Colombia has become a favorite destination for world travelers, renowned for its diverse and picturesque landscapes, warm and friendly people, affordability, and world-class cities and beaches.
Located a short distance from the wonderful city of eternal spring, Medellin, Guatapé is a lovely holiday town nestled alongside the sprawling artificial lake of Embalse Guatapé. The small town is noted for its lush greenery and vibrantly colored traditional homes. The homes also feature fresco-style paintings depicting animals, people, and various shapes on the lower half of the buildings.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Guatapé, El Peñón de Guatapé or piedra de penol, which translates to the stone in Spanish, is a monolithic granite outcrop towering above Embalse Guatapé. El Peñón de Guatapé stands at 7,035 ft. above sea level. The stone is 360 ft. wide, 656 ft. tall, and has a length, from end to end, of 935 ft. The rock reportedly weighs over ten million tons. A group of friends climbed piedra de penol, the stone that local natives once worshiped. After five days, the group reached the summit by utilizing the nearly smooth stone’s enormous crack that runs from top to bottom. That same crack was later used to wedge a staircase, 649 steps to the top, that still transports visitors to the summit today.
Visitors to El El Peñón can ascend the rock for 20,000 Colombian Pesos or approximately $6. The vigorous hike features stopping points along the way. At the top, visitors will discover some religious relics and a three-story lookout tower from which an impressive vista of the dramatic lake and islands below, the town of Guatapé and surrounding areas, on clear days, the city of Medellin can be seen in the distance. There are several vendors and cafes/restaurants at the top where delicious food and refreshing beverages can be enjoyed.
Plazoleta de Los Zócalos
The plazoleta de Los Zócalos, a plaza at the center of Guat, is the hub and highlight of Guatapé, the colorful town of just over 5,000 inhabitants, which served as inspiration for the recent Pixar film Encanto. The plaza is lined with brilliant buildings splashed with bright colors containing cafes or local craft shops. The violent contrast of color wouldn’t work in most places, but here it fits wonderfully. The plaza features a prominent older church and a series of wide steps from which visitors can sit and people-watch, surrounded by locals, excellent coffee, and delicious street food.