TLDR? La Ceja is a small town in Antioquia, just a little way outside Medellín and perfect for a quick weekend getaway!
La Ceja, whose name literally means “the eyebrow” in Spanish, is one of my favorite towns in Antioquia. With a population of around 53,000, it’s less than an hour’s drive from Medellín or about an hour and a half by bus, making it a great location for a day trip or weekend getaway.
Despite its proximity to the big city, it still maintains a more traditional Paisa style. Exploring its attractions, restaurants, and culture is a fun, easy way to experience the typical Antioquian pueblo without having to travel too far. Here’s what to know about it.
How to Get to La Ceja from Medellín
There are a couple of different ways to get to La Ceja from Medellín. Let’s take a closer look at the different modes of transportation to help you out.
Whether you have your own car or motorcycle or rent one, driving yourself to the village is simple because you just follow Highway 56, which runs through the Altos de Poblado, all the way there. The road is relatively well-maintained with predictable traffic. The drive takes approximately an hour.
Transunidos runs a bus service between Medellin and La Ceja that costs around $10,000 COP ($2.50 USD) and leaves from both Terminal Norte and Terminal Sur roughly every 20 minutes. The timetable is pretty flexible, to say the least, and subject to change, but these are the stated operating times:
Monday – Saturday
5:00 am – 9:00 pm
5:00 am – 9:00 pm
4:50 am – 7:45 pm
4:50 am – 7:00 pm
The most comfortable way to get to La Ceja is to have someone else drive you. Since it’s so close to Medellín, most taxi drivers will be willing to take you there. However, your problem is getting back.
There are plenty of transportation services that will arrange for a driver to wait for you to finish your day trip in La Ceja, arrange for another driver to come pick you up whenever you’re ready to return to Medellín or even give you extended service within La Ceja itself.
My recommendation is to speak with your Casacol receptionist. They can help you find a taxi service to fit your plans.
What to Do in La Ceja
Even though it’s a small town, there’s plenty to do in La Ceja. Here are a couple of the best activities to check out around the pueblo.
Visit the Gregorio Gutiérrez González House of Culture
Gregorio Ignacio Gutiérrez González was a poet who was born in La Ceja in the 19th Century. His works, such as Memoria sobre el Cultivo de Maíz en Antioquia, are remarkable for their scientific analyses presented in the form of romantic poetry.
In honor of the poet, La Ceja named their cultural center, just a block off the main square, after him. It includes an art gallery, music and dance studios, a rooftop cafe, and a library where you can browse the works of Gregorio Gutiérrez.
Visit the Churches
One of the biggest attractions in this village is the large church on the main square, the Minor Basilica of Our Lady Carmen. A well-preserved example of the neo-Gothic architecture typical in Colombia, construction on the basilica began in 1922.
Also on the main square, you can visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. It’s famous for its many pieces of religious art, including works by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos, a famous 17th Century Spanish painter of the Baroque movement known for his descent into madness at the end of his life.
Explore the Craft Beer Scene
In parallel to the budding craft beer scene in Medellín, La Ceja has its own craft breweries turning out delicious and creative varieties of cerveza. I visited Mox in Plaza Cantarrana on the outskirts of town.
A small operation, they’ll gladly show you their brewing equipment and give you an explanation of their various beers. My favorite was the blond, but the strawberry ale is a good choice if you’re one for fruity mixtures.
Do Some Shopping
For a town of its size, La Ceja is commercially well developed. There are many malls, stores, and outlets. The most accessible are probably Mall del Parque and Centro Comercial La Capilla Plaza since they’re both on the main square. I’d personally recommend Mall del Parque, but that might just be because of the giant ball pit.
Take a Motorcycle Tour
Because La Ceja is so close to Medellín, you can easily access it by motorcycle. With Medellín Sport Rentals, you can take a tour that includes La Ceja as well as nearby towns like Rionegro and Santa Elena.
When I did this trip, we visited the basilica and had lunch at Restaurante Santa Clara, accompanied by a great explanation of the history of the bandeja paisa.
Where to Eat in La Ceja
Looking for some good grub while in La Ceja? I’ve got you covered! Here are a few of the top places to grab a bite to eat in the area.
If you want a wide variety of food choices with a bit of Antioquian flare and involved cooking, Candilejas is the place to go. Located right on the main square, it’s also a fun and relaxing environment. You can also get breakfast there if you stay at Hotel del Parque.
Santa Clara is one of the best places in all of Antioquia to get traditional Antioqueño cuisine. I suggest getting la bandeja paisa with all the works, including agua panela, mazamorra and dulce de guayaba.
When it comes to food, La Ceja’s claim to fame is dessert. Pastries, especially those made with arequipe (carmelized milk), are a can’t-miss. The best place to go, both for flavor and convenience, is Delicias del Parque on the main square.
If you’re a digital nomad on the go, getting work done while you’re traveling in La Ceja is a must. Luckily, there are a couple of good places where you can buckle down.
Here are a couple of top picks for getting some work done in La Ceja.
Un Café y Más
Un Café y Más is tucked away right on the east side of the main square. Smelling of Colombian coffee with calm lighting and the smooth rhythm of a Spanish radio station, it’s one of the best places in town to get some caffeine, get to work, and feel comfortable while doing it.
There’s wifi, of course, and though seating is a bit limited, there are more options in a common area next door.
El 403 is about a 10-minute walk from the main square. It has comfortable seating, fast wifi, and spacious tables you can spread your work out on. The food is typical cafe fare—sandwiches and the like—along with delicious coffee and juices.
Now that you know everything there is to do, see and eat in La Ceja, make a day of it.
Unlike other towns in Antioquia that take several hours to get to and require a lot of special arrangements ahead of time, La Ceja is close to Medellín and, therefore, the perfect way to get a glimpse of traditional Antioqueño culture on a short trip.