Guatape

One of the most popular day trip from Medellin is a trip Guatape, a town in the northwest of Colombia.

This place is famous for its colourful houses and streets, the bas-reliefs on the walls and the Piedra del Peñol, a giant granite rock that you can climb to the top to get a view of the lake and the surroundings.

A view of the Piedra del Peñol from a distance. Reddit picture.

You can visit this town on your own, but I would recommend taking an organised tour, as it’s interesting to learn about the history of the place and they usually include taking a boat around the lake, which is amazing.

Almost all hostels offer tours to this place and – as I said in this post – this trip usually comes combined with a tour that brings you to visit Pablo Escobar’s house and do the famous paintball in one of his family’s properties, but we decided to take only the Guatape tour. We paid 79,000 COP (around €20) for an all-day tour, including transport from and to Medellin, lunch, visit to nearby towns, tour of the town, and a boat tour of the lake. Entrance to the Piedra del Peñol was a separate fee of 18,000 COP.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Iglesia de Piedra and nearby villages

As part of the tour, we visited a few nearby small towns before arriving in Guatape. Inside this giant rock, there is a church you can visit. Entrance is free.

Laguna de Guatape

The tour included a boat tour of the lake, when our guide explained to us the history of this area, how the lake was used in the past and told us something about the buildings on the shore, some of which belong to the Escobar family.

Piedra del Peñol

The main reason why people visit Guatape, is to see the Piedra del Peñol and climb its 740 steps all the way to the top, to enjoy a breathtaking view of the lagoon.

Going up this 220m rock is optional, and for this reason the entrance fee is separate from the cost of the tour. Even though it’s tiring and it’s extremely hot, I would recommend climbing it, as the view is supposed to be one of the best in South America.

The Guatape Village

Guatape is one of the most colourful towns in Colombia and it’s famous for its bas-reliefs. These usually depicts village life scenes and you can see them on the bottom half of almost all of the towns colourful houses and tiendas.

Going there yourself?

If you don’t want to take an organised tour, it is also possible to visit this town yourself.

Getting there from Medellin is very easy. From the Terminal del Norte – connected to the Caribe metro station on the blue line A – you can take a direct bus to Guatape. The cost is 13,500 COP one way and the journey is approximately 2 hours long.

You can either get off at El Peñol or the town centre, depending on what you want to visit first. I would advise to get off at El Peñol in the morning and then make your way to the town centre in the afternoon. To do so, you can take a tuk tuk for atround 8,000 COP.

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