Getaway Compass

Guatape and Piedra Del Peñol in One Day: Day Trip from Medellin

Piedra Del Penol View of Lake

Guatape is a colorful town about 1.5 hours from Medellin beside a beautiful lake. The lake surrounding Guatape is man made, created by a dam. Guatape has comfortable weather similar to Medellin but a little cooler, with temperatures typically in the 70s. Near Guatape you will also find Piedra Del Peñol, or Peñon de Guatape. a granite rock towering at 656 feet. You can climb up the 740 steps to the top of the rock near Guatape for an incredible view. 

Guatape is a great day trip from Medellin which you can do on your own or by booking an organized tour to Guatape. Continue reading for everything you need to know to plan a day trip to Guatape and Piedra Del Peñol from Medellin.

How to Get to Guatape / Piedra Del Peñol from Medellin

Book a tour: The best way to visit Guatape is by booking this organized tour from Medellin. This tour includes transportation to and from Guatape, a boat tour, breakfast, and lunch. After having to navigate public transportation to reach Guatape on our own, I would have definitely preferred to book this tour for the convenience.

Book a Private Transfer: If you don’t want to navigate the public transportation in Colombia, you can book a private transfer with Bookaway from Medellin to Guatape and back. 

Take the Public Bus: If you want to save money you can get to Guatape with the public bus. The public bus from Medellin to Guatape leaves from Terminal Norte. First take the metro, taxi, or Uber to Terminal Norte. If you take the Metro you would need to take it to Carnival and then walk about 9 minutes to Terminal Norte. When you get to Terminal Norte you need to take the escalators down to the bottom floor and find counter 14. At counter 14 you can purchase your ticket to Guatape. The bus leaves about every 20 minutes and takes around 1.5 to 2 hours.

I recommend getting off the bus at Piedra Del Peñol (the stop before Guatape) and starting your day there where you will climb up the big rock. Make sure you don’t get off at the town of Peñol which is the stop before Piedra Del Peñol. When you are finished with the hike you can take a tuk-tuk to the town of Guatape.

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Climbing Piedra Del Peñol (Peñon de Guatape)

Piedra Del Peñol
Piedra Del Penol Rock

If you choose to take the public bus you will get dropped off at a gas station below Piedra Del Peñol. Here there are a couple of restaurants where you can use the bathroom after the long drive before you start the hike. From where the bus drops you off you have two options to get to the start of the hike. The first option is that you could climb up many stairs and a dirt road for about 20-30 minutes to get up to the entrance to the Piedra Del Peñol hike. If you want to save your effort for the hike up the rock I recommend taking a tuk-tuk or taxi instead to the start of El Peñol stairs.

In order to climb Piedra Del Peñol you first have to purchase a ticket beside the rock. The rock has 740 steps to the top. Along the way you will get to a small balcony with food and drinks and then further up a larger balcony with great views and a couple of restaurants. You will then have to go up narrow stairs to reach the top of the building. Once you have reached the top of Peñon De Guatape you will see a beautiful 360-degree view of the lake, Guatape, and small islands. The color of the water is amazing especially when it is sunny.

guatape view

The stairs down Piedra Del Peñol are more internal so you don’t see as many views on your way down but the shade is nice. When you hike down I recommend hiking all the way down and not taking a tuk-tuk until you reach the gas station where the bus dropped you off. This hike isn’t hard on the way down and there are a lot of great views and opportunities to take photos. I found this to be a better spot for pictures if you want to be in them because you don’t have the crowds or the railing in the way. There are also barely any people hiking down this part so you can enjoy it more. When you finish hiking down take a tuk-tuk to Guatape which will drop you off near the center of the town.

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View of Guatape Lake from Hike
Tuk Tuk Guatape

Explore Guatape

Guatape from Piedra Del Penol

Spend time walking around Guatape and exploring all the painted houses, zocalos, and shops. There are lots of restaurant options in Guatape to get lunch at and relax after the hike. There are also many small shops with artisan crafts, but we learned from one of the shop owners that most of the items sold here were not made in Guatape but rather in the areas along the border. The center of the town is small so you only need about an hour or two to explore depending on how many shops you go in and how much time you spend taking pictures.

Guatape Colorful House
Zocalos in Guatape
Guatape House
Guatape Colorful Houses

Take the Bus Back from Guatape to Medellin

The small bus terminal for the bus company Sotrasanvicente is located across from a restaurant called La Fogata Guatape. I highly recommend purchasing your ticket back either when you first arrive or at least about 1-2 hours before you want to leave. Towards the end of the day busses get full and if you wait too long you can end up having to find a taxi to take you all the way back from Guatape to Medellin. 

We had to wait an hour for a bus during a weekday when we went to purchase our ticket at 5:30 pm because all the busses before were fully booked. The last bus from Guatape to Medellin leaves at 7 pm. Make sure to get to the bus station about 20 minutes before your scheduled departure time, because the bus company doesn’t always get the numbers right and the bus you booked could fill up earlier. 

As you can tell the public bus option is not easy so I highly recommend booking the organized tour from Medellin to Guatape. It will save you time and energy which will make for an overall better experience.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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