A Travellerspoint blog

September 2015

Climbing El Peñon de Guatapé.... Just for the View

Our time in a cute little town called Guatape and climbing 740 stairs for a panoramic view.


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We were pretty sad to leave Cartagena. It is a vibrant and fun place. We jumped on a plane bound for Medellin from there we had a two hour bus to a small town called Guatape...why were we heading there? Well it has a world famous rock with 740 stairs up the side and we really wanted to see as many different areas of Colombia terrain as we could in our limited timeframe.

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We got a ride to the motorway and then hailed a bus bound for Guatape (can you imagine hailing a bus on the motorway in Auckland, well in any city really??) The ride was uneventful and beautiful. There was a stark contrast in scenery between Cartagena and the pubelos surrounding Medellin. The grass was green and there were fincas growing fresh produce everywhere! The place was cute and quaint.
Our hostel for the three days was Mi Casa, a hostel located about three kilometre out of town near the famous rock. We made a great choice, Sean and Susan were lovely people and we can't wait to come back and visit again. Mi Casa was exactly that, it felt like a home away from home and we were very happy relaxing and looking at the lake.

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Our days were all about exploring we walked into town along the main road, admiring the rock along the way at different angles.
The town is gorgeous! It begins down on the lakefront with numerous restaurants, boats and a zip line. This area is really catered for tourists who are mainly Paisans (from Medellin) who visit on the weekends.

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The town’s beauty increases exponentially when you walk into the centre and you begin to see all of the brightly coloured houses. The houses are unique and have zócalos, carved wooden pictures into the base below the windows of the house. They were originally used to show the occupation or importance of that person to the community. Now there are flowers, unicorns and allsorts of images carved at the bottom.

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We continued exploring eating delicious ice-cream and stopped by in a small park where we ate patacones (plantain covered in shredded beef, red sauce and guacamole) and a version of a papa rellenas (a delicious potato and meat balls that were covered with maize flour and deep fried). They were heavenly! While relaxing in the park the kids began to get interested in us newbies. They really wanted someone to kick the ball around with...so I nudged Lewis out to play with them. They were both stoked that a big kid was kicking the ball around and were only too happy to pose for photos for me.

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Seen it was getting dark we continued exploring and stumbled across a gorgeous bar called El Candela...as you can guess it was lit only with candles and backed onto the cathedral who’s stained glass windows were glowing. It had the glow from the churches stained windows also. We couldn't help but stop for a drink. Guatape is gaining more and more expats from numerous countries. They love Guatape for it's temperature, finca’s, culture and beauty (to be honest I would love to live here forever!). The increase in expats means an increase in restaurants and restaurant diversity. We opted for pizza the first night. The pizza was sensational and had good fresh base and homemade tomato sauce. We also had lamb curry created by an Indian Chef in the area. It was delicious. His sangria knocked my socks off it was potent and full of strawberries. So tasty! I ended up singing the taxi song at the top of my lungs the whole Tuk Tuk ride home which the driver absolutely loved :D

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Of course as it was one of the main reasons to come we had to summit the rock the next day. After climbing around the bottom of the rock and getting a little geographically embarrassed along the way we managed to reach the stairs and started the gruelling climb in the sun. I was exhausted when we reached the top.

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It was only after we had cooled off with an ice-cream that we really noticed the view. It was spectacular! You can see the whole area including the stunning lake which glistens as the sun hits it. The view is worth the climb for the stunning view as well as the novelty factor.

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On our final day it was the beginning of a long weekend...that meant a huge influx of Colombians coming in on holiday and the town loses it’s chilled out and quiet persona. The roads are clogged and the place is vibrant and happening. We opted to do a walk through the fincas along a back dirt road to avoid the crowds of people. The road reminded Lewis a lot of Opape when he was a kid.
We were dragging our feet to leave the next day. We are already planning on coming back to this majestic area for a longer time! The town, the people, the landscape and the temperature…It was all beautiful and we can’t really fault it. It is definitely deserves to be considered more than a day trip from Medellin in my opinion, especially if you want to capture the real beauty of the town.

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Posted by chellebelle 19:58 Archived in Colombia Tagged football food street kids tuktuk el mi casa candle sangria fincas guatapé penol Comments (0)

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