Tamesis, a spectacular escape outside Medellin

(Photo: Jacob Stringer)

If you want to get off the beaten track, then Tamesis — a bus ride away from Medellin — is the perfect place for a few days of exploration where not many other foreigners venture.

Perched on the side of a broad valley above the Cauca River, Tamesis in the southwestern part of the Antioquia department is a hidden gem. It is a calm and beautiful little town that seems so far removed from the rest of the country’s big cities that you are almost surprised to discover it has an internet connection.

There are several small towns in southwestern Antioquia that have relaxed vibes and colonial architecture that are worth visiting and all are just a few hours outside of Colombia’s second city, Medellin. They all have small hotels and, with trips out into the surrounding mountainous countryside, enough things to keep a tourist busy for a couple of days. Jerico and Jardin are both highly recommended. As of yet, foreigners are a rare sight in this part of the department and you would be even more hard pressed to see any gringos in Tamesis.

The first thing to do in Tamesis is climb the peak just behind the town and witness the impressive views of the town and valley below. To find the path, take Calle 13A from the town center and walk until the road ends and then keep going.

Tourist guides can be found, but the industry is so small here that you may find you have to make your own itinerary most of the time. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. At the very least, locals will point you towards other paths and how to find the nearby waterfalls. A motorbike taxi ride away there are rivers or traditional villages like Caramanta (one-hour by motorbike) that take you even further back in time than Tamesis.

The region is known for its wildlife, especially for its abundance of rare birds which attract birdwatchers from around the globe. Besides birdwatching and hiking, the mysterious petroglyphs — pictures carved into rock by indigenous cultures — are everywhere in the valley and definitely worth checking out.

The town receives so few foreign visitors that you’ll find people eager to help you out.


Stay: Hotel Turismo, approximately $12 for a single room and bathroom.

Climate: Similar to Medellin — the city of eternal spring known for its temperate weather.

Getting there: It is a three and a half hour bus ride from the Terminal del Sur in Medellin. Buses run frequently and also go to Jerico and Jardin. It is possible to bus from town to town, though this may involve time-consuming changes at remote crossroads.


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