We spent less than one day in Guatape and El Peñol. Probably not enough but there are few things you can do see and eat while visiting this cute places.
Guatapè and El Peñol is the most famous day trip from Medellin. The area is very touristic, but spending some time there is worth it.
HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN GUATAPÈ AND EL PEÑOL
HOW TO GET THERE
Arriving at Guatape and Piedra del Peñol from Medellin was super easy. From Medellin city center we took the metro A and we stopped at Caribe station. The metro station is connected by a bridge with the North Bus terminal. Into the terminal, we went to booth number 14 to buy our bus ticket to Guatapé.
The bus ticket is 14.000 COP to go to Piedra del Peñol and 15.000 COP to go to Guatapé. The bus will take approximately 2 hours. Buses are available every 15 minutes.
At the terminal, they asked us the possibility to go by taxi. The same company offers a taxi service that cost slightly more than a bus but it is faster. The ride costs 17.000 COP to go to Piedra del Peñol and 18.000 COP to go to Guatapé. It will take approximately 1,15 h
Going by car is not only faster but allows you to have a better view of the landscapes. Green low rolling hills, peaceful villages gladden our hearts. Since we decided to spend only one day in Guatapè and Peñol we opted for this option.
FIRST STOP PIEDRA DEL PEÑOL
El Peñol or Piedra del Peñol is a monolithic rock situated few kilometers from Guatapè.
With its 200m of height, it has the perfect view of all the area and the lakes around it. 700 steps of the stairway carved into the northern face of the rock allow visitors to appreciate the view.
The taxi dropped us at a gas station located on the slopes of the big rock. Here we had a coffee in one of the bars and we could use their toilet. From this point we had two choices: take a tuk-tuk that for 2000 COP each to arrive at the ticket office or climb a few more steps. We are backpacker, you know, so we walked all the way up. Exactly 272 steps and a steep gravel road are in between the gas station and the ticket office.
It is impossible to get lost, we followed the people and walk through a small road with vendors. The price to access to the stairway was 18.000 COP. We thought was too expensive but in the end, we really appreciated the view. So stretch your legs a bit and start climbing the 707 steps, have fun.
At the very top, the view is spectacular and there is no rush to arrive at the top. We did a few stops to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
FROM PEÑOL TO GUATAPÈ
There is a tuk-tuk service that brings people from Peñol to Guatapé but we decided to walk. Piedra del Peñol is located about 3km away from the town o Guatapé and we considered it an easy walk. From the point the bus dropped us we kept walking straight, leaving the big stone on our back. For a few meters, we had to walk on the main road. We crossed the bridge and then we noticed a path on the right. For most of the way, there is a cobblestone path so we didn’t have to walk on the road itself. There was even a wooden suspension bridge that takes pedestrians from one side to the other.
The whole walk may take from 30 to 45 minutes. Along the walk, we could admire the Piedra from different angles. This is why we suggest taking this route.
Most of the people spend only one day in Guatape and El Peñol, if we had more time probably we would have spent more time. Guatapè is a little nice town full of colors.
All the houses in Guatapè are painted with bright colors and beautiful decorations. What distinguishes one building to another are the different designs on the basis. Some of the designs depict the heritage or trade of the family.
This abundance of colors and design make Guatapè very pleasant to walk around.
Plazoleta de Los Zocatos is definitely the most suggestive place in this little town. This square is surrounded by some of Guatapè’s tallest buildings. There is also a colorfully-painted step, where we rested a bit and took some pictures.
Guatapè also offers a different variety of restaurants and café, we had our Bandeja Paisà at Mirador del Lago restaurant. If you don’t know what a Bandeja Paisà is, we dare you to order it and finish it all!
BACK TO MEDELLIN
The way back to Medellin is as simple as described above. We took the last taxi that leaves the town of Guatapè around 5 pm. Busses run until late and leave every 15 minutes.
During weekends there is usually more tourist so we suggest buying your ticket in advance directly from the ticket office in Guatapè. Tickets cannot be changed so make sure to think about the time you want to go back carefully.
If you have more time we strongly suggest exploring the area a bit more. One day in Guatapè and El Peñol is doable but maybe a kayak in the lake is also a great experience.