Concepción19 June 2023. Posted in Blog EN
Looking for an authentic Colombian place that is not touristy but where there is plenty to do? Concepción is the place! Only 1.5 hours from Medellin it is a perfect daytrip off the beaten track. It is located at 1,875 meters above sea level with just 5000 inhabitants. The municipality was declared “Cultural and Historical Heritage of the Nation” in 1999 for its excellent architectural preservation and rightfully so. We explored the town for you, also known as ‘La Concha’, where you will see no other international travelers and we are the first to offer this day tour to you.
WHAT TO DO IN CONCEPCIÓN
The town offers a combination of local paisa culture, nature, history, and opportunities to take stunning pictures. If you want to book this tour with us, send us an email: Info@MiraMundoTravel.com and we will get back to you shortly.
Below we list the top 7 things to do in Concepción.
1. VISIT THE MAIN SQUARE AND CHURCH
One of the most beautiful and well-maintained town squares in Colombia. The construction of the square started in 1859 and was inaugurated in 1907.
In the center of the square, you will find the statue of General José María Córdoba, donated by the Republic of Ecuador during the presidency of General Eloy Alfaro in 1899, for the centenary of Cordova’s birth. A commemorative plaque is still present, as a symbol of the brotherhood between Colombia and Ecuador. In 1981 it was awarded the “Estrella de Antioquia” gold category as the most representative park in Eastern Antioquia.
The first church was built between 1769 and 1771 with brick, lime and sand with a thatched roof, made by the priest Esteban Arango, parish priest of Marinilla. Its construction began in 1769, in 1771 it was a building of brick, lime and sand with a thatched roof, made by the priest Esteban Arango, parish priest of Marinilla. In 1859 Bishop Domingo Riaño ordered the priest José Antonio de Aguilar to build a new church, completed in 1874. The façade, the clock, the bells and many more works of artistic value of the temple were donated by Mr. José Miguel Arismendi, one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the municipality for those times. The church is named ‘Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción’ as the first inhabitants who arrived in these mountains were devoted to the Virgin Immaculate Conception.
On the main square there are some restaurants and bars, great for sitting on the terrace enjoying a beer or a coffee while watching the townspeople go out and about.
2. GO TO THE VIEWPOINT, ALTO DE LA VIRGEN
From the town you walk up to the viewpoint to oversee the town and its beautiful green mountain surroundings. The walk is a bit steep, but it has good stone steps which makes it easier. Depending on your physical condition the walk up takes about 15-20 minutes. At the top you will see the statue of the ‘Immaculate Conception’, which was donation by the participants of a Marian congress in 1942.
3. VISIT NEARBY WATERFALL MATASANO
Just a 6km outside of town you will find a beautiful waterfall called Matasano. You can take a TukTuk which will take you up in a 15 minute drive. Once arrived you will walk down to the waterfall. Make sure you are wearing appropriate shoes, it is not a long walk but it is over a muddy path which has some steep and challenging parts. Once you are down at the waterfall you can take a quick swim in the refreshing water, or just enjoy the stunning views of the waterfall.
4. DO AS THE PAISA’S DO, GO HORSEBACK RIDING
Explore the town and the surroundings by horse, in an hour ride you can see the town from a different perspective. This is a popular activity amongst Colombians. As the town is located in the country side, horses are an important part of daily life as they work on the farm and are one of the main transportation methods.
5. VISIT THE BIRTH HOUSE OF INDEPENDENCE FIGHTER JOSÉ MARÍA CÓRDOBA
Simon Bolivar is well-known as the liberator of Colombia and many other South American countries from the Spanish Crown. However, if you ask the people from Concepción, they will tell you that there was a person even more significant in independence, which was José María Córdoba. The General was born in this town on 8 September 1799 and the house where he was born is now a museum ‘Casa de La Cultura’ in which you can learn about his story. The inhabitants say that El Libertador Bolívar had General Córdova killed in 1829, for not agreeing with the monarchy that the founder of Gran Colombia intended to impose. During his short life he was the most prominent Antioquia General in the Independence period. His peak moment was in the famous Battle of Ayacucho, when he defeated Viceroy José de la Serna, who commanded the royalist army. This allowed the independence of Ecuador, Peru, the creation of Bolivia and the consolidation of the independence of South America.
6. VISIT ONE OF CHARCOS
A charcos is part of a river or creek where the water slows down, is not deep and is safe enough to swim. There are a few puddles around Concepción that you can visit, so don’t forget to bring your swimwear to enjoy a refreshing dip. The charco closest to town is ‘Charco los payasos’, just a few blocks from the main square. You can also visit ‘Charco el Aguacate’ which is a larger charco and just 1.5 km outside of the main town. You will see that the people from the town love to visit the charco’s with their families during the weekend.
7. ENJOY THE LOCAL FOOD
Since it is not touristy it is excellent place to try local cuisine for local prices. Restaurants do not have a menu and the waiter will tell you what they are serving that day. Usually it is a ‘plato de frijoles’ a dish with beans and you can choose what type of meat you want it to go with. It comes with rice, plantain, a fried egg, a small salad, of course an arepa and a freshly made fruit juice. This typical lunch comes down to less than 4 usd.
There are various restaurants on the main square, we can recommend restaurant Ranchito, besides good food it also has interesting decorations like nests of the weaver bird and many types of plants.
8. JUST WALK AROUND TOWN
The town is just beautiful in itself, the houses kept their original style and architecture with colorful windows and doors. Some people leave them open and you can peak in to see their beautiful patio’s. The people are typical small-town people who are very friendly, I was greeted by everyone walking on the streets. You will see the farmers passing by with their hats, and farmer gear and sometimes with their horse. The local neighbor will tell you about the latest gossip if you strike up a conversation (a great way to practice your Spanish). You can pass by the cemetery which has a great view and see how people in Colombia are buried stacked in small buildings above the ground.
It is possible to stay the night either in town or at a hotel just outside of town. The options are limited and basic, we recommend going back to Medellín by the end of the day.
HOW TO GET TO CONCEPCIÓN
From Medellin it is about 1.5 to 2 hour drive, which is perfect for a daytrip. Leave in the morning around 8:30 or 9am and get back by dinner time. We offer comfortable private transportation from and to your hotel. There are two ways to get to Concepción, one is via Barbosa where the first part is highway and then you go south which is partly unpaved. The second options is via Marinilla and San Vincente. We always check the latest condition of the road surface to decide which route would be best.
We include a professional English speaking guide to take you to all these places and tell you more about the local history and culture.