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Medellín has many experiences outside the city that you can enjoy and discover. From beaches to mountains, the Department of Antioquia has pretty much everything you can imagine when it comes to finding something to do.
Now, while there are tons of experiences out there, one that I particularly loved was a day trip out to Carmen de Viboral. This is a town known for ceramic handicrafts made by its locals.
So, are you ready to jump in? Here’s what to know about this quaint town and what to expect on a tour there!
Before we dive right into talking about tours, let’s take a second to get familiar with Carmen de Viboral in general.
Carmen de Viboral is a town in eastern Antioquia, which is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Medellín.
It’s known as the cradle of artisan ceramics, with some of the best ceramics artists calling this town home. In fact, the pueblo is famous for creating beautiful, colorful, and traditional tableware.
But, Carmen de Viboral has other attractions besides its crockery. For example, running right by the town is the Melcocho River. It has crystalline waters where people come to enjoy the scenery and cool off on a hot day.
There’s also some great traditional food to be had in this place. After a day of exploring, sit down at one of the many local restaurants to try some classic Colombian cuisine!
I stumbled across tours to Carmen de Viboral by chance. I was actually looking for a tour out to a local winery, and the tour company told me they had trips out to Carmen de Viboral, too.
At the time, I didn’t know anything about the town, so I turned down the offer.
But, the mention of the name had gotten me interested. When I got home, I started looking into this place which is when I found out that this was definitely worth checking out.
I found a tour that dedicates a whole day to visiting Carmen de Viboral, which also has the “Ruta de la Ceramica” or pottery route that ends in San Antonio de Pereira.
From start to finish, the whole thing took about 8 hours and cost about $30 USD per person (subject to change).
If you’re interested in going on this tour, keep reading. Here’s what to expect on a day trip out to the village!
I took the tour from Turibus, a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus that takes tourists both around Medellín and to its surrounding towns.
The journey began with a ride to the Estadio Metro Station. From there, I traveled about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get out to Carmen de Viboral.
The ride is pretty smooth, and the seats were decently comfortable. I also liked that it was direct, so it wasn’t like we made multiple stops on the way.
Once we got to the town, we hopped off and got a chance to wander around the main park in the village.
In the main square, I found a 20-meter tall and colored ceramic tower called the “Bicentennial Tower.” This tower commemorates Carmen de Viboral’s 200th year as a village.
Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot to do in the park. You can pick up food from street vendors or check out the small shops around the square, but that’s about it.
After seeing the church, and getting a quick snack, our guide took us along the paseo del angel. This is actually just a walk down two of the most popular streets in town, where they sell tons of ceramics and handcrafts.
There were also ceramic mosaics on the walls and facades showcasing the town’s tradition. It’s definitely a good place for a selfie!
If you want to pick up souvenirs, this is the time to do it. Just be fast, as the group moves relatively quickly.
Once we finished strolling the streets, our guide took us over to the local pottery museum.
The museum isn’t big, so we spent about an hour wandering around. That was plenty of time to learn about the history of pottery in town.
A lot of the displays were in Spanish, so this is where having our bilingual tour guide really helped. If you don’t speak Spanish, I’d definitely recommend going on a tour to check out the museum.
The last part of the tour took us out to a ceramics workshop. First, we got to watch the artists making their pieces.
Then, we rolled up our sleeves and made and painted our own piece of pottery! I hadn’t done that since I was a kid, so it was pretty fun.
At the end of the pottery, we grabbed a typical lunch in a nearby restaurant. Then, we headed back to Medellín, making a quick stop in Rionegro to check out some of the parks there.
If it’s your first time visiting this town, there are a couple of tips you might want to keep in mind.
Firstly, if you get the chance, visit Carmen de Viboral in December. This is when they celebrate the Earthenware Festival. There are also some smaller festivals in June and July, so these aren’t bad times to visit either.
Secondly, if you want to skip the tours and just explore the town for yourself, you can go to the North Terminal and take a bus to Carmen de Viboral. The bus leaves every 30 minutes and only costs a few bucks. You can also rent a car and drive out there yourself.
Thirdly, if you want to enjoy attractions such as the Melcocho River Canyon, prepare to do a lot of walking. It wasn’t included in my tour, but there are 4-hour guided hikes you can take down to the area.
Finally, Carmen de Viboral’s climate is cold, so bring a coat. It’s a bit higher in altitude than Medellín, which is why the weather tends to be chillier.
If you love art and are wanting to get to know what lies beyond Medellín, this is a great tour. You’ll learn about history, take in new traditions, and get to get your hands dirty.
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