Guatape and Piedra Del Peñol in One Day: Day Trip from Medellin
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 an easy day trip from Medellin which you can do on your own or by booking an organized tour to Guatape. Follow this guide for how to visit Guatape and Piedra Del Peñol in one day.
How to Get to Guatape / Piedra Del Peñol from Medellin
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.
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.
Climbing Piedra Del Peñol (Peñon de Guatape)
The bus will drop you off at a gas station below Piedra Del Peñol. Here there are a couple 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. You could climb up many stairs and a dirt road for about 20-30 minutes to get up to Piedra Del Peñol where you will begin the main 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 restaurants. To get to the very top you then have to go up really narrow stairs to 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.
The stairs down Piedra Del Peñol are more internal so you don’t see as many views but it is shaded by the rock and the other stairs so it will be cooler. When you hike down I recommend hiking all the way down and not taking a tuk tuk until you reach the gas station the bus dropped you off at. 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.
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 borders. 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.
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.
I hope you enjoy your day in Guatape and Piedra Del Peñol! If you have any questions feel free to comment below.
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