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Guatapé Colombia Day Trip from Medellin

Guatapé Colombia Day Trip from Medellin

Guatapé Colombia is a not-to-be-missed day trip from Medellin. The quaint town is a cheerfully, very colorful but sleepy destination that is popular with Colombians looking for a break for the crowded city.

guatape Colombia

Guatapé colorful houses painted with murals depicting images of every day life in Colombia.

Your first encounter when nearing Guatapé is the star attraction to the area: La Piedra Del Peñol (the rock of Guatapé)

An enormous rock that entices you to the summit with a 659 stair climb.  Quite a sight.

La Piedra Del Peñol

La Piedra Del Peñol

La Piedra Del Peñol, Guatapé Colombia

There is a parking lot at the base of the rock, but, if like us you were let off by the bus at the street below you have several options. 

There are brightly painted pica picas (think tuk-tuk), private taxi cabs or vendors with horses all offering their services.  We opted to walk.

Guatapé Colombia tuk-tuk

Guatapé Colombia tuk-tuk

There are 2 sets of stairs, one for climbing up and the other for making the descent. 

Not being a fan of heights I was pleased that the former wooden stairs have now been replaced by sturdy cement version with high sides. 

Views of the dizzying heights are possible but not necessary.


Still a little way to go…

Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir

Once reaching the top of La Piedra Del Guatapé you are rewarded with a view of the Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir. 

The  were formed in the 1970’s when the land was flooded as part of the development of a hydroelectric dam that now supplies over a third of electric power to the Colombia. 

The system of lakes also provide recreation and a host of business opportunities for the area. There are lots of companies offering cruises and fishing trips along the shore.

View from Rock of Guatapé

Sweeping view from the top of La Piedra Del Peñol of the reservoir below

la Piedra del Peñol Stairways

Views from the stairway of la Piedra Del Peñol in Guatapé Medellin

Also lining the shore are several restaurants, mostly Parillas with outdoor grills offering up steak, chicken and locally caught fish.

Guatape Colombia Vendor

Grill Master at Work

You can wander along the streets taking in the smells and the sights while enjoying a beer or a Michelada (beer mixed fresh lime juice with a salt rim) sold by several vendors along the way.2014-05-01 13.16.17

How to get to Guatapé from Medellin

There are plenty of guides offering tours to Guatapé from Medellin, but it’s also easy to travel on your own, depending on your preference. 

If you opt to take the trip on your own, you can get to Guatapé by taking a bus from Medellin at the North Station at the Caribe Metro Stop (Estacion Caribe). 

The stop is located at the on Calle 78, Regional, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia

The companies offering trips to Guatapé are toward the back of the Station on the first floor.  The trip takes about 1.5 hours and costs $6 US (as of this writing). 

You can go to the metro website for additional details (

If you forgot to pack a snack for the trip, no worries.  Several vendors hop on and off the bus along the way offering a variety of sweets and homemade potato chips.

Here are some related Stories about traveling in Colombia that you might enjoy:

Journey with the Johnstons

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Great post, absolutely captures the best of Guatapé. We loved the time we spent there, even in a rainy period, it was still beautiful.

Unfortunately we didn't made the trek to the top of the rock, but definitely meaning to next time we go!


Monday 14th of December 2015

An amazing place in your photos! I wish I had known about it when I was in Medellin - but then I had so little time that I hardly managed to see something in the surrounding areas. Stairs in la Piedra de Penol are absolutely great! But it seems light a tough walk up!


Monday 14th of December 2015

I love places like this so thank you for the recommendation. I need to get back to South America, its been too long. What a great culture and so much to do. I'm glad you explained what the stairs up the giant rock are like because I'm scared of heights. Its always something people don't comment on and I get there and freak out hahaha. It looks like a great colourful place. Thanks for sharing.

Joe Ankenbauer

Sunday 13th of December 2015

That's a lot of stairs! I can only imagine the feeling after you complete the journey!


Sunday 13th of December 2015

I did a similar climbing stairs in Kangaroo Island and gave up on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona due to vertigo. This staircase de La Piedra del Penol looks amazing and since the steps are concrete I think I would dare do this. The view from the top is really worthwhile!