With bright colors and detailed carvings, each building in the neighborhood has its own unique flavor. Together, Guatape Colombia form a space rich in culture and charming in appearance, contrasting the peaceful nature La Piedra provides. It’s true, I felt incredibly happy striding along the little streets that were painted in various shades and hues.
I’d say it’s a journey back to Disney. But honestly, it reminded me vividly of my Chinese kindergarten, where the buildings were shaped like little castles and the walls dotted with colorful decorations.
How to Get from Medellin to Guatape
From Terminal del Norte Medellin, Guatape Colombia was an easy bus ride down. The journey was approximately 2 hours with a price tag of COP 14,000. Of course, like many a ride in Colombia, the trip ended up taking 2 1/2 hours due to traffic and road conditions.
Since I decided to tackle La Piedra and the township in a day, I got up early (for once), and headed to the station around 10 am. The last bus from Guatapé to Medellin was at 6 pm, which gave me a good couple of hours to climb the “Peñol Rock” and wander around the town center.
El Peñón de Guatapé
Once we were out of Medellin‘s busy streets, Colombia’s beautiful landscape emerged before our eyes. After bumping up and down the road for a few hours, we were brought upon a humongous boulder that shot up to the skies.
El Peñón de Guatapé is one of the highest free-standing rock formations in the world. As one of Colombia’s National Monuments, it also has a set of 650 steep steps that take tourists up the face of the rock. The summit has an elevation of 2,135 m and a viewing point alongside some seating area on the top.
The price of admission was COP 18,000.
It took me about an hour to finish the climb. I mean, by the time I reached the ticket office, which was located on a hill, I was already huffing and puffing like no tomorrow. Nonetheless, the view on top was incredible. The rock overlooked the Embalse Del Penol, a manmade reservoir that was built in the 70s. Little islands spread out across the waters, dotting the blue lake with spots of greenery.
After resting for some time, I decided to venture over to the township of Guatape Colombia. There are buses and jeeps at the bottom of the rock to provide service between the two tourist zones for COP 3000, but I thought it would be fun to go on foot.
No surprise, no one walked the roads.
Yet, these minimally-walked roads are generally some of my favorites. I passed by gorgeous viewpoints, swimming areas, and this decade-old bridge along the way without anyone in sight.
The Town of Guatape Colombia
After an hour or so, I finally dragged my burnt self into the town. True to its reputation, Guatape Colombia was incredibly colorful. A little plaza sits just inside the entryway of the town space. Like most squares in the country, it had pleasant greenery and faces a beautiful church.
People gathered on the benches and chit-chatted away.
Alongside Parroquia Nuestra Señora Del Carmen Guatapé, several restaurants busily hosted lazy afternoon lunches. Due to the far-reaching name of the town, backpackers and tourists flowed through the streets. Thank god I arrived on a Friday, as I hear weekend drew crowds like bees to honey 🙂
Wake up to this beauty:
Altogether, Guatape Colombia was a short and charming experience. I thought a day trip was enough to enjoy these vibrant colors and delicious eats. Having visited several other gorgeous towns in Colombia, is Guatapé really the most colorful one though?
I believe so!
Total Cost for My Trip to Guatape, Colombia
This trip was definitely within budget! A ride on the metro to the Terminal del Norte Medellin and back was COP 4,600, the bus ride was COP 14,000 round trip (between Medellin and Guatape), the entrance fee to the rock was COP 18,000 (Sept 2018), and a quick bite in Guatapé was about COP 7,000. The total was a whopping COP 41,600, which was around US 14.5.
Whether it be the jungles of Cocora Valley or the forest of Tayrona Park, Colombia has many things to do. Other than enjoying the colorful houses of Guatape Colombia, I loved my time in the towns of Barichara and Soacha. I hope you enjoy the country as well!