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Why You Should Visit Guatape, Colombia

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Guatape is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia, and the most colorful places we've ever been to! This gorgeous archipelago consists of hundreds of islets, a cute colorful town, and one of the biggest wonders of the country. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Guatape, Colombia.

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Where is Guatape?

Guatape is located in the eastern part of the Antioquia division of Colombia. Located in the central part of the country, it is conveniently situated outside the large city of Medellin, making it a great getaway day trip or weekend getaway.

where is Guatape Colombia

Guatape is located east of Medellin.


Getting to Guatape, Colombia

The closest big city to Guatape is Medellin. At just 74 kilometers away, Guatape, Colombia is very accessible. In order to get here there a few different options.


Step 1: Flying to Medellin

The first step to getting to Guatape is to fly to Medellin. You can find flights to Medellin from the US for as low as $116! We use Skyscanner to find our flights as you can sort the flights according the calendar to find the best deals.


Look for flights to Medellin:

Step 2: Getting from Medellin to Guatape

Now that you've made it to Medellin, you'll have to choose from the different options of visiting Guatape.


Option 1: Renting a Car from Medellin

We love this option because it gives you the most flexibility of any transportation. There are plenty of rental cars in Medellin, inside the city, and at the airport. Another great part about having a car is that you can explore all of the beautiful areas outside of the small town of Guatape, as well as see the archipelago from plenty of different spots.


The drive is about an hour and a half by car, and the roads are well paved to get there.

views of Guatape, Colombia

Renting a car allows you to really explore Guatape's surroundings.

Want to rent a car? Here is the site that we use to book our car rentals:

Option #2: Take the Bus from Medellin to Guatape

The bus station of Terminal del Norte is where you can take direct buses from Medellin to Guatape. The bus company that offers service is located at counter 14, on the left side of the terminal. Tickets are 17,000 pesos each way (about $3.75 USD), and buses run every half hour from 5 am to 7 pm. 

bus ticket to Guatape from Medellin

The kiosk to buy your ticket is number 14.

Option #3: Take a Private Transfer

Have a group and want to get a direct transfer? Click the link below to book a private ride.

Transfer from Medellin to Guatape


In order to get to Terminal del Norte you can simply take the metro line A to station Caribe. From here you will just walk across the bridge over the highway that connects to the station.





Option #4: Take a Tour from Medellin to Guatape

If you want the easiest option, and to travel with a group, then your best option wil. be to take a tour. There are quite a few tours from Medellin to Guatape to choose from, which we're listing for you below:

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Entry Requirements for Colombia

The next step for getting to Guatape, is making sure that you have the right documentation to enter Colombia. Here is all you need to know for entering Colombia in regards to visa requirements, as well as Covid restrictions.


Visa Requirements for Colombia

There are plenty of countries that can enter Colombia visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. You can click here to find out if you need a visa or not. If you'd like to stay more than 90 days, you can just apply to stay up to an additional 90 at the ministry of foreign affairs in Colombia.


Covid Entry Requirements for Colombia

Covid requirements have been constantly changing, especially since the last time that we visited Colombia. The good thing is you no longer need proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to enter.


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Local Adjustments

Whenever traveling to a new destination, there are things that may be different. These are what we like to call "local adjustments". Here are a few of them to have in mind while traveling to Guatape, Colombia.


Language

The official language in Colombia is Spanish. Colombians are a tad easier to understand than the surrounding countries, despite at times speaking a bit fast. There are plenty of people who do speak some English, but it's definitely better to try to speak a bit of Spanish to get by.


Currency

The currency used in Colombia is the Colombian peso. Currently (December 2022) the exchange rate is 4,400.3 pesos for every $1 USD. Many shops, restaurants, and hotels do accept credit card around Guatape. However, if you'd like to purchase street food or small souvenirs, it's always good to carry a bit of cash on you.


Outlets

Colombia uses the same plug types as the United States, which are types A & B. The standard voltage in Colombia is 110 V with a standard frequency of 60 Hz.


