Journey Across Antioquia’s Treasures
Today, we invite you to leave for an adventure in the Antioquia’s mountain in Colombia, this region of thousands of landscapes and traditions, to discover the paths off the beaten tracks and the beautiful paisa villages.
Follow us, this way!
First of all, some background
The History of the Antioquia department is illustrated by a long struggle of the Indigenous people Chibcha and Caribbean, facing the Spanish conquistadors Rodrigo de Bastidas, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Juan de la Cosa, who draw the first map of the world including the American continent. In 1500, those three men explored Panama and the North West region of Colombia, where they dominated the Indigenous communities.
Medellin, the city of eternal spring
Since 1826, the capital of Antioquia is the dynamic Medellin, also known for its fashion industry. You would enjoy to spend some days there to discover its intense rhythm of life and its cultural, religious, sportive and industrial richness… Despite the agitation and diversity of the metropole, Medellin maintains the charms and family spirit of the Antioquia villages. You will quickly fall in love with their Paisa accent, and even get used to be called “Mi amor” by local shops owners! During the first week of august, the annual Feria de las Flores, animating the city with thousands of colors, flowers, music and a festive atmosphere… It is a delightful period to enjoy the hospitality of Medellin, the city of the eternal spring.
Sonson, the Corn Jerusalem
Let’s continue the discovery of the Antioquia department in the little village of Sonson, cradle of “Paisas” and the “Antioqueñidad”. It is considered as such because the independence of Antioquia was declared and celebrated there. Sonson is also a reference in terms of Antioqueña culture.
In mid-august, the “Corn Jerusalem” celebrates the Fiesta del Maíz, aimed to commemorate the traditional cuisine made of corn, and also the paisa and colonial tradition of Sonsoneños. Indeed, if you haven’t noticed yet, the corn is a product very often essential to many gastronomic specialties: arepa, tamal, empanada and mazamorra are good examples. During this festival, there are some parades in the streets and the Queen of the celebration is elected. You also have the opportunity to visit the agro-environmental fair and enjoy shows and concerts of many Colombian artists.
Manzanares and the paths of Antioquia’s mountain
To immerse yourself totally in the Paisa culture, you must leave for adventure on the paths of Antioquia’s mountain, leaving from the city of Manzanares, accompanied by a local guide specialist on the subject. You will get to know everything there is to know about the vegetation, which is changing constantly with the variations of the weather, the artisanal practices, and you may even fish your dinner.
If the economy is based essentially on the coffee culture and farming, the department is also an important producer of panela, food produced with the juice of sugar cane. You must know that in Colombia, panela is the 3rd most important agricultural production after rice and coffee. It was introduced to the culture at the time of the Spanish conquest. While discovering the treasures of the region with your guide, you should taste the Aguapanela, a very popular drink in Colombia of which you can observe the fabrication. You can´t miss it!
During the journey in the Antioqueña Mountains, you will have the chance to admire the impressive Cañon del Melchoco, privileged zone for mining operations.
El Retiro, the cradle of Liberty
After this adventurous expedition, El Retiro is the ideal destination to recover from all the emotions and recharge your battery before going back to the agitated civilization of Bogotá. Historically, this territory was a mining operation, where African slaves were working for Don Ignacio Castadeña. In 1766, he signed the liberation of 140 slaves, important event because it was the very first time in the world that some slaves were liberated. El Retiro earned the name of Cradle of Liberty.
You will have a lot to do in a few days in that little village perched at 2175m in altitude. First of all you must go discover the workshops; their pieces of furniture are famous for their beauty, finesse, quality and durability. It is a know-how transmitted from generation to generation. The Guarceños (inhabitants of El Retiro) are big producers and exporters of avocados, and they also produce a coffee of gran quality. You can’t leave this city without tasting the original Bandeja paisa “Típico Montañero”.
If you are lucky, you might be in El Retiro to attend one of the many feasts animating the city and celebrating its culture, traditions and inhabitants: many religious feasts, festivals of folkloric dances, music, theatre, poetry of even agriculture.
While you will be in the ecotourism paradise, ideal to enjoy the peace of nature and to be on your own, you’ll have the opportunity to do many activities responsible such as camping, go horse riding, observe the many species of birds… You will probably meet some Paisas, because they are many to escape to El Retiro in the week-end.
Come to visit the Antioquia’s Mountain and discover an extraordinary environment and the warm ambiance of each city of the department. An expedition to recommend to all the nature lovers!
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