In the Southeastern region of the department of Antioquia is San José de Ezpeleta de Sonsón, a town founded by Jose Joaquín Ruíz and Zapata in the year 1800.
This municipality surrounded by the majestic El Capiro hills, the Páramo de la Vieja, the Alto de los Parados and the Palomas, which form a great wall that protects the town and gives way to the rivers Sonsón, Aures, Arma, among others.
It takes 3 and a half hours to travel the 110 kilometers that separate Medellín from Sonsón, passing through La Ceja and La Unión, which are municipalities of Eastern Antioquia.
On the way, you will come across El Tasajo ravine, which has a strong presence in the mountains of the territory, bringing freshness to its landscapes and a natural beauty that astonishes those who visit it.
Further on, there are the traditional fruit stalls in La Union, which with their colors have the power to enchant those who travel the road. You can also find strawberries that by their size and color seem like they were taken right from a postcard. And, when biting into them, their flavor will teach you that organic and natural fruits are always grown with the love of the farmers.
The height of the pines stands out among the mountains of this department, accompanied by crops of fig, coffee, avocado and corn along. These, along with the breeding of trout and tilapia contribute to the development of this municipality. But its economy is further diversified in the central Magdalena area, where livestock is one of the main sources of income for locals.
Sonsón receives those who visit it with open arms, and welcomes them to a municipality that in its 1,323 km² has a population of approximately 35,000 inhabitants.
Its mountains are witness to the stories told by Marino Arroyave, a historian of the municipality who tells historical events with joy.
Agudelito, one of the main characters of the stories told in Sonsón, was the inspiration for the creation of one of the sayings of the town that is mentioned when someone gets lost: “He got lost just like Agudelito”.
The red, blue and green colors of the balconies leap out of buildings and combined with their wooden windows and gates are part of one of the great colonial architecture attractions of the of this village.
Its main architectural features were bestowed by the Antioquian settlers who came from nearby municipalities such as Marinilla and Rionegro.
Los sonsoneños son personas que con gentileza y amabilidad relatan orgullosos la historia de su pueblo y que con cada paso que dan llenan de grandeza a su municipio que entre montañas y frías y nubladas mañanas cuenta la historia de gente guerrera y trabajadora que disfruta de tomarse un buen café y de una conversación con amigos.
Parado en una cafetería, con sombrero negro y su poncho colgado, Antonio, habitante de Sonsón, inicia su mañana tomando un café en el Café Astor. Recostado en el borde de la puerta admira las montañas de su tierra.
El Café Astor es conocido en el pueblo como uno de los lugares donde se reúnen los poetas y vagos a echarle piropos a las mujeres que por allí pasan y uno de los principales cafés donde se sientan los sonsoneños a conversar.
-“Vea, si usted se quiere enterar de los que ocurre en el pueblo, váyase para el Café Astor” Marino Arroyave.
The intense green of the mountains is interrupted by the golden shine of the corn crops. The coffee, fig and avocado crops give it a more colorful texture as well.
The importance of agriculture in this municipality is such that one of the official festivities of the town is held in honor of corn. It is a traditional crop for the village as corn is great a source of fiber, minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc. It is a source of power for the locals.
Beatriz Buitrago, inhabitant of Sonsón, says “This is one of the parties that I enjoy most and every year I do my best to be present on the second holiday of August to live this party and enjoy the activities the town organizes, such as concerts, parades, among others.”
-What do you most enjoy about the corn festival?
-Ahh, I think everything…
-But for me, the most beautiful part of the festival is the kids parade, and the last day is the best because that’s when we bury the cob, and the women go out dressed in black and crying to bury the cob.
The gastronomy of the town reflects the tradition of thousands of peasants who, through the cultivation of corn and grains, have been able to support their families. Among its typical dishes are the corn arepa and chócolo; tamale and mazamorra. All of these foods use corn as the main ingredient, which becomes the very basis of the diet of many sonsoneños. And for lovers of sweets, there is a great variety: legs of jelly, prepared with beef leg, panela and flour; cucas, which are biscuits with burned panela and the alfandoque, a sweet and chewy form of panela.
In this municipality, corn is not the only protagonist. Among its mountains, the avocado crops are born; the avocados here are cultivated approximately 2,475 meters above sea level. Each of the fruit trees are ready to give life to one of the foods that with the taste, creaminess and texture has captivated international palates.
The extensive areas of avocado fruit trees require exceptional care from farmers so that the fruit can grow healthily and can have the flavor and nutrients which it is known for. But cultivation is not the only step before the fruit travels to the corners of the country and the world; it must go through a process of washing, sorting and packing.
The largest avocado packing plant in the country lies in this region. This plant is what allows the fruit to be consumed at the highest quality, and in perfect condition.
This packing plant has worked since December of 2018 and has created about 140 jobs in the area. The countries of England, Holland, France and Saudi Arabia have all had the opportunity to taste avocado produced in the region, mainly from Sonsón due to the 74 containers, which represent 1 million and a half kilos.
“The avocado crops have brought many benefits to Sonsón since they have generated many jobs, and thanks to these projects, we have learned a lot about the avocado” Iván Betancur, administrator of the San Fernando Garden.
Below, we will recommend places that are unmissable in the municipality; the places make your stay is an unforgettable experience. You fall in love with this town that has a story to tell.
Páramo de Sonsón: With 8,707 hectares and a privileged height of approximately 3,350 meters above sea level, this is considered a massive source of freshwater for the department of Antioquia. Its soil gives life to the frailejón, a plant native to South America and one of the most important species in the country due to its ability to store large amounts of water.
Museo Folclórico la Casa de los Abuelos: A museum that holds the memories of Antioquia and Sonsón between its walls. In its rooms are preserved and appreciated elements that transport us back in time through photographs. Other older objects from places like schools, banks, inns and the beginnings of the printing area can also be found here. There is a room which is given special recognition to the Sonsona press by exhibiting old editions of the local newspaper, La Accion. Finally, there is also the anthropological museum that speaks of the culture of the Tahamíes and their weapons.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen: A church built in neo-Gothic style and designed by the Belgian architect Agustín Goovaerts. His altar, brought from Spain, houses the images of the Virgin of Carmen, the Infant Jesus of Prague and the Lord of Mercy.
This construction from the nineteenth century comes from the devotion of Nicolás Restrepo and María del Carmen Maya, a maried couple who decided to build a chapel in honor of the Virgen del Carmen.
Where should I eat?
Lácteos Buena Vista: In La Unión, on the road to Sonsón, there is a place where cheeses, pizzas and wines are the protagonists. It is a very natural environment that gives you the option to picnic and eat outdoors, enjoy a delicious meal with friends and family, and take your favorite products home.
Hostal El Tesoro: This hostel offers restaurant service, where you can find the typical dishes of the municipality, such as Bandeja Paisa, trout and mazamorra. It is a place with an environment surrounded by ancient items and that tell a part of the history of Sonsón.
Café Arrancagua: This is a little café where you can enjoy a delicious café sonsoneño, in different brews and accompanied by some delicious cakes which complete the experience.
Where should I sleep?
Hostal El Tesoro: With 16 rooms that are named after the main paths of Sonsón, this hostel offers the option to discover a bit about the culture of the country through a tour of the museum, which is also located there.
Hotel Tahamí: Located in the park of Sonsón, this hotel has comfortable rooms and a family-friendly atmosphere. Additionally, it has adequate spaces for family events.
Sonsón is one of the destinations as part of the routes that will be traveled in Avotours, where you will have the opportunity to live a unique experience by seeing the new origin of the Colombian avocado and the main producing municipalities in the department of Antioquia.