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TLDR? Santa Elena is a great place for eco-living and glamping without straying far from Medellín.
Santa Elena is a beautiful rural community that you can get to in under an hour from the heart of downtown Medellin. It’s also very close to the international airport, making it an extremely convenient choice.
This is doubly so if you’re trying to squeeze in some eco-tranquility in between stays in Medellin or wherever you’re coming from.
There are a lot of different options for lodging in the area, so here is a small guide to some top choices if you’re looking for advice on places to stay. Let’s jump in!
Piedras Blancas is an interesting place that overlooks a beautiful small lake on the back end of the Parque Arvi ecological park. Parque Arvi is a very sizable natural area that includes fabulous views of the urban area of Medellin.
The Hotel offers classy lodging at a modest price, and there is a gourmet restaurant as well as a full bar in the downstairs lobby.
Although I was staying elsewhere at the time, I found that grabbing a bite at the restaurant and kicking back a couple of beers at the bar also made visiting the hotel worthwhile. This is especially true considering the natural beauty you’re exposed to at the hotel.
The big seller for the property is the scenery, given its proximity to the nearby Parque Arvi. Adding the lake literally below your feet, there’s no shortage of activities that you feel like you can plug into.
The hotel grounds have a few features that make exploring the nature around you slightly more convenient. They include paved walking paths around the woods, and a wooden bridge that allows you to walk over the lake that the lodge is adjacent to.
The hotel lists its available rooms on most major hospitality search engines, as well as Airbnb. So you shouldn’t have any trouble looking up availability.
The Mirador Cerro Verde is a striking construction that features a central circular building. The building offers 360-degree views of the enchanting Antioquian landscape that the lodge is surrounded by.
The design of the mirador lofts the entire building up amongst the trees that surround it. This creates a very beautiful hodge-podge of civilization and nature.
The atmosphere serves to bring you closer to the very landscape itself, which is great if you’re headed to Santa Elena to escape some of the chaos of the city. The lodge is at a slightly higher price point than the other places described in this article, but the rates are still very reasonable in USD.
You also get the whole place to yourself, more or less. So, it’s a great choice if you’re headed to the country to ascertain some private time.
Mirador Cerro Verde is also located in very close proximity to the San Antonio bird preserve. It’s also at a very convenient location to go explore many of the other nature preserves and hiking areas in the region.
I would recommend the mirador for a Santa Elena stay. This is because of its beautiful surroundings, creative and engaging architecture, and helpful and buoyant staff.
If you’re traveling on a bit of a budget, then I’d recommend booking a bed at the Hostel Musica. Hostel Musica is a loose conglomeration of shacks that have a quaint and cozy charm about them. The shacks are built into the forest.
All of them are connected by various paths that almost make the setup feel like somewhere the hobbits from Lord of The Rings would dwell. The hostel has a small café and bar with coffee, beer, and snacks available. There are also musical performances that are occasionally hosted.
The cozy vibes are accentuated by the presence of a communal firepit. This is where guests come to gather and share stories, play music, and have a little bit of party time. The whole thing has a very cool, albeit vaguely hippieish sort of atmosphere.
The rates at the hostel are reasonable, although you’ll end up paying more if you want your own space. If you’re feeling adventurous and decide that you want to try one of the dorms out, they’ll run you around a very thrifty price.
The hostel seemed to attract a very interesting crowd. I witnessed people from all over the world shaking up to co-mingle and enjoy the beautiful nature that enmeshed them.
Many people in the Santa Elena community rent out spaces in their very beautiful properties. The spaces can range from rooms on ranches and farms to entire cabins and eco-lodges.
During my stay, I stayed with a local woman who had constructed her entire house by hand. She had listed the bottom floor of her house on Airbnb.
The whole place functioned as a sort of ramshackle studio apartment, with very cute and beautiful wood furnishings. They made the place seem like it was almost growing out of the landscape itself.
When I was looking for the listing that I selected, I saw dozens and dozens of other listings in the area. All of these seemed very enticing.
If you’re cruising on Google Maps, you’ll find no shortage of glamping sites, eco-lodges, hotels, and other kinds of lodging. Most of these properties are located in rural settings. They offer amazing views and immersion into the gorgeous Antioquian landscape.
In situations like this, the hosts oftentimes have very nifty recommendations for things to check out in the area. Try taking a drive to see what else is available!
Given the stunning beauty of its location, it’s no surprise that there are a plethora of options when it comes to nice places to stay in the region.
Hopefully, this guide serves as a useful jumping-off point for exploring this ecologically and culturally rich area. One that’s just outside the thriving metropolis of Medellin!
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