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Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas in Santa Elena - Medellin Guru
Piedras Blancas is an ecological park in Santa Elena near Medellín. It's a tranquil getaway where you can enjoy nature with a lake, insect museum, hotel and more.

Piedras Blancas: An Ecological Park Near Medellín Worth Visiting

Parque Piedras Blancas is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín. It’s a tranquil getaway park located less than an hour from Medellín where you can enjoy nature with hiking paths, a lake with row boats, insect museum, hotel and much more.

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas is a nice location for a day-trip from Medellín or even a tranquil weekend getaway location to escape the hectic big city life in Medellín. Also, it’s a kid-friendly location and a good place to go with kids.

Surprisingly there isn’t much information about this ecological park available in English on the Internet and what you can find is out-of-date and incomplete. Also, Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas is only in one of the 10 English language Colombia guidebooks I have. So, it’s not on the radar of many foreigner tourists.

This article is an up-to-date guide to the Piedras Blancas ecological park near Medellín, which is worth visiting.

More About Parque Piedras Blancas

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas is an ecological park located in Parque Arví in Santa Elena. This park has a total of 44.5 acres (18 hectares) of nature with trails for hiking and a small lake with row boats available. And reportedly over 133 different species can be found in the park.

Small boats are available for rental

Small boats are available for rental

The park also has:

  • 1,500 meters of paved paths surrounded by nature and gardens.
  • Museo Entomológico (Entomological Museum or Insect Museum) with hundreds of insects on display from a collection of over 15,000 preserved insects.
  • Butterfly farm enclosure with reportedly 20 species of butterflies.
  • Cafeteria with food and drinks.
  • Hotel with 24 rooms, spa and restaurant.
  • Camping area with showers and toilets.
  • Kiosks with barbecue and picnic areas.
  • Capacity to host large events with over 1,500 people.
One of many paths in the park

One of many paths in the park

The small butterfly farm enclosure in the park with 20 butterfly species

The small butterfly farm enclosure in the park with 20 butterfly species

Covered presentation area for events and cafeteria with food and drinks in the park

Covered presentation area for events and cafeteria with food and drinks in the park

Parque Piedras Blancas is operated by Comfenalco. Comfenalco Antioquia contributes to improving the living conditions of thousands of families and provides comprehensive social security programs. Comfenalco has a number of of hotels, resorts, spas, parks and entertainment venues in Colombia.

Website: http://www.comfenalcoantioquia.com/Turismo/ClubesyParques/ParqueEcol%C3%B3gicoPiedrasBlancas.aspx

The bridge to Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas

The bridge to Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas

Inside Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas

Inside Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas

Museo Entomológico Piedras Blanca (MEPB) – Piedras Blanca Entomological Museum or Insect Museum

Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas is an insect museum located in Parque Piedras Blancas. On exhibit in one large room are hundreds of insects out of a collection of reportedly over 15,000 preserved insect specimens from various regions of Colombia.

You will see beetles, butterflies, ants, bees, wasps, flies, chinches, cockroaches, mosquitoes and other arthropods such as tarantulas, centipedes and many more species. There are even a few living insects on display. This museum is relatively small but is very popular with kids. Here are several photos from inside the museum:

Butterflies on display

Butterflies on display

Hymenopterans on display

Hymenopterans on display

Beetles on display in the museum

Beetles on display in the museum

One of the spiders on display

One of the spiders on display

Many of the placards in the museum are in Spanish and English. Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas opened in 2004, thanks to an alliance between Caja de Compensación and Universidad de Antioquia.

Museum hours: Wednesday to Sunday and Holidays: 9 am to 5 pm.

Telephone: +57 4 460 1100 ext. 327

Entrance fee: 7,500 pesos for the museum plus 5,700 pesos to enter the park. Entrance to the museum is free for kids less than 7-years-old.

