No trip to Medellín would be complete without visiting Guatape.
Just two hours from Medellín you’ll find Guatapé. Guatapé has been named the “Prettiest Village in the World” by National Geographic readers and we can see why! It’s known for its colourful houses and giant stone structures.
Houses in this town decorate their walls with colourful pictures. It’s a tradition that dates back to the Atánquez people, who lived in the region before the Spanish conquest.
Getting to Guatapé, Colombia
Buses leave from Terminal del Norte in Medellin every 30 minutes or so and costs COP$16,000 / USD$4 per person. The trip takes just under 2 hours and is relatively comfortable or if you prefer you can take a day tour from Medellín.
Our recommendation is to take the bus and stay overnight, when the day trippers clear out you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself and can really enjoy the small town feel. We stayed here.
It’s also the gateway to Piedra del Peñol…
Piedra del Peñol is a giant rock with sweeping views over the town, once you concur the hundreds of (675) steps to the top.
Clicking Piedra del Peñol is one of the most popular activities in town and it’s easy to get here from Guatapé on your own.
If you are staying in the center of of town you can take a tuk-tuk – the cost is around $10,000COP. Or make you own way from Guatapé via car or bus. You’ll find the entrance and ticket booth on the road out of town on the left (back towards Medellín). Keep to this road for around 10 minutes and you’ll start to see a number of hotels etc and the Peñol on your left hand side.
Entry to the rock is COP$20,000 / USD$5 per person and there is a tienda (shop) at the top where you can get drinks, although a bit overpriced for Colombia ($2 for a local beer), it’s a great reward to enjoy at the top as you take in the breathtaking views so make sure you take some cash with you on the climb.
Another popular activity in Guatapé is to take a boat tour around the lake. This will drive right past a mansion where Pablo Escobar once lived. We did not take a boat tour so can’t vouch for it but if you want to take this trip just make your way down to the malecon (promenade by the lake) and you’ll be approached by plenty of boaties willing to take you out on the water.