When people talk about Guatapé they usually refer to the rock of Guatapé, close to the village Guatapé. The rock is well known in the area, and an excursion to Guatapé is a must when you are in Medellin. The story goes that the rock is over 70 million years old. Even with a height of 200 meters the rock is only visible for 2/3 covering the rest underground. To get to the top of Piedra El Penol there is a stair with over 700 steps! When you reach the top you have a spectacular view and it’s possible to buy some drinks, food and gifts from the vendors (p.s. they take the stairs all the time). Next to the rock of Guatapé, the village Guatapé is known for its artistic culture. Discover this amazing village where the houses are decorated with all kind of colors, sculptures and the people breathe creativity. There are also extreme water sports and boats available in this incredible area.
How far is Guatapé from Medellin?
Guatapé is located in the legendary Andes mountains and by car it will take about one and a half hour to get there, covering a distance of 80 kilometers. There are a lot of tour operators that offer excursions to Guatapé. Our advice is not to take the cheapest excursions to Guatapé because they often exist of massive groups and are sometimes a bit hasty. Make sure you enjoy the excursion to Guatapé and take our personal Guatapé tour. The Guatapé excursion can be adjusted to your interest (watersports, electric dam, nearby villages etc.).
Guatapé is a farming town by origin, but from the 70’s , Guatapé became one of the most important electric production centers in Colombia with an hydro-electric dam at the reservoir. The project had a large impacts on the local economy.
History of Guatapé
The rock exist for 70 million years at least. It was already popular with the Indians who worshipped the rock and called it Mujará(rock or stone). The story goes that there was an indigenous leader named Guatapé. In his honor, the town was named after him. The name "Guatapé", comes from the Quechua language, related to "stones and water". Quechuan was spoken in the Andes mountains and is known for being the main language of the Inca’s. Later in time the people of Guatapé and El Peñol were arguing about the ownership of the rock. The people of Guatapé decided to write Guatapé on the rock in big white letters. When the people of El Peñol found out they organized a big group and stopped them. If you take the excursion to Guatapé, you can still see the letter G and the unfinished U on the rock today.