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Santa Elena

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Santa Elena, Medellin
45 min from Medellin
31 km( 19 miles)


Average 18c (64f)

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Nature Town Near Medellin

Santa Elena is one of the five districts of Medellín. It is situated to the east of the city, approximately 19 kilometers from the city center. Santa Elena shares its borders with the municipalities of Copacabana and Bello to the north, Rionegro and Guarne to the east, the urban perimeter of Medellín to the west, and Envigado to the south.

History of Santa Elena

The history of this region can be traced back to the settlement of indigenous communities belonging to the Tahamí tribe, who were known for their exploitation and trade of salt in the region we now refer to as Eastern Antioquia. The Piedra Blanca basin, located in this area, saw significant development during the time of the Spanish conquest with the discovery of the Aburrá Valley.
By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the region experienced a surge in growth due to the gold mining boom. This activity, however, led to the destruction of the natural vegetation as the soil and subsoil were extensively excavated during the extraction process.

Things to Do in Santa Elena

Santa Elena offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy during their stay in this rural Colombian town. Let’s explore the various activities that you can enjoy.

Parque Arví

The standout attraction in Santa Elena is Parque Arví, a vast 16,000-hectare nature reserve. This public park is a place both for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. It features big forests, diverse plant life, well-maintained walking trails, serene picnic spots, and meandering streams.

Visitors can explore the park at their own pace on self-guided hikes, enjoy the beauty of the local flora and fauna. If you are seeking a deeper understanding of the landscape and its indigenous communities and their history, guided tours are available.
Thrill-seekers can head to Comfama within the park for activities like ziplining, archery, rock climbing, and 4D cinema experiences. Admission prices vary depending on residency and Comfama membership.

Stroll Around the Town

In the heart of Santa Elena, you’ll find a charming Colombian town square complete with a church, fountain, statues, and tiendas (small shops). Spend a leisurely afternoon in the sunshine, relaxing on one of the benches, observing the locals as they go about their day, and savoring a cup of tinto (coffee) or a beer. While the town itself doesn’t offer many activities, it provides an ideal setting to immerse yourself in the daily life of a a typical Antioqueño pueblo.

Finca Museo Herencia Silletera

Santa Elena is known for its participation in the annual Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival), a celebration featuring over 500 silleteros, farmers who carry intricate flower displays on their backs. To delve deeper into the town’s floral heritage, visit the Finca Museo Herencia Silletera.
This museum is located on a farm, surrounded by lush vegetation, offering scenic viewpoints, historical exhibits, and colonial-style rooms that provide insights into traditional silletero culture and lifestyle. The museum also hosts workshops that educate visitors about cultivation techniques and the cultural significance of agriculture in the region.

Mirador Cerro Verde

A visit to Mirador Cerro Verde is an absolute must for anyone exploring Santa Elena. This viewpoint offers sweeping vistas of the green valleys.
Visit during the day to fully enjoy the sight of these majestic mountains or at night to admire the starry skies. For a touch of romance, consider staying in one of the cozy cabins scattered in the area, allowing you to wake up to a mesmerizing sunrise right at your doorstep.

Getting to Santa Elena from Medellín

Reaching Santa Elena from Medellín is a straightforward journey, offering breathtaking views of the landscape around Medellin. Here’s how you can make your way to this town.
Metro Cable: For a unique and scenic approach to Santa Elena, consider taking the metro cable. This option involves two cable car lines. The journey is an adventure in itself.
Start out by taking the regular metro and get off at Acevedo station. Here you can switch over to linea K. This cable car line runs from Acevedo metro station up to Santo Domingo. The cost of this cable car journey is included in the price of a regular metro ticket
From Santo Domingo, there is a separate metro cable specifically leading to Parque Arví in Santa Elena. The cable cars operate from 9 am to 6 pm every day except Mondays when the park is closed. Once you reach the top at Parque Arví, buses are available to transport you to the main square in Santa Elena.
Bus: A common and cost-effective way to travel to Santa Elena from Medellín is by taking a bus. You can catch these buses in el centro. There’s no need to book tickets in advance; simply show up, inquire about the next trip to Santa Elena, and you’ll be on your way within minutes. The bus route takes you eastward out of Medellín and typicallytakes approximately 40 minutes.
Taxi / Rideshare: If you prefer a more comfortable mode of transportation that is door to door, you can opt for a taxi or Uber (though it’s worth noting that Uber operates in a gray area of legality in Colombia). While this option is pricier it offers the convenience of a direct journey to Santa Elena.