Medellin is Colombia’s second biggest 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 tour, there are two incredible places you can visit from Medellin: Guatapé and Santa Fé de Antioquia.
A cute and colourful town, Guatapé 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 Peñón de Guatapé. Upon arrival to the town of Guatapé, 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 Guatapé, 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 Guatapé is not even Guatapé itself, but the Peñón de Guatapé—the enormous rock that you can’t miss as you arrive to Guatapé. The Peñón 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 Guatapé and el Peñón in a day, you could easily spend a couple of days exploring here as well.
Santa Fé de Antioquia
Another great option for a day trip is the small colonial town of Santa Fé 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 Fé 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 Fé 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 Fé de Antioquia including the Museum of Juan del Corral, which houses a nice collection of pre-Colombian 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 two towns you choose to visit, we’re sure you’ll have a blast. Both offer a unique chance to explore life in the smaller towns surround Medellin, and will add a charming twist to your trip to this region of Colombia!
The Uncover Colombia Team.
- Things to do in Medellin (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- The Basics of Public Transport in Medellin (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Famous Festivals in Colombia (www.uncovercolombia.com)