Guatape is a small town, only two hours by bus from Medellin. I spent one night there but, if you leave from Medellin early in the morning, you can also do this trip in one day. Try to get a window seat in the bus because the landscape on the way to Guatape is amazingly beautiful! The countryside is mountainous and green, there are wide fields with colorful flowers and houses with neatly gardens. What I recognized, while passing some villages, was that a lot of towns have an orange-brown look on the first sight. But if you take a closer look, you will see that many buildings have only one colored facade on the front side and the rest of the house has a basic structure with orange-brown bricks.
The town of Guatape is full of colorful buildings and small enough to explore it by walking. It’s not only famous for foreign tourists, a lot of Colombian tourists are also coming here to enjoy this great place. I passed the white church (Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen) in the center of the town on a Sunday morning. It was very busy and vivid, because after attending the mass, the locals meet for beers in the bars around the plaza and enjoy their Sunday. Guatape is surrounded by a wide lake scenery. There is a walking path around the lake, with street kitchen and vendors selling souvenirs. At the lake you can also do activities like Zip lining, water sports and Boat tours.
El Peñol is a huge rock surrounded by the waters of the river Nare. The rock is believed to be the product of a volcanic eruption. From the main entrance, you have to climb 659 steps to reach the top. My legs were burning when I got there, but the breathtaking view was totally worth it!
The cheapest way to get from the town to El Peñol is by public bus. It only takes 10 minutes, just ask the driver to drop you off close to the rock. From the main street, it takes 20 steep walking minutes to get to the main entrance. If you take a tourist bus or taxi they bring you directly to the entrance of the rock, but it’s more expensive. The entrance fee for climbing the rock is 18.000 COP (5 €).
How to get from Medellin to Guatape: The metro takes you directly to the North Terminal from where the busses to Guatape are leaving. Busses run every hour, it takes 2 hours to Guatape, a ticket is 13.500 COP (3,80 €).
Accommodation: I stayed at Hostal Casa de la Mama. It’s a basic and quiet place, 15 walking minutes from the town. I liked this place, because it felt like staying with a friendly local family in their house. There is one room with 4 bunk beds and a kitchen, a nice garden with seats and hammocks to chill and enjoy the landscape. A bed in a dorm is 20.000 COP (5,60 €).