Is This Supposed to Be a Secret?
This post is part of Everything to Know Before Visiting Medellin, a collection of no-B.S., unique guides to an unforgettable stay in Colombia.
Whenever Kim and I talk with others about attractions near Medellín, they go on-an-on about Guatapé, rave about Jardín, and say Rio Claro is a must. But Jericó?
Everyone’s suspiciously hush-hush about Jericó.
They say nothing more than, “Oh sure, Jericó’s nice,” or “Yeah, I hear Jericó’s pretty too.” Lonely Planet doesn’t even mention it in any of the 352 pages of its Colombia travel guide!
Either Jericó isn’t that interesting or they’re hiding something.
Answer: B) They’re hiding something.
Of all the Antioquian towns we’ve visited so far, Jericó’s been our favorite. Here’s why, plus everything you need to know, including the top things to do in Jericó, where to stay, where to eat and drink, and how to get there from Medellín.
Jericó, Colombia Guide Outline
Things to Do in Jericó
Before You Go:
Watch Jericó: The Infinite Flight of Days
Get inspired to visit Jericó and learn about the local culture and way of life by watching Jericó: The Infinite Flight of Days. This 2016 documentary about the lives of women from Jericó has aired to rave reviews in film festivals around the globe.
If you can, watch it before you go to get hyped up for your trip. Otherwise, don’t worry. You’ll have the chance when you’re in Jericó. Copies of the DVD are for sale throughout the town or you can watch it at Riverside Hostel (see: Where to Stay in Jericó).
A Redeeming Quality:
Cristo Redentor Viewpoint
Get a lay of the land by making the Christ the Redeemer viewpoint the first thing you do upon arriving at Jericó (…after you check into your hotel, stupid.)
The walk up the hill is not strenuous at all and only takes maybe ten minutes, so wear whatever you want. Better yet, most of the walk goes through Jericó’s botanical gardens, which are an attraction in their own right. And the view of the town from the top is actually better than it is from Cerro las Nubes.
The Coffee Farm at the End of the World:
Las Cometas Arcoiris Tour
Guatape has El Peñón. Jericó has… this coffee farm.
Obviously, it’s more than just a coffee farm.
Its a coffee farm at the end of the world or the most beautiful coffee farm in the world.
Perched atop a Peñón-like monolith alongside stunning cliffs that dive down thousands of feet into the Rio Cauca valley below, and with a beautiful waterfall beside it, this coffee farm is like something out of the Pixar movie Up. Or Avatar? Or Jurassic Park? Anyways, it’s like some movie with unbelievable scenery.
Neither my words nor our photos can do it justice. You have to see it for yourself.
To visit the coffee farm, talk to Jorge from Riverside (see: Where to Stay). For just 160,000 COP, hell take you on a tour of the farm which includes transport to and from Jericó (40 min each way), the coffee farm itself, a stop at another awesome viewpoint, a large and delicious lunch made by the family that lives on the farm, and a short walk from the farm down to refreshing Cascada Arcoiris (Rainbow Falls).
On the way back from the tour, ask Jorge to let you jump out at Quebradona falls for a quick dip and photo shoot. Here you will also visit one of the oldest fondas- a traditional bar from 180 years ago.
El Scientifico Loco:
La Nohelia Coffee Tour
John Wilmar, the owner of La Nohelia, is the best encapsulation of Jericó’s bright future as a tourism destination.
He was born and raised on this farm a few kilometers outside Jericó, where his family has grown coffee for over 100 years. His ambitions outgrew the town, so he moved to Medellín for a career in Finance. Then, five years ago, he realized his mistake, took off his suit and tie, put on a cowboy hat and rubber boots and came home to get into the family business.
Combining the modern outsider’s perspective he gained from years in the city with his family’s history of traditional coffee farming, John Wilmar is pushing for a revolution in Colombia’s coffee farming and tourism. He designed and built a beautiful eco-pyramid treehouse to lodge tourists (see: Where to Stay), stopped selling his beans to cooperatives, and set up his own coffee brand.
Next up, he’s building his own roasting facility and lab to run his own (sometimes crazy) coffee experiments.
John Wilmar will explain all this to you and more on this tour.
