Cable Arvi to Piedras Blancas

I took my first ride up to the Piedras Blancas area on the Cable Arvi this morning. I am used to traveling there on the Santa Elena buses you catch on Ayacucho. They provide good service but the cable line is much smoother and the view is spectacular.

To access this new service take the Metro to the Acevedo Station and the old cable line to the the Santa Domingo Station. There is no charge for the transfer here. When you arrive at the end of this line (Santa Domingo) go upstairs and catch the K Line to el Tambo. This will cost you COL$2,5000 or about US$ 1.30 at todays exchange rate.

´The ride up first takes you over upper Santa Domingo which is one of the less well off areas in Medellin. The housing quickly gives way to an agricultural area much of which has been invaded by bracken fern. Once you reach the ridge line the vegetation rapidly changes to a mosaic of native and plantation pine and cypress forest. Some of the patches of native forest look like they are of primary and if not are advanced secondary status. Nice diversity and an obvious epiphytic community in which bromeliads stand out.

In about 14 minutes you arrive at the el Tambo Station. Outside there are vendors selling snacks including a very good salpicon. Salpicon is a fruit cocktail with plenty of natural juices. It makes a great quick breakfast. The actual El Tambo area with its famous restaurant is about a 10 minute down hill walk. I understand there is bus service from the station down to el Tambo and on to Santa Elena but I did not wait.

The climate in the Piedras Blancas areas is much cooler than Medellin as it is locate at around 2400 meters. The mornings are fresh and the clean air is noticeable after coming up out of Medellin. Even the afternoons are relatively cool with temps in the low 70´s F being typical.

From el Tambo you can go to the nearby Piedras Blancas Ecological Park, to Guarne or to Santa Elena and the towns in between. These include Mazo, Piedra Gorda, Barro Blanco, el Placer and el Silletero. This is an important historic area and el Silletero has been declared part of Colombia´s National Patrimony.

If you wish you can make a circuit and return to Medellin via the buses or return on the Cable Arvi. Either way this is a great trip out into the countryside around Medellin. BTW the area is considered very safe and in 6 or 7 years of frequent visits we have never had a problem. There have been reports of problems towards the fringes of the area but these have been low intensity and infrequent. In addition a mounted police force which patrols the park area has recently been established and I suspect that this will eliminate any residual issues. I never feel nervous and am generally up there every weekend.

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