Pueblito Paisa is a replica of an old Antioquian town.
It's located on Cerro Nutibara, southwest of the town center.
It's touristy, but definitely worth a visit, definitely for those on business trip, who won’t have much time to explore the surroundings (as it was the case with me). You can learn a lot about the local Antioquian architecture, mainly the richly carved wooden balconies.
It is arranged in a shape of a horseshoe, the tiny little church in the middle, flanked left and right by shops and a restaurant.
White (chalked) walls, wooden doors, usually painted in bright colors, some steps, and the first floor surrounded by balconies - this is the typical style of the old colonial colombian towns.
This balcony is part of the little restaurant in Pueblito Paisa, and consequently less decorated with flower pots (to make sure that the passengers on the square are not killed by flying pots – Colombians can talk very “indicative”).
If you want to see more of these adorable balconies, check my photos, I have posted for Villa de Leiva. These ones, however, are dark green.
Oh, and if you fall in love with these balconies as I did, you should get a replica for your own. Given the popularity and picturesqueness of them, it is logical that you can buy small ones in any souvenir shop. Of course you will be overwhelmed by some kitschy ones, but if you look long enough, you can find nice ones as well.
No matter if you are visiting Colombia on business or on private, you most probably will notice the lovely wooden carved balconies all over most of the towns (even in bigger cities). Often, they are only (well, only sounds stupid) pure wood, but you will also see painted ones – green or red.
If you look closer, you can see pots of flowers at the balcony roof in the photo. Other balconies have flower pots on the balustrade, on the flooor – practically all over.
This one here in Pueblito Paisa is red, just as the other wooden house details in the tiny village. Red gives a nice contrast to the white houses :-)
Located in the downtown of Medellín, Parque Bolívar was inaugurated in 1882 and named in honor of the liberator Simón Bolívar. It is situated between Calles 54 (Caracas) and 56 (Bolivia) and Carreras 48 (Ecuador) and 49 (Venezuela), named after places related to the liberation. The park has a large green area with native trees providing welcome shade from the midday sun and is also one of the main meeting places. In the evening the atmosphere can turn a little seedy and you will probably encounter transsexuals and drug addicts.
Parque Bolívar is historic and cultural place. Around the park are several cultural sites such as the Catedral Metropolitana on the north and Teatro Lido on the south. On Sundays people visit the park to listen to the free concert of the Symphony Orchestra of the University of Antioquia. The park gets especially lively on first Saturday of the month when it hosts the craft fair of San Alejo, a place to buy arts, handcrafts and antiques.
The Cathedral is standing on the north side of Plaza Bolívar and it is the biggest church in Medellín. It has a neo-Romanesque design and it was built using more than 1.2 million bricks. The colour of the bricks become very beautiful when the sun is low. Construction took about 55 years and it was completed in 1931.
The cathedral was open only once when I passed and of course I took the chance to enter. On the walls there are some paintings by Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos. The fine stained-glass windows are from Spain and the organ is from Germany.
The Museum of Antioquia is situated in a large building by Plazoleta de las Esculturas. Here there are collections of pre-Colombian, colonial, independence and modern art. There are also temporary exhibitions. When I visited there were one with cloths designed by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. The highlight is the donation made by the artist Fernando Botero (who comes from Medellín). He has donated some of his best paintings and sculptures to the museum as well as paintings made by other artist like Picasso and Jeff Koontz.
The museum is open between 9.30 - 17.00 on Mondays to Saturdays and between 10.00 - 16.00 on Sundays.
Admission was 8000 pesos (July 2008).
There are two museum shops, one in the front and one behind (maybe the one behind is not officially a museum shop). And there is a café, Café Sophia, which looked closed when I visited and restaurant Botero with a terrace overlooking Plazoleta de las Esculturas..
Basilica de la Candelaria is situated by the busy Parque Berrío. It was built in the 1770s and from 1868 to 1931 (when Catedral Metropolitana was completed) it served as the cathedral of the city. Also this church was open and full of worshippers the times I passed. In the left isle there is a statue of the Fallen Christ and the ornate ceiling is beautiful. Also the main retable is of interest
Built at the top of the 80m-tall hill called Cerro Nutibara, Pueblito Paisa is a rather well-constructed miniature replica of a typical traditional Antioquian town. With a colonial-style architecture, it's one of the region's favourite tourist sites and receives a lot of attention in the travel literature. Despite being completely tourist-oriented, the place is worth a trip as there is something rather charming about it.
The pueblito is constructed in the shape of a horseshoe with a cobblestone town plaza where you find the little faux church, a fountain, two-storey houses with wooden balconies and mayor's residence. It offers decent souvenir and handicraft shopping as well as an excellent restaurant that serve the traditional bandeja paisa, a typical dish of the Paisa region. From the adjacent platform there are magnificent panoramic views of Medellín which are particularly impressive during December/January for alumbrados (Christmas lights).
more pics in the travelogue
Pueblito Paisa is within walking distance from the metro station Industriales. The walk from the bottom of the Cerro Nutibara requires hiking uphill for a while.
As already mentioned, in the center of the horseshoe shaped pueblito is a little church, also in the old style. You can visit it, it is open until all shops and restaurants close.
Paisa, by the way, is the name of Antioquian’s inhabitants, the name derives from “pais” = the land.
