Barbosa, Antioquia is a pueblo or small town located less than an hour from Medellín. Barbosa is a close and great getaway from Medellín with streams, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, hiking, horseback riding and many other things to do nearby. It’s located at the northern end of the Aburrá Valley.
Surprisingly, Barbosa is off the beaten path and hasn’t yet been discovered by many foreign tourists. This is due to Barbosa not being in any of the English-language Colombia guidebooks and not much information about this pueblo is available on the Internet.
But it’s located so close to Medellín that it makes for a very easy day trip. In addition, there is much to do in Barbosa and nearby making it also a nice weekend getaway location.
So, if you don’t have time to visit one of the Antioquia pueblos that are located further away, such as Guatpé, Jardín, Jeríco or Santa Fe de Antioquia, Barbosa is a much closer option that is worth visiting.
More About Barbosa
Barbosa was founded in 1795. It is located only 22 miles (36 kilometers) from Medellín. And it’s a separate municipality with a population of over 50,000.
In terms of climate, the town is classified as subtropical humid forest. It’s located 4,265 feet (1,300 meters) above sea level and has an average temperature of 75 ° F (25 ° C). So, the climate is similar to the climate in Medellín.
In addition, it’s surrounded by mountains and nature and there are a number of streams nearby that cascade down from the mountains.
The Medellín river bisects Barbosa. Other important streams in the nearby area include Aguas Claras, Corrientes, Dos Quebradas, El Llano, El Viento, Hatillo, La Búcaros, La Calda, La Chocona, La Herradura, Mulato, Ovejas, Santa Rosa and Yarumito.
10 Top Things to See and Do in Barbosa
I have visited Barbosa several times over the past few years for quick day trips from Medellín. And I recently spent nearly a week exploring the nearby area. Based on my trips, I recommend the following list of 10 top things to see and do in Barbosa and nearby.
1. See the Panoramic Views of Barbosa from Cerro de la Virgen (Hill of the Virgin)
Strategically located within the pueblo, Cerro de la Virgen (hill of the Virgin), allows you to experience nice panoramic views of Barbosa and the surrounding area.
Climbing the hill takes about 20 minutes and the view makes it worth it. There is a path from the outskirts of Barbosa to the top of the hill. Anyone in the small town will be able to tell you where the path to Cerro de la Virgen is located.
At the top of the hill is a statue of the Mother of God, intended to protect the life and history of the people. The statue was built in 1947. Also, this park/hill is a popular place to fly kites.
2. Visit Parque Simón Bolívar
Parque Simón Bolívar is the main park in the Barbosa municipality. The daily life in Barbosa is typically centered around Parque Simón Bolívar, which is a one square block plaza that has several trees for shade.
Also, the park is surrounded by Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua on one side and several small restaurants, bars and shops on the other sides of the park.
In addition, there is a statue of Simón Bolívar in the park. Bolívar was a military and political leader who played a leading role in the establishment of Colombia and several other Latin American countries as sovereign states, independent of Spanish rule.
Furthermore, Parque Simón Bolívar is considered by locals to be a convenient place in Barbosa to meet up with friends. And you will typically see many families with kids in the park during the day.
Also, on the weekends, this park is filled with artisans who sell a number of items including candies, honey, decorative items and ornamental plates.
3. Go to Parque de las Aguas
Parque de las Aguas is a large water park located near Barbosa on the road from Medellín. It’s located about half-way between Giradota and Barbosa. And it’s easy to get to on the metro bus from Barbosa or from the Niquía metro station.
This large water park has several pools including a large recreational pool, wave pool, diving pool, children’s pool and a slow river pool. Also, it has many water slides. Obviously, this water park is very popular with families with kids.
Parque de las Aguas originally opened in 1996. It’s open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. And it’s closed on Monday. Also, the water park has restaurants and food kiosks.
The fee to enter Parque de las Aguas is 13,000 pesos per person. And there is a lower fee of 6,000 pesos for children who are less than 1.2 meters tall. Also, there are discounts available for groups of 40 or more people.
4. Hike to the La Cascada Waterfall
La Cascada is located a short distance from Barbosa. It’s a relatively easy hike from Barbosa or you can catch a taxi there.
This is a pretty waterfall with crystalline natural water and you can swim here. The waterfall was formed by a rock formation. And it’s surrounded by a green nature area. In addition, it’s considered a very suitable place to spend a day with friends or family.