Water Potability

The tap water in Guatape is perfectly safe to drink from the tap, so there isn't any need to buy bottled water. We suggest bringing a reusable water to refill whenever you can.


Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Colombia is a standard 10%. Sometimes people tip more if the service is exceptional, even up to 20%. However, this is only if you feel the server has truly gone above and beyond.


Things to Do in Guatape, Colombia

This city is small, but it definitely has a lot to offer. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Guatape, Colombia.


Climb Piedra del Peñol

The claim to fame for Guatape is the giant rock that you can see from miles away, known as el Peñon de Guatape, or Piedra del Peñol


This rock is 659 steps to the top, and has the most spectacular views of the stunning archipelago that surrounds the area. Want to know more? Check out our full Guatape travel guide.

Piedra del Peñol, things to do in Colombia
Piedra del Peñol, Guatape Colombia

El Peñon de Guatape is a striking rock formation that you can climb.


Want an organized tour here? Here are a few different excursions you can choose from:


Strong Down the Umbrella Street

Everyone loves colorful umbrellas! This street is lined with them, and is definitely the most popular spot in town. Want a picture here with no people like us? You'll have to wake up super early!

La Plazoleta umbrella street Guatape Colombia

Hang out in La Plazoleta

This was our favorite part of Guatape! This small square is bursting with color, and has the umbrella street running right through it.


Here there are plenty of places to have a bite, grab a coffee, or go shopping for souvenirs. There is even a set of colorful stairs to sit and soak up the sun, people watch, or listen to locals playing live music.

Plazoleta Guatape Colombia

Shop For Colorful Souvenirs

Speaking of souvenir shops, there really are some great ones in Guatape. We particularly loved Zokalos for the handmade goods, as well as the shop to its left for the handmade jewelry.


Normally we don't suggest souvenirs as a highlight of things to do, but we were obsessed with all of the cute shops with the hand crafted goods! We have never bought so many souvenirs anywhere we have gone, but we definitely think it's worth popping into a store or two!

Try bargaining! You can always get better deals, even if there are price tags on the items.

Zokalos shop in Guatape, Colombia

Zokalos is one of our favorite souvenir shops in Guatape, Colombia.

Walk Along the Malecon

Guatape, Colombia is located right on the water. Walk along to enjoy the food stalls with local snacks, fruits, and street eats, as well as the souvenirs being sold.


Explore the Zocalos

One of the most distinct characteristics of Guatape, Colombia, is the zocalos. These are colorful squares on the bottom of the buildings. They depict different stories, and are all of the town. Take a tour a learn about the history of Guatape through its colorful zocalos.

streets of Guatape

The streets of Guatape are not just colorful, but each spot tells a different story.

Search For Street Art

We're all about the color in Guatape, and it doesn't just stop at the zocalos or umbrellas. Walk around and search for the gorgeous vibrant murals that are waiting to be discovered.


colorful mural Guatape
Colorful mural in Guatape, Colombia

Check Out a Viewpoint

Piedra del Peñol definitely has the best view of Guatape. However, the rock itself is stunning, and there are some equally gorgeous views around it.


Right outside the town of Guatape you can find a viewpoint called Mirador de Luis, which is just a 5 minute walk up. It offers beautiful views of the town of Guatape, as well as Piedra del Peñol in the distance.

viewpoint Guatape, Colombia

This viewpoint just takes a few minutes to walk up, and is right outside the town.

Take a Boat Ride Around the Archipelago

Did you know that there are hundreds of islands in the region of Guatape, Colombia? While the best view of the archipelago is up at the top of Piedra del Peñol, you can also enjoy seeing the islets up close, and see some famous landmarks.


The boat rides cost 20,000 pesos per person for a shared ride, and there are also private rides for 100,000 pesos. We personally think that the shared ride is better, as spending the extra to be alone (when there would only be a few other people) doesn't seem worth it to us.


view of Guatape, things to do in Guatape, Colombia

Sailing around the archipelago is one of the best ways to experience Guatape, Colombia.

