El Peñol: The Astonishing 360 View of Guatape, Colombia and How To Get There

How to get there?

The chances are you’re in Medellin.  

  1. Take the metro or taxi to Caribe Station. From there go to the North Bus terminal (Terminal de Transportes Norte).
  2. Buy a ticket to either Guatape or El Peñol at the ticket booths. There’s one or two bus companies that go there. It should cost between $12,000 – $14,000 COP each way or around $4 USD. Total: $25,000 COP = $8.00 USD.  
  3. The bus will stop for passengers along the way, expect between 1 ½ to 2 hour drive. 
  4. You can either get off at the base of El Peñol or you can go to Guatape if you plan on exploring the town.

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Guatape has one of the best views in all of Colombia

This town, about an hour and a half east of Medellin, is known for El Peñol, a granitic rock formation rising 7,005 feet above sea level and overlooking a loss-for-words landscape. At the top, you can see all around- boats weaving through the canals, lush scattered islands, lakeside homes nestled by the calm water and in the distant horizon, mountain ranges cradling the raw beauty of it all.   

Grab a mango beer, some food and souvenirs and watch the sunset.

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Guatape is one of those places you need to see for yourself and there’s no better view of the countryside than all the way at the top of El Peñol. If you’re planning on going to Colombia this is a “must visit destination.” There’s a reason why people all over the world come to see it and why countless blogs write about it.  

Whether you’re in good shape or not,  pace yourself while climbing El Peñol. There are 650+ steps all marked with yellow numbers. Not only is it a steep climb, but with foot traffic and some steps being different sizes, it’s better to take it slow. The view is astounding every step of the way so enjoy it while taking a breather. 

The ticket price: $18,000 Colombian Pesos or about $6.00 USD

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Before reaching the ticket booth there are souvenir shops and restaurants near the parking lot. You can either eat here or once you reach the top of El Peñol

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The staircase zig zags up to the top. I remember stopping atleast 4 times to catch a breath. At step 300, I was a little less than halfway there😅

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Once you reach the top there’s food, shops, eating area and bathrooms. If you order the mango beer advertised at the top, get it without the salt rim. You can thank me later.

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Fun fact: The entire landscape is part of a hydroelectric power plant constructed by the Colombian government in the late 1960’s

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_MG_0600By the end of the trip the only thing I’d do differently is stay longer.

Have you seen the astounding view atop El Peñol? Let me know your thoughts in the comments and tell me if you’d be interested in seeing me write about a specific topic!

Ryan Q


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