Scenic mountainous landscape with unique rock formation and village

Guatapé is definitely a destination you should not to skip on your trip if you come all the way to visit Medellin.

A two-in-one highly recommended to spend the day just two hours from Medellin

Without a doubt, the best excursion from Medellín you can make.

Guatapé Colombia Wiki

Guatapé is a municipality in Colombia, located in the department of Antioquia, 1h30 hours from Medellín.

A world famous destination for being the town of the “Zocalos” and the home of the Piedra del Peñol.

While the Piedra del Peñol is undoubtedly one of the best viewpoints in Colombia and the world.

Guatapé is located at 1,925 meters above sea level, the climate is temperate with occasional rains and its average temperature is between 21ºC and 13ºC.

When you approach the Peñón de Guatapé, what will impress you at first glance is to see a huge rock in the middle of nowhere.

Useful Websites :

Things to do in Guatapé

Guatapé is a small town, which is traveled with pause and in not much time.

El Peñón de Guatapé y sus alucinantes paisajes a vista de dron (4K)

Main Park

The Main and its church Nuestra Señora del Carmen de Guatapé : in the purest colonial style. The curious and colourful fountain in the centre of the square is a meeting place for the inhabitants of the village. And for the visitors, there are the restaurants, cafes and other places where to distract themselves.

Plazoleta de los Zócalos

This is one of the liveliest places in Guatapé, but not the only one. The music, the colorfulness of the whole square and its adjacent houses. If there is color in Guatapé, this square looks like a Pantone color palette.

plaza de los zocalos guatapé colombia
Plaza de los Zocalos guatapé colombia @santiago.marquez

Remembrance Street Fountain

It is named after all those houses that were left under the waters of the Guatapé reservoir.

Piedra del Peñol

The Piedra del Peñol (Peñol’s Rock) is a giant monolith, and one of the emblems of Colombia. Une visite de Guatapé sans faire le Peñon serait incomplète.

The view from the top is simply incredible, but you will have to go through the +600 steps !

For more information on how to get there, the history of the rock and more, we have a dedicated article that might interest you:

piedra del peñol antioquia colombia
piedra del peñol antioquia colombia Photo Credit @ Tristan Quevilly

Day Trips to Guatapé and Piedra Del Peñol

Since Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol is one of the most common tours from Medellín, you won’t have any trouble finding one.

You can ask at your accommodation, or take a look at this tour to Guatapé.

The advantages are that you are picked up and returned to your accommodation wherever you are, without worrying about going to the South Terminal, renting a car or testing your skills by haggling with a reliable taxi driver.

There are several ways to get to from Medellín to Guatapé, including a stop at the Piedra del Peñol if you are going to make that visit.

How to Get to Guatapé ?

Get from Medellin to Guatapé by Bus

This is the cheapest and most common way and the one chosen by most travelers.

When you want to get to Guatapé from Medellín, you must go to the Terminal del Norte.

Subway to Caribe station (« Estación Caribe ») which connects to Terminal Norte (2.550 Cop)

Go to ticket offices 9, 10 or 14, where you can buy tickets. We go with the Sotrasanvicente company.

  • Duration : 1h30min
  • Price : $16.000 COP
  • Bus Schedules : between 5:30-6am and 8pm.

Pro Tip
Please note that all buses go through the Piedra del Peñol before Guatapé, so if you want to make this visit earlier, you can get off directly at this point.

It is important that you warn the driver, although normally they warn you when you arrive at this place.

Pro Tip 2
Coming from Medellín, don’t get off the bus in the town of Peñol – ask the driver to let you off at ‘La Piedra,’ which is another 10 minutes down the road.

Take the road that curves up past the gas station (1km) to reach the parking lot at the base of the rock.

Taxi drivers and horse owners will try to convince you that it’s a long, exhausting climb but while it’s steep, it’s not far.

At the base there are tourist shacks selling knickknacks and numerous restaurants serving lunch (from COP$8000 to COP$15,000).

At the top of the rock, shops sell fruit juice, ice cream and salpicón (fruit salad in watermelon juice).

Medellin to Guatapé : Renting a Car

Other alternatives to get to Guatapé from Medellín, is to rent a car and get there on your own.

Just be prepared for the traffic in Medellin.

Medellin to Guatapé by Taxi or Private Transfer

This is a good option if you travel with three other people.

A taxi from Medellin to Guatapé costs about 120.000 Cop and the trip takes about 1h30 hours.

Although it is more expensive than the bus, it allows you to go wherever you want without depending on the schedule.

