Various day tours can be made from Medellin
to beautiful, peaceful, colonial style towns in Antioquia's
countryside. One of the most popular, and immaculately preserved, is Santa Fe de Antioquia.
In addition, a Circuito de Oriente tour can visit many towns in one
day. Jardin is another lovely small town South of Medellin en route to
the Coffee Country.
Circuito de Oriente
An interesting days tour from Medellin is
called the "Circuito de Oriente" (or Oriente Circuit). There's numerous
small towns (Pueblitos Paisas) and villages that can be visited all at
once in a days tour from Medellin. With your own car, just get a map
and go, alternatively try to organise such a tour locally in Medellin.
The scenery is very pretty, and everyone in
this rural part of Antioquia seems to live in a stunning flower-clad
hacienda. Any of the following towns would be of interest to tourists:
Rionegro, Carmen de Viboral, Salto de Tequendamita, San Antonio de
Pereira, La Ceja and Retiro.
The pick of the bunch is possibly the laid
back San Antonio de Pereira, with a beautiful plaza surrounded by open
air paisa style cafes great for people watching, especially on the
weekend when the town fills up with locals visiting from Medellin.
There's a great little shop selling a Garden of Eden's worth of
desserts on the main plaza - it's hard to miss (look for the locals
scoffing their desserts!). Travel tip: don't park on the main plaza as
you'll get an extortionate parking ticket.
Rio Negro is one of the larger towns in the
area. The towns main plaza exhibits the Monumento a Jose Maria Cordoba,
a local hero from the war of Independence. There's an impressive
cathedral overlooking the plaza, and a small museum of religious art.
Carmen de Viboral is just outside of
Rionegro and well known for it's hand painted ceramics. A visit to one
of the towns ceramic factories might appeal to visitors.
La Ceja is another nearby Paisa town though
there's little of interest other than the towns beautiful main plaza -
I often take visiting friends here for a drink or few as it's a great
place to watch the world go by. 10 km northwest of La Ceja, on the road
to Salto de Tequendamita is a beautiful waterfall. The restaurant at
the base of the waterfall is pretty poor, so best avoid it.
Also in this region is Truchera Charco Azul,
where one can go trout fishing in a rainforest setting. There are a few
scenic walks to nearby waterfalls, and you can also stay in some
cabanas here. To get to Truchera Charco Azul travel towards the airport
(Las Palmas route) and after about 30 minutes you'll see a sign on your
right (or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
These two paisa towns are quite similar in
many ways - both are about 2-3 hours South of Medellin, and
can be visited on a long full days tour, alternatively there are a few
decent hotels in both the towns. These small towns are very beautiful,
and full of Paisa architecture and friendly people. There's little to
do other than explore the town, hang out in the main Park and meet the
friendly local people. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and
offers some scenic walks. On the weekends, both Jardin and Jerico can
fill up with visitors from Medellin and the surrounding countryside and
have a real buzzing atmosphere. Hotels in Jardin include Balcones
del Parque and the Hotel
Valdivia Plaza. One km outside of Jardin is the
larger hotel Hacienda
Balandu, which has a swimming pool. In Jerico,
consider staying at the comfortable hotel Porton