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.

Articles to read before traveling to Guatapé:

Where to travel after Guatapé: 

    Getting to Guatape? (+)

    From Medellin to Guatape

    • Take a bus from the North terminal | Sotrapeñol & Transporte Guatapé la Piedra | 2 hours

    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

    Rent a house in Guatapé

    Would you like to come to Guatapé with friends to chill out? There are some very nice houses, located a bit apart, among the nearby hills. It will be easier to organize if you have your own vehicle ;)

    • El Retorno

      Villas - $

      El Retorno

      Individual villas perfectly equipped, only 10 minutes from the city center. A warm place, with a very nice view.
      Get the best price
    • Alejandria

      Finca - $$

      Alejandria

      The ideal house to come with the whole family. Leonella, the owner, is charming and very attentive to make everything perfect.
      Get the best price
    • Casa de Campo

      House - $$

      Casa de Campo

      Large house 1km from Guatape. The view from the jacuzzi is awesome. There is a person on-site in case of concerns/questions.
      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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