Guatapé and El Peñól Tour Details

Starting time: 7 AM

Duration: 9 hours

Locations: You’ll be picked up and dropped off at your hotel

Age restrictions: none

Pet Policy: pet-friendly (pets must be under the owner’s supervision)

Price: $100 per person (2 people minimum)

Food/drink policy: Lunch and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided


What to expect during the Guatape and El Peñol tour

The adventure will start when we pick you up from your hotel in a private car. From there we’ll head to El Peñol; the trip will take between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on traffic conditions. The drive will be time well spent, though; the scenery is gorgeous as you pass through the area’s beautiful rolling hills.

El Peñol is one of Guatape’s main attractions. It’s a gigantic monolithic rock that towers above the town, at 220 meters high. You’ll get the opportunity to climb to the top at the beginning of the Guatape and El Penol tour, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes for most people. At the summit of the rock, you can relax and take in the unparalleled 360-degree views of the surrounding area. On especially clear days, it’s even possible to see Medellín!

Once you’ve completed the climb, the tour will head to Guatape. You’ll have plenty of time to spend in this picturesque town – and plenty of things to do as well! We’ll visit the most popular shops, check out handmade crafts, and enjoy regional foods and drinks. Depending on where your interests take you, we can also arrange boating trips or watersport activities. These could include speed boats, water skiing, jet skiing, a tour of Guatapé Lake, a tour of Pablo Escobar’s former finca (“La Finca de Manuela” another popular spot for people interested in Pablo Escobar tours), or a tour of the underwater church.

Your tour guide will speak fluent English as well as Spanish, so you’ll have no trouble navigating the area. Whether you’re buying some handmade jewelry or chatting with an empanada vendor, the guide will be available to translate for you.

Guatapé background and highlights

guatape and el penolThis town is one of the most colorful and vibrant colonial towns in Colombia. Although the town itself was founded in 1811, the area was inhabited by indigenous groups long before that. The area’s economy was formerly based on agriculture and mining, but the development of a hydroelectric complex in the 70s changed things pretty drastically. This project included the building of the Punchiná Dam, which formed Guatape Lake and turned the town into a key center of electric production for much of Colombia. Tourists come from all over the world to visit this lake, which is full of archipelagos and ideal for all kinds of watersports. Also, since it’s located right next to El Peñol, it makes for a stunning view from 220 meters up in the air.

The hydroelectric dam did bring prosperity to Guatape starting in the 70s, but at great cost to the inhabitants of nearby villages – their homes and properties were flooded by the new lake. However, even as this project took something valuable from local residents, it also created the opportunity for a thriving tourism industry in the following decades. The origins of the Punchiná Dam were full of controversy, but at least the residents were eventually able to benefit from it.

Among Guatapé’s most unique attractions are the zocalos, or brightly painted tiles that form murals along the lower edges of many of the town’s houses. They’re typically designed by each building’s owner, and represent local life, important regional products, or symbols that hold some kind of personal significance. The zocalos are beautifully designed, and are completely in harmony with the brightly colored houses. Whether you want to get some amazing photos, or you just enjoy being in colorful and charming environments, the Guatapé and El Peñol tour could be just the ticket.

Any description of the town’s highlights wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the coffee! Guatape is in the heart of Colombia’s coffee district, where regional growers produce coffees that may not even be available for export. If you enjoy coffee, you’ll love getting a cup of freshly brewed java here.

El Peñol background and highlights

el penol in guatapeThis massive monolith was revered by the indigenous groups who lived in the area hundreds of years ago, and it’s no less impressive today. It’s actually one of the world’s tallest monoliths, and is made up of mica, feldspar, and quartz – about 65 million tons of them! You won’t need any rock-climbing skills to reach the top of El Peñol; there’s a zig-zagging set of 740 steps that will take you all the way up. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle, some sun protection, and a camera to help you commemorate the experience.

Glamping in Guatape

guatape glampingThe area surrounding Guatape is breathtaking, and plenty of people want to spend more time there than just a day-trip. There are many hotels available, but those who want something more interesting can go glamping. You’ll be able to feel closer to nature, but still relax in luxurious surroundings – the best of both worlds!

Many Antioquia glamping experiences are right next to Guatape Lake, and feature jacuzzis, spas, boating or fishing opportunities, and various other activities. The experience could also include transfers to and from the glamping sites, gourmet meals, BBQ pits, bonfires, or complimentary champagne or mojitos upon arrival. Glamping in Guatape is a wonderful way to experience the tranquility and beauty of the area in a private setting, accompanied by entertaining activities and commodities. One thing to note: some glamping sites are adults-only, so plan accordingly.

What to bring for the Guatape and El Peñol tour

You’ll be able to buy food, drinks, and other essentials in Guatapé (in addition to what we’ll provide on the tour), but there are a few other things to bring on the Guatapé and El Peñol tour that will make the day go smoothly.

  • Shoes that are suitable for hiking/walking
  • Camera
  • Bug spray
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunglasses or hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Cash for incidental purchases