Museums in Medellín

On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 17 different museums in Medellín:

  1. Museo de Antioquia – the most popular museum in Medellín, worth visiting. It’s best known for a collection of art of Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero.
  2. Medellín’s Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) – worth a visit with an intriguing mix of exhibitions located in a striking building.
  3. Parque Explora – Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
  4. Jardín Botánico – Medellín’s free botanical gardens that is also considered a museum with over 1,000 different living plants on display.
  5. Planetario de Medellín – Medellín’s Planetarium and space museum that is very popular and worth seeing, particularly with kids.
  6. Museo El Castillo – Medellín’s beautiful Gothic-style castle that is a museum.
  7. Museo Cementerio San Pedro – a cemetery that is also a popular museum in Medellín worth visiting. It also has a church with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
  8. Museo Casa de la Memoria – a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of urban conflict in Medellín and Colombia and is worth seeing to better understand the city and country.
  9. Museo del Agua – the popular Medellín water museum.
  10. Casa Museo Otraparte – a hidden gem in Envigado consisting of a museum, cultural space and café dedicated to the life and works of Colombian philosopher Fernando González.
  11. Museo Universidad Antioquia (MUUA) – a Medellín museum located on the University of Antioquia’s campus with a huge collection of nearly 40,000 archaeological and natural history pieces.
  12. Museo Casa Gardeliana – a museum located in Medellín that is dedicated to tango music and musician Carlos Gardel.
  13. Pedro Nel Gómez Casa Museo – a museum located in Aranjuez that is dedicated to the life and works of important Colombian artist Pedro Nel Gómez who is best known for his extensive work as a muralist.
  14. Museo Etnográfico Miguel Angel Builes – a hidden gem museum in Medellín dedicated to showing the cultural diversity of indigenous and ethnic groups in Colombia.
  15. Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture – Medellín’s palace in El Centro is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. It’s considered a museum by the city of Medellín but there aren’t very many exhibits to see inside.
  16. Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas (MEPB) – an insect museum located at the Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas, which is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín.
  17. Museo de Ciudad – Medellín’s City Museum, which is located next to Pueblito Paisa. This museum has a scale model of the city and a photo exhibit with photos from the 1890s to about 1950 showing the history of the city of Medellín.

The 10 English-language Colombia guidebooks that I have are missing several of these museums. And each guidebook only includes six to nine out of the 17 museums in Medellín we have looked at.

The view from Hotel Piedras Blancas

The view from Hotel Piedras Blancas

Hotel Piedras Blancas

The Hotel at Piedras Blancas is a nice hotel overlooking the lake at Parque Piedras Blancas. And the hotel has 24 rooms. It would be a nice and tranquil place to take a significant other for a Saturday night getaway or even to celebrate an anniversary.

Also, the hotel has a spa overlooking the lake and forest plus a restaurant. I haven’t stayed at this hotel but a friend went recently with his wife and he told me it’s a nice small resort-style hotel with some nice rooms. And his wife loved it for a weekend getaway from Medellín.

The hotel has two rates for low season and high season. The hotel rates include accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner and access to the museum, butterfly farm, boats plus accident insurance.

During high season the rate is 188,900 pesos per person and during low season it’s 180,900 pesos. And for kids it’s 65,000 pesos during high season and 61,500 pesos during low season.

There is also a lower rate that doesn’t include meals and also a lower rate if you are affiliated with Comfenalco.

The high rate applies from January 1 to 13, March 25 to 31 (Semana Santa), June 9 to July 2, July 20, December 15 to 31 and on weekends and holidays.

Hotel website: http://www.comfenalcoantioquia.com/Turismo/HotelesComfenalco/HotelyParqueEcol%C3%B3gicoPiedrasBlancas.aspx

Hotel hours: 24 hours per day: Monday to Sunday.

Camping at Parque Piedras Blancas

Parque Piedras Blancas also provides space for camping with showers and toilets available.

