Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Colourful fresco adorned buildings and stunning lake views in Guatape

Guatape is an easy and popular day trip from Medellin for locals and tourists alike, a number of door to door tours are available but we chose to take the local bus. We arrived at the bus terminal on the metro and got lucky as a bus was leaving immediately.

The journey itself was another incredibly scenic journey, I have run out of superlatives for this beautiful country. The highest praise I can offer is that it is up there with New Zealand as the most striking country I have visited.

As well as the town of Guatape itself the area is largely visited by people seeking the view from the top of Piedra del Penol, 'The Rock' which is a 200 metre high black rocky outcrop sticking high above the surrounding rivers and lakes affording, so we are told, the best views in the world.
Are you ready for this?
Piedra del Penol - The Rock

The rock is scaled and descended via steep brick staircases (one up, one down) built into a crevice in the side of the rock. Though not a high climb it is fairly tough but well worth the effort, though I would debate the equally steep 10,000 COP fee.

The views from the top are wonderful with fingers of water jutting into the landscape in all directions.
The best view in the world
Some more of the best view in the world
Moving on to Guatape there are motor taxi (tuk-tuks) or regular collectivos servicing the route. We chose the collectivo and I wasn't remotely concerned that being full my 'seat' was standing on the bumper holding onto the roof rack, I was quite glad it was only a ten minute journey but what a great way to travel.

Guatape itself is known for its brightly coloured buildings with many of the streets having brightly painted bas relief carvings adorning their street front.

Many if these identify the trade of the home owner or the shop in question.
Ironmonger and Agricultural supplies

Each street is a little different and creates an interesting walking tour of the town.

The town square is a pleasant place to take in the passing people and the lakeside provides a great spot where you can watch zipliners being pulled across to a tower on the far side of the lake and streaming back down again.

Every town has a Simon Bolivar statue, Guatape's is one of my favourites

A perfect place to wander and chill or do more activities such as take a boat tour on the lake, we took the former option and thoroughly enjoyed our day.

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