The tiny town of Guatapé is a popular Medellin getaway for tourists and locals alike who want to wander its pretty streets and take boat trips out onto the artificial lake, El Embalse del Peñol. Looming over the lake is La Piedra del Peñol, a vast granite monolith – challenging you to climb the man made staircase glued to its side.
Part of Guatapé was flooded in 1970 in order to create the lake that now generates much of the region’s power. Along it’s cute streets many of the houses are decorated with zocalos (colorful concrete bas-relief scenes). They were originally designed to prevent chickens pecking at the walls, and to stop children chipping away at the buildings with ball games.
La Piedra del Peñol or El Peñon is a 200m-high granite monolith that soars above the banks of El Embalse del Peñol. Climbing the rock’s 659 steps is pretty tough but once you are at the top you can hover above the eagles, and as you stand, gasping for breath, you have a magnificent panorama of the beautiful countryside.
Next stage: Hacienda Venecia.