Note: It’s best to do this tour if you know a little bit of Spanish. At least for now. In a couple years, John Wilmar’s precocious daughter, whose English is already better than her dad’s and who’s already in love with the family business, will probably be running the show. Like I said, La Nohelia encapsulates the future of Jericó tourism.
Get Your Head in the Clouds:
Hike Cerro las Nubes
Cerro las Nubes is the hill that serves as a backdrop to Jericó. In only a couple hours you can hike up to the top and walk along the ridge to see amazing views of Cerro Tusa, Cerro Bravo, Rio Cauca, Jericó town, and all of Southwest Antioquia.
There are a few alternatives to explore Cerro las Nubes:
Let Jaime be Your Guide
If you want to practice your Spanish, get your ear talked off with information, and not get lost, let Jaime be your guide. Jaime is a quirky eco-warrior who, after moving away from Jericó when he was 8, returned to his birthplace fifty years later like a salmon to spend his final years ( and, based on his newest 6-month-old child also spawn some more offspring).
Jaime also compared himself to another animal, salmons mortal enemy, the eagle, telling another licensed guide hes too much of a free flyer to be tied down by getting the requisite certification. He already knows everything that needs to be known anyways.
In all seriousness, though, Jaimes doing important work to protect Jericos natural environment through the Mesa Ambiental organization, which is fighting against mining and dirty farming in the area. By supporting Jaime, youll be indirectly helping protect Jericós natural beauty for generations to come.
Oh, and if youre lucky you might also be accompanied by an assistant guide, Daga, a street dog that loves doing the hike as much as the town loves her.
Sunset Hike with Las Cometas Hostel
Jorge said we made a mistake by hiking Cerro las Nubes in the morning. The best time to be up there, he said, is at sunset. He then went on to wax so poetically about the incredibly colorful sunsets from Cerro las Nubes, which he said are different every time, that I kinda thought he was hitting on me.
To join Jorge on a sunset
date walk, sign up for group hikes he runs from his hostel (see: Where to Stay) for 25,000 COP each.
Go On Your Own
If you rather do the hike on your own, I advise you at least download the hiking app Wikiloc and pay the small fee for a three-month membership. That way you can use your phone’s GPS to follow the route markers that Jaime took us through, here.
Going up is straightforward, but one section toward the end of the hike is literally called “The Maze,” so I would advise against trying to find the way on your own.
Where to Eat
There are many artisanal treats to try and restaurants to dine at in Jericó that, by the end of our stay there, I’d given the town a new nickname: Jeri-gordo (gordo = fat).
Just a few of the must-try items are wine and cookies you buy directly from the nuns at a convent, cardamom marzipan made by a local teacher and her daughter, and the famous seven-layered cake, postre jericoano.
We couldn’t fit the whole smorgasbord here, so we made it a separate post. Read about Jericó’s best restaurants and hidden artisanal foods here.
Where to Drink
Café Jericó Riverside
Café Jericó Riverside is the perfect place to have a delicious cup of coffee and get some work done. The coffee is sourced from a local coffee farm, which you can actually visit on the Riverside Cascada Arcoiris Tour. Riverside has a coworking space that offers fiber optic wifi so you will always stay connected. There is nowhere better to sip some coffee, enjoy views of the surrounding countryside, and finish some work.
A trip to Don Rafa Café will make your morning. In terms of coffee, the café lives up to its slogan, “De la finca a la taza.”
Whether you are a cappuccino person or an almond milk latte person, Don Rafa has it all. Located right on the town plaza, this is the perfect place to people-watch as you sip your coffee. Also, the breakfast here is not to be missed. Options include crepes, quiche, omelets, croissant sandwiches, and more. If you have more of a sweet tooth, the pastries and cakes here are to die for.
Casa Arte Único
Arte Único is a unique space, as its name suggests. The Café is run by a local Antioquia sibling duo, Yolanda, who manages the store, and her brother, a painter and sculptor. Arte Único displays Colombian artists and offers delicious coffee, so if you are looking for an interesting experience, this is the place to go!
El Saturia is considered the pioneer of espresso coffee in Jericó, and for a good reason. This café is perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee, getting some work done, and enjoying the environment. This is a local favorite, so you will feel like a true part of Jericó here! We recommend getting the medium roast, as the dark roast can be almost too strong sometimes.
