Travels in Colombia - Guatape and El Penon

Old Aug 22nd, 2019, 02:13 PM
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Travels in Colombia - Guatape and El Penon


Guatape is known as the most colourful city in Colombia. Thatís quite an achievment as it has lots of competition. Colombia is one of the most colourful countries Iíve visited.Guatape is about one and a half hours from Medellin and is a lovely spot for a day trip to escape Medellinís noise and traffic or to relax for a few days. It was an early start and our 1st stop off was for breakfast which was delicious and plentiful with samosa style pastries. Just outside Guatape is El Penon or the Rock of Guatape. It is well worth a stop off to climb this magnificent rockdigThis rock is 10 million years old. It was once worshipped by the indigenous Indians, the Tahamies. It is 7,005 feet high. In 1954 Luis Villegas managed to climb it using a series of boards which they wedged into a crack in the rock. His family still own the rock It took 5 days but the beautiful panoramic views from the top were stunning and made it more than worthwhile. In the 1970s the area below was flooded to make way for a dam, making the views even more impressive. It now overlooks lakes and small islands. Now for $6 you can climb the 659 steps to the top, via a staircase built onto the side of the mountain. Itís not as bad as it sounds, I was up there in about 10 minutes, although it has been said before that Iím a bit like a mountain goat.The views are magnificent and breathtaking. Lookout points allow you to admire the magnificent vistasAt the top there are stalls selling fresh fruit, snacks and a local speciality, beer topped with mango and salt.It is possible to take boat trips or rent kayaks on the lake below. The town of El Penol used to be located right next to the rock. It is now underwater, swallowed up by the dam. A wooden cross rises up from the water, marking the spot where the town was located. Tens of thousands of residents had to be relocated by a new town. The old church was reconstructed. El Penol and Guatape both claimed ownership of the rock. Guatape attempted to cement ownership by painting the name of their town in large letters on the side of the rock. El Penol residents protested and only the 1st two letters G and U were completed and can still be seen today.When we hiked down from the rock we had a fantastic lunch at one of the restaurants at the bottom of the rock. It was one of the best lunch views I have had and some of the best fish and chips!It was then onto Guatape. Every building is covered in wall art and murals called ĎZocalosí. Some of the murals relate to the professions of those living in the houses. Others animals such as donkeys, sheep or even dolphins. It is a lovely, sleepy, laid back town.A day trip to Guatape with a stop at El Penon can be booked from Medellin. Otherwise, you can catch the local bus. It is definitely worth a visit.

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