Everyone told us that if we had time for one out-trip, it should be to Guatape. There are many different tour options, but we found fantastic, simple transit instructions (The Backpack Diary) and were able to take ourselves on this trip for a fraction of the cost.
Guatape is a village high in the mountains, on one arm of a complex lake system.The roads were excellent, and the countryside just as lush and green as is Medellín.
The main draw of this trip is La Piedra, (Piedra el Penal, or just the rock), which is an odd, rounded rock that seemingly juts out of nowhere. A series of stairs (somewhere in the range of 750-800) will take you to the top for what are supposed to be spectacular views. We were just fine with the views at the base of La Piedra, and enjoyed ours with lunch.
The town of Guatape is worth the visit. Every road you walk down is filled with color, some with cute story reliefs.
Though we didn’t have time, there are many other activities you can enjoy in Guatape. At the water’s edge was a very long zipline, many boat cruise offerings that get you out into the many waterways, rental jet-skis, and other water diversions.
Just a few update/our-experience notes to add to the great instructions provided by The Backpack Diary (all prices COP, divide by 3,000 for approximate USD prices):
- Metro: $8,600 for 2 trips x 2 people.
- Bus from Calibre station to Guatape: $13,000 one way. There is another company going as well in a booth a few down from #9. Same price.
- Tuk tuk to top: $10,000. Stopped at booth, though some were going right to top, probably for a bit more money. We just walked the last bit.
- Cab from La Piedra right into town: $10,000.
- Bus from Guatape to Calibre station: $26,000. Terminal is a few blocks around on the lake road from where the cab dropped us. Easy to spot. Just pay for the next bus (or for whatever time you want) and they call you by your ticket time.
- We must have picked a restaurant for the view rather than the cost, because ours was in the range of $24,000/plate where The Backpack Diary mentions $8,000.