Instead of going by myself with the local transport, I booked a tour to the Piedra de Peñol & Guatapé with Top10toursinMedellin. It was a big bus full of local and foreign tourist, a bit disappointing I have to admit. I am not used to such a big group, but I met a couple of nice other travelers and we had enough time to spend some time for yourself during the whole tour. The tour gave me the space to relax a bit and see a lot in one day. I paid 80,000 COP including transport, English and Spanish speaking guide, boat tour, traditional breakfast (arepas; cornbread with cheese and coffee) and a traditional Antioquia lunch (bandeja paisa; a lot of carbs on a plate).
The whole area is very touristic if you compare it to San Agustín. The first sightseeing stop was a small town Marinilla where you could see a lot of Spanish influences.
After that, the climb up to the Piedra de Peñol (entrance of 18,000 COP) was on the agenda. Only 659 steps on a brick staircase all the way up to 200m high. I’m afraid of heights, but because the stairs were closed and you could not see the depth, I was more tired than scared…..and the view as spectacular. Had some time to walk around and took some nice pictures. It was a bit foggy but still had an amazing view.
After lunch, the next stop is Guatapé. This touristic pleasant holiday town is located at the artificial lake. It’s known for the bright painted houses with flowers and animals. The history is pretty sad; farmers lost their land (flooded) due to the build of a dam in the ’70. That created an reservoir that generates power, the biggest in Colombia. The inhabitants had to find another way of earning money and that it’s how Guatapé emerged as a holiday and tourist destination for the Colombian and foreigners like me.
The boat tour was very relaxing with familiar reggaeton music, sun was out and a beautiful scenery. After the boat trip we had one hour of free time, which was a good for me. Explore by myself is what I like best. Tip: go and have a good cup of coffee at the colorful coffee shop up the colorful stairs in town.
Time to discover the city center, it is not that big and you don’t let lost. The church in the middle with the square and fountain are easy to track you back.
Ok it is quite a touristic place but I’m glad that I have seen it. I went on a Sunday so it was busier than if you go during the week. Time to relax; felt almost asleep in the bus on the way back.