Guatapé is one of the most colorful villages in Colombia, a little village that intermingles indigenous history and Antioquia culture, and reflects it in its bright baseboards and streets full of life.
In this travel guide we will show you how to get there, what to do and where to spend the night in Guatapé, you will also learn how to get to Piedra del Peñol or “The Big Guatapé Rock”, and everything you need to know to start your trip.
Travel guide updated to May 2019..
Guatapé is a municipality of Colombia, located in the East of the department of Antioquia, and is located 2 hours from the city of Medellin, exactly 79 kilometers from the City of Eternal Spring.
Guatapé is world famous for its colorful baseboards and for being home to the Piedra del Peñol or the big stone of Guatapé.
The skirting boards are those small works of art that appear in the lower part of the houses, which in principle served to protect the facades from the voracity of the hens and the humidity. While Piedra del Peñol is undoubtedly one of the best viewpoints in Colombia.
Guatapé is located at an altitude of 1,925 meters above sea level, during the day its climate is warm with occasional rain. Although sometimes the climate tends to be mild, the nights are a little cold, and its average temperature is between 13ºC and 21ºC.
So when traveling to Guatapé, in addition to comfortable clothes, try to make your clothes cool for the day and warm enough for the nights.
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HOW TO GET TO GUATAPÉ?
To get to Guatapé from any city in Colombia or the world, you must first arrive to Medellín.
If you prefer to travel by plane, you can buy flights here, and at the Jose Maria Cordova airport you can take a bus or a taxi to the roundabout where buses pass to Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol.
A good idea will always be to stay one or two days in Medellín. Take advantage of your trip to go by cable-subway to Arví Park, and the next day go on a free tour of Comuna 13, go to the Museum of Antioquia, the Botanical Garden or the Parque Explora.
If you like this idea, you can stay at a hotel or hostel in the El Poblado neighborhood, which is close to the Medellín Metro, and so you can move around and reach the main attractions of the city easily. The price of the Metro ticket is $2,500 COP.
So, when you want to go to Guatapé, you only have to get to the North Transportation Terminal in Medellin, there you can find buses that take 2 hours to get to Guatapé, and each trip costs $15,000 COP.
WHAT TO DO IN GUATAPÉ?
When you arrive in Guatapé, the first thing that receives you is its main park in Guatapé and the Church of Our Lady of Carmen, a Greco-Roman temple that took more than 70 years to build.
A park and a construction surrounded by baseboards and a large number of commercial stores, restaurants and craft vendors. And although it seems that there is little to do the certain thing is that inside and outside the town there is much to do.
Discover all the plans you can do in Guatapé:
1. PIEDRA DEL PEÑOL OR ROCK OF GUATAPÉ
The Piedra del Peñol is a huge monolith 220 meters high, 60,000 tons, and a diameter of 100 meters, which in its interior houses more than 650 steps that culminate in one of the most incredible viewpoints in Colombia.
To get to Piedra del Peñol you have several options, if you take a suitcase by bus from Medellín to Guatapé you can ask the bus to leave you where the stone path starts, where you can walk a small inclined road or hire a tuk-tuk from $4,000 COP.
However, if you think first stop in Guatapé, keep in mind that in the town you can rent bicycles or take a tuk-tuk, which in less than 15 minutes will leave you at the entrance of Piedra del Peñol.
The entrance to Piedra del Peñol costs $18,000 COP for Colombians and foreigners. When you reach the top you will find some restaurants, a souvenir shop, and the viewpoint that allows you to have a 360º panoramic view of the Guatapé reservoir.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that the history of Piedra del Peñol indicates that the first person to climb the monolith was Luis Eduardo Villegas in the company of two peasants from the region in 1954, who took 5 days to reach the summit.
So if you dare to visit the Piedra del Peñol, make sure you bring your thermos full of water, some snacks, a good camera and it is worth taking binoculars.
Keep in mind that if you plan to visit this giant monolith on your own, the Piedra del Peñol schedule is from 8:00 a.m. at 6:00 p.m., and although the climb seems difficult, you can stop as many times as you want.
2. EMBALSE PEÑOL – GUATAPÉ
The Peñol Reservoir – Guatapé is actually a lake or artificial lagoon that was built in the 70s, against the will and social manifestations of the inhabitants who lived in the area.
Such hydroelectric megaproject required the demolition and flooding of the urban area of El Peñol and Guatapé, the relocation of these towns, and the displacement of hundreds of rural families for whom their main activity was the cultivation of tomato, onion, corn, cassava and banana.
