Guatapé is a must-see destination located about two hours from Medellín, Colombia. I recommend staying a night or two here because of all the activities the area has to offer.
The main attraction is the La Piedra del Peñol (Peñol Rock), where you can catch a glimpse of the best views of Guatapé. All you have to do is climb 740 steps (which honestly isn't as bad as it sounds) to reach an amazing vista of the numerous little islands.
The 10-million-ton rock is located between the towns of Guatapé and El Peñol. The towns disagreed on ownership of the rock, so the residents of Guatapé decided to claim the rock by painting the town’s name on it in huge white letters. It did not take long for the residents of El Peñol to notice and gather a large mob to stop it. Today, you can see the paint from the letter 'G' and part of the letter 'U'.
In 1954, a group of people climbed the rock in a five-day endeavor, only using a series of boards wedged into a crack. These were the first known people to have climbed the rock. Thankfully these were replaced by stairs!
Aside from the climb, there is a little city center that has restaurants, bars and a ton of street food along the waterfront boardwalk. If you stay for more than one night, I'd recommend taking a ferry tour around the islands, having a dinner cruise, jet skiing or even flyboarding! If you're in the mood to party, there are also a number of party/dance cruises that depart nightly.
When looking for a place to crash, I stayed at Hotel de los Recuerdos for about 80 USD a night. It's a good location between the little town and the rock and the rooms are clean and comfy.
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