This place is not very visited, perhaps that is why it is still preserved in a very good natural state because in its surroundings there are no major sources of pollution. Also, there is a small country inn located nearby named La Cascada.
There are a number of other waterfalls near Barbosa but La Cascada was the closest waterfall I found.
5. Hike to Other Natural Swimming Pools
There are a number of natural swimming pools and streams near Barbosa. The waters in the area are an important tourist attraction.
The following pools and streams deserve to be highlighted and are worth visiting: Santa Rosa, Dos Quebradas, La Playita, Los Búcaros, Aguas Claras and Charco Negro. And to some of these you can take a taxi instead of hiking.
Charco Dos Quebradas is particularly popular. It’s located in the village of Dos Quebradas, which is located only about 1 kilometer from the main park in Barbosa.
Charco Dos Quebradas is very popular on the weekends and holidays due to having two large natural pools, camping and many nearby small local restaurants. But during the week there won’t be many people here.
6. Go on a Pre-Hispanic Road and see the Ancient Petroglifos
According to investigations carried out in the village of Buga to the northwest of Barbosa, the area shows vestiges of ancient settlements, whose occupation dates back to the 5th century BC.
Camino Prehispánico is a road in this area that was built before the arrival of the Spaniards. It’s an ancient Pre-Hispanic road that was built by the native Nutables.
It was built with amphibolite stone (stones of sedimentary origin) flat and soft. And the road has been used by the different generations that have populated the area.
Nearby are ancient petroglifos. The petroglyphs have spiral and geometric figures, suns, ears among others images. It is presumed that the creators of these figures were the indigenous Yahamies and that they were carved around 300 to 600 years BC.
Note that the Pre-Hispanic road and petroglifos are not known many taxi drivers in the area. They are located in the upper part of the Verada Buga path which is accessible by taxi. And you may have to ask at the fincas in the area for the locations.
7. Head to the Top of Matasanos Mountain for Paragliding
For the adventurous, you can head to Alto de Matasanos (Matasanos Mountain) near Barbosa for a coffee or cup of hot chocolate in the cooler location.
And then take off paragliding, which lands near the entrance to the pueblo.
8. Visit Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua
Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua is the main church in Barbosa. It’s a beautiful Neo-Romanesque-style church that has many pieces of religious artwork. And it has a history that traces back to 1880.
In the eighteenth century there were several haciendas in the Barbosa area that had small chapels and competed for a parish separate from Copacabana.
Jerónimo Lara built a small chapel to San Marcos in Graciano in 1747. In 1755, Gregorio Ignacio Hernández created the small chapel of San Gregorio. And in 1773, Gabriel Muñoz built one in his Hacienda Barbosa.
These chapels were small rustic buildings with few ornaments and lacked windows and priests were absent.
So, from 1776 to 1796, on land donated by Gabriel Muñoz, a small Colonial-style church known as María Auxiliadora was built. During the 19th century and about half of the 20th century, it was the main religious center in Barbosa.
But due to inadequate capacity of the small church, the construction of the current Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua began in 1880 at the plaza below (now Simón Bolívar Park). The work was slow due to lack of financial resources, which led the pastor and his immediate successors to resort to alms and gifts.
In 1892, the new church had walls barely complete with unfinished columns. And in 1913, 28 windows and the main door were donated by Elías Isaza. In 1919, the main altar was built. And in 1925, they completed the lateral altar, the baptistery, the pulpit and acquired religious art for the church. In 1928, a clock and bell were added to the tower.
But due to faults in the ceiling for the central nave the completion of the church was delayed further. Finally, the construction of the church finished in 1948 and the church opened, which was 68 years after construction started.
9. Visit Capilla de María Auxiliadora
Capilla de María Auxiliadora (María Auxiliadora Chapel) is the older colonial-style church located in Barbosa that was built from 1773 to 1776. It’s located two blocks east from Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua at a smaller park.
María Auxiliadora Chapel is still used today but the much larger Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua is the main church in Barbosa.
María Auxiliadora Chapel is a simple Colonial-style that has some religious artwork throughout the church. For example, on the walls of the side aisles are some old paintings representing the Stations of the Cross.
