North of Medellin, in the mountains, there’s a little piece of the past that seemingly hasn’t changed in centuries. Santa Fe de Antioquia, founded in 1541 as a gold-mining town, seems to have changed little since then. In fact, due to its perfectly conserved colonial architecture, it was declared a national monument in 1960.
Many of the local residents make their living farming corn, beans and coffee. The town comes alive with frequent festivals and tourists who visit to see the town’s living history and the perfectly preserved architecture that gives it the feeling of being suspended in time. Cultural activities abound, such as food tours that introduce visitors to staples of the region like guandolo, orchata, tarmarind, tamal, arepa and empanadas. The Metropolitan Cathedral, the Archiepiscopal Palace and small museums also draw visitors. In addition, there are nearby vineyards and waterfalls as well as the fascinating Bridge of the West and Plaza Mayor Juan de Corral.
For those looking for action, there are opportunities for horseback riding, walking, rafting down the Cauca River, cycling, paragliding, tennis and paintball, as well as a free Theater under the Stars and plenty of parties.
Santa Fe de Antioquia is about 50 miles north of Medellin.