The 4×4 vehicle I’m in bumps slowly over large boulders up the mountain. I’m about 2 hours from Medellín, and almost arriving at my destination. Suddenly the car stops: the road is now impassable, even a 4WD cannot go any further. Heidi, the owner of the eco-hotel I am going to, is waiting for me with the dog. I drag my backpack out of the car and fully packed we continue on foot. Slowly we walk up the mountain. And suddenly I see the sign: Soplo del Tambo. I look up and my heart makes a jump. How amazingly beautiful this is. I almost forget that we still have to walk 10 minutes further up the mountain. But none of it matters anymore. These are going to be 11 very special days. An unforgettable experience in absolutely one of the most beautiful places in Colombia. Want to know more? In this article, I will take you to this magical place in Cocorná, near Medellín, and tell you everything for a great holiday in Colombia.
Soplo del Tambo: an indescribably beautiful eco-hotel in Colombia
There are so many beautiful hotels in Colombia to stay at. In the most extraordinary places. After 9 years of living and traveling in Colombia, you can say I’ve had the opportunity to discover a lot of it.
But as special as Soplo del Tambo I have not yet experienced. This is pure magic in the mountains near Medellín. A unique experience. This place breathes tranquility, spirituality and energy. So far away from civilization that you can’t even get there by car or motor.
Upon arrival you will be warmly welcomed by the lovely Heidi and Carolina. Soplo del Tambo was conceived and developed by Dutch Heidi. For several years, she and her children have lived in a house made of bamboo, here in the mountains. And welcomes travelers who want to be close to nature and, like me, experience the energy and spirituality of this environment.
Look out over the vast valley surrounded by green mountains, clear blue rivers and waterfalls. And get the ultimate feeling of freedom. All you hear are the birds and the wind moving the leaves of the many banana and palm trees. It clears your head, and makes space to really enjoy yourself in the present. Soplo del Tambo is a paradise, there is simply no other word to describe this eco-hotel.
What does “Soplo del Tambo” mean?
‘Soplo’ is the wind that always blows. And about the only thing you hear here. Delicious!
‘Tambo’ dates back to ancient Inca times and is a meeting place for shelter and food, or just to store food. Tambos were also used as places to stay for travelers on the Inca Trail.
Tambos were usually built using materials available in the area, such as stone, clay and wood. And the same has been done here, only with bamboo, a wooden floor and a roof made of palm leaves. And that’s pretty impressive I can tell you: staying in a mighty Tambo high on the mountain.
What is there to do at the eco-hotel and surrounding area?
Although you are far away from civilization, you will not be bored at this eco-hotel. I spent 11 days there myself, and my goal was to work in a different place, rest, experience life in the community and take a break from the hectic world we live in. And that all more than succeeded.
Soplo del Tambo offers many activities and experiences. Totally customizable the way you want it. Here’s a sampling of what’s on offer.
Yoga classes near Medellín
In a place like this, it is almost impossible not to be swept up in the world of spirituality and yoga. Even I ventured onto the yoga mat three times, something I had never done before.
I’m stiff as hell and can’t do it (yet) at all, but gosh, this was delicious. The best place to practice yoga is in the mountains. And even better in the Tambo. Wide open, that insane view, the wind through your hair, soothing music and an inspiring yoga instructor. Anaka Yoga is an amazing yoga teacher. Whether you like yoga or not, she will give you an experience to remember.
Outdoor massage: going to the spa in Colombia
I love massage, but this was a very different experience from what I am used to. A massage in a bamboo Tambo, in the open air, with the birds in the background, is quite different from a massage at home in chaotic Bogotá.
Luz, the masseuse, turned her life around 10 years ago. Without ever having been there, she moved to Cocorná. She has since established her own spa in the mountains. A cottage on stilts, with a lovely soft bed, the wind through your hair and a shower made of bamboo on the rocks. She knows all about Chinese medicine and knows exactly what the pain points in your body mean.
I did two massages with Luz. The first in the Tambo, the second in her spa. Includes a cleansing with chocolate and clay. Imagine being smeared with delicious-smelling chocolate, and then sitting in the grass in the sun to let it dry up. Then to rinse everything off under the bamboo shower under the trees. It could so be a scene from Pocahontas.
Really: this is pure enjoyment. From the sweet and inspiring Luz, the wonderful massage, the nature around you, the peace, the birds and the clean air. I highly recommend it. On the Instagram page of crisalida.saludybienestar you can find more information. If you stay in Soplo del Tambo they can arrange everything for you.
Hike your heart out
If you like hiking you’ve come to the right place. Just to get there is a wonderful hike. But there is much more. Hike to waterfalls, streams among the mountains or cold mountain pools for swimming.