Tangos y Algo Más
(Hint: Algo Más = Beer)
With one wall covered with photos of the famous tango artist Carlos Gardel, and the other with floor-to-ceiling beer bottles, Tangos y Algo Más is equal parts ode to tango and beer, just as the name implies.
Located a few blocks outside of the main town nearby a couple other stops on our recommended artisanal food tour, this bar’s an atmospheric place to grab a beer, chill out to some tango, chat with the owner, and take a couple pics.
El Parque Principal de Jericó
On evenings, weekends, and frankly whenever, Jericós main square is packed with locals sipping their choice of tinto, beer, or booze. Put on your finest cowboy hat, jeans, and boots, and join them.
In particular, the covered row of bars and cafés on the northwestern side of the square is the place to see and be seen.
Where to Stay in Jericó
Perfect for Social Travelers and Backpackers:
After 5 years working in Jericó for a more sustainable form of tourism, Las Cometas Hostel has rebranded to Riverside Ecoliving. And yes, It is already flying high and navigating. (FYI: Cometa = Kite. The name is related to Jericós annual Festival de la Cometa, which takes place in August.)
The hostel is run by the ambitious, friendly, and fun owner, Jorge, a young guy from Medellín. He saw Jericós huge potential and came out to be part of it. He speaks English fluently and has traveled extensively himself, so hes a perfect guide for the town.
Riverside rooms are exclusively designed by travelers for a real travel community and an inner tranquilo feeling with its inner courtyard, which is a nice quiet place with a view of the Canyon of Rio Piedras. Perfect for breakfast, yoga, and delicious French press coffee every morning, which comes straight from the coffee farm at the end of the world or Cascada Arcoiris Farm (see: Things to Do).
And when your batteries are recharged, Jorge offers all sorts of tourssome free, some paidincluding tubing down the nearby river, coffee farm tours, sunset hikes, and guided city walks. For a quiet night you can watch Jorges copy of the highly-regarded documentary, Jericó (see above).
Riverside is possibly the place with the most foreigners during your stay in Jericó. This might be appealing to those of you traveling on your own or who speak minimal Spanish. After the pandemic, a big community of Colombians like-minded travelers has also been coming. So there is always a great opportunity of meeting great people to talk with in the different spaces of Riverside.
For the Best of Both Worlds:
Cabañas y Flores
Cant decide between staying in Jericó or the surrounding countryside? Look no further! Cabañas y Flores is only a quick walk from the town, yet offers unique private cabins for rent.
These cabins house 1-6 people and have a small kitchen, private parking, space for hammocking, and breakfast included. Cabañas y Flores offers great views of the sunrise over the Cauca River Canyon and the sunset over town.
And dont worry about running out of things to do here! The property is right next to the botanical gardens and Cristo Redentor, which offers arguably the best view of the town. The property is surrounded by forest, perfect for going for a stroll, and you might even spot local howler monkeys. The property itself offers Turkish-style baths, a swimming pool, billiards, board games, and an area for barbecuing.
Centro Ecoturistico la Nohelia
If you want to stay on a coffee farm, stay at La Nohelia.
About fifteen minutes outside of town, La Nohelia’s spunky owner John Wilmar built a beautiful eco-pyramid treehouse out of local materials: guadua (Colombian bamboo), coffee tree wood, and rocks from the nearby river. It’s quite the sight to behold.
The pyramid’s interior is not as gorgeous as its exterior. The rooms are pretty basic with shared bathrooms below, but it’s fresh, friendly, and certainly unlike any other place you’ve ever stayed at
At Nohelia, you can hike to nearby waterfalls, get a tour of the coffee farm (see Things to Do in Jericó), hang out with John Wilmar and his family, eat some coffee-sauce chicken, drink a lot of delicious coffee, and enjoy even more peace and quiet.
Here’s a promo video John Wilmar participated in with some cool aerial shots of La Nohelia and a couple other highlights we mention in this guide: Cerro las Nubes, Quebradona and Arcoiris Falls, and the town’s main square.
Hotel Rio Pedros
Hotel Rio Pedros offers lovely rooms at a reasonable price. Right off the main square, you are only a walk away from restaurants, cafes, museums, and all Jericó has to offer.
