Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol, what to do and see
It is very difficult to decide not to go to Guatapé and enjoy its Rock if you have come all the way to Medellín.
This was definitely a destination we didn’t want to skip on our trip to Colombia, and indeed, we went.
We liked it very much in Peñón, but even more so the town of Guatapé, really beautiful, and why not say it, perhaps one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia, not to mention Salento in the Eje Cafetero.
The color of the streets, each and every one of its different painted houses, and the baseboards, the most fun and curious.
During this excursion, we could enjoy the Peñón de Guatapé, also known as Piedra del Peñol, and the town of Guatapé.
A two-in-one highly recommended to spend the day just two hours from Medellin.
Without a doubt, the best excursion from Medellín you can make.
How to get to Guatapé and El Peñol from Medellín
First of all, if you want to go to Guatapé, stopping first at the Peñon de Guatapé, also known as the Stone of the Rock, you have to know how to get there.
By public bus
This I think is the cheapest and most comfortable way, it was also the one we chose.
It’s the way you can move around on your own without worrying, even if you have to get up a little early.
To go by bus to Guatapé, you must go to the South Terminal in Medellín.
The best way, and again, the cheapest way is to go by subway and get off at the Caribe station.
There, you will have to go to the ticket office from 14 to 19, and buy the bus ticket to Guatapé, although it will really stop you at the Peñón de Guatapé which is a bit earlier.
The price is 15000 cops.
Rent a car
More freedom than renting a car, you probably have no choice.
Just be prepared for the traffic in Medellin.
The truth is I can’t give you much more information or advice, since we quickly discarded that option.
This is a good option if you travel with three other people.
Although it is more expensive than the bus, it allows you to go wherever you want without depending on the schedule.
If you decide to go by taxi, you will have to negotiate quite well.
Try to get it for less than 100 euros, that is, 25 euros per person if you are going with 4 people.
Since Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol is one of the most common tours from Medellín, you won’t have any trouble finding one.
You can ask at your accommodation, or take a look at this tour to Guatapé.
The advantages are that you are picked up and returned to your accommodation wherever you are, without worrying about going to the South Terminal, renting a car or testing your skills by haggling with a reliable taxi driver.
The Rock of Guatapé
When you approach the Peñón de Guatapé, what will impress you at first glance is to see a huge rock in the middle of nowhere.
It reminded us of the Great Rock of Sigiriya in Sri Lanka.
A huge rock, with nothing in between to cast a shadow on it.
A little history about the Piedra del Peñol
Its history is also curious, geologists do not know exactly how it was formed.
It’s thought that it was due to a great collision of tectonic plates, giving rise to this magnificent rock.
There are other, crazier theories that say it was aliens who put it there to land UFOs, or even those who believe there is a secret military base inside it, really?
The first person who climbed this rock was Luis Eduardo Villegas (don’t forget this last name).
He did it on July 16, 1954, and since then, there have been and are thousands of people who climb its 649 steps every year to reach its two hundred meters of height.
Before, I told you not to forget the surname Villegas, because when you go to pay for the entrance (18000 cops), you will see that the company that manages the Peñón de Guatape is Inversiones Villegas Hincapie y Otros, S.A.S.
Well, although it seems a lie, it is this family that has been getting gold for years by a large rock that belongs to them, since it sits on their land.
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What’s up in Peñón de Guatapé?
I think you won’t regret reaching the Piedra del Peñol, and suffering a little bit to reach its top.
Its 649 steps, perfectly marked so that you can see what you have advanced, or what you still have to climb, take you to the top, and to views that you never imagined before such a feat.
Seriously, climbing is no big deal, cement stairs suitable for anyone, even if you suffer from vertigo like me.
The reward is up there, among the marabout of people (on weekends it is a place of pilgrimage in search of a cold beer at the top).
The views are incredible, dozens of green islands in the middle of emerald blue water, impressive.
It is difficult to stop looking at that sublime landscape, the contrast of colors, the infinity of its islets bathed by the water of the Guatapé reservoir.
You can make a 360 degree tour, and enjoy the views in all their fullness.
How do I get from the Peñón de Guatapé to the village of Guatapé?
Easy and simple.
Once you finish the visit, and go down to the base of the Piedra del Peñón, you will see willys (typical cars of the rural areas of Colombia) waiting for tourists to take to the village.
The price is 5000 cops per person.
Willys, typical transport in Colombia
But if you’re a walking kind of guy, you can do it.
It takes about half an hour, but there is a stretch where everything is road, but you can go on it without any problem.
The village of Guatapé
As soon as we arrived in Guatapé, we realized that everything we had been told about the colorfulness of the town, fell short.
Colors, each one more striking, flood the walls of this small town, with few streets and a lot of charm.
I don’t know what it is about the towns of Colombia, that we always breathe the same atmosphere.
Calm, familiar, pleasant, and its inhabitants greeting you, another visitor, another pinch of pride for Guatapé.
I recommend that you go to every corner of Guatapé.
I also recommend that you carry enough battery in your camera and have enough space on your memory card.
Walking around Guatapé is not to be able to stop looking at its curious baseboards.
For some reason they call it the town of the baseboards, right?
Zocalos of Guatapé (baseboard)
The reason why in Guatapé each house has its particular and colorful plinth dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.
At that time they decided to paint the baseboards with the stories of the house, the trades of its inhabitants, or anything else relevant to the inhabitants of the house.
And as you will see, there is no house in Guatapé that does not have its colorful baseboard.
The funniest of all the baseboards we saw in Guatapé was that of a beagle dog, and at the back of the house, there was the pet, the other member of the family, perhaps the most important one.
But you’ll see dozens of them, baseboards, as many as houses.
I suppose that the artists who design and paint baseboards in Guatapé have their future assured.
What to see in Guatapé
Well, as I told you a little above, Guatapé is a small town, which is traveled with pause and in not much time.
But I think there are certain places you can’t miss.
Plazoleta de los Zócalos
This is one of the liveliest places in Guatapé, but not the only one.
The music, the colorfulness of the whole square and its adjacent houses.
If there is color in Guatapé, this square looks like a Pantone color palette.
To this atmosphere, you have to add a strange and curious statue, a silver trout.
It’s always full of people, and that gives this little square a lot of atmosphere.
If you want to buy some souvenirs of Guatapé, you can find everything on the street that leads to the Main Park.
The Main Park is like the town’s Plaza Mayor, with its church Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Guatapé, in the purest colonial style.
Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church of Guatapé
The curious and colourful fountain in the centre of the square is a meeting place for the inhabitants of the village.
And for the visitors, there are the restaurants, cafes and other places where to distract themselves.
Remembrance Street Fountain
On a colorful street, when you are lost in the town looking for the most colorful and funny socket, you will find the Fountain of the Street of Remembrance.
It is named after all those houses that were left under the waters of the Guatapé reservoir.