Despite the difficulties, today the inhabitants of Peñol and Guatapé are committed to keeping alive the memory of their ancient villages, and an ideal plan to learn about the history is to take a boat ride through the reservoir.
The tours of the Guatapé reservoir will take you to its most representative islands, the Old Peñol Museum House, where you will find a replica of the old town, and The Cross, a symbol of resistance and hope before the fact that it was once qualify as the “Hiroshima paisa”.
3. CALLE DEL RECUERDO
La Calle del Recuerdo is considered an urban and architectural heritage of the municipality of Guatapé, because it represents one of the old typical streets that were flooded when the creation of the reservoir was carried out.
So walking down this street means going a little deeper into the history of Guatapé, as you must remember that the place where the town is now is the result of the relocation that it suffered in the 70s.
To get to the Calle del Recuerdo you just have to walk 2 blocks from the main square of Guatapé. You will easily recognize it by its water fountain and its colorful houses adorned with some of the most representative plinths of the town.
In this street is also the Historical and Community Museum of Guatapé, inside which you will find rooms dedicated to archeology and history, and another totally itinerant. The museum hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
4. PLAZOLETA DEL ZÓCALO
The Plazoleta del Zócalo is located one block from the main park of Guatapé, and there you can find colorful houses and buildings, some cafes and several craft shops.
In the center there are some concrete bleachers that make up the square, adorned by the traditional baseboards that portray the beautiful tradition of Guatapé. A space dedicated to art and culture, where small outdoor concerts are often held.
Explore the streets of Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol in the company of a professional guide from $110,000 COP.
5. MALECÓN DE GUATAPÉ
Another excellent plan in Guatapé is to walk along the boardwalk, there you will find several restaurants, and agencies or operators that offer nautical activities such as Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Board, a variant of surfing that does not need waves.
Paddling in the calm waters of the Guatapé Reservoir is a good option to spend the afternoon, from this place you can have a new perspective of the lake. Around the boardwalk you can find various activities from $20,000 COP.
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6. CAMINATAS ECOLÓGICAS
In Guatapé there is also place for hiking and trekking, because on the outskirts of the town there are ecological trails that cross forest reserves, rivers, waterfalls and mountainous passages that will take you to the Monastery of the Benedictines and to the trenches of General José María Córdoba.
WHERE TO STAY IN GUATAPÉ?
GALERÍA GUATAPÉ HOSTEL
Guatapé Hostel Gallery is only 10 minutes walk from Piedra del Peñol, and 5 minutes by car from Guatapé.
A beautiful hostel surrounded by nature and just in front of the reservoir, so close that makes it an ideal place to meditate, do yoga, relax, enjoy time with friends and practice one or another water sport.
Shared room from $40,000 COP
HOTEL ZÓCALO CAMPESTRE
Only 5 minutes walking from the Piedra del Peñol, and 15 minutes from the main park of Guatapé, is the Hotel Zócalo Campestre, a small and quiet place of rustic cabins at the foot of the reservoir.
The Zócalo Campestre Hotel is a nice place, very familiar in which you can find common areas with hammocks, billiards and typical Antioquia inns.
Double room from $230,000 COP | Double cabin with lake view from $260,000 COP
CASA ROSA HOSTEL
Just one block from the main park and the Historical and Community Museum of Guatapé, is this typical house that provides its lodging services to all travelers who want to feel the authentic flavor of one of the most beautiful villages of Antioquia.
The Casa Rosa Hostel is staffed by very kind people and always ready to help you in whatever you need. A very clean, quiet, cheap and very well located place.
Shared rooms from $20,000 | Private Doubles from $50,000 COP
CASA KAYAM HOSTAL
This hostel is actually an artistic residence on the outskirts of Guatapé, in the village of El Roble, 20 minutes walking from the center of town. Although, you can also arrive in tuk-tuk.
If you love music and art, at Casa Kayam you will find an incredible atmosphere. A hostel surrounded by nature, where you can spaces for meditation, walks to the river and even a professional music studio.
Shared room from $23,000 | Double double from $75,000 COP
El Trébol is a complex of cabins and private cottages 5 minutes by car from Piedra del Peñol and 20 minutes from the main park of Guatapé.
El Trébol cabins has incredible natural viewpoints, private parking, private rooms, apartments with lake views and some accommodations have kitchens and hammocks.
Double room from $160,000 | Apartments for 5 people from $250,000 COP.
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Guatapé is one of the most visited towns in all of Antioquia, so a good idea is to visit it during the week and try to book your accommodation in advance.
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