Only two hours to the east of Medellin, Guatapé is by far the most popular (and also the most colourful place) to visit on the weekend. Whilst many people only visit for the day to climb the infamous ‘El Peñol’, those who spend the night in the town can make the most of all the activities on offer in this beautiful town.
Buses leave from the Terminal del Norte in Medellin every hour and cost around $12,000 COP (one way). Once again, the bus journey itself is very enjoyable, winding through the beautiful countryside which surrounds Medellin.
The main attraction of Guatapé, and the first place to visit on your trip, is ‘El Peñol’- the enormous rock which towers over the rest of the town. By climbing the rock in the morning, you not only escape the heat of the day but also the crowds which tend to form around midday. The entrance cost is $18,000 COP. With 725 steps in total, it is not an easy climb but the panoramic views from the top make it worth it. There are also a few cafes and shops at the top selling fresh fruit and drinks. Enjoy, relax and take in the views for a while before heading back down to the bottom.
The town of Guatapé is beautiful. With similarly colourful houses and cobbled streets, and a lively colonial square, Guatapé mirrors parts of Jardín. Guatapé is known as the pueblo of zócalos – referring to the colourful pictures painted on the fronts of the buildings in town. Head to the main square for lunch and enjoy some of the local delicacies, including grilled trout from the lake.
In the afternoon, enjoy the warm climate of Guatapé by renting a boat from the waterfront. If you are in a big group, the price works out around $10,000 COP each and will guide you around the reservoir. The reservoir was created 40 years ago, and as a result a whole town was flooded and destroyed. On the boat trip you will pass the only remaining sight of this town– the cross of the church which protrudes from the water.
For those looking for a more adventurous afternoon, there are many activities on offer around the town. On the lake you can rent kayaks, go water-skiing or even go on the zip wire across the water. There are also many hikes to waterfalls, as well as paragliding and motorbike trips.
Guatapé is a wonderful place with lots of activities to do, whilst it is also the perfect destination for those wanting to escape the city, relax and enjoy the fresh countryside air.