Jericó: More Than Religious Tourism

Jericó (photo: Jason Dalsgaard)

Boy, was I surprised. Jardín had exceeded my expectations when I visited in September. I talked it up to all of my friends and family. After this trip, though, I had to give them a call back. Between friends and I, opinions vary, but for me, this town was better than Jardín.

Jericó is three hours away from Medellín. A bus from the Terminal del Sur will cost 46,000 pesos ($18) roundtrip. They take several routes; I highly recommend going through Bolombolo, it’s the shortest.

Jericó

Welcome to Jericó, Athens of the Southwest and home to the beatified Saint Laura Montoya

Due to the three-hour bus ride, we made it a two-day trip leaving on Sunday and returning Monday afternoon. We didn’t book a hostel or a hotel because we couldn’t find anything promising online.

On arrival, we walked the streets looking for a place to stay, noticing that the locals aren’t used to seeing many foreigners.

They were friendly and curious, peeking from their beautiful balconies, windows, and doorways.

Colorful street in Jericó

One of many colorful streets in Jericó (photo: Jason Dasgaard)

After asking around and getting prices for hotel rooms between 15,000 and 27,000 pesos ($7 to 13), we found a Casa-Hotel where the four of us had the house to ourselves for just 30,000 pesos ($15) each.

The place itself has no sign outside or web page, but they can be contacted via email at wilson.vanegas@une.net.co or on the Jericó website in Spanish and are located two blocks from the park (Carrera 6 #7-59).

Jericó has warm weather during the day and cools down at night, much like Jardín. Its main square or park is a great place to spend time, with a stretch of typical restaurants that sell lunches for 8,000 pesos ($4) and tinto (coffee) all day long.

Statue of Saint Laura

Statue of Saint Laura outside the church

The religious part

Besides the fact that Jericó has always been a Catholic, conservative town, last year it got a kickstart in religious tourism after Sister Laura Montoya, a “Jericoana,” was declared a Saint-Colombia’s first.

 

The town has two stunning temples just a few blocks apart.

The Cathedral (pictured above left) in the town’s central park, Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes.

I was surprised to see that both the exterior and the interior were designed in a simple red brick like we so often see in Medellín. Simple and all, no matter, the Cathedral has a presence.

The second temple (pictured above right) is Santuario al Inmaculado Corazón de María. This is somewhat closer to what I expected of the Cathedral.

Although it’s colorfully decorative and bright, with mosaics on the altar and plenty of sunlight, the tile floors are mismatched and starting to give out, and the exterior is nothing special.

There are a few smaller churches and chapels scattered around the town like Iglesia de San Francisco, Capilla de la Visitación, and Iglesia de Santa Clara.

Additional points of interest include a Museum of Religious Art or Museo Municipal Maja, Centro de Historia, and Casa Natal de Santa Laura (Saint Laura’s home in Jericó).

Also, you can find stores selling Catholic themed souvenirs on almost every street around the park.

Cable car going to Ecoparque Las Nubes. Photo: Jason Dalsgaard

Cable car going to Ecoparque Las Nubes (photo: Jason Dalsgaard)

What you can’t miss

For a great view, head to Morro El Salvador, where this story’s feature photo was taken.

A large white Christ with extended arms stands above Jericó at its highest point. From here, you can see that Jericó is just a nook in the mountains.

You can also ride the cable car from this point to Ecoparque Las Nubes, a natural park that gets its name from its altitude and the frequent presence of clouds. There’s also the option of hiking up or down the trail to the park on the trail called “Camino ecológico La Gruta de la Virgen de la Peña.”

With our limited time in the town, we had to take a rain-check for the other parks. But, like in temples and museums, Jericó has a variety of outdoor tourism options that are walking distance from the park.

The one hundred stair street

The one hundred stair street

The walkway on the East side of Jericó called (quite accurately) “The One Hundred Stair Street” or “La Calle de la Cien Escalas,” is beautiful both day and night.

Along Calle 5 you’ll find a couple of cafés and restaurants that sell less typical food. It’s called the street of the poets because a few of Medellín’s most known authors were born in Jericó.

Manuel Mejía Vallejo, author born in Jericó.

Manuel Mejía Vallejo, author born in Jericó

What Jericó has to offer

There are at least two things that you have to check out that originate in Jericó: Cardamom (in pods, seeds, or made into candy) and handbags made of cowhide called “Carrieles.”

The first can be found at most corner stores in small 1,000-peso bags. I was more than excited to get these to use in coffee!

Carrieles (handbags) for sale in Jericó.

Carrieles (handbags) for sale in Jericó

The second is much more traditional. Carrieles take citizens of the pueblo back to finca days, to campesinos (farmers) who used leather hides to make traditional bags for both men and women-campesinos and campesinas.

They also sell wallets, hats and other types of accessories produced in this material.

Overall, the trip was extremely enjoyable. All of us that spent time there highlighted the kindness and curiosity of the people, the great “not too hot, not too cold” weather and the overall feel of the town.

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Details

Place: Jericó

Address: Jericó, Antioquia

Telephone:

Website: http://www.jerico-antioquia.gov.co/

Email:

Hours:

About Ximena

Born in Manizales, raised in the US, Ximena loves writing about the space in between her two cultures.

Comments

  1. I love articles like this , it reveals the heart and soul of the country.. One question.. Are there any historical preservation society’s set up to help fix and preserve these churches that are in need of repair?

    • joe Frank says:

      They are all under control by the Catholic church. The Vatican would need to address their request for repairs.

  2. jairo hurtado says:

    Que bella alusion a Jerico, una de las mas hermosas del territorio de Antioquia, cuna de grandes personajes, sitio turistico por excelencia; que linda esta muestra de esos bellos parajes, ! Felicitaciones !!!

  3. After reading this great article, we just arrived in Jerico. We took your advice and arrived by bus which was very comfortable and are staying at the same place you found! What a beautiful little pueblo. The Maja. Museum has a free concert every Saturday night which we plan to attend tonight. We ate thrilled to be here and thank you for all of your great articles!!

    • Ingrid,

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I am so happy that you enjoyed jericó! It’s a wonderful town and area, I didn’t know about the museum’s free concert, I’ll have to check it out!

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