How to Get to Guatape From Medellin
Going to Guatape from Medellin is one of the simplest day trips or short overnight trips!
We’ve gone to Guatape after exploring Medellin both for the day, and as a weekend getaway trip. To reach Guatape, you’ll have to take a public bus. Here’s how to get there.
Go to Medellin’s Terminal Norte.
Terminal Norte is the bus station for all routes north and east in Colombia, from Medellin. Guatape is a bit to the east, so any bus for Guatape leaves from this terminal. To get to Terminal Norte, you can take a taxi or Uber. You can also reach Terminal Norte by the Medellin metro system Line A (blue) to the Caribe station.
Head down to the ground floor of Terminal Norte.
You will likely arrive at the terminal on the top floor, where the metro bridge connects and where incoming taxis can drop off. When you get to the bottom floor, you’ll know you’re there because you will see all the ticket windows. You can take the escalator or elevator to get there. Each window is for a company that works with a certain route of destinations.
Find ticket booth #14 for buses to Guatape.
The bus company is called “Sotrasanvicente & Guatape La Piedra,” which is a lot to say. If you get lost, you can ask anyone for Guatape, and they’ll point you toward booth 14. Tickets to Guatape or to La Piedra (the rock, known as El Peñól de Guatapé) will cost 14,000 COP one way. It’s equal to US$4.53 per person.
Now, grab your coffee and snack!
We found some nice coffee from a place called Deli on the top floor. There are also snacks everywhere, from empanadas to fresh juices. If you have time, you can explore all the options!
Figure out how to read your ticket.
The ticket will be all in Spanish. Make sure you differentiate between ‘puesto,’ which means seat, and ‘rampa,’ which means gate. We ran into someone we knew, and he had confused the two, meaning he went to the gate number of his seat assignment, and he had to then run across the terminal with minutes to spare before he found the correct bus gate. In Colombia, seats are assigned when you buy a ticket, which is a good thing!
While on the bus to Guatape.
If you want to get off at the Peñól de Guatapé before you go into the town of Guatape itself, you can tell the driver. The driver will let you off at the entrance to the Piedra, which will be ten minutes before the arrival in the Guatape bus station. While on the bus, you will see a few types of people board the bus: people begging for money, people selling small snacks and people playing music and then asking for money. You don’t have to feel obligated to give anyone money, nor to buy anything. Most of these types will stay on the bus for a few minutes and then leave.
When you reach Guatape, congratulations - you did it! Now you can enjoy a bandeja paisa and a lovely colorful town.
Where to stay in Guatape.
Guatape has an array of different places to stay, especially among the hostel offerings. There are several hostels located in the heart of the town, some hostels near the Piedra (it’s a 40-minute walk from the town) and some hostels up near the farms to the other side of town.
Having once already gone for a day trip to Guatape, during our second trip we decided to go for a more rural experience and stayed at Estaciones Hostal. We walked for about a half hour from the bus station in Guatape’s town to Estaciones Hostal and got to appreciate the small town scenes.