March 1, 2019, 12:50 pm
Medellin is Colombia's second-largest city, and it is full of wonderful and interesting things to do. However, if you're looking to add a little something different to your holiday, consider taking a day trip from Medellin to Guatape, Santa Elena or Santa Fe de Antioquia.
A cute and colourful town, Guatape is located about 2.5 hours outside Medellin. It is located in a beautiful zone wedged between a government created reservoir and a colossal stone, called el Peñon de Guatape. Upon arrival to the town of Guatape, you'll be surrounded by the most colourful houses, each one intricately decorated with zócalos, traditionally painted carvings, along the lower parts of the main entrances.
In addition to taking in the beautiful craftsmanship and artistry of the houses in Guatape, you can also take a ferry or boat ride around the reservoir surrounding this cosy town, and even choose to embark on a ferry that will serve you lunch or dinner as you make your way around the reservoir.
Even so, perhaps the main attraction in Guatape is not even Guatape itself, but the Peñon de Guatape—the enormous rock that you can't miss as you arrive to Guatape. The Peñon is said to be millions of years old, and if you ask local residents how the rock was formed, everyone will have a different story for you! Regardless of how the rock was formed, though, it offers an incredible view over the surrounding area. Be prepared to pay for the view, though—you'll need to climb a whopping 740 stairs to reach the top of this gigantic rock!
While you can definitely see Guatape and el Peñol in a day, you could easily spend a couple of days exploring other places in Medellin as well.
Santa Elena is a small town located about 30 minutes outside of Medellin. A curvy road takes you above “The City of Eternal Spring” and to the countryside town. Santa Elena is known for its sprawling flower farms. In fact, the town is home to many of the farms that grow blooms for the annual Flower Festival in Medellin. To get the full Santa Elena experience, it’s a good idea to take a flower farm tour where you can learn about the whole cultivation process and see how growers prepare for the Flower Festival. Plus, you can get a chance to enjoy the gorgeous views and vibrant variety of plants. Plan to visit Santa Elena in the morning, then eat lunch at a traditional roadside restaurant.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
Another great option for a day trip from Medellin is the small colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, the original capital of Antioquia that lies about 1.5 hours outside Medellin. This beautiful town is full of cobblestoned lanes, colonial houses, quaint museums, and a charming aire that is sure to take you back in time. For this very reason, it was declared a Colombian national monument.
In Santa Fe de Antioquia, you'll find many things to do including admiring the incredible beauty of the Bridge of the West (el Puente Occidente), which hangs over the Cauca River (el Río Cauca) and allows access to Santa Fe de Antioquia. It's an incredible bridge that provides an amazing view. You may even cross it as you enter the town.
Likewise, you can visit one of the many museums in Santa Fe de Antioquia including the Museum of Juan del Corral, which houses a nice collection of pre-Columbian pieces as well as religious artwork and examples of colonial furnishings. You can also visit the Casa Solariega, a colonial house that now serves as a unique antique shop where you'll find one of a kind antiques—some for sell and some for show.
If you're more into nature-related activities, you can take a horseback ride around the outskirts of the town, take a guided hike to local waterfalls, rent a bike to ride around the town, or even take part in paragliding.
Whichever of these towns you choose to visit during a day trip from Medellin, we're sure you'll have a blast! Contact us today to start planning your trip to see these great spots during a trip to Colombia.
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