Guatape is a small town about 2 hours east of Medellin that boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Colombia. It’s become quite popular with both domestic and international tourists. The main attraction here is a gigantic rock that