La Piedra del Peñol with its many fantastic theories and Guatapé, the emerged sunken village.

45 years ago, Guatapé “emerged” from the water after EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) sank most part of the village to build a hydroelectric complex –Colombian politicians have a boundless love for hydropower–. Reborn from the emerald green waters, Guatapé turned its sentimental historical tragedy into a new town that hides its magic into various and colorful street decorations.

The colorful streets of Guatapé talk through their decorations.

The colorful streets of Guatapé talk through their decorations.

Guatapé

Guatapé

Running away from our failed stay in Medellín, we decided to do a day-trip to two of Antioquia’s most famous places. A 2 hour bus ride took us to La Piedra del Peñol, there are a considerable number of theories about its origins, some a bit fanciful and others more correct, we listened to most of them before and after visiting La Piedra.

The bus left us 15 minutes away from where the real ascent begins. Then the “penny war” began, something you can see throughout Colombia, three men came to us offering horse rides to the entrance, three other offering moto-taxi; “no, thanks” we said, and we continued our walk.

The stairs of the pedestrian access were an uncompleted construction, a little more than half was just dirt and rubble. We reached the entrance, but we wanted to buy something to drink before going up –as expected, prices are double than any other shop or market, you should have seen Stefano’s face– we had to pay 4,500 Colombian pesos (almost $1.5) for a Gatorade that normally costs 2,200 (or $0.70).

Bring your own food and beverages before starting the ascent to La Piedra del Peñol.

Bring your own food and beverages before starting the ascent to La Piedra del Peñol.

The view from the top is astonishing.

We bought our entrances, looked at the enormous stone before us and we set out to climb the 740 steps. At 300 and something Stefano was already grumbling, but with some psychological motivation, a few photos of the landscape, some talking –about how we wanted to build our blog–, and a some pushing, we reached the steps 740. The view was astonishing, it was nature imposing itself over the hands of men. We took more pictures and a giant flying ant photo-bombed us.

La Piedra del Peñol

La Piedra del Peñol

La Piedra del Peñol

La Piedra del Peñol

La Piedra del Peñol

The stunning view from the top of La Piedra del Peñol.

The stunning view from the top of La Piedra del Peñol.

We then negotiated a moto-taxi to Guatapé which in 10 or 15 minutes took us in town. We stepped outside a little disoriented, without knowing where to go but, after one block, the little town, full of colors and with a history to tell, caught our attention. Guatapé opens before tourist’s eyes with vibrant colors in its decorated streets, telling you about roots, customs, religion, and the life of the inhabitants of this village that history turned upside down.

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

They served me the worst bandeja paisa of my life, such a letdown.

For lunch we had already pre-selected a few restaurants on Tripadvisor, and we chose Restaurante Donde Sam. Deciding where to eat is something we always take very seriously, we like good food and the truth is that we are also a little gluttons. While being in Antioquia, I wanted to eat a delicious and well prepared bandeja paisa, but I’ve been disappointed. They served me the worst bandeja paisa of my life, such a letdown, and also Stefano’s lunch wasn’t anything great.

It hurts to pay for something you didn’t like, so we decided to end the day with a relaxing boat ride, to free some of the tension that the lunch gave us –eating is an issue we take to heart for various reasons–. We negotiated with various boatmen and finally decided for the most sensible price, considering that Guatapé and its inhabitants live off tourism.

The boat ride did the job, we listened to the short stories of our guide, a not so young man a little rough but friendly enough, he showed us various places like the unmissable house of Pablo Escobar, and we carefully and silently watching the landscape… when the ride ended Stefano said: “A coffee before we go?”, sure, a coffee before we go.

This has been the house of Pablo Escobar.

This has been the house of Pablo Escobar.

The cross sits where the church of the old town of Guatapé was located.

The cross sits where the church of the old town of Guatapé was located.

A far away view of La Piedra del Peñol.

A far away view of La Piedra del Peñol.

Guatapé is a small town, even smaller when you see it from the lake.

Guatapé is a small town, even smaller when you see it from the lake.

The spot of our coffee break.

The spot of our coffee break.

Guatapé

How to get there?
  • In Medellín go to Caribe metro station, walk to Estación Norte and from there take a bus of the company Sotrasanvincente to “la piedra”. Te ride lasts about two hours and it costs 12,000 pesos (about $3.90).
  • From “la Piedra del Peñol” to Guatapé you can take a moto-taxi which costs 5,000 pesos (about $1.60).
Prices
  • Entrance to “la Piedra del Peñol”: 10,000 pesos (about $3.20).
  • Boat ride in Guatapé: 60,000 pesos (about $19.35 – if you manage to lower the price).

3 responses to “La Piedra del Peñol with its many fantastic theories and Guatapé, the emerged sunken village.”

  1. Maravilloso Trabajo fotográfico Stefano,la gente de Guatapé estará orgullosa de las fotografías tan hermosas que captaste.

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