Boat rides are one hour and leave from the beginning of the Malecon. The boats don't stop at all, but the guide will tell you about several locations such as famous houses like Pablo Escobar's.

 

Take a Tuk Tuk Tour

We usually don't take tours, but riding around in the chiva tuk tuks is super fun! Let the drivers show you around all of the cute colorful streets and tell you about the history of this adorable town.


Keep in mind the tours are the same tuk tuks that are essentially the transportation in town. Drivers will offer you to take you to Piedra del Peñol, or offer you a tour. Your pick!

tuktuk Guatape Colombia

You can hire a tuk tuk to give you a tour around Guatape.

Take a Helicopter Tour

One of the best things to do in Guatape, Colombia is to see it from above. You can book rides that will fly around Piedra del Peñol and the entire area to see a unique angle on the beautiful area of Guatape. (Ps- drones are not allowed!). You can book these tours right outside Piedra del Peñol, or you can check out some of the other excursions that include helicopter rides below:


Go Glamping

Guatape is one of the best places to go glamping! Check out one of the many sites that features domes, bungalows, and some really cool accommodation. You can also find these extravagant locations to feature personal pools, hammocks, and the best views of the archipelago.


Some popular spots include Bosko, Bubblesky Glamping, Domus, & Levit


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Getting Around Guatape, Colombia

Guatape is pretty small, and almost everything in this small town is walkable! However, there are a few things nearby that are more comfortable if you take some sort of transportation. Here are the options:


Buses in Guatape

There are really only two buses that operate in Guatape, Colombia. There is the one that goes to and from Medellin, and the one that goes to Peñol (the small town nearby Piedra del Peñol). We didn't get on the bus, but they seemed to pass quite frequently, and are definitely the cheapest option.


Taxis in Guatape

We didn't personally see any taxis, but apparently they do exist. In order to order one, we would suggest to ask a local for a phone number to call. Make sure you have the taxis use the meter, as it is much more expensive when they try to convince you to "agree on a price" (even if you think you're getting a good deal).

Getting around a new country can be overwhelming. What is the easiest way to get around? Is there Uber? Do I need to call for a cab? Well we can tell you that after traveling for a few weeks, we learned a lot about the transportation in Colombia!Here is everything

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Tuk Tuk in Guatape

Tuk Tuk is the easiest and most fun way to get around! You can't turn a corner or walk one minute without finding one, so don't worry. The main route they run is to Piedra del Peñol for 10,000 pesos ($3 USD), and it's rare that they negotiate.


Not all tuk tuks are the same in Guatape. The prices may be the same, but the looks are everything. You will see tons of tuk tuks brightly colored and painted with fun designs!


Update: I just returned to Guatape for the first time since this post was originally written. The current rate for going to Peñol is 17,000 pesos, and the minimum rate for going around town is 4,000 pesos.

Guatape tuk tuk 2

The tuk tuks in Guatape Colombia are super fun and colorful.

Rental Car

The town of Guatape itself doesn't require a car. However, if you would like to explore all different areas of the archipelego (or to visit one of the glamping sites), this is when a rental car would come in handy.


Rental cars are not available in Guatape itself, as the town is very small. However, if you are coming from Medellin (which is the most common city to come from), than renting a car is very easy, as they have locations in the city, and at the airport.



Food & Drinks in Guatape, Colombia

One of our favorite parts of Guatape, Colombia was eating and drinking the local food, while enjoying the views and colorful atmosphere of this adorable town. Here are a few of our personal recommendations.


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Guatape Colombia Pin
Guatape Colombia Pin

La Roca

This restaurant was so good that we decided to eat there for lunch and dinner! Located right in the main square of Guatape, you can't miss this colorful spot.


The cuisine is Mediterranean, which can be a nice change from the typical Colombian food. The menu has a great variety with unique options. As well the presentation of their dishes is beautiful, and the food tastes great!


