Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

Medellín is a popular destination among foreign visitors to Colombia. It may not be the best choice when it comes to your first job as an English teacher, but the city is really impressive. There are plenty of interesting sights such as Pueblito Paisa, but you can also go on trips to other places in Antioquia. Probably the most popular one is Guatapé, which is located close to the amazing Piedra del Peñol. If you don’t have much time, you can simply take the Metrocable to Parque Arví. For those who love something a bit more adventurous, there is another really nice place that can be reached by public transport.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

Envigado is officially a separate town, but visiting it will make you feel like you are still in Medellín. It’s only seven metro stops away from the centre and you can actually walk there from El Poblado. Many people prefer living in Envigado because it allows you to stay in a calm neighbourhood while being reasonably close to everything you need. Its location is also convenient for trips to places such as Parque El Salado and Cuevas del Higuerón.

If you like hiking, I recommend visiting a waterfall called Chorro de las Campanas, which is located close to Envigado. Let me show you what it looks like, and if you would like to know how to get there, just scroll down and keep reading.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The hike to the waterfall starts in Arenales, which is just 7 kilometres away from the metro station in Envigado. Although the easiest option is to get a taxi, the most entertaining one is provided by the local bus leaving from the southern exit of the metro station. The last section of the winding road is very narrow and maybe a little scary, but that’s the only way to get to Arenales. Although most of the buses turn around and return to Envigado, some of them continue to La Catedral, which now contains facilities for senior citizens. Don’t hesitate to ask the driver to confirm that you’re in the right place.

The trail to Chorro de Las Campanas is easy to follow. If you go there at a weekend, there will most likely be other visitors to show you the correct way. You can also use this helpful Wikiloc trail to guide you. At the beginning, you have to go downhill towards the small river, and the only thing to pay attention is that when you reach a gate, you should take the path to the left of it. You will then reach a narrow concrete bridge crossing the stream, and that’s where the fun part starts. If you get lucky, you may be able to see colourful butterflies.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The hike to the waterfall is pretty straightforward since you just have to follow the stream. You will cross it several times, and in some places it’s actually easier to wade through the water due to thick vegetation on both sides of the stream. You can walk barefoot if you feel comfortable with that, or you might want to take an extra pair of shoes for the hike. I tried to keep my feet dry as long as possible, but in the end I gave up and decided to walk through the stream. Going back home in my soaking wet hiking boots wasn’t the most pleasant experience ever.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The waterfall is just a kilometre away from the bridge, but the hike isn’t exactly easy because of the terrain. Getting wet is part of the adventure, and there are also several natural pools to take a dip in. Some visitors even jump into the icy cold water directly under the waterfall to cool off after the hike. If you are hungry for more adventure, you can continue to Salto del Ángel and La Catedral, which involves going through some rather challenging passages of the trail. The other option is to go back to Arenales and catch a bus to Envigado. Whichever route you choose, you won’t regret it because both of them are great choices for spending time in an amazing place away from the busy city.

Recinto del Pensamiento is a great place to visit

I have mentioned the city of Manizales several times on this blog. The capital of Caldas is one of the best places to live in Colombia, and I really enjoyed my two years there. Even if you are a tourist, it’s worth spending some time in the city because there are plenty of things to do there. I highly recommend visiting the centre and going to the top of the cathedral via the Polish corridor. This activity is not for the fainthearted since it’s amazing and scary in equal measure.

Manizales is a great starting point for various trips because it is located close to Los Nevados national park with its impressive volcano Nevado del Ruiz. You can also stay at Hostal La Laguna and hike to a huge waterfall. Rio Blanco natural reserve is famous among birdwatchers. There are some amazing places within the city limits as well: I enjoyed visiting Ecoparque Los Alcázares, which is close to the city centre, and I was lucky to have a nice view of Los Yarumos from my apartment.  

Recinto del Pensamiento, Manizales, Colombia

Living in a Colombian city is usually a noisy experience, so it’s nice to have the option of going somewhere to unwind. As its name suggests, Recinto del Pensamiento is a place that is supposed to make you think. It sounds like a remote retreat, but it is in fact easily accessible and there are numerous facilities that include even a hotel. Recinto del Pensamiento’s allure lies in its beautiful natural setting.

Even though it is located just over ten kilometres from the city centre, Recinto del Pensamiento offers amazing sights that you would expect to see somewhere far away. You can go on a two-hour hike that will show you the beauty of Colombian nature. It is mandatory to go with a guide and an adult ticket costs 19,000 pesos. You can pay 15,000 more for a chairlift, which is very slow and looks rather creaky, so walking represents a better option. The first part of the hike is a little steep, but it isn’t really challenging.

Recinto del Pensamiento, Manizales, Colombia

The first stop takes place at a house where you can relax and watch birds. There are countless hummingbirds flying around and making brief stops to drink sugary liquid from plastic water feeders. In the meantime, your guide will tell you mind-blowing facts about this species. Hummingbirds are incredible animals, and the way they move their little bodies will never cease to amaze me. While hummingbirds attract everybody’s attention, there are in fact more than 150 species of birds in the area. If you want to spend more time observing them, you can also book a birdwatching tour.

Recinto del Pensamiento, Manizales, Colombia

The hike continues past a fish-filled pond, and then you walk up a path lined with bonsai trees until you reach another highlight of the trip. You will enter a large glasshouse which is a home to beautiful butterflies. Seeing various colourful species of these insects is an amazing experience. There are plenty of plants too, and if you get lucky, you can spot some of the butterflies in their chrysalis stage. After exiting the glasshouse, you will descend back to the main area through a forest in which beautiful orchids grow. The guides are knowledgeable and they are always happy to provide relevant information and answer your questions. You can find photos from the hike on Recinto del Pensamiento’s Facebook page.

Recinto del Pensamiento, Manizales, Colombia

As you can see, Recinto del Pensamiento is a great place to visit and you definitely won’t get bored there. I recommend going there in the morning because that’s when the weather is usually quite nice. Fortunately, going to Recinto del Pensamiento from Manizales is pretty easy; you can check this map for its exact location. Taxis are affordable and reliable, and you can also get there by bus from El Cable area. Look for a bus going to Maltería and make sure to ask the driver if you are going the direction. You will get to the main entrance after a short ride. Enjoy your trip!