Hola! Our first post from the city of Medellin, Colombia! We have been living here for 1.5 months now, crazy! Guatape is about a 2hr drive from Medellin. It is a super cute and very colouful town with lots of character! If you have the time during your trip to Medellin, head out there. I think a lot of locals escape the city for a weekend away in Guatape.
We had planned to fly to the Caribbean Island of San Andres, which is surprisingly a part of Colombia (it’s super close to Nicaragua!). We were just about to enter in our credit card details for flights then a little Hurricane alert popped up. Hmm, turns out there was a massive hurricane that smashed a few islands and was wreaking havoc in Florida!!! Change of plans…Guatape it was! Next adventure will be San Andres 😛
You can hire boats and jetskis and explore the water reservoir. It’s huge and I’m not 100% sure of the proper term for it, some call it a lake but it was man made by the Colombia government in the 1960s as a hydro-electric dam. The reservoir generates about 4% of Colombias electrical capacity and looks pretty cool!
Climbing El Peñol
It’s impossible to miss and you must make the effort to climb El Peñol. The view from the top is breath taking and the only way to take in the size and work behind the reservoir. Apparently it was first climbed in 1954 by some loco locales who took 5 days to do it with sticks wedged against the rock wall.
The worst part was climbing the dirt track to get to the entrance! There are locals at the bottom offering taxis- they are actually tuk tuks!! Or a ‘caballo’ – horse ride to the entrance. There are quite a lot of little shops and restaurants at the entrance. You pay 15,000 pesos per adult and then off you go. Something like 725 stairs, they are spray painted on some of the steps on the way up. They have a staircase for going up and another for coming down-bloody good! Once you get to the top there are a few shops where you can get a drink or something to snack on and even souvenirs. Don’t forget to climb to the top of the building! The rooftop is where you’ll find the best views!
How To Get To Guatape
Basically you head back up over the mountains and just keep going. Depending on your budget you could get an uber taxi there (it would be roughly 160,000pesos – $80 AUD). That’s pretty good value if there are 4 of you…Or you can get the bus for 13,000 pesos per person. We took the bus.
How to get to the bus station
- Head to your nearest Metro station. You will need a ticket to ‘Estacion Caribe’. The metro here is super cheap, about 2,000 pesos per person.. thats about $1AUD.
- Once you get to Caribe walk the overpass to ‘Terminal del Norte’. The station is quite large, there are heaps of shops.
- Walk to gate 14. There are big signs showing the gate numbers. I am not sure if the gate changes but the ticket office has GUATAPE written across it. There are lots of security guards around if you can’t find it..
- Ask for your ticket to Guatape, it was 13,000pesos per person.
- The buses seem to go every 30mins from about 6am. We got on the 10.20am bus and it was half full.
- The buses are actually really nice, comfortable and quite spacious. A pleasant surprised!
- The bus will depart and locals will jump on and off and about 1.5-2hrs later you’ll arrive in Guatape!
Where to Stay
There are lots of place to stay in Guatape town, from hostels to hotels you should be able to find somewhere to suit your budget. We decided to go for just 1 night and spend a little more so stayed in a nice hotel. Hotel Los Recuerdos. It was nice, we had a sweet view from our balcony too.
We sauna-ed and pooled and got massaged and it was really good. We got the best price through our Agoda link on the blog! We’ll share a post on our booking methods soon 🙂 The hotel was super close to El Peñol and about 3kms out of town. You can jump in a tuk tuk here and get a ride in, negotiate with the driver. We paid 5000 pesos, seemed like a lot compared with taxis in Medellin but they start asking for like 11,000. We hope you enjoyed the pictures!