Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia!

Guatape is literally one of my favorite places in Colombia, & really…one of my favorite places anywhere.  The endless lake views you’ll get from the top of Piedra El Penol, just outside Guatape, will stay with you forever.  It’s an absolutely breathtaking place.  And the actual town of Guatape sits on a massive network of lakes that extends for miles in all directions, surrounded by rolling green hills.  If you’re visiting Medellin ~ Guatape is a MUST.  Welcome to your official “Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia!” 

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Welcome to your Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia…

I first traveled to Guatape two years ago in 2016, as a solo female traveler, staying at Rock a Town Hostel ($12/night for a private room), & found it to be an ideal place for solo female travel.  Then, two weeks ago, I visited Guatape again ~ but this time, with my friend Eileen.  We stayed right beneath “The Rock,” at the candy-colored Hotel Zocalo Campestre ~ which I can’t recommend highly enough.  Views from the hotel are STUNNING, & you have about a 5-minute walk to the base of Piedra El Penol.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Staying at the candy-colored cottages of Hotel Zocalo Campestre, right beneath “The Rock.”

Map of Guatape

On the map below, I’ve highlighted the town of Guatape, Piedra El Penol (the huge, famous rock a few miles from Guatape), & Medellin, where most tourists fly in & out of when visiting the area, via Medellin’s International Airport (MDE).

Guatape

Piedra El Penol

Medellin

Bogota

Medellin International Airport (MDE)

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

View from the top of Piedra El Penol.

Guatape Travel Info

  • How to Get to Guatape:  The nearest major city is Medellin, as is the nearest airport (MDE).  The easiest ways to get to Guatape are via bus, taxi, or by renting a car.  A taxi from MDE to Guatape cost us $100,000 COP (approx. $35 US), & took just over an hour.  A taxi to Medellin cost $150,000 COP ($50 US), & took just under two hours.  Buses from Guatape to Medellin run frequently, cost around $10 US, & will take longer than taxis (around 2-2.5 hours). 
  • Can You Do Guatape as a Day Trip from Medellin?  Yes, it’s possible ~ but you’ll be spending 3-4 hours in the car (or bus).  I recommend staying at least one night in Guatape.
  • Piedra El Penol Hours & Entrance Fee:  Open daily from 8AM-5:40PM.  Entrance fee is $18,000 COP (approx. $6 US).  The rock looks steep, but takes less than 20 minutes to climb.
  • Weather in Guatape:  Warm days, cool nights, & a good chance of rain ~ that’s Guatape weather in a nutshell.  The average daily temperature year-round is a perfect 28° Celsius (82° Fahrenheit).  The driest months are January & February, & frequent rain the rest of the year.  During our April visit, it was warm & sunny in the morning ~ thunderstorms in the afternoon (but not cold).  Nights are typically 15° C (59° F).
  • Altitude in Guatape:  The altitude in Guatape is 1,934 meters, or 6,346 feet.  Altitude in Medellin is 1,500 meters, or 4,900 feet.  Other than needing more sun block, this should not affect you too much.
  • Hotels Near Piedra El Penol:  Two hotels sit right at the base of Piedra El Penol, 1) Hotel Zocalo Campestre ($67/night); & 2) Hotel Los Recuerdos ($115/night).  Hotel Zocalo is a magical property set on a hill, overlooking the lake & the “Rock,” with candy-colored cottages & a gorgeous balcony.  Hotel Los Recuerdos sits right on the lake, & has a restaurant, pool, & spa (visitors can use for $10).  Search all hotels in Guatape here.

Where to Stay in Guatape

There are no major “chain” hotels in Guatape, as it’s really a small village that’s turned into a major tourist attraction over time.  The two hotels mentioned above are some of your best higher-end options, & put you closest to the “Rock,” as well as the water: Hotel Zocalo Campestre & Hotel Los Recuerdos.  Hotel Zocalo’s rooms are more charming, but the pool & spa at Hotel Los Recuerdos are hard to beat. 

