Guatape: Day trip from Medellin

We’re a little behind on the blog. Weak wi-fi connections, a lot of day time travel and issues with uploading photos easily online on Picasa. We’re now approaching the end of our stay in Colombia and will be entering Ecuador on Dec 30, in time for the Saturday market in Otovalo, Ecuador.


Guatape Quick Facts:

  • Long but doable day trip from Medellin. Plan to leave around 8 AM from Medellin for the 2-hour journey to La Piedra.
  • Bus tickets cost about COL 12000 per person per way (Medellin to Guatape)
  • Try to buy tickets to El Pinon to get off at the rock. They’re a bit cheaper than tickets to Guatape.
  • Bus will drop you off at road leading to the La Piedra (rock). Its a slightly uphill 15-20 minute walk from here to the steps. There are shops and food near the entrance. No need to get overpriced food at the main road junction.
  • Buses/vans to Guatape from steps are available for onward journey.
  • Buses from Guatape to Medellin once an hour (buses stop on Lakefront road).



Every time we leave a big city, we tell ourselves “big cities are so not for us”. We love the peace and quiet of the small town that can never be found in a big city. Medellin is one such big city. Its amazing and vibrant, but maybe its not for us. But still, to give it due credit, Medellin is spectacularly located in a beautiful green valley and has a very pleasant climate. Great city activities too – restaurants, bars, dance clubs etc. However, the point of this post is to tell you that if you ever visit Medellin, try to make it to the small town of Guatape, which is a 2 hour bus journey from Medellin.

Guatape is an incredibly colorful town where all the houses are hand painted with the most vibrant colors. The cuteness factor is amped by the 3-d motifs along the lower half of the walls. (See pictures). However, there is one cool place to go to before heading to Guatape. Almost as though guarding the town is the huge monolithic rock La Piedra which has about 600 steps leading to the top. From the top is a stupendous view of verdant landscape dotted with hundreds of small lakes.

The climb to the top is where we met Santiago, a very smart young Colombian boy traveling with his grandfather. Despite our extremely poor Spanish skills, he never gave up trying to talk to us and thanks to his persistance in trying to understand us, managed to have his grampa give us a ride to Guatape town, which is about a 30 minute bus ride away. How cool! Time and again, incidents like this showed us how incredibly friendly and helpful the Colombian people are.

The color starts right at the bus stop, an indicator of more to come.

La Piedra, the rock. Totally fun to climb, with extraordinary views:

View from the top:

More lakes:

Here are the steps you climb. I was so wobbly after doing this, but the views are worth it. And the best part: there are shops at the top where you have food. What more do you need?
The enterprising Santiago and his amiable grandfather who saved us a ton of time by giving us a ride to town. All thanks to Santiago’s persistence in making himself understood.
Colorful Guatape:



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