Visiting El Peñón de Guatapé (El Peñol)

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GUATAPE | El Peñón de Guatapé (El Peñol), is a 200 metre (650ft) granite monolith located just outside the town of Guatape, and about a one hour and forty five minute drive from Medellin. The indigenous Tahamí who once lived in the area worshipped the rock, and in 1940 it was designated as a national landmark.

El Peñol was first “officially” climbed by a group of friends in 1954, over the course of five days using wooden planks. Since then it’s become a popular tourist attraction. Thankfully today it doesn’t take as long to get to the top. A small fee (~USD$6) gets you access to the 659 brick steps that take you to the summit. Once you reach the top you’re treated to a brilliant 360 degree view of Guantape’s surrounding lakes and islands. A further 81 steps gets you to the top of the structure atop the rock.

The main reason to visit El Peñol is for that fantastic view, but if you’re feeling parched after the climb there are vendors up here selling drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) along with snacks and souvenirs.

As you arrive/leave, you may notice what looks like a white G and I painted on the northern face of the rock. The towns of Guatapé and El Peñol have long both claimed ownership of the rock, and one day Guatape locals decided to stake their claim by painting the town’s name on the rock. When people in El Peñol got wind of what was happening, they put a stop to it before it was completed.

The best way to see El Peñol is as part of a tour. Most foreign visitors come here as part of a day trip from Medellin to Guatape.

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