The hotel has private rooms, wifi, balconies with lovely views, Turkish baths, and free breakfast provided by Tomatitos. Rooms for two people start around 165,000 pesos.
Jericó to Medellin (and Back Again)
Getting to Jericó from Medellin is straightforward. Go to Medellins Terminal Sur, which is a couple kilometers west of El Poblado metro station, and get your tickets from booth number 18.
Buses leave every hour or so. Check departure times and prices (it was about $36.000 and shared taxis are taken from $45.000) beforehand by calling the phone number listed here.
Also, if you are traveling from Salento, Manizales, Jardín, or others, finding out how to get to Jericó can take hours, but not anymore if you enter to arideto.com; a startup headquartered in Jericó for improving the transport services in rural areas. You can find routes even if they require many types of transportation, delivery, and private transport services.
- If you are coming from surrounding locations such as Medellin, Jardin, Salento, or Cali, check out Arideto.com to get information on traveling to and from Jericó with options such as private cars straight from the airport.
- Ask for tickets going through the town of Bolombolo. This is faster than the alternative route through Fredonia. Depending on the type of vehicle (sometimes its a 9-seater minivan, sometimes its a big bus) it takes 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Request seats on the left side of the bus going to Jericó and on the right on the way back. Those have the best views of unbelievably-shaped Cerro Tusa.
Buses returning from Jericó to Medellín leave from the same place as youll arrive, on the block between La Gruta restaurant and the main square. Theres an office there where you buy your tickets or you can also arrange a pick up in your hotel.
On the way back the driver can let you off directly at Envigado or Poblado metro stations, if thats where youre heading.
More Antioquian Adventure!
Many people who visit Jericó spend time in Jardín tooand for good reason! It’s a similarly beautiful little Antioquian town. The food’s not as good, but the surrounding hills are more lush. You can read our experience and recommendations for Jardín here.
Another much lesser-known nearby town worth checking out is Venecia. It’s best known for being the base for hiking the famous pyramid mountain, Cerro Tusa. Read our guide to Venecia here.
Sad to report that Jericafe no longer exists ð
But the rest of this guide was pretty great, thank you!
Special food re-recommendation for La Gruta, every dish we tried was big and delicious there, even the burger which I am usually picky on.
And lastly, the adventurous route through Fredonia was not worth the extra hour, even with nice scenery. The Bolombolo route will save you time and more importantly the headache of motion sickness and horribly maintained roads.
Aw man. That’s too bad. Jericafe was a nice place with a nice mission. Hopefully some other business steps up to fill the void. Thanks for the update, Brady.
And we definitely second your advice on La Gruta, which we also recommend in our guide to Jerico food and artisanal treats.
Hi! How can i get in touch with Jaime?
Hi Simone. Ask Patricia and Fabian at Cabañas El Rincon Paisa. They’re the ones who put us in touch with Jaime. Enjoy!
Hi! I’ll be in Medellín for a couple of days in April and I’m devouring all the great info you guys have here. Really helpfull.
I would LOVE to go to Jerico but I’m afraid I’m a little short of time… would you say it is ok to make it a day trip? Or not worth it?
Thank you very much!!
Hi Paula. Not worth it for a day trip, especially if you only have a couple of days. Maybe consider a closer pueblo like Retiro or San Antonio de Pereira if you want to get out of town. Or Envigado or Sabaneta on the metro. Thanks for reading the Unconventional Route!
A hidden gem in Jerico is the artist residency space Bomarzo. It’s housed inside a huge beautiful building that serves as a cultural center with music events and cafe on the ground floor & gallery spaces upstairs. Just read the Google reviews on the Bomarzo. You can also stay in the hostel associated with this place to support its artistic endeavors. Inside Bomarzo is an incredible tango bar with an amazing collection of thematic liquor bottles. You just have to visit!
Thanks Dan! Either we missed it when we visited or it opened after we left. I’ve updated the post to include your recommendation. Thanks on our behalf and on behalf of fellow Jerico travelers!
Thanks so much for the guide. Heading to Jerico today and excited to follow all your recommendations, particularly for the food! I have a photo of the updated bus timetable to/from Medellin if you’d like to add it to the post?
Yes please, Sophie. Thanks for offering.
I’m worried this post may be a bit outdated, so please also pass on any other updates/discoveries.