A Little Place Called Guatape

by Brenna Holeman
Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 1 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 2Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 3 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 4 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 6 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 7 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 8 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 9 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 10 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 11 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 12 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 13 Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 14Why you should visit Guatape Colombia 17

Guatape, Colombia

There is a little town in Colombia called Guatape. Found just a couple of hours from downtown Medellin, it’s famous for La Piedra, a huge, 200 metre rock that’s over 70 million years old. You can climb to the top, climb all 740 steps to take you to the very highest point in the land; from there, you get the best view, the Colombian landscape stretched out in every direction.

My travel partner Kerri and I only heard of Guatape a few days before we visited – it’s how it is with most places I see when I travel. Perhaps we read about them in a guidebook or hear about them in passing, but for the most part the little towns I visit in my travels are ones that other tourists tell me about when we’re sharing beers in a hostel bar. “Go to Guatape,” someone told us. “You won’t regret it.”

We stayed in a hostel by one of the the lakes – most of the water around Guatape is a result of intentional flooding, and the large hydroelectric dam nearby provides nearly 30% of Colombia’s electricity. From the hostel, it was a short walk into the town sometimes called the Pueblo de Zocalos. Zocalo means “main square” in Spanish, and Guatape earned this name because of the scenes depicting village life painted on the bottom half of many of its colourful houses and shops. Always a sucker for a brightly painted town, it was a beautiful place to spend a day taking photos, fuelled by strong Colombian coffee and fresh lake trout.

While there are plenty of activities to keep one entertained in the area, we only spent one night there, eager to move south to Cali and Popayan. But we climbed that rock with gusto, and we saw what we could see in just over 24 hours. Sometimes the most memorable places in our travels are places we didn’t even know existed until we’re actually on the road, or places that are mentioned to us casually by another traveller. Until I was in Medellin, I hadn’t heard of Guatape, but it ended up being one of my favourite little stops in South America.

Video by expatkerri, filmed in Guatape
Have you ever experienced something similar, in that you visited a place you didn’t even know existed and then ended up loving it? 

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Adina Marguerite Pease April 10, 2013 - 8:24 pm

Guatape looks so gorgeous! What a wonderful place. Coming across places like this are one of the reasons I love to travel via road tripping – you never know what you might come across. The abandoned city of Esco in the Aragon region of Spain comes to mind as something we had never heard of and just stumbled upon and it turned out to be very cool.

This Battered Suitcase April 11, 2013 - 4:56 pm

Yes! Road tripping is the best way to discover new places.

expatkerri April 10, 2013 - 9:13 pm

I just loved Guatape, and it was all the better seeing it with you! It’s so amazing how we can arrive somewhere and learn about so many places from other travellers… think of all the amazing places we’ve seen that we never would have visited if we hadn’t had those conversations in the hostels…. (cahuita, for one!)

This Battered Suitcase April 11, 2013 - 4:57 pm

I loved seeing it with you, too! I feel like we have seen so many places like this together. Cahuita is definitely high up there on the list!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures April 11, 2013 - 2:44 pm

I’m dying to visit Guatape! I’ve seen so many gorgeous pics from there — yours included!!! LOVE that video.

This Battered Suitcase April 11, 2013 - 4:58 pm

Thanks, Andi! I hope you get to visit Guatape soon!

Agness Walewinder April 12, 2013 - 2:27 am

Aaaaa so charming, I’m melting here. Wish I could visit Guatape soon. Love the art and graffiti on the walls.

This Battered Suitcase April 13, 2013 - 12:06 pm

I hope you get to visit soon, too!

Silly Medley April 12, 2013 - 7:24 pm

Beautiful pictures! I love colorful places and unique/awe-inspiring geological formations. I remember that video, it’s so well done!

This Battered Suitcase April 13, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Yes, her video is great! She made it all on her iPhone, so talented…

diana kelvin April 15, 2013 - 6:51 am

I wonder how a lot effort you place to make any such great informative web site. Really a great place to visit. Samsonite luggage

That Time We Went to San Agustín, Colombia - This Battered Suitcase March 27, 2014 - 10:43 pm

[…] after a fabulous journey that lead us from Cartagena to Santa Marta, Taganga, Tayrona, Medellín, Guatapé, Salento, Cali, Popayán, and Silvia, our appetite for Colombia was not quite satisfied. One of us […]

Rich January 12, 2016 - 11:03 pm

great photos! Here are a few of mine as well for you and your readers of Guatape (we shot a couple of similar things around town) Guatape, Colombia + The Majestic View from La Piedra hope this adds!

Nicole June 2, 2017 - 1:21 am

How did you get there? I’m staying in El Poblado in Medellin but I won’t have a car. How do you suggest to get there?

Brenna Holeman June 2, 2017 - 1:26 am

Tons of buses from Medellin!


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