Following a day in Santa Fe de Antioquia, we decided to take another 1.5 hour bus ride from Medellín to adventure the town of Guatapé. However, right before Guatapé, you can hop off the bus at La Piedra, where you will see El Peñón de Guatapé (aka the “seven wonders” rock).
El Peñón de Guatapé is a huge rock formed millions of years ago, and then someone thought it would be a good idea to create 750 steps to go up to the top. Don’t get me wrong, the view is magnificent – but that is a workout!
Once at the top, there is a lookout area to view the lake and catch your breath. There are also a few concession places that offer cut up fruit and cervezas. Of course with it being a tourist trap, there are several small stores that offer overpriced trinkets. By climbing a few extra stairs, you have a 360 degree view to take pictures, however, it was bombarded with a ton of people, selfie sticks, and weird bugs that swarmed the area.
From there, we found a motochiva to take us from the rock all the way into Guatapé. We were dropped off in the main square and we began to explore the cobblestone roads. There was a lot more going on in their main square area than in Santa Fe.
We walked around to find a bite to eat and landed at a restaurant overlooking one of their main strips of cafes and boutiques. They had one menu nailed to the wall, and we all decided on the plate of the day. It was a delicious start to the trip. After finishing our meal, we began walking the streets to capture the colorful community.
The vibrant neighborhood lead us to the waterfront, where vendors were lined up along the sidewalk to make sales on tourist items (mainly hats, ponchos, food, etc.) Across the street were various restaurants overlooking the water. We took it easy for a while and enjoyed a cerveza and people watched as locals and tourists napped on the grass, boarded boats for a tour, and took a flight on the zip line.
We were advised to purchase our tickets in advance for the ride home because they often sell out. So we thought the 6 pm bus would suffice. However, around 3 pm we were about done being tourists. We attempted to exchange our tickets for an earlier time, but had no luck because they had sold out. So we lollygagged around town a bit more – taking pictures and running into dead ends. Then it was finally time to head back.
Overall, Guatapé had a lot to offer and was a fun adventure to add to our time in Colombia.