An absolute “must visit” day trip for those in Medellín, located just two hours away on bus, you can find the marvel that is Guatapé and the infamous rock, La Piedra. Combine the spectacular 360 degree views from the rock with a beautifully preserved colonial town and you have a formidable Colombian day trip.
How to get to Guatapé & La Piedra from Medellín:
The rock is located in a town called La Piedra, just 5 minutes away from Guatapé town.
From Medellín take the metro to Caribe station, which is connected to the Northern Bus Terminal (Terminal de Transportes Norte).
Once at Terminal Norte head to ticket booth number 9 and ask for a ticket to Guatapé (Gwa-tar-pay), this should cost COP12,000 each way. If they ask for more, haggle. They run every hour and take 2 hours to get there.
You can take the bus all the way into the town or get dropped at the turnoff which leads up the rock. I would recommend getting dropped off here and doing the rock first, you literally cannot miss it.
From here you need to walk 20 minutes (uphill) to the base of the rock or you can grab a cab/tuk-tuk/donkey for about COP5,000. At the top, you can buy your entrance ticket for COP10,000 and start hiking up those steps!
Rock at First Sight:
The rock has an elevation of 2,135 meters above sea level and 22 cubic megametres of rock mass! It is 385 meters long, with an approximate weight of 66 million tonnes. Some 740 concrete steps have been built up the rock to reach a 360 degree viewing platform at the top.
You can’t miss the thing as you enter the town; it towers over everything and gives off a mystical ‘how did you get here?’ kind of vibe. The giant rock isn’t the most attractive landmark, but just wait and see what it has to offer.
Taking on the 740 Steps:
Once we were warmed up from our 20 minute walk to the entrance we began the zig-zag assent to the ‘best view in the World’. We thought this was pretty big headed of them to have a sign saying so…but we are in Paisa Land after all…more on what I mean by that in my blog on Medellín (coming soon!)
The steps wereby no means easy, especially with the altitude and the heat, but when you get to the top and see the sign (below) it makes it worth it… oh and the view is pretty cool too.
360 Degrees of Beautifulness:
The 740th step offers breathtaking views in whichever direction you choose to look. Take a look at our snaps below to get an idea…
Lunch With a View:
After a long and careful walk back down the steps (they were cleaning them so they were a little bit slippery) we decided to treat ourselves to a typical Colombian dish, the Bandeja Paisa, whilst we spent some more time enjoying the view. Our lunch only cost COP8,000 which is about £2.15 and there were slightly cheaper options too as well as other restaurants.
After lunch we wanted to explore Guatapé town. There are a number of ways of getting there from the rock:
You can get a taxi – COP5,000 each
You can walk – a dull 45-60 minute stroll
You can walk back to where the bus dropped you off and get a local bus for COP1,500
Guatapé is absolutely stunning with brightly decorated buildings and a cute plaza. We spent a couple of hours here and had some ice cream before heading back to Medellín. You can buy your return ticket from the small station where the bus drops you off. If you don’t get the bus into town the ticket office is located on the riverside – very easy to spot.
We only spent one day on this trip, which we found was enough. But you could easily spend a night in this beautiful town and head back to Medellín the next day. There are lots of boat trips available without booking in advance so you definitely wouldn’t get bored.