Guatapé Travel Guide

La Piedra Del Peñol also known as El Peñol Stone or simply La Piedra is a monolithic formation located at the town and municipality of Guatapé.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Guatapé. How to get in, maps, activities to...
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The picturesque town of Guatapé is known as the Pueblo de Zócalos, named for the beautifully sculpted and painted depictions of village life that adorn the lower half of most buildings in the town center. On weekends, the waterfront malecón (boardwalk) fills up with local vendors selling beautiful Paisa art, food, and souvenirs, and the adventurous can take a ride on the Cable Vuelo, a canopy zipline over the lake. Popular boat tours visit the former site of Viejo Peñol, a town which was submerged by the creation of the reservoir, which is now marked by a giant memorial cross. Boat trips can also include a trip to see La Manuela, Pablo Escobar´s now bombed-out lakeside mansion, and ¨Fantasy Island¨, a pretty refuge in the middle of the reservoir, which has a swimming area, cabañas for rent, beautiful views of La Piedra, a tienda selling snacks and beer, and a pair of friendly resident scarlet macaws.

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To/From Medellín: Direct buses from Medellín leave from the Terminal del Norte (directly connected to the Caribe Metro Station), passing through El Peñol and the entrance to La Piedra on the way to Guatapé (about two hours). Two companies provide service: Sotrasanvicente, (4) 861-0595, and Sotrapeñol, (4) 851-5912. Each company provides service approximately every hour starting at 6am. The average fare is 12,000 COP (negotiable). Many buses continue to San Rafael. The last bus from Medellín to Guatapé is at 7:00pm. The last bus from Guatapé to Medellín is at 6:30pm (7:45pm on Sundays and Holiday Mondays). Return buses to Medellín fill up quickly on weekends – buy your ticket in advance.

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GET AROUND

Around the Region: Moto-taxis (314-731-2184) provide service from the Parque Principal in Guatapé to La Piedra (9000 COP, negotiable) and around the local area. Buses and Willys (Jeeps) also provide service between Guatapé and El Peñol (3000 COP), passing by the entrance to La Piedra (2000 COP). Men generally hang off the back, which allows for excellent views. To get to La Piedra, ask to be dropped off at the Zeuss gas station, from there it is a 1km walk uphill. Chivas provide service to the remote countryside.

SEE

The majestic surroundings of the Embalse El Peñol – Guatapé, one of the country’s largest lakes, were created in part by the construction of a hydroelectric dam that provides 30% of Colombia’s electricity supply. It’s hard to miss the region’s most famous attraction, a 200+ meter high rock outcropping that towers over the surrounding area. It’s officially named El Peñon de Guatapé, but more commonly referred to simply as La Piedra (The Stone). Over 600 stairs have been built into the side of this enormous geological marvel, allowing safe access to the top, where a viewpoint offers spectacular views of the lake and surrounding areas, as well as souvenirs and snacks.

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DO

The following activities and tours can be arranged in and around Guatapé and El Peñol, with English-speaking guides upon request: Hiking, Scenic boat tours, Paddle Boat rentals, Kayaking, Fishing, Trips to hidden waterfalls and swimming holes, Arts and Crafts shopping, Canopy Zipline, Mountain and Road Biking, Horseback Riding, Rock Climbing, and free tours of the local museum.

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Buy

On weekends, local merchants line the waterfront malecón selling a wide variety of arts and crafts and souvenirs.

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EAT

A trip to Guatapé wouldn´t be complete without sampling the local specialty, fresh trout served in your choice of many delicious preparations. There are many good restaurants along the malecón and around the central park offering everything from traditional bandeja antioqueña to pizza and Mexican food. On weekends, local vendors also sell a variety of tasty snacks along the malecón.

There is a new restaurant at the main square called “El Rincón Canario”, they offer a very nice budget menu with vegetarian and healthy option and local food as well (7.000), the fish is delicious. It is located in front of the church.

  • Hecho Con Amor Deli, Cra 27 A No. 30-71 (Opposite the children’s playground, beside the synthetic football pitch.), ☎ 3218347979. 12.00-7.30pm. Pavement cafe style restaurant serving excellent home-made mostly vegetarian food including vegeburgers (made from lentils, beans or garbanzos), wraps, soups, salads, quiches and fantastic desserts and cakes such as cheesecake, brownies, muffins, etc plus addictive chocolate truffles, super refreshing lemonades, beer, wine, etc. Free wifi available and English book exchange too. $ very reasonable.
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Bars, clubs and discoteques are located in “la calle del comercio” very close to the square, there is a place called coco loco, it’s not expensive and nice and the owner speaks good english.

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SLEEP

There are a wide variety of good hotel accomodations fit for every budget. Most are located around the central park or along the malecón.

  • Tomate Café Hostel, Main Square (Located just in front of the church at the main square and one block up from the bus terminal and the lake, very good for living the Pueblo life and the local culture, close to everything.), ☎ (4) 861-1100. It is runned by a Colombian family, offers shared dorm and private rooms, free coffee, kitchen, restaurant, laundry, traveling support, bike rental, rock climbing, boat rides, horseback riding, hiking and more. 18000.
  • Hostel El Encuentro, Vereda Quebrada Arriba (Located just a few minutes walking from town on the road to the Monastery and Quebrada Arriba. From the Parque Central/bus office walk one block to the lake, turn right and follow the malecón (waterfront promenade). Make a right turn just before the bridge at the end of the malecón. Follow this road until it ends at a T intersection. Turn left and follow this road out of town and look for our welcome signs on the right. Or take a mototaxi from the Parque Central (about 3000 pesos). We are located next to Deotroslados Art Gallery.), ☎ (4) 861-1374. Offers private lake access, kayak rental, and mountain bike rental. 22000.
  • Lakeviewhostel, Cra 22 No. 29 B 29 (10 minute walk from the bus station, continue along Malecon (the boardwalk) until the big bridge, turn right on the last street and the hostel is ~300 meters on the right side), ☎ 57/4 86 100 23. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Located on a quiet side street facing the lake, sunny and modern hostel with usual amenities (kitchen, tv with DVD’s, fast wifi, common area, free tea & coffee). Offers mountain bike rental from $25.000/day, kayak from $20.000/day. Many day hikes to hidden waterfalls and easy access to El Peñon. $20.000 / dorm, $60.000 private
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Guatapé is a small, very pretty lakeside town in Eastern Antioquia, about 1.5 hours from Medellín, Colombia. The picturesque town of Guatapé is known as the Pueblo de Zócalos, named for the beautifully sculpted and painted depictions of village life that adorn the lower half of most buildings in the town center.

Travel and tourism in Guatapé. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Guatapé Travel Guide.


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Michel Piccaya

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As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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