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

These are the stunning grounds of Hotel Zocalo Campestre, in Guatape.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

View from the pool at Hotel Los Recuerdos.

From both of these hotels, it’s just a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride into the town of Guatape, or about a 45-minute walk ~ that I highly recommend doing any time of day.  But at sunrise or sunset, the views are absolutely INCREDIBLE.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Do the walk between the town of Guatape & Piedra El Penol at sunset to be rewarded with views like this. I took this shot two years ago with my IPhone 6, & it’s still one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken.

If you want to stay right in Guatape, you’ve got several options ~ particularly if you’re looking for cute budget hostels & friendly B&B’s.  Oak Tree House ($40 US) is a highly-rated guest house with beautiful terraces, near town.  Rock a Town Hostel ($12 US), where I stayed on my first trip to Guatape, is a great choice if you want to be right smack in the middle of town.  Rooms are basic, but clean ~ & the price is hard to beat.  And Country House Hostel ($30 US) has garden views & rave reviews.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

You can’t go wrong in Guatape! Shot taken on the balcony of Hotel Zocalo Campestre.

Photos of Guatape

The best way to get a feel for a place is to simply look at photos ~ so for this travel guide for Guatape in Colombia, I’ll stop talking & just let you feast your eyes on the beauty that is this magnificent place…  

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

The brightly-colored shops and streets of Guatape, Colombia

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Wandering the streets of Guatape this April in a thunderstorm..

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

If you walk between the town of Guatape & Piedra El Penol, you’ll cross this Indiana Jones-like bridge..

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

On top of the rock.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Heaven. Photo taken at Hotel Zocalo Campestre.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Guatape.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia.

Where to Eat & Play in Guatape

Guatape is a tiny little town ~ but has food options from all over the world.  For delicious pizza, head to Pizzeria de Luigi, the #1-rated restaurant in town.  Looking for Thai food?  Head to Thai Terrace.  For French food & crepes, try Guatacrep.  If you’re feeling like BBQ, head to one of my favorite restaurants in town: La Fogata, where they’ll grill your BBQ right next to your seat & give you a nice big jar of sangria to wash it down with.  For tasty Mexican food, try Vecchio Forno G. 

No travel guide for Guatape in Colombia would be complete without a discussion of Colombia’s most famous export: coffee.  For the best coffee in Guatape, head to the colorful rainbow steps in the middle of town, & visit Cafe La Vina.  They have a killer espresso machine & can make you virtually anything you want.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Try out Cafe la Vina, the best coffee place in town, next to Guatape’s colorful rainbow steps.

Things to Do in Guatape

Of course, the #1 thing to do in Guatape is to climb Piedra el Penol.  But there’s a ton of other stuff to do!  Take a boat tour right off the main docks in Guatape, & sail past Pablo Escobar’s burnt mansion.  You can even play a raucous game of cartel-vs-cartel paintball in the mansion.  Take a swim in the lake (I did ~ very refreshing).  Rent a bike & ride around the network of seemingly endless lakes.  Go parasailing or paragliding…can you think of a better place to do this?!  Take a helicopter tour.  Or if you’d prefer to stay on land, go on one of the many gorgeous hikes in the area.

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

The Cali Cartel set fire to Pablo Escobar’s Guatape mansion back in 1992. Today, you can play paintball there, if you dare..

One of the biggest differences I noticed in Guatape over the last two years is how they’ve upgraded their shops.  What used to be mom-and-pop run, low-key restaurants have now turned into chic little shops, with cute shoes, ponchos, candles, organic beauty products, & all kinds of things you never could’ve found two years ago!  Guatape is definitely getting an upgrade ~ so if you enjoy shopping, bring some extra money & room in your luggage.  

Travel Guide for Guatape in Colombia

Thanks for checking out this travel guide for Guatape in Colombia.  I hope you get to visit this magical place at least once in your lifetime!  If you’ve already been, what was your favorite restaurant in Guatape?  Favorite thing to do, besides climbing “The Rock?”  Let me know below! 

xoxo Noelia 

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Guide for Travel in Colorful Guatape, Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World