Hi, it’s me Marimonda. Today I’d like to introduce El Peñol and Guatapé, a beautiful town nearby Medellín.
If you travel to Colombia and stay in Medellín during your trip, they are probably on your list to visit. El Peñol is claimed as a rock that offers the best view in the world. Guatapé is known for its colorful houses and man-made reservoir where you can enjoy various water sports. Thanks to its geographic characteristic, they are be-loved not only by the tourists but also by Colombians.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get there is probably by a package tour. Many companies offer a group tour, and it costs from 120,000 cop (basic option). Actually, for the basic option, the price gap between the group tour and individual visit is not that big. Thus, if you’d like an easy & comfy trip, booking a group tour might be a better option. Usually they include hotel pick up and drop off, too. You can find various organized trip options from local travel agency to international ones such as tripadvisor getyourguide , viator, etc. Some of them are very expensive since they are including boat tour and visiting Pablo Escobar’s mansion, etc.
For the one who would like to visit individually, you just go to North Terminal and take a bus to El Peñol or Guatapé. Two companies run buses to there, the ticket booths are at 9 and 14. Each ticket costs about 15,000 cop (oneway) and a ticket to El Peñol is 2-3,000 cop cheaper because it’s closer than Guatapé. It takes about 1 h 40 minutes to El Peñol and to Guatapé you need to go roughly 10 more minutes.
Once you take off from the bus, many tuk tuk drivers and coachmen will approach you. They will ask you whether you need a transportation to the entrance. From the bus stop to the entrance, it takes around 10 minutes. So I think it’s not worth to take any one them. In addition, you might need to take a tuk tuk or a cab to go to Guatapé after visiting El Peñol.
At the end of the hill, I finally saw the entrance. I am not sure how much it costs now, but when I visited there for the last time in 2017 it cost me 18,000 cop. I think I’ve been there many times, but every single time I went there the price was went up. 🙁
There are 659 stairs to go up. Going up the stairs wasn’t that tough, I even went there with flip flops once. Though, the stairs are quite narrow, thus if you meet someone in the middle you should let that person go first or s.he will let you go first.
The view from the rock was awesome. As I mentioned earlier, that is an artificial reservoir. Houses alongside the reservoir and the blue sky filled with clouds were just breathtaking. There’s a panoramic viewpoint near the building on the top if you climb few steps more.
I took a tuk tuk to go to Guatapé after visiting El Peñol. It was 10,000 cop. The driver asked me where to drop me off either center of the town or the entrance. I took off at the entrance of the town. The town is quite small so it’s walkable everywhere.
From the beginning, I could see the continuous colorful houses. They made me up, too. The town is small but full of tourists all the time. Everyone appreciated the beauty of the houses and the town. It’s like a collection of clichés that I’ve had about Latin American town.
Street dancer caught our attention. Her colorful dress looked much more intense with those painted stairs and buildings. Apart from the dancer, I also could see street dancers and acrobats performing there.
Souvenir shops were usually full of hats, magnets, ponchos, or key rings. I only bought some magnets as a gift for my friends because I could get the others back in Medellín.
Most towns or cities in Colombia have a big church at the heart of it and Guatapé is not an exception. The white church in town draw all visitors attention. In front of the church, there’s a square and around the square you can find restaurants or souvenir shops.
Water Sports in Guatapé
Since this town has a reservoir, there are some activities that you can do such as boat tour or zipline. They are very reasonably priced, I paid like 10,000 cop for a boat tour (max. 4 people) for 30 minutes. I haven’t done zipline, but according to the google review, it seems about 12,000 -15,000 cop per person. The price might be changed, but it can’t be changed drastically in my opinion.
The last bus from Guatapé to Medellín is 6:30 p.m. The timetable is subject to change, thus I strongly recommend that you check it at the terminal. Also, it would be better if you purchase the return ticket in advance ( at least when you arrive at Guatapé) in order to make sure you get the ticket.
I hope you liked the virtual tour to El Peñol and Guatapé with me. Take care and see you soon! 🙂