be given the chance to break down stereotypes and discover an extraordinary new culture.
  • Evening Meal – A delicious traditional evening meal in Santa Elena

Day 6

  • Visit to ‘Communa 13’ – We discover just why Medellin is changing its unfounded and outdated reputation with a tour of Comuna 13. Once a thoroughfare for the city’s infamous drug cartels, this area is now safe to explore and displays stunning graffiti telling stories of sadness, violence and hope for the future. We’ll meet a group of young hip-hop artists who’ve helped make the area a must-visit. As well as travelling on the unique outside escalators, a governmental initiative to help residents tackle the steep hills, students will tour the area with locals and devour delicious mango popsicles (Colombian style!) along the way.
  • Lunch – We’ll lunch at one of the local restaurants, choosing from local dishes like sancocho (stew), arepa (cornbread) or chicharron (pork belly). 
  • Hip-Hop and Graffiti Workshop – With the guidance of the pros, students will learn the art of graffiti, hip hop and rapping in the community centre. This memorable tour will come to an end with timeless gift for the students: a personalized graffiti baseball cap.
  • Evening Meal – We will return to the country house and indulge in yet another varied home-cooked dinner.

Day 7

  • Free Time – Breakfast, lunch and dinner will provided depending on the necessary check-out time ahead of your flight
  • Airport Drop-Off – Your dedicated CAS Trips tour guide will take you directly to the airport check-in via private transport.

Itineraries are illustrative and can be altered to your specific academic needs or time constraints.

*not including international flights