10. Visit Barbosa During the Pineapple Festival in December or During Semana Santa
Barbosa is known as the “Tierra de la Piña” or “Distrito Dulce con Sabor a Piña”. Or in English, the “Land of the Pineapple” or “Sweet District with Pineapple Flavor.”
In December every two years, a Pineapple Festival is held to celebrate Barbosa’s cultural heritage and its history.
These festivities include activities such as horseback riding, a golden pineapple song festival and many cultural, recreational and sports activities. I haven’t been to this Pineapple Festival but a Colombian friend has told me it’s a great time to visit Barbosa.
Also, during Semana Santa, Barbosa has colorful Semana Santa processions like you will find in many other pueblos and cities in Colombia. So, this is another time worth visiting.
How to Get to Barbosa
Barbosa is very easy to get to. The best way to get there is by using the Medellín Metro. To get there you would take Line A of the metro north to the last metro station of Niquía in Bello.
At the Niquía metro station there are integrated metro buses that use a Civica card and will take you directly to Barbosa. And these metro buses stop about two blocks from Parque Simón Bolívar, which is the main park in Barbosa.
The bus ride to Barbosa from the metro station is only about 35 minutes. And the integrated metro fare including the metro and bus is only 3,650 pesos, which makes this an inexpensive trip.
An alternate way to get there is via a taxi or Uber from your location or from the Niquía metro station. Most taxi and Uber drivers know where Barbosa is located.
And to return to Medellín, near Parque Simón Bolívar to the west is where you can catch a metro bus back to the Niquía metro station.
Where to Stay in Barbosa
Barbosa is a popular retreat location for locals in Medellín. So, in the area you can rent fincas or private properties in nice scenic areas with capacity to accommodate 15 to 40 people for the weekend. For example, FincasVip has 18 different fincas available.
Also, there are a number of small hotels in Barbosa and the nearby countryside. For example, Hotel Central Park Barbosa is located next to Parque Simón Bolívar. And it has rooms with a double bed and Wifi available for 66,000 pesos per night.
The nicest hotel in the area is Hacienda Hotel Los Bucaros. It’s a resort style hotel with a nice pool, a lake for fishing and a natural pool to cool off. Also, it has some spectacular views of the countryside.
In addition, Barbosa is close enough to Medellín to where you could stay in Medellín where there are many more hotel, hostel and furnished apartment options but spend the day in Barbosa.
The Pueblos Near Medellín
We have been looking at the pueblos worth visiting near Medellín in a series on this website. So far, we have looked at eight pueblos near Medellín:
- Guatapé – a very popular pueblo near Medellín known for its huge rock and lake.
- Jardín – a tranquil get-away from Medellin that boosts breathtaking mountain views and less tourists than Guatapé.
- Santa Fe de Antioquia – known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and cobbled streets.
- Jericó – a picturesque pueblo known for its religious attractions, well-preserved colonial architecture and heritage, generous nature all around, hiking, paragliding, amazing landscapes and much more.
- San Carlos – a hidden gem surrounded by rivers, waterfalls and nature.
- Barbosa – an overlooked pueblo very near Medellín with streams, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, hiking, horseback riding and many other things to do.
- Abejorral – another hidden gem surrounded by waterfalls and dazzling landscapes with many opportunities for hikers and rock climbers.
- El Carmen de Viboral – the heart of Colombia’s ceramics industry.
We included Barbosa in our article about the best pueblos near Medellín worth visiting. And we plan to look at several more pueblos near Medellín.
Also, we looked at Salento, which is a popular pueblo in Colombia’s coffee region that is definitely worth visiting. And we looked at San Gil, which is a pueblo known as “Colombia’s Adventure Capital” with so much to do including rafting, paragliding, caving, rappelling, hiking and much more.
The Bottom Line: Barbosa: A Pueblo Near Medellín Worth Visiting
Barbosa is a picturesque pueblo located very near to Medellín with many things to do in the area. So, it makes for an easy day trip or a weekend getaway location.
In addition, Barbosa has trails linking the town with surrounding villages. So, there is ample opportunity for hiking or horseback riding while being surrounded by nature for those who like getting off the beaten path. This is also a kid-friendly location with many water activities for kids.
The bottom line is that Barbosa is a great getaway from Medellín. It’s located very near Medellín but provides the feel of a pueblo surrounded by nature with nice views.
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