The fee for camping is 66,500 pesos per person. And this fee includes space for camping, breakfast, lunch, dinner and access to the insect museum, butterfly farm, boats plus accident insurance.

How to Get to Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas

There are multiple ways to get to Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas including the metro, buses and taxis.

One way is via the Medellín metro. You would take Line A to the Acevedo station. At this station transfer to the Metrocable Line K to Santo Domingo station. And at Santo Domingo station take the Metrocable line L to Parque Arví. The Metrocable to Parque Arví has a separate fare of 5,500 pesos.

Cable cars on Metrocable Line K

Cable cars on Metrocable Line K

Also, the Metrocable line to Parque Arví is closed on Mondays and runs from 9 am to 6 pm on Tuesday to Saturday. And on Sunday and holidays Line L runs from 8:30 am to 6 pm. The last Metrocable gondola going back from Parque Arví leaves at 6 pm. So, if planning a day trip using the Metrocable, plan your return to insure you don’t miss that last Metrocable gondola for the day.

Parque Arví Metrocable station

Parque Arví Metrocable station

Once you get to the Parque Arví Metrocable station walk to the nearby road where you can catch a colectivo car to Parque Piedras Blancas. The car fare was 15,000 pesos for two people when I went recently with a friend visiting Medellín. And we had to wait about 20 minutes for a car. It’s only about a five-minute drive. Or you could walk, it’s about a 45-minute walk.

Also, Parque Piedras Blancas has a free chiva bus that they run from the Metrocable station to the park on busier days.

Another option to get to Parque Piedras Blancas is via the Santa Elena buses that run from El Centro about four blocks east from Iglesia San José. The bus fare is only 2,300 pesos. Also, make sure to let the driver know you are going to Parque Piedras Blancas.

Finally, you could take a taxi to Parque Piedras Blancas but this will be expensive – likely around 65,000 pesos. Also, if you drive there is parking available at the park.

Note that to get into Parque Piedras Blancas or the park hotel they will want to see an ID – cedula or passport. Also, pets are permitted in the park.

Parks and Plazas in Medellín

On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 12 different parks and plazas in the Medellín and Aburra Valley area:

  1. Parque Arví – a very large nature reserve, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín.
  2. Parque Lleras – the top nightlife district in Medellín.
  3. Piedras Blancas – an ecological park near Medellín worth visiting.
  4. Parque Sabaneta – arguably the nicest park in the Medelllín metro area.
  5. Plaza Botero – a popular outdoor plaza with 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero.
  6. Plaza Cisneros – Parque de las Luces, Medellín’s Park of Lights in El Centro.
  7. Jardín Botánico – the popular Medellín botanical gardens.
  8. Parques Del Río – Medellín’s ambitious River Parks project along the Medellín River with the first stage open.
  9. Plaza San Antonio – a large plaza with four Fernando Botero sculptures and sometime has concerts.
  10. Cerro el Volado – a huge park with incredible views of Medellín.
  11. Cerro Pan de Azucar – a park with amazing views of Medellín.
  12. Parque de los Deseos – a popular park in Zona Norte offering a wide variety of free cultural activities.
Silleteros monument in Santa Elena, photo by Andreasuescun

Silleteros monument in Santa Elena, photo by Andreasuescun

More About Santa Elena

Santa Elena is considered part of Medellín. It is one of five corregimientos (divisions of the rural area) of the city of Medellín. Santa Elena is located east of Medellín and is sized at about 27.2 square miles (70.5 square kilometers). And it has a population of over 12,000.

The economy of the area depends on agricultural activity including the cultivation of flowers, potatoes, berries and strawberries; milk cattle raising and extractive activities of forest products.

Also, there is also a considerable presence of recreational and tourist areas in Santa Elena such as Parque Arví and Parque Piedras Blancas. So, tourism is also important for Santa Elena.

During Medellín’s Feria de las Flores flower festival, the silleteros in Santa Elena allow visitors and tourists to enter to show their silletas. And there is also an artisan fair in the central park of the Santa Elena pueblo.

