Guatapé

For day trips, the beautiful village of Guatape is the most popular destination for tourists (locals or foreigners) departing from Medellín. However, plan this outing wisely as part of your Colombian itinerary if you don’t want to find yourself in a crowded place.
Avoid Colombian holidays, Holy Week, school holidays, and weekends!

The Guatape place is known for two reasons:

  • The charming colonial village, although it’s not very big.
  • El Peñol, this massive rocky monolith at the top of which the view is splendid. You will have to climb 750 steps to reach its summit.

If you don’t have too much time, it might be a good option to take just one day to do it all, since Guatape is a 2-hour drive from Medellín. However, count about 3 hours for the return trip because you will arrive at the end of the day at rush hour.

My advice to visit Guatape:

  1. Leave Medellín in the morning with a small bag and spend the night in Guatape. Visit the town and book an aquatic activity on the lake for your first day.
  2. Wake up early the next morning and climb to the top of the Peñol, you’ll be alone! They open at 8 am.
  3. Take the bus around 2 pm to get back to Medellín. You can buy your return ticket in advance directly at the bus station.

Another option would be to include in your tour Guatape with San Rafael and San Carlos, two small authentic and off the beaten track villages. Ideal for discovering the Antioqueño hinterland, its crystal clear rivers, water activities (tubing and canyoning), or short hikes.

 

Getting to Guatape?   (+)

From Medellin to Guatape

 

From San Rafael to Guatape

  • Take a bus from the main square. Last bus leaves around 6 pm. | Sotrapeñol & Transporte Guatapé la Piedra | 45 min

Table of Contents

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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).

  • Galeria

    Hostel - $

    Galeria

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

    Hostel - $$

    Oak Tree

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

    Hostel - $$$

    Bacoa

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

    Hotel - $$$

    Bahia Peñon

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

    Hotel - $$$

    Zocalo Camp.

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

    Guesthouse - $$$

    Serendipity

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

    Studio - $$$

    El Trebol

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

    Luxury Glamping - $$$$

    Bosko

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

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

    3 hours | $

    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

    2 hours | Free

    Guatape

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

    3 hours | $$$

    Boat

    Look for a small boat that you can rent for the afternoon and explore coves and islets.
    Get the best price
  • Kayak

    1 - 3 hours | $

    Kayak

    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

    4 hours | $$

    Rock climbing

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

    1 hour | $$$

    Flying

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

    3 - 6 hours | $

    Waterfalls

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

    1 - 2 Days

    San Rafael

    San Rafael is a little town 45 min bus drive after Guatape. Beautiful crystal clear rivers. Read our travel guide!
  • Group tour

    11 hours | $$

    Group tour

    Book an affordable day trip from Medellin if you don't want to worry about anything.
    Get the best price
  • Private tour

    10 hours | $$$$

    Private tour

    Plan your day at your convenience. Visit a coffee farm, swim in waterfalls, hike el Peñol. You're free!
    Get the best price

Our articles about Guatape

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

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