Aldea Doradal: The Santorini of Colombia

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Aldea Doradal: The Santorini of Colombia

TLDR? Doradal has white and Mediterranean architecture that makes it look like the famous Greek town of Santorini.

Farthest from big cities, you’ll find hidden precious stones and paradisiacal villages in Colombia.

Aldea Doradal, known as the Colombian Santorini, is one of these. No, it’s not an island, nor does it have cliffs with views of the Aegean Sea.

But it was built with a similar style in mind. In fact, there’s even a lake in the lower part that alludes to the Aegean Sea.

If this caught your attention, keep reading! I’ve created a detailed guide on Doradal’s charms and all it can offer.

What to Know About Aldea Doradal

Prepare your camera: the village’s main attraction is its white architecture with balconies, doors, and windows painted blue. The whole village is connected by quaint alleys and cobbled stairs, making it a truly gorgeous place to visit.

Inspired by the Greek Island of Santorini, you’ll hear many myths about Doradal’s construction. Some locals assure us that Pablo Escobar built it and that he even sent the architect to the original island for inspiration.

Others claim it was the work of twelve Colombian engineers from a national institute.

Rumors aside, this work of art is a flagship place to spend your vacation. However, even though it’s famous for its architecture, what really makes this place fantastic is the large number of water activities in the area.

How to Get There

The village is located 106 miles from Medellin, and it’ll take about four hours to get there.

There are three main ways to get out to Doradal. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Car

The best way to get to the village is by rental car. All you have to do is take the Medellin-Bogotá highway, and you’ll be there in no time!

When renting a car, just remember to bring cash for the four toll booths you’ll find on the road. And, be sure to factor in the cost of gas to get out there.

Bus

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can also take a bus from Medellin’s North Terminal.

You can get to the terminal by taking the metro (Route A) and getting off at the Prado station. It’s an eight-minute walk from there. If you prefer to go by bus, take routes 286, 313, M11B 03, M1PC, or O.

Keep in mind that the time of your trip depends on bus stops, traffic, or some other work on the road. You can always take a nap in the meantime.

Personal Driver

If you don’t feel comfortable driving, you can hire someone to take you there. While you can always take a taxi or rideshare app, I’d recommend talking to your Casacol concierge.

They have connections and can get you a great driver at a reasonable price.

What to Do in Aldea Doradal

So, what can you do in Doradal? Well, while many villages are great for just wandering around and exploring, that’s not quite what I’d recommend doing here.

Doradal is a small village, so it’ll only take an hour or two to walk around the whole thing! Plus, you won’t see much other than hotels and restaurants.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t see a lot in the area. In fact, if you stay a few days like my partner and I did, you’ll be able to enjoy some pretty spectacular sights. Let’s take a look at a few.

Visit the Hacienda Nápoles!

Hacienda Nápoles is known for its history with the Cartel de Medellin, as it was built by Pablo Escobar. Today it’s one of the largest theme parks in South America. 

It houses various species of animals and includes a colosseum, an ostentatious house, an airplane runway, the ruins of a car collection, and even a small Jurassic Park.

Tour by the Magdalena River

A former fisherman from the Magdalena river takes you in his boat called “La Porteña”, which sails from the Puerto Triunfo pier

Your guide then takes you through the most beautiful parts of the river and tells you everything about it, including local myths.

Cañon Del Rio Claro Natural Reserve

Rio Claro’s a river of clean, green waters that owes its color to the marbled riverbed. You’ll also find Danta and Cóndor caves in the area, making it the perfect place to bird-watch.

Plus, don’t forget the extreme water sports that the area is famous for. A few things you can do here include:

  • Rafting
  • Rappelling
  • Via Ferrata (Vertical climbing)
  • Caving
  • Zip-lining
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking

San Juan Waterfall

A quieter place to swim or lounge around and get a tan, the San Juan waterfall is great for cooling off on a hot day. If you love this waterfall and want more like it, head over to one of the other local falls in the area:

  • La Cuba
  • La Miel river
  • Cocorná river
  • La Danta

Hippos Safari

No, hippos aren’t indigenous to Colombia. The hippos found here were actually bred in Hacienda Napoles and later invaded the surrounding environment.

Luckily, the population has been responsible for relocating these dangerous animals to suitable places in the surrounding area. As a result, you can now head out on a safari to see these guys in the wild!

Where to Stay In Aldea Doradal

In the village, you’ll find many hotel options. We stayed at the Aldea Plaza, one of the most famous hotels in Doradal.

The place is in the heart of the village, and the best thing is that you can borrow one of their bikes to get some exercise while enjoying the view.

However, if you don’t want to stay overnight, I’d recommend keeping your Casacol property as your home base. Medellin is close enough that it makes for the perfect launch pad for those who just want to get out of the city for a day!

Take a Trip to the Colombian Santorini!

Doradal’s the perfect option if you want to escape the city’s confusion and noise and enjoy relaxing by the poolside. At the same time, you can experience liberating adrenaline while rafting in one of Colombia’s most fascinating natural areas.

Check out Aldea Doradal and see what this incredible place has to offer!

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