Get out of bed, put on your hiking boots and hike down the mountain to the creek. Take a refreshing swim and hike back up for a delicious breakfast. The dog walks with you and keeps you company. I have done this hike several times, and is delightful.
And there is more. Both longer and short hikes are available. Some on your own, some with a guide. But all magical. You are so far away from civilization that you really don’t hear anything. No cars, no noise, no engines, no planes. Here you will find ultimate tranquility and the feeling of really being in the mountains.
To El Peñol and Guatapé
The high rock El Peñol near Medellín, and the neighboring village of Guatapé are about a 1.5-hour drive away. If you haven’t been there yet, you can take a day trip from the eco-hotel. Read more about El Peñol and Guatapé here.
Working as a digital nomad
Here you can work like the best, really. I did it too. Although I am not a digital nomad, I do regularly work in a different place. And Soplo del Tambo is ideal for that. On your terrace with that bizarrely beautiful view. In the grass on a rug, in the hammock, at the big dining table with the mountains in the background: wherever you want. The tranquility of this place allows you to fully concentrate on your work. You don’t get distracted. On the contrary: in the mountains, inspiration comes.
The Wifi is very good, I even did Zoom meetings with it. So all you need is your laptop.
Want to get away from the daily grind to work somewhere new? I highly recommend the mountains near Medellín. Here you can not only work well, but also discover a very special part of Colombia off the beaten path.
Volunteering in Colombia
Want to get away for a little longer and volunteer in Colombia? That too is possible here. Soplo del Tambo has special accommodation for volunteers, a tent on the campsite with its own kitchen, living room, compost toilet and private shower.
The volunteer work consists of all kinds of activities in nature (on the farm) and in the eco-hotel, such as helping in the (vegetable) garden, planting trees, making compost, small construction work, taking care of the children, feeding the animals and cooking.
Here on WorkAway you can find more information about volunteering in Soplo del Tambo. Below in the photo you can see the accommodation for the volunteers.
Being one with nature
This eco-hotel is an excellent place to be one with nature. To lie in the hammock for hours, walk your feet through the grass, reflect on life, cuddle with the cats and dogs or stare at the mountains…. Just doing nothing at all. I liked that SO much!
As if all this were not enough, here you can also paraglide (and admire this from the hotel), go to the swimming pool or jacuzzi and go on bicycle tours.
Soplo del Tambo: practical information
How do you book your stay at Soplo del Tambo?
Book your stay at Soplo del Tambo here. After booking, you will receive information from the hotel. You can also contact them if you have any questions about arrival, for example. Do you have special requests, for example, would you like to book a retreat with a group, or are you traveling with children and need an extra bed? Then contact Carolina or Heidi at +57 322 6618636. You can also follow and contact the eco-hotel through their Instagram account.
At Soplo del Tambo you can book a private room, for one, two or three people. You can also camp there or stay in a dormitory. Ideal for backpackers, couples or families with children. The rooms are cozy and entirely made of bamboo, clay and wood. You have your own large balcony, a hot shower, nice chairs, a closet and a lovely bed.
I myself stayed here by myself. So even if you are traveling alone, this is a very good place to check out from everyday life. Only do this if you’re good at being alone, because here you can’t walk to a café or just meet other backpackers.
How do you get to the eco-hotel?
The hotel is located near the village of Cocorná in the department of Antioquia, 15 minutes by car or motorcycle cab uphill from the village.
From Medellín you will be in Cocorná in 2 hours. I myself came from the airport near Rionegro, a drive of about 1.5 hours.
Wherever you come from, you must first go to Cocorná. This can be done by bus, from Medellín, for example. Or you can be picked up by private transportation. They can arrange this for you in Soplo del Tambo. I did this myself from the airport, there I was picked up and taken to the hotel.
You can also go by your own car.
What is important to remember: you cannot get to the eco-hotel by transportation. If you go by car or motorcycle, you will be dropped off at a certain point. Even if you use your own rental car, park it in a certain spot. From the hotel you will get information about this after booking. From that point you have to walk uphill for about 15 minutes. Always arrive before dark. This is a remote community, where much goes on foot and people sleep around 9PM. Everything is trickier in the dark, and no one can come and pick you up or look for you after sunset.
You have to walk the last part: how hard is this?
As mentioned, you have to walk up the mountain for the last 15 minutes. This is a delightful walk, and immediately the first experience in this special place.
