05 Feb 8 Things You Missed About Guatapé
“Two weeks?!?! I just spent a day there and that was enough!” said the tourist on a strict itinerary.
Most people get so surprised when I say I spent two whole weeks in this surreal little town, two hours east of Medellín. How could I not? I spent my mornings just staring into the emerald lake, and afternoons just swimming in it. The energy that this whole place gives off is just pure magic.
“The Rock of Guatapé, locally knows as La Piedra Del Peñol weighs 10 million tons and stands at 650 feet tall. Only a quarter of it is visible, the rest is beneath the the ground and covered by the lake. Once worshipped by the Tahamies Indians, hundreds of people now climb the 659 steps to the viewpoint everyday.
There are also about 27 rock climbing routes on one face of the rock. Best for independent climbers as there aren’t many tour companies to climb with.
Neighboring towns Guatapé and El Peñol once fought over the rock so Guatape tried to paint its name on it. Protestors quickly stopped the painting, the unfinished “GU” is still visible today.
Here are a few more things you missed about Guatapé:
Surprise, the lake that surrounds it is manmade!
There are 740 steps all the way to the very top
The hike around the base of rock is just as magical
Extreme changes in water temperature have caused some drownings
A 45-minute boat ride tours you around the lake’s most scenic spots for CBP 10,000
Paintballing at Pablo Escobar’s old mansion doesn’t sit too well with the locals, so think before you book!
Unknown to many, the best spot to stay is not in town’s central but at Galería Guatape
Tan on the dock, swim across the lake for some yoga
The hostel turns into a lively party place in the weekends — music, endless rum and barbecues. During weekdays, however it’s a pretty chilled out retreat, quiet enough to do some writing or yoga.
Colombia is so cheap, you can either have a restaurant meal for $6 or make an entire feast for 8 people! So we spent evenings taking turns cooking dishes we love and shared it with everyone, from the local favorites Guacamole, Bandeja Paisa, to Italian Eggplant Melanzanas, Chinese Chopsuey and Indian Chicken Tikka Masala.
Did I mention they have Netflix?
How to get around town:
You can either get around in a collectivo for CBP 1,700
or a colorful tuk-tuk for CBP 6,000
How to get there:
From Medellín, take a Metro ride to Terminal Caribe which connects to Terminal Transportes Norte
Find window #9 to get a bus ticket direct to the town of Guatape
Have the driver drop you off at La Mona Restaurant, a kilometer before the center
Follow the rough road beside it and find Galería Guatape for the best spot in town!