If you decide to go by taxi, you will have to negotiate quite well.

Try to get it for less than 100 Usd, that is, 25 Usd per person if you are going with 4 people.

Medellin Airport to Guatapé

If you arrive at the Jose Maria Cordova Airport, you can take a bus or cab to the traffic circle where the buses to Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol pass.

Guatapé to Medellin

The last bus back to Medellín is at 6:30pm on weekdays and at 7:45pm on weekends and other peak periods.

If returning to Medellín from Guatapé on the weekend, be sure to buy your round-trip ticket immediately upon arrival as buses fill up fast.

The “Terminal de Bus” is on the waterfront

First of all, if you want to go to Guatapé, stopping first at the Peñon de Guatapé, also known as the Stone of the Rock, you have to know how to get there.

Medellin Colombia
Medellin Colombia – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Day Tours from Medellin to Guatapé

This is another of the most recommended options, especially if you only have one day and you want to know Guatapé and the Piedra del Peñol with a Spanish speaking guide.

The advantages are that you are picked up and returned to your accommodation wherever you are, without worrying about going to the South Terminal, renting a car or testing your skills by haggling with a reliable taxi driver.

You have the following options:

  • Excursion to Guatapé + Boat trip
  • Excursion to Guatapé

How to book a day tour ?

Since Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol is one of the most common tours from Medellín, you won’t have any trouble finding one.

You can ask at your accommodation

History of Guatapé and La Piedra del Peñol

Despite the difficulties, today the inhabitants of Peñol and Guatapé are determined to keep alive the memory of their old towns, and an ideal plan to learn about the history is to take a boat ride on the lake.

History of Guatapé

guatape colombia
guatape colombia

This water is from an artificial reservoir and its construction meant the disappearance of an entire village.

Yes, as you read it.

At the beginning of the 20th century, other ways of supplying energy to the country began to be appreciated.

And of course, this space turned out to be strategic in the industrial boom of the region, since it had a very desirable river for a hydroelectric power station.

What happened then?

Well, in 1961, the construction of the reservoir became official and ten years later, in 1971, something inevitable became part of the construction: its flooding.

The vast majority of the people of Peñol opposed the project (of course, it was their house they wanted to flood) and demonstrated to make their position clear.

However, other voices were heard louder (for example, those of the EPM – Empresas Públicas de Medellín), the population was relocated to another town that was built nearby with the same name – El Peñol – and the flood took place in 1978.

In the meantime, a replica of the old town of Peñol was built near the current Peñol and can be visited.

Today it powers 30% of Colombia!

Piedra Del Peñol Guatapé Colombia
Piedra Del Peñol Guatapé Colombia – Photo Credit @TristanQuevilly

The town of Guatapé (which also underwent some changes with the construction of the new reservoir) faces this “inland sea”, as it is called.

The people of Peñol, on the other hand, don’t.

Not looking at it, they say, was the way to heal this very resistant people.

History of the Zocalos

It is said that the plinths in Guatapé began in 1919 with José María Parra Jiménez who began to portray daily scenes in cement reliefs in the hallway of his house.

From there the art went to the street, from the street to the plaza and grew until it became a pride of Paisa

Guatapé Travel FAQ

Is it possible to visit Piedra del Peñol and Guatapé in one day?

Of course it is. It is possible to do everything in one day from Medellin, even on your own. In case you do it this way we advise you to take one of the first buses or busetas, they start at 5:30-6am and take the last one at 8pm to return to Medellín from Guatapé.
In this case, the first thing would be to visit the Piedra del Peñol, telling the driver to drop you off there and after the visit, take a moto-chiva (tuk tuk) to go to Guatapé for 10000 Cop, do the visit and then return to Medellín.
Another option, if you don’t want to worry about anything, is to book this Guatapé Excursion + Boat Trip or this Guatapé Excursion, both with a Spanish speaking guide.

What is a Zocalos

The baseboards of Guatapé , called “zocalos”, are those small works of art that appear on the lower part of the houses, which originally served to protect the facades from the voracity of chickens and humidity.

How to get from Peñón de Guatapé to the village of Guatapé?

Easy and simple.
Once you finish the visit, and go down to the base of the Piedra del Peñón, you will see Moto Chivas (local Tuk-tuk) waiting for tourists to take to the village.
The price is 10.000 – 12.000 Cop
But if you prefer walking, you can do it. It takes about half an hour, but beware, there is a stretch where everything is road, but you can go on it without any problem.