2 ADVENTUROUS DAY TRIPS FROM MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA
Medellin is a beautiful city with rich history so you can never spend too much time there. However, it would be a miss if you were there and didn't venture out to Colombia's countryside, three hours outside of Medellin. I went to Medellin on a girls trip and was lucky enough to have a good friend (@ale_eats_world_) living there at the time who planed an amazing off the beaten path experience for us. Since there was six of us and none of us were comfortable driving a mini van we decided to book a tour with Zooming.co so that we can sit back an enjoy this two day adventure. The tour took us to the town of Tamesis for outdoors activities, Jerico to visit a coffee farm, and Cauca Vieja for a luxury villa stay.
Mountain Propelling and Petroglyhs in Tamesis
We left Medellin very early in the morning to head to the mountainous town of Tamesis. The three hour drive was scenic and peaceful but the roads were narrow and curvy so we were glad we had a driver. We stopped at a small cafe, Santo Tomas, half way through for breakfast. I ordered a fresh orange juice which was the most delicious juice I've ever had. I jokingly asked where the oranges were from and to my surprise, the waitress very sincere pointed the mountain range behind the restaurant.
TIP: There is a lot of delicious local fruit in Colombia. Take advantage and try them all!
Tamesis is very quiet town, with narrow streets decorated with colorful houses. Locals live a very modest lifestyle and from the way they were looking at us, I don't think they get too many tourists. What I loved most about Tamesis, is that every time I looked up I could see the beautiful mountains that surrounded the small city. Because of its altitude, it rains every day in Tamesis. The water is drinkable which allows the locals to sustain living there.
If you love the outdoors and being active, you will love Tamesis. In the words of our guide from Ecocartama Nature Adventures, "this is a climbing town." We initially wanted to do water propelling but with so much rain the night before, it wasn't safe. We went with mountain propelling instead. After about an hour of strenuous hiking, we had to climb up one part of the mountain that was wedged between two rocks. We had no aid other than tiny rocks for foot rests and a tree branch to hang on to. This was on of the scariest things I've every done, BUT the view from the top of this mountain was breathtaking.
After being rewarded with a gorgeous view and some snacks to refuel, we started propelling down the mountain. Propelling is when you are tied to a rope and walk backwards down a mountain at a 90 degree angle. I am a little afraid of heights so this experience was a little terrifying but also AWESOME! As soon as my feet hit the ground, I felt like a bad-ass!
TIP: Always inquire about difficulty level before booking outdoor activities. Communicate your fitness level and injuries in advance and ask if the activity you are interested in is a good fit.
We then walked around and "discovered" petroglyphs. This experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. Petroglyphs are carvings in rocks and these particular ones were only visible when light hit them from a very particular angle. Walking past the rocks, they seemed normal but once our guide shined the light from a specific direction, all of a sudden a carving was visible. Architects are still working on understanding what the carvings mean. Some symbols have been interpreted as energy and fertility. The locals value the petroglyphs because they are a window to understanding how their ancestors lived and what they believed. Walking across a mountain at night with flash lights exploring and learning about the petroglyphs was an adventure like no other! It was fun being an architect for a day :)
TIP: take LOTS of bug spray and wear long pants
A Luxurious Stay in Cauca Vieja
We spent the night at the most gorgeous colonial style villa, Casa Horizontes, in a private village called Caeca Viejo This was one of those moments where your jaw drops driving up to a place and then you walk in and immediately feel like a queen. The village was decorated with bright colored houses, beautiful flowers, tall palm tress, and cobble stone streets.
We were welcomed into our villa by the keeper and the rest of our private staff. The first floor had a huge kitchen, outdoor pool, and patio. The top floor had a sitting area, bedrooms, and the best part, HAMMOCKS! Actually, that's not the best part, one of the room had outdoors shower!!!! The villa was decorated with beautiful paintings and each room decorated to match the painting hung in it. The keeper, Felipe was kind and very attentive. The kitchen staff made every meal from scratch including fresh juices and delicious cakes. This was the best and fanciest stay in a hotel I've ever experienced. Unfortunately, we only spent one night there. I can't wait to go back to Colombia just to stay there.
Coffee Farm Visit in Jerico
Colombia is the third largest country in the world for coffee production, so a visit to a coffee farm was a must! We spent the day at La Nohelia coffee plantation with surreal views of the mountain ranges covered in luscious greenery. The views and the fresh crisp air was unforgettable! After putting on sun hats and wrapping little baskets around our waists, we were ready to get to work! Farmer.... walked us through the entire process from planting the seeds to harvesting and drying the beans. We even had a chance to harvest some beans ourselves. Walking around investigating every bean to make sure it was ready to be harvested was a very exciting but a tedious task. This definitely gave me a new appreciation for coffee.
I was also very eager to visit the coffee farm to ask one question, why don't Colombians drink coffee? Yep, we could barely find any coffee to consume in Medellin and locals didn't seem to drink any coffee. Farmer .... explained that up until 10 years ago, farmers grew the beans, dried them, then exported them. They didn't know anything about roasting or drinking the coffee. Coffee was purely a commodity that farmers grew and exported to make a living. In recent years one or two large plantations started roasting and packing coffee in Colombia and introducing locals to actually drinking it.
We then made our way to the charming city of Jerico for lunch. It has a beautiful downtown area with bakeries, restaurants, and vendors selling handmade crafts. A lot of men were wearing cowboy hats and we saw a couple of horse and buggies sitting around, so it felt like we just stepped into a wild wild west movie. We ate lunch at a nice restaurant called... What you want to order here is meat or chicken because a lot of it is grown in the area. Also, ask for a limonada de coco which is a very refreshing count lemonade.
I was hosted by Zooming.co on this trip but everything shared here is my own honest opinion.