Colombia – Hiking around San-Francisco, Antioquia

Our hike

The track winds along the Santo Domingo River, the Waterfalls Valley, to Esmeralda Fall.

We chose a day hike from Medellín to explore the mountainous landscapes of Colombia, organized by the agency Aventura San Francisco.

There are options from one to several days for this outing. The rest of our group had booked a camping night and a rafting descent for the next day. So anything is possible!

It was a great day; a walk of approximately 12 km that we did in 7 hours, including the swimming stops.

We left Medellín early in the morning by minibus, towards La Pinuela Cocorná, a small village where we had breakfast. Shaking on a 4×4, it was then a tough 30-minute off-road ride to get to the start of the trail. 

This is where we picked up our meal. Rice, chicken, and plantains wrapped in a banana leaf. We could have eaten it right away because the smell was so good. But we resisted, knowing that we would appreciate it even more after the walk, and that the banana leaves would keep the dish warm for us in the meantime.

Antsy for the entire journey, we started our march.

Our guide was fantastic, smiling, eager to show us the plants and fruits that surrounded us and to talk about the origin of this track.

Still used by the locals, it was originally designed to transport coffee, as we are in an area suitable for its cultivation.
Unfortunately this market ceased when the road became primarily used for drug trafficking.

The Valley of Waterfalls in pictures

The trail meanders along the Santo Domingo River, a small canyon surrounded by enormous mountains.

Waterfalls falling off the cliffs feed the river. We let ourselves be tempted several times by the crystal-clear water, each new dive giving us the energy needed to continue on our way.

The Esmeralda with its 700 meters of fall

Our dip in the Esmeralda waterfall was super. If we were somewhat apprehensive about the temperature of the water, we were pleasantly surprised; the water was fresh but not cold.
Just enough to rejuvenate us after hours on foot.

Final word

There seems to be no available hiking maps for sale in Columbia, probably for good reasons. Though there is a multitude of trails across the mountains, they are used for purposes other than recreational hiking. However, I wouldn’t have gone hiking alone in unknown places. As I said in another article, if cities and tourist sites remain safe, the countryside is always the scene of heavy traffic. It felt more comfortable being accompanied on these hikes.

And with the ideal guide, the enjoyment could be multiplied!

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