Guatape, an adorable pueblo 2 hours east of Medellin, is the perfect day trip from the city of eternal spring.
I managed to recruit some fellow students at the Spanish school to go with me. We arranged to meet at La Floresta metro station at 8am on Saturday. Here’s a quick guide if you want to go without a tour:
- Take the metro to Caribe station. There is a massive bus station right next to Caribe metro station. You can get bus tickets to many different places from there. Ticket counter 9 and 14 sell the bus tickets for Guatape. ***Tip: if you are in a group, you can negotiate a lower price per person. We were able to get tickets for $11,000 COP per person for our group of six.
- Take one of the buses to Guatape (roughly 2 hours) and get off at La Piedra, the giant granite “hill”, just before Guatape town. La Piedra can be climbed for an entrance fee of $18,000 COP, and the view from the top of the spectacular reservoir is not to be missed. The reservoir was created in the 1970s and a damn was built as a water and electricity source for the region. It actually covers the old town of Peñol.
- Once you’re done at the rock, taxi or take a rickshaw to Guatape town.
- Spend the afternoon eating, wandering, photographing, relaxing, in this insanely adorable, instagram-friendly town. ***Tip: on weekends, the crowd wanting to head back to Medellin can be big, so buy you return bus ticket to Medellin as soon as you get to Guatape. The tiny bus station is located centrally, next to the water, so find your way there and buy your return ticket.
A unique part of Guatape is the zocalos on each house. These are baseboard like panels, painted along the bottom of each house. Flowers, dolphins, boats, etc., these sometimes reflect the business that is housed in the building. Together, these zocalos and the colourful colours of the houses make this town photo-perfect.
Late in the afternoon, we had some time to kill, so Simon suggested to take up one of the touts and go for a short boat ride on the reservoir. Porque no? So we pay $10,000 COP each and spend the next 40 minutes feeling the breeze in our hair, watching the sun’s golden hour reflect over the water. Jenny sits at the front of the boat and chats with the boat driver.
“Que es la significa de La Piedra?” we ask. What is the significance of the the giant granite rock?
“Es un grande roca!” he says. It’s just a big rock! Haha, thanks Mr. boat driver.
Mr. boat driver also takes us to see Isla Fantasia, where the municipality has built six pretty little cottages, available to the public for overnight stays. We are also shown the island where what looks to be an observatory and some hotels are built. Turns out this was one of the former homes of the Ochoa brothers, partners of Escobar. Impressive.
We take the 5:25 bus back and arrive back at Caribe station about quarter to 8pm. A perfect day exploring a town outside of Medellin.