The road is fairly steep and full of stones. When it rains, it can be slippery and muddy. Therefore, make sure you have good walking shoes on when you arrive. It is a tough hike, so do it at your own pace and enjoy the wonderful fresh air and beautiful views that soon come your way. If you have mobility problems, this is not for you.
In addition, it is helpful to think about what you will bring with you to the hotel. It is best to travel with only backpacks. A small dayback and your backpack, for example. Are you coming with a suitcase on wheels? You can’t possibly use those there. The only way to get to the top then is on horseback and with the help of others. If this is the case, you must arrange this in advance. So then contact the hotel in advance and say you have a suitcase on wheels.
For who is Soplo del Tambo suitable for and for who it isn’t?
Soplo del Tambo is perfect for anyone who loves nature, wants to rest, explore Colombia off the beaten path, be in the mountains, take yoga classes in the mountains, hike and do other outdoor activities.
Take in account that this is a special stay, not a normal hotel in the city. You are in a totally different environment and way of life than you are used to. You are in the middle of nature, where there are also critters and it can sometimes rain heavily (especially at night). The rhythm of life is different from what you are used to. This is precisely what makes Soplo del Tambo so special, but is not for everyone.
You can’t arrange for last-minute transportation, or for someone to just lift your bags upstairs. This should be arranged in advance. To this place you need to prepare well before traveling.
Are you traveling through Colombia with children? Then, too, this is the perfect place. Children live in the eco-hotel, and so children are very welcome. Children can join in hiking, playing in the Tambo and trampolining. In addition, the experience is incredibly special for children.
What do you bring to Soplo del Tambo?
Although you are near Medellín, it is wise to take other things with you to the mountains. The climate there is a lot more pleasant during the day than in Medellín (less hot, nice and warm), but in the evening it is cold. And as soon as the sun sets, it is pitch black here. I would recommend to take with you at least this:
- Hiking boots that are allowed to get dirty. I myself found high hiking boots very nice, because sometimes there can be a lot of mud.
- A headlamp. Your phone can also work, but I would really recommend a flashlight. I definitely needed this one.
- Although it is nice and warm during the day, walking in long pants is recommended. That way you are well protected from critters and sometimes sharp plants.
- Warm clothes for the evening. This is really necessary.
- Sunscreen. Like everywhere else in Colombia, you burn quickly.
- You can’t drink water from the tap here, which is why they have a water filter. With that, you can fill your water bottle. So be sure to take a sustainable water bottle with you.
- An open mindset.
And what you need in some cases:
- Would you like to join yoga classes? Then bring something to do yoga in. Sports shorts, for example.
- If you want to go swimming or have a chocolate cleaning, bring swimwear.
What not to bring
In the evening and night there are mosquitoes, therefore you need a mosquito net to sleep under. This is provided in the eco-hotel, so you don’t need to bring your own. Mosquito repellent, however, does come in handy (only needed in the evening).
Nor is a water filter necessary: you can fill your bottle with filtered water at the hotel.
Eating at the eco-hotel
Because the hotel is so far away from civilization, you don’t go out for dinner in the village or in a town. But that is precisely the idea of this place: to be away from civilization for a while.
Therefore, at Soplo del Tambo they offer all meals of the day. Breakfast is included in the price, and lunch and dinner you buy separately. The cooking is incredibly delicious, healthy and balanced. Are you vegetarian or vegan? No problem! I myself ate delicious vegetarian food there. Craving a banana? You take those right out of the tree. Fancy fresh mint or anise tea? You pick that right out of the garden.
Carolina cooks deliciously, really to enjoy. I have, however, often wondered what I enjoy more: the good food or the view while eating it….
How does Soplo del Tambo fit into your roundtrip Colombia?
Although you have to go off the beaten path in Colombia for this special place, it is still easy to fit into your roundtrip.
- The bus from Bogotá to Medellín or vice versa comes along the road to Cocorná. Get dropped off there and spend a few days in the mountains before traveling on.
- First spend some days in Medellín, then a day in Guatapé and then a few days in Cocorná. Then travel to Rionegro airport and fly to your next destination.
- Choose to spend a week at Soplo del Tambo, giving yourself a retreat. After that, you can travel on to wherever you want in Colombia.
Don’t be put off by the remote location: it’s all part of this special experience. Colombia at its most beautiful! Be enchanted by the mountains surrounding Cocorná, a place you will spontaneously fall in love with.
Soplo del Tambo: the most beautiful place in Colombia? Bring a visit and find out for yourself!
And don’t forget to send greetings from me to dear Heidi, Carolina and the kids! Meanwhile, want to see more of my stay in Soplo del Tambo? On thepinned stories ‘Cocorná’ on my Instagram account you will find many photos, stories and cool videos.
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