Perks of Guatape and El Peñol:
- excellent coffee
- jumping off tall bridges into the lake
- the beautiful vistas
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I got a recommendation from my friends from my San Blas tour to head to Guatape with Diego from Van Por Colombia. I’m so glad they passed along this recommendation because I had an amazing day yesterday!
I took the metro to El Poblado for my pickup at a local hostel around 9:15am and jumped in the “party van” with 11 others. Diego, our tour guide, had a great playlist going to start the day off.
After an hour of driving, we arrived at our breakfast spot. It was a lovely house overlooking this vista. We had fresh bread, Nutella, fresh fruit, and omelettes with mushrooms and cheese. It was delightful!
After breakfast, we were invited to sit on top of our bus for a short drive with amazing views of the local fincas and houses. I love doing things that by no means would be allowed in Canada. On top of the van we went!
Diego made us get back in the van after 5km and onwards we went to the former town of El Peñol, now underwater. The government has built a new town for the people and a reproduction of what the main town square used to look like. The former priest went and put a cross where the former church used to be in the lake across from the reproduction.
Our next stop was a highlight of the day for me. We drove to a quiet swim spot where we were invited to jump off the bridge. I felt excited about this so I went for it without thinking too much and it was an amazing adrenaline rush. Sorry Dad!
We had a relaxing time swimming and drinking a few beers and then we were off to lunch at a local hostel. The food for lunch was an amazing spread of three salads, two pork dishes, lentils, potatoes, two types of rice, and guacamole. We were never hungry on this tour! This was our view:
Our tummies were nice and full so we headed to colourful town of Guatape. Guatape was home to many guerrillas so there were many attacks and a lot of violence here. After the war, the townspeople came together to rebuild it and now it is a lovely, colourful place to enjoy close to the water. This is the only town to have Zócalos, small patterned impressions on the front of their buildings. As time went on they became more intricate. We didn’t stop here for long but we had enough time to have a coffee at Vińa Cafe. I believe this was the best coffee I’ve had in Colombia thus far.
As the sun began to set, we made our way to El Peñol, a large rock that has been fought over by the towns of Guatape and El Peñol. My new friend Laura and I climbed over 700 steps to the top lookout point. It was a beautiful way to end the day and enjoy the area we had travelled through all day.
Many travellers will take the bus alone from Medellin to Guatape and enjoy the area themselves but this was a special day for me because of the extra experiences Diego showed us! Thank you Van of Colombia for an incredibly memorable day.