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Santa Fe de Antioquia

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Santa Fe, Antioquia
1 Hour from Medellin
56 km (34miles)


Average 25.5c (77.9f)

Official Website


Table of Contents

Santa Fe de Antioquia is a charming small town located about 80 kilometers north of Medellin, in the department of Antioquia, Colombia. Founded in 1541, Santa Fe is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Colombia, with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful colonial architecture.
Once you arrive in Santa Fe de Antioquia, you will immediately notice the town’s picturesque colonial architecture, with its colorful houses, narrow streets and colonial churches. The town’s main square, Plaza Mayor, is a beautiful example of colonial architecture, with a majestic cathedral, a town hall, and numerous colonial houses and balconies.

The History of Santa Fe de Antioquia

Santa Fe de Antioquia has a rich history that dates back to the pre-Columbian era when the region was inhabited by indigenous tribes. In the early 16th century, Spanish colonizers arrived in the area and founded the town of Santa Fe de Antioquia in 1541. The town became an important trading center for gold, silver, and other commodities and played a significant role in the development of the region.
During the colonial period, Santa Fe de Antioquia was one of the most important cities in Colombia and served as the capital of the Province of Antioquia. The town played a vital role in the struggle for independence from Spain and was the site of several important battles during the 19th century.
In the 20th century, Santa Fe de Antioquia experienced a decline in economic activity, and many of its historic buildings fell into disrepair. However, in the 1970s, the town began to experience a renaissance as a tourist destination, thanks in part to the efforts of local authorities and cultural organizations.

Things To Do In Santa Fe

There are many things to see and do in and around Santa Fe de Antioquia. Here are some of the most popular activities for tourists to enjoy. Let’s go into more detail about these various activities.


For art and history lovers, especially people with an interest in the colonial era, you can’t miss a visit to the Museo Juan del Corral: This museum is housed in a beautiful colonial mansion and displays a collection of local and regional art, including paintings, sculptures, and handicrafts. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year. Another popular destination is the Casa Museo Pedro Nel Gómez: This museum displays a collection of works by the renowned Colombian artist Pedro Nel Gómez, including murals, sculptures, and paintings. The museum also hosts cultural events and workshops.


There’s also plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed near Santa Fe. You can take a hike to the Cascada del Amor: This stunning waterfall is located just outside of Santa Fe de Antioquia and is surrounded by lush forests and beautiful scenery. The hike to the waterfall takes about 45 minutes and is relatively easy. There are various other hiking routes in the area.

River Rafting

Another option for the more adventurous people out there is river rafting. The Cauca River is a popular destination for river rafting, with several companies offering guided trips for all levels of experience. Whether you’re inexperienced and want to go in a group boat, or you’re very experienced and want to go rafting in a boat all by yourself, near Santa Fe you can live out all those adventures.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Lastly, there’s one hidden gem in Santa Fe that you do not want to miss out on. Hot air balloon rides are a unique way to experience the beauty of Santa Fe de Antioquia from above. This experience provides an opportunity to see the town’s historic architecture and surrounding landscapes from a new perspective, with stunning views of the mountains and the Cauca River. Balloon rides typically last around an hour and are available at sunrise or sunset, when the lighting is at its most dramatic. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed by visitors to Santa Fe de Antioquia.

Colonial Architecture

Another thing to do is explore the town’s colonial architecture: Santa Fe de Antioquia is known for its picturesque colonial architecture, with colorful houses, narrow streets, and colonial churches. The town’s main square, Plaza Mayor, is a beautiful example of colonial architecture, with a majestic cathedral, a town hall, and numerous colonial houses and balconies.
People interested in architecture should definitely consider a visit to the Catedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepción: This beautiful cathedral is one of the most important religious buildings in Santa Fe de Antioquia. It features exquisite Baroque and Neoclassical architectural styles and a richly decorated interior.

The Famous Puente de Occidente Bridge

One of the main attractions in Santa Fe de Antioquia is the Puente de Occidente, a suspension bridge that spans the Cauca River and was built in the early 20th century. This bridge is a true engineering marvel and an iconic landmark of the region. Visitors can walk across the bridge and enjoy spectacular views of the river and the surrounding landscape.

More Outdoor Activities

For those who love nature and outdoor activities, Santa Fe de Antioquia offers many opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The town is surrounded by lush forests, rivers, and mountains, and there are many trails and paths that lead to beautiful waterfalls, natural pools, and scenic viewpoints.
All in all, Santa Fe de Antioquia is a beautiful and historic town that offers visitors a unique glimpse into Colombia’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Whether you are interested in colonial architecture, art, nature, or outdoor activities, Santa Fe de Antioquia has something for everyone.

Restaurants & Drinks

Santa Fe de Antioquia has several areas where visitors can find a variety of dining options. The town’s cuisine is heavily influenced by Colombian flavors, featuring staples like rice, beans, and meat. However, there are also a variety of international restaurants and cafes that cater to tourists from all over the world.

Plaza Mayor

One of the most popular places is the Plaza Mayor, the main square in the town center. Here, visitors will find a number of cafes and restaurants that offer traditional Colombian cuisine, such as bandeja paisa and sancocho. Many of the restaurants in the area have outdoor seating, making it a great spot to people-watch and take in the town’s colonial architecture.

Calle Real

Another area worth exploring is the Calle Real, a historic street that is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. This street is particularly known for its empanadas, a popular Colombian snack that is made with meat or cheese filling. Visitors can also find other local specialties, such as arepas and chicharron, along this street.

Camino Real

For those looking for a more upscale dining experience, the Camino Real area is a good option. This street is home to several high-end restaurants that offer a variety of cuisine, including international dishes and seafood. Many of the restaurants in this area have romantic atmospheres and feature outdoor seating areas that overlook the town.

Small local food markets

Additionally, Santa Fe de Antioquia has several local food markets where visitors can sample fresh and authentic cuisine. The Mercado de las Pulgas, for example, is a popular spot for street food and local snacks. Visitors can find everything from grilled meat skewers to fresh fruit and vegetables at this market.

Outdoor seating

One of the great things about dining in Santa Fe de Antioquia is that many restaurants offer outdoor seating. Whether it’s a charming patio or a sidewalk table, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your meal or drink while taking in the town’s colonial architecture and natural beauty.
All visitors to Santa Fe de Antioquia will find a range of dining options scattered throughout the town, from the main square to historic streets and local markets. No matter where you choose to eat, you’re sure to experience the town’s rich culinary culture and warm hospitality.

How To Get To Santa Fe

Traveling from Medellin to Santa Fe de Antioquia can be done in several ways, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore the different travel options available and the pros and cons of each one.
Bus: One of the most common ways to get there is by bus, which is both affordable and convenient. Buses depart frequently from the Terminal del Norte in Medellin, and the trip takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic. The buses are generally comfortable and have air conditioning, making for a pleasant journey.
Private Car or Taxi: For those who prefer a more personalized experience, private cars and taxis are also available. Visitors can rent a car in Medellin or hire a private driver for the trip. Taxis can be found throughout the city, and it is recommended to negotiate the fare before beginning the journey. The trip takes around the same time as the bus ride, and taxis can drop visitors off at their hotel or other preferred location. Keep in mind that finding transport on your way back might not be as easy.
Shared Shuttle: Another option for getting to Santa Fe de Antioquia is through private tours. These tours can be booked through various travel agencies and typically include transportation, a guide, and activities. This option offers a more personalized experience with a local guide who can provide insights and recommendations for the area