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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Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences.Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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