Guatapé – a grand day out

You ever decide to do something and before you even get there you realise it’s gonna be awesome?!

Today I visited La Piedra, a giant rock that you can climb up near a tiny town called Guatapé, a 2-hour bus journey from Medellín.

You take the bus from the North Terminal, just outside the Caribe stop on the metro. When you reach the terminal, go down the stairs and turn left!! Head to counter 9 or 14 and you can get a ticket to La Piedra for $12-13.000COP.

La Piedra is an enormous monolithic rock rising out of the centre of a valley full of beautiful aquamarine lakes.

Even from a distance you can see the staircase winding its way up the rock, all 659 steps of it.

When you get off the bus you can walk up the hill or take a tuk-tuk to reach the entrance. Visitors now pay $18.000COP (£4.60) to enter – there has been quite a steep hike in the price over the last few years.

The stairs were absolutely nowhere near as tough as I imagined!! I had envisaged an hour-long tough slog up an uneven staircase when in fact it only took me twenty minutes and I didn’t have to stop on the way up.

Each switchback had a great view over the lakes and it kept getting better and better.

At the top I met Helena and Martin who I hung out with last night and we went around all the viewpoints at the top and then descended the steps.

We caught a taxi from the rock to Guatapé for $4.000COP each and then pre-booked our bus ticket back to Medellín as it is advisable to do in case the buses fill up (last bus leaves at 7pm with buses about every 20 minutes or so). The bus back cost $14.000COP.

Then we found a nice place for lunch and all tried the local speciality, Bandeja Paisa. The dish is sold everywhere and consists of fried sausage, fried pork belly, minced meat, fried egg, fried plantain, rice, beans, an arepa and a slice of avocado. Colombia certainly loves frying stuff so this is the perfect local dish. It cost $19.000 and was a great meal with plenty of variety. A must while you’re here, and I recommend it for lunch to give your body a chance to digest it before you go to sleep!

We were joined in the restaurant by a group of Hell’s Angels with a local guide. They seemed quite nice.

We had a few hours to explore the beautiful town of Guatapé and first headed to the church on the main square.

After that we walked around the streets and visited all the souvenir shops. They aren’t crazily overpriced but I still hope it’s cheaper up North!

The houses all around this pueblo are beautifully painted and the designs at the bottom are called Zocalos and are unique to the character of each house.

We found the famous colourful set of steps and they were pretty underwhelming, so make the most of the other streets which are prettier.

At 17:40 we caught the bus back to Medellín and got amazing views over the city at night as we arrived.

I had a craving for ceviche so I headed to a Peruvian restaurant called Gato and used a 20% discount card to order the house special with fish, shrimps, mango and pineapple.

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