Guatape is the most famous day trip from Medellin, and it can be overcrowded if you don’t choose the right day. Don’t go there during Colombia public holidays, Holly Week, weekends, and holidays period!

Guatape is known for two reasons:

  • The cute colonial town – although it’s quite small
  • The breathtaking view from El Peñol, a massive monolith where you can reach the top – 750 steps

A day trip from Medellin is manageable as it’s 2 hours away from the city, but it can take up to 3 hours on the way back as you’ll arrive during the rush hour.

My travel tips for visiting Guatape:

  • Leave in the morning from Medellin with a small bag and plan to stay 1 night in Guatape. Visit the town and book a water activity on the lake.
  • Wake up early the next day and hike to the top of El Peñol so that you will be alone! It opens at 8 am.
  • Take the bus back to Medellin around 2 pm. You can buy your ticket in advance at the bus station.

Another excellent travel tip is to include Guatape with San Rafael and San Carlos, 2 perfect off the beaten path towns with crystal clear rivers.



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Where to stay in Guatape

El Peñol and Guatape are 2km away from each other, and there are excellent hotels in between. To move from one to another, you can take buses or tuk-tuks for 5 - 10 000 COP. It's easy. Moreover, your hotel can call you one if needed. Landscapes are so lovely that I don't recommend staying in town (too much noise).

  • Oak Tree


    Oak Tree

    Located after Guatape. 10 min walk. Good value for money. Quiet and peaceful. Lovely owners.
    Get the best price
  • Galeria



    Dorms only. Great location, just in front el Peñol. Beautiful outdoors with access to the lake. Kayak.
    Get the best price
  • Bacoa



    Isolated. Great atmosphere. 40 min from El Peñol. Delicious food. Beautiful. Excellent Activities available.
    Get the best price
  • Bahia Peñon


    Bahia Peñon

    Ideally located, in front of el peñon. Lake access. Top-notch services. Peaceful. Lovely.
    Get the best price
  • Zocalo Camp.


    Zocalo Camp.

    Lovely hotel in front of El Peñon. Beautiful outdoors. The staff is amazing. Great view.
    Get the best price
  • Serendipity



    Lovely owner and top-notch services and facilities. Near the monolith. Next to the lake.
    Get the best price
  • El Trebol


    El Trebol

    Rooms or Studio. Best location and view near El Peñon. Excellent staff. Beautiful outdoors. kayak.
    Get the best price
  • Bosko

    Luxury Glamping


    Top-notch services and delicious food. Romantic. Ideally located near Guatape. Next to the lake. Perfect
    Get the best price

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Things to do in Guatape

Except for going to the top of El Peñol, there is not much to do in Guatape. This is why I recommend picking a lovely hotel near the lake where you can relax and do some kayak. In town, local travel agencies offer different tours to waterfalls (hard to find otherwise) and water activities on the lake.

  • El Peñon


    El Peñon

    740 steps to get to the top. Open hours: 8 am - 5 pm. Great view. You don't need a guide.
    Learn more
  • Guatape



    Admire the colorful Zocalos, visit the church on the main square, the Plazoleta.
    Learn more
  • Boat



    Look for a small boat that you can rent for the afternoon and explore coves and islets.
    Learn more
  • Lake

    Do some sports


    Don't hesitate to rent a kayak or a pedal boat. It's eco-friendly and loads of fun. 10-30 000COP/h
  • Rock climbing

    Extreme sport

    Rock climbing

    Having issues with stairs? Book a tour to climb to the top of el Peñon from the side!
    Learn more
  • Flying

    Extreme sport


    Will wings, paragliding, helicopter... Many activities to admire the view from the sky.
    Learn more
  • Waterfalls



    There are some lovely viewpoints and waterfalls around Guatape. Hire a guide and plan a hike!
    Learn more
  • San Rafael

    Day trip

    San Rafael

    San Rafael is a little town 45 min bus drive after Guatape. Beautiful crystal clear rivers.
    Learn more

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More travel ressources

We went 4 times to Guatape and wrote about our travel experiences.

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More things to do in this region

Medellin & Around

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