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Oozing with charm, Jericó, Colombia is a mountain hamlet in the southern part of our home district of Antioquia.  Another officially designated Pueblo Patrimonio (Heritage Town), Jericó had been on our list to visit for a while – and we finally got to make the trip by car in September. Jericó was our first overnight trip since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was a welcome change of scene after so many months confined to the big city. Without a doubt, this is our favorite rural Colombian town so far (but there are so many yet to see!). Jericó has many similarities to Jardín, another Pueblo Patrimonio that we visited last year (blog post here). They’re both colorful, picturesque, surrounded by the verdant hills of the northern Andes, and populated by friendly and laid-back paisas (as the people of Antioquia proudly call themselves). However, Jericó is further off the beaten…

The beautiful colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia has been on our radar for a long time. An easy and scenic drive from Medellin, Santa Fe is one of 17 Pueblos Patrimonios, towns honored by the Colombian government for their pivotal role in history, beautifully preserved architecture, and/or unique cultural heritage. And Santa Fe de Antioquia has all three, in spades. Situated on the mighty Cauca, one of Colombia’s longest rivers, Santa Fe is the oldest town in Antioquia department and was once its capital. The town was founded in 1541 as a gold-mining center and was once one of the most prosperous towns in the Spanish empire. We spent four nights in Santa Fe de Antioquia in July. Here are our highlights. As usual, some photos are in galleries – just click the first one to view each in sequence. A Deep Sense of History Stroll through town to…

When does a goat roll on four wheels and an old Ford chassis? When it’s a Colombian chiva! Since publishing our April news post, we’ve gotten lots of comments and questions about the vehicle in the highlight photo: This colorful contraption is known as a chiva (Spanish for female goat), so named because of its ability to take on even the most treacherous Colombian mountain roads. In the rural towns, chivas are just about as common as arepas (the corn tortilla-like disks that are served with every meal). Chivas provide rustic but important and low-cost transportation for the people, their livestock, and just about any other goods you can imagine. They’re Colombia’s answer to “chicken buses.” We spotted the above chiva in San Carlos, a small town about two hours’ drive west of Medellín. (Just before the pandemic hit last year, we made a very cool road trip to San Rafael…

Where did April go?? With our weekend quarantines now a fact of life and Colombia’s devastating third COVID wave showing no real signs of relenting, the months are whipping by. As travel bloggers, we’ve been a bit challenged to come up with interesting things to write about as we stay grounded by the pandemic. Until we can hit the road fully vaccinated and ready to travel, we’ll keep highlighting interesting news about Colombia every month. Here’s our April Colombia news roundup. Colombia’s April COVID news isn’t good. Just yesterday, the New York Times published a story with this distressing headline: If you subscribe to the Times, here’s the full story. But in essence, it quotes Colombia government officials, among others, and states that the COVID crisis in South America has taken an ominous turn for the worst – posing a major threat to the progress that’s been made in other parts…

Happy New Year! And how is it possible that it’s already January 11?? At the end of every year, we like to look back on our travels and new experiences over the past 12 months. Here’s last year’s entry, focusing on our most popular posts in 2019. And it was also fun to revisit this post from Dec. 2019, our reflections after our first year of living in Colombia. But 2020? How do we even start? We’ve tried to get this post airborne a few times over the last couple of weeks. Our go-to excuse, logistically speaking, is that we moved from Medellín to an outlying town, El Retiro, on Dec. 28 (see more about that below!) and only Friday got up and running with functional internet. But if we’re being really honest, trying to capture the turmoil and anxiety, the highs and lows, the outright craziness of 2020 has been…

El Carmen de Viboral is yet another charming Colombian town that’s an easy day trip from Medellín. El Carmen de Viboral’s claim to fame is its artisan ceramics workshops, with craftsmanship that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Ceramics aren’t just an important economic sector for this region – the unique, hand-painted style of the pottery work is a symbol of local pride. All over town, you’ll see exquisite mosaic work and embedded dishes on everything from lamp posts to store fronts. As usual, photos are in galleries. Just click through to see each one by one. As small Colombian towns go, El Carmen de Viboral is relatively young. The town dates back to the late 19th century (1870-1880) when locals discovered rich deposits of feldspar and quartz in the region, key ingredients in the fabrication of ceramics. The hand-painted designs are unique to El Carmen and combine indigenous and…

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