Visiting Medellin? what luck! without a doubt one of the most beautiful places you can see in your life. Its people’s friendliness and good energy are contagious throughout the streets of the capital of Antioquia. From El Poblado to commune 13, Medellin breathes good vibes, rumba, and gozadera.
But, did you know that in its surroundings, you can find true natural paradises for extreme sports, hiking, or camping? That’s right, near Medellin there are more than 30 charming towns, which you can reach by car or bus, in just minutes or a couple of hours. In this article, we show you 5 towns to go to and come back the same day and make your stay in Medellin more unforgettable.
For what to do in Medellin don’t miss our latest post Medellin Travel Guide
Guatapé and the Peñol stone
Guatapé is undoubtedly one of the most famous towns in Colombia and of course one of the busiest tourist spots in Antioquia.
Two hours from Medellin is Guatapé and the reserve of the Peñol stone, a monolithic rock over 200 meters high, located in the middle of an artificial lake. Its colorful streets and houses create a truly welcoming atmosphere in Guatape and both in the town and around the lake, you can find delicious restaurants and a wide range of hotels and hostels.
The main attraction is to climb the 700 stone steps and contemplate the beautiful landscape, perfect for a story on social networks or a postcard to your loved ones. Also in the lake, you can kitesurf, Jet Sky and all kinds of water activities.
Rio Claro Reserve
If you enjoy nature and adrenaline, we recommend spending a couple of days camping in a lush natural landscape. The Rio Claro Reserve located 3 hours from Medellin from the northern terminal has 650 hectares of green forests and crystal clear rivers, protected from mining exploitation, perfect for bird watching, camping, or connecting with nature.
Once an area affected by conflict and violence, the Rio Claro reserve is today a clear example of social and biological vindication. In the head of rafting, ecotourism has been one of the keys to the recovery and conservation of the rivers in the area, educating the population and opening the doors to conscious and sustainable tourism. For sure a place you won’t want to miss if you are in Medellin.
45 minutes from Medellin, Rio Negro is one of the places with the greatest potential and economic development in the region. A climate that does not exceed 15 degrees and lush nature in Rio Negro you can find the Arvi Park, an open public park of 1761 hectares of forest, belonging to the Nare River Reserve, where native and plantation forests converge; where you can do activities such as bird watching, day and night hiking (with guides), picnics and enjoy a unique view of the park from the cable car.
You should know that Rio Negro has the Jose Maria Cordova Airport, where all international flights arrive, so click here, to learn about the different ways you can get from the airport to the city safely and at the right price. The fare for Uber or Taxi can be between 80 thousand and 90 thousand Colombian pesos.
Jardín is recognized as one of the most beautiful towns in Antioquia and as a national heritage site. Its streets and balconies, its small square, and its cafes with colorful benches are a postcard that you will not see anywhere else in the world, simply a beautiful and cozy place, well worth a visit if you are in Medellin.
Two and a half hours from Medellin, you will find Jardin, a place where you can relax and do many activities, especially for lovers of adventure and enjoyment of nature. One of the main attractions is the Cueva del Esplendor, a beautiful natural waterfall that can be visited on a horseback ride or walking for the day, and enjoy a rejuvenating dip in its crystal clear waters and of course appreciate along the way the landscape of coffee plantations. Once there, you can rappel down the waterfall, a guaranteed thrill!
Less known than its neighbor Jardín, the town of Jerico is also one of Colombia’s heritage towns and is a 3-hour drive from Medellín.
This place has the distinction of being the birthplace of the only Colombian saint, Mother Laura Montoya. The image of the saint is, therefore, in a way, the town’s icon. It adorns the walls, the stores, and even the tuk-tuks that serve as motorcycle cabs.
However, Jerico’s heritage lies in its architecture and colorful houses. In the central square, for example, there are splendidly carved balconies that make you want to sit, have a coffee and watch village life unfold.
Jerico is also known for its handicrafts and, in particular, for the manufacture of carriels, one of the symbols of the clothing of the rural Antioquia region. The carriel is a leather bag with 12 different compartments, widely used by the paisas (inhabitants of the Antioquia region), and has become a must-have souvenir for those who visit the town.
It is worth staying a few days in Jerico, you can do many nature walks, enjoy exceptional views of the surrounding landscape, paragliding and, of course, visit the coffee plantations and learn about the coffee culture from the producers. By the way, if you go to Jerico take the opportunity to taste the coffee with cardamom, a recognized delicacy of the region.