It must be lovely to be up here during Christmas time. I once saw a photo in a magazin, Christmas decorations all over and magically illuminated.
Across from the Universidad de Antioquia is a beautiful Jardín Botánico. It was founded in 1972 in memory of one Antioquia's most respected naturalist, Joaquin Antonio Uribe. This garden is a wildlife refuge where a number of Colombian animal and plant species are found. Since opening the garden has grown in size and stature and is now a wonderfully green space with more than 600 spices of trees and plants, including a vast collection of orchids.
There is a small open-air auditorium with frequent concerts at weekends. Other attractions include a lovely lake full of beautiful white water lilies, a herbarium and Orquideorama which houses a significant display of orchids in March and April. If walking makes you hungry, there is a gourmet restaurant called Itu, serving mostly traditional food and drinks, and Café del Bosque. And even better, you can enjoy this quiet, relaxing surroundings having your own picnic :)
At the end of my walking tour I visited La Tienda del Jardín, a shop with some beautiful pieces of art, all made from natural materials. I was pleasantly surprised to also find Natura, an eco-friendly Brazilian cosmetic brand that I like a lot.
This well worth visiting botanical garden is open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm and admission was free (December 2009).
El Poblado became the new place to live for wealthy residents of Medellín. Located about 4 km south of the city centre, much of the neighbourhood is set in steep hills which means it is less humid than other parts of Medellín. The hillside setting offers incredible views of the city, while views of El Poblado from other parts of the city are quite spectacular because of the number of high rise buildings jam-packed together.
The neighbourhood is packed with best hostels and stylish hotels, upscale restaurants, trendy bars and cafés, and it's a popular area with travellers. Parque Lleras (the so-called Zona Rosa) has some of Medellin's best nightlife and Parque Poblado is where the more alternative scene hangs out. For some fine shopping head to the upscale malls, such as Oviedo and El Tesoro.
El Poblado is safe to walk around at any time. There are a lot of trees, plants and flowers, and it has several streams that descend from the mountains towards Medellín's river. Although large open green spaces are not common, Parque Lineal de la Presidenta is a welcome exception. One evening Natalie from Hostal Tamarindo asked me to join her on a walk to the park. We made a circle around the area and she kindly explained about the notable sights.
The best way to get to El Poblado from the city centre is taking the metro to Poblado station and then walk up Calle 10 for about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can take the bus no. 133 from which leaves from Parque Berrío but it takes much longer.
more pics in the travelogue
Pueblito Paisa is a construction of a typical Antioquian town in miniature. A few houses and a small church is set around a square. In the houses there are souvenir shops and a restaurant, but also a few rooms with old time furniture. Have you seen charming real towns and villages this is not a must see, but a visit could be nice if you have time.
Pueblito Paisa is situated on the summit of the 80-metre tall hill, Cerro Nutibara. From a platform you will have great views over the city.
To go to Pueblito Paisa I took the metro to the stop Industriales and from there I walked.
The full name of the Botanical Garden is Jadín Botánico del Medellín Joaquin Antonio Uribe. It is named after an Antioquian botanist. The garden was founded in 1972 and has over 600 species of trees and other plants. There is a lovely lake with water lilies and turtles. There is also a small open-air auditorium where sometimes orchestra concerts are held. You can also have something to eat in the restaurant or buy something in the shop (I found many nice things but didn’t buy anything in the end). In Mach - April you can see a display of orchids in the Orquideorama. It is a relaxing place away from the city traffic.
The Botanical Garden is open between 9 - 17 every day of the week and there was no admission (July 2008).
City planners have prohibited new constructions in central Medellín that doesn't include public art. The result is a glorious outdoor gallery Plazoleta de las Esculturas at the doorstep of Museo de Antioquia. Fernando Botero, the most famous artist of the city, donated 23 of his sculptures to the city which placed them on this square. The plaza is now known as Plaza Botero in his honour.
His sculptures are famous for the exaggerated forms of the figures. The majority of them are naked women but there are also a few men, and animals - cat, dog and horse. Lots of people pass through the park every day and these oversized sculptures are the much-photographed site of Medellín. The sculptures are attractive, they invite people to touch them. Colombians tend to believe that Botero's sculptures bring good fortune.
Besides the Plazoleta de las Esculturas, you can see his massive bronze of woman's torso, La Gorda, in front of the Banco de la República in Parque Berrío while in the Parque San Antonio three of his sculptures include Pájaro de Paz (Bird of Piece).
Museo de Antoquia, located in the heart of the centre, is Colombia's second-oldest museum and one of the finest. It was founded in 1881 and occupies a building which once served as a working place of the Mayor of Medellín. Located in front of the Plazoleta de las Esculturas, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate pre-Columbian, colonial and modern art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and murals by national and international artists. The main attraction are works donated by Medellín born artist Fernando Botero. It's the biggest collection of his works which includes 108 paintings.
The museum has restaurant, shop with some really nice books and other things, and a spacious inner courtyard where is a coffee shop Terraza Sophia. While Museo de Antioquia seems big from the outside, much of its space is used for large corridors. Exploring the building you will also get the occasional glimpse of the downtown Medellín from one of the few windows on route.
It is open Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:00pm, Sunday and public holidays 10:00am-4:00pm.