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Paisa Bendeja

If you are going to try one specific dish in the district of Antioquia, then this has to be it. We hope you're super hungry- because this dish will fill you for more than just one meal (we actually suggest sharing one).


This is a hearty mix of rice & beans, meat, egg, plantain, and avocado. There are quite a few variations, but this is a Antioquia staple, and particularly popular for lunch. Not only is it extremely filling, but a full plate will only set you back around $4-6 USD.

Paisa Bendeja, food in Medellin

Paisa Bendeja is enough food for two.

Martine

This restaurant/ cafe is located right next to Plaza de Zokalos. They have great coffee, as well as an awesome Paisa Bendeja. Great views and great food- what more could you ask for?

lunch in Guatape, Colombia
Martine, food in Guatape, Colombia

Martine has great views and delicious food.

Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee

It’s no secret that Colombia is known for their coffee. So now’s your time to get those caffeine cravings in! If you want black coffee it’s called “tinto”. Our personal favorites are the delicious cappuchinos, and on a hot day, we love getting a frappe! You’ll never have one better than here.


We suggest going to one of the many cafes surrounding la Plazoleta. They serve artesanal coffee blends and awesome frappes.


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The Cafe next to Piedra del Peñol

We didn't personally try anything on the menu here other than coffee, but we can say that it is a great spot for some great views. Head here in the afternoon so you can grab a cub of coffee and enjoy the sunset over the massive archipelago below.


Update: There are now (September 2022) several cafes that you can choose from. We personally love this because they all boast stunning views, and now even some have different activities to choose from!

restaurant el Peñón de Guatape

One of the restaurants next to el Peñon de Guatape has a net to sit on and enjoy the view!


Where to Stay in Guatape, Colombia

When visiting Guatape, Colombia, we definitely suggest spending a night or two to truly enjoy the area. We suggest either doing a glamping experience and renting a car (as they are pretty far from the city of Guatape), or staying right inside Guatape. The town is small, so pretty much anywhere you stay will be walking distance to all of the main spots.


Two other hotels we suggest if you want to be a bit outside the center, but have great views are La Madriguera and Hotel Mansion.



hotel in Guatape, Colombia
hotel in Guatape
Hotel in Guatape

Hotel La Madriguera has beautiful views.

Want to look at other places to stay in Guatape? Simply check the map below:

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Is Guatape, Colombia Safe?

Colombia has a bad rep when it comes to safety. While some places certainly can be a bit more dangerous than others, we felt completely safe in Guatape. The locals are also super friendly, and overall this is the city with some of the best vibes in the entire country.


Other Things to Know About Visiting Guatape, Colombia

Now that you know the best things to do in Guatape, how to get there, and get around, we have just a few extra details to share with you.


Weather in Guatape, Colombia

The weather in Guatape, Colombia is pretty much the exact same year round. The average temperature is about 64 degrees Fahrenheit  or 18 degrees Celsius. During the day the weather is pretty perfect with sunshine and the most pleasant temperature. It can get a bit windy by the water, or up at Piedra del Peñol.


The Best Time to Visit Guatape, Colombia

Being that the weather is always the same, there really is never a bad time to visit Guatape, Colombia!

Guatape, things to do in Medellin, Colombia

Guatape experiences warm temperatures year round, and gets a bit chilly at the top of Piedra del Peñol.

What to Pack for a Trip to Guatape, Colombia

Here are some things we suggest bringing to Guatape:

  • Sunscreen
  • Spring clothes (the weather doesn't vary much)
  • Light sweater for night or if it gets windy
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3. Note: You can't fly it at Piedra del Peñol, but we've seen people fly it nearby)
  • Travel Adapter if you are not from the Americas (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)


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Guatape is a really great place to add to your bucket list when you're in Colombia. We suggest spending a weekend here for a nice getaway. 


Planning on traveling to other places in Colombia? We have plenty of other guides throughout the country for you to check out.


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