People from Medellin know where to go for their weekend breaks: Guatapé. This beautiful lakeside town is located just a short 90 minute bus ride from the city. We took the bus, which was relatively painless and on time, and joined the Colombians on a break in Guatape.
Guatapé sits on a man-made reservoir built in the 1960s by the hydro-electric company, and offers water sports opportunities. Another draw is the town’s beautiful colorful art decorations. For hikers, the town’s giant rock called El Peñon is a popular climb featuring beautiful views of the water and mountains.
Where to stay in guatapé
Yesterday afternoon, the bus dropped us right across the street from our hostel, Mi Casa, which is a lovely spot outside of town, overlooking the water and El Peñon. The owners, Suzy and Sean, are German and English and couldn’t be nicer!
Hiking el peñon
Since the hostel is walking distance from the rock, that was our first “Must do” activity while taking a break in Guatape. It was a sweaty climb up the 650+ steps to the top but wow the views were worth it! Glad we got a warm-up hike in Bogota.
As you can see, the scenery is beautiful! I would want to vacation here too if I lived in Medellin!
exploring guatapé on scooter
Today we explored the town of Guatapé, and rented a scooter to drive further afield.We booked through Guatapé Motos, with help from Colorado to Colombia transplant owner James, who gave us good advice and even a cell phone in case we broke down or had problems (we didn’t!). We explored the mountains, stopped in at a local waterfall for a swim, and had lunch in the neighboring town of San Rafael. It was a beautiful day, the water was clean and cold, the scenery was beautiful, and Brian was a very good driver. We rented the bike from 12 noon to 4:30pm and it cost $70,000 COP, about $32 Canadian.
After our ride, we stopped for some drinks and wandered around this charming city. The city is known for their colorful buildings and the thematic tiles on every single building. Some of them have more meaning than others and are reflective of the people who live inside or the type of business.
It’s really fun walking around and spotting the different images! Like a real life Pokemon go! Guatapé has a main square and a cute smaller square called the Plazoleta de los Zócalos, where we stopped to enjoy the cute cafés, shops and bars. The town is so picturesque I dedicated another post to photos of beautiful Guatapé.
The guide books recommend coming to Guatapé on a day trip, but we’re happy we spent 2 restful nights and a day and a half in this gorgeous town. Now you know how good it is taking a break in Guatape.