The 6 Best Things to Do in Guatape, Colombia
What can you do in Guatape, Colombia?
Here are a few things we like about Guatape: the colors, the green scenery, the adorable decor on mostly every building in town and the small-town feel outside the central plaza where you’ll find most tourists. We’ve gone for a day trip to Guatape and the Piedra del Peñol, and we’ve also gone for an overnight trip. The Piedra is Guatape’s famous ‘monolith’ rock, and it’s a giant rock that you can see from the distance at most viewpoints. You can also climb its 740 steps to the top, where there are excellent views of the surrounding lake region.
First, decide if you’ll be going for one day or for more. Then, check out how to get to Guatape from Medellin. We stayed for one night at Estaciones Hostal, which is a 30-minute walk from the town, up some rural scenic roads.
Walk around Plazoleta de Los Zócalos
Could this be the best photo spot in Guatape? Probably! This little plaza is surrounded by some of Guatape’s tallest buildings (they’re only five stories) and every one of them is painted with lots of bright colors. There’s also colorfully-painted steps that lead up to the top of the plaza.
On both the bottom and top of the plazoleta you’ll find little cafes that sells sweets and coffee, and some gift shops. We had coffee at Martine, toward the steps back up to the main square. If you take the ramp up the left side of the Plazoleta, don’t miss the little window where a man sells empanadas starting at 500 COP!
Walk around the main town square and its church
Parroquia Nuestra Señora Del Carmen is the town’s ‘iglesia’ (church) and it’s set right on the main square. The church is white and red, and you can walk inside to see the interior. Next to it is a small garden that you can visit as well.
Pick a restaurant and watch people go by
Guatape’s restaurants are all located near the bus station and along the water at the Malecon, or surrounding the main square. We found that they all serve mostly the same food! You can order bandeja paisa, breakfast foods like eggs and meat or try baked goods and dessert at the bakeries. You can also sit outside at the tables with a beer and watch people go by. We ate at Restaurante Bar Kennedy for breakfast and it was delicious!
Walk in the colorful streets of Guatape
As you walk away from the main square, the streets get quieter and you can see into Guatape local life. The entire town is safe and the locals are quite accustomed to the daily stream of tourists. Try to see how many different types of painted decor you see on the homes!
Hike from town to la Piedra
If you take a tuk-tuk from the town to the Piedra, it will cost you 10,000 COP (approximately 3 USD). The ride takes about 10 minutes at most.
If you’d like to see some views and warm up your legs before climbing the rock, you can walk there, like we did! The walk is rather straightforward and you’ll follow the main road that directs all cars out of the town center.
There are not sidewalks during the entire length of the walk (43 minutes and 2.0 miles), but we were surprised to find that some of the sidewalks were stone steps built into the hills. There was even a wooden suspension bridge that takes pedestrians from one side to the other. This was a solid photo op!
Along the walk are some unique views of the rock that you cannot find elsewhere. This is why we recommend taking this route to get from the Guatape town to the Piedra.
Hike the Piedra del Peñol
The Piedra is a mammoth 220-meter (721-foot) rock that you can climb if you pay for an entrance ticket. There are 740 steps! The views from the top are lovely, and you can see a lot of the surrounding lake region on a clear day. There are vendors who sell snacks and drinks at the top (they’re a little more expensive than anything you’d find in town).
The rock closes daily at 6:00 pm each day and tourists are told to start heading down the steps at 5:30 pm. If you would like to stay for sunset, don’t worry! There are viewpoints that you can access near the parking lot, before the ticket booth.
💡 @halfhalftravel Pro Tip: Bring enough cash for buying entry tickets (18,000 COP per person), a bus back to Medellin or a tuk-tuk back to Guatape and food or drink at the top of the Piedra. There are no ATMs at the rock, as they are all located in the town of Guatape itself.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Guatape! For more inspiration, check out our Guatape gallery.