Guatapé, Colombia Travel Journal – October 2022

Guatapé, Colombia Travel Journal – October 2022

Close to the beautiful city of Medellín sits the town of Guatapé. A short bus or taxi ride away will take you to one of the most colorful towns in Colombia, and perhaps the world.

In Colombia, it is not uncommon to see artists board the buses and share their art in exchange for tips. This was one of the best I’ve seen yet. I almost took a taxi, but I’m glad I didn’t. You just don’t get experiences like this unless you take the bus.

It’s also common to see people board the bus to sell food and drinks, then leave at the next stop. Colombians… often “a la orden” (at your service).

Guatapé has a history that has shaped its current identity as one of Colombia’s most notable tourist attractions. In the 1970s, the government decided to flood the town to create a hydroelectric dam that generates a good portion of the town’s electricity.

These days, tourists don’t really swim in the artificial lagoon due to contamination, but I did see a local coming out of the water with a wetsuit and a fishing speargun. I still wouldn’t recommend a dive in the lake to those who haven’t developed antibodies that can fight the contamination. There are plenty of other things to do in and around the town, such as climbing the famous Piedra del Peñol, a large, round-ish rock jutting out from the landscape as you enter the village.

Over 600 steps will get you to the top of this famous attraction. I’ve gone twice, once in 2018 and the other time in October ’22. The first time I went, it was not nearly as busy as it is now. There were so many people going up the rock, that at times, we ended up having to wait in the line on the steps to get to the top. But it was worth it; the views are magnificent. Truly a once in a lifetime experience, due to the uniqueness of the area and its history. One can see a 360 degree view of the flooded town. Colombia has some spectacular landscapes as a result of its being the second most biodiverse country in the world, so we weren’t disappointed. At the top, one can buy snacks, food, drinks, and souvenirs to take home.

One of Guatapé’s famous features are the colorful houses adorned with engravings in the walls that reflect the town’s history and culture.




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