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas

Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas

The Bottom Line: Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas

Parque Piedras Blancas is located only about 45 minutes from Medellín, so it’s an easy day-trip or weekend getaway destination. It’s a beautiful park and a good place for hiking, connecting with nature, rowing a small boat, having a picnic and more.

Parque Piedras Blancas isn’t as well known as Parque Arví. But Parque Piedras Blancas is worth visiting, as it has more tourist infrastructure including a nice hotel with good views and a restaurant and spa, plus an insect museum, butterfly farm enclosure and boats.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

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9 thoughts on “Piedras Blancas: An Ecological Park Near Medellín Worth Visiting”

    1. Irma Kallio November 14, 2018

      Great post, you have pointed out some great points, I besides think this s a very great website.

    2. Conny nichols June 25, 2018

      Hello Jeff!

      Thanks for the article. I’m sure many of your readers will appreciate this information.
      Just a short note. You mention that unfortunately not much is known about this park, nor is there much information in English. There is a reason why. It is correct that this park is part of Comfenalco’s inventory of hotels, resorts, spas, parks and entertainment venues. What your expat readers may not know is that, by law, companies in Colombia MUST provide, as part of their employees’ benefits package, a program aimed to improve workers’ quality of life, which means that all employees are given a membership free of charge, for them and their families to go to all these facilities for free. Workers in Colombia have opportunities to go with their families to all these facilities, go on vacation and enjoy nice hotels, spas, resorts and parks like this one all year round using their free membership. Companies use subcontractors like Comfenalco, Cafam and many others to deliver hospitality, entertainment and educational services to their workers. So, although this Comfenalco park of Piedras Blancas is primarily designed for workers, the general public may have access to it as well. Keep in mind that during high season, their members have priority. So, if someone tries to book a room during peak season, they may not find one because they are not members.

      Another awesome Comfenalco hotel/spa that is open to the public is in Llano Grande and is called Centro Qurirama, a place that can offer a wonderful, tranquil and peaceful weekend getaway. I highly recommend it – very nice! It’s inside an old and beautiful Spanish colonial home with beautiful gardens.

      Thanks again for your article.

      • Paul Bolen January 14, 2019

        Hi Jeff. Thanks for all the great info on Medellín and area. Just responding to Connie Nichols post that the Comfenalco Hotel at Llano Grande is called Recinto Quirama , not Centro Quirirama.

    3. Brock Canner June 24, 2018

      Thanks Jeff, nicely done. Love the pictures. Nice place for a weekend getaway. Maybe camp, but the hotel looks delightful. Have moved to another place, and it’s taken a long time.

      • Hi Brock, thanks. Yes, its’s a nice place for a weekend getaway. And not many foreigners know about, which is why I decided to cover it.

    4. Terry andresen June 24, 2018

      From the same road that you mentioned the colectivo car, you can catch a chiva bus for free. And meals at the restaurant on their patio were among the best I’ve had in Medellin.

      • Thanks, the chiva bus from the park isn’t running all the time. It was sitting in the parking lot in the park on the week day I went with a friend recently. I asked and they said they only run the chiva on busier days. I’ll update the article to add the chiva option.

    5. David Williams June 24, 2018

      Thanks for this article, looks like a nice nature getaway from Medellin that is really close. Was the colectivo you took from the metrocable station a taxi? And was it easy to get a colectivo to return to the metrocable station?

      • Hi David, thanks. The colectivo wasn’t a taxi it was a normal car. When I went recently with a friend there are some vendors along the road near the Metrocable station that we asked about transport to Piedras Blancas. The vendor said it was about a 45 minute walk or we could wait for a car that would only take 5 minutes to Piedras Blancas. We waited about 20 minutes for a car. We got the phone number of the driver for the return but when we left the park there was car waiting at the entrance to the park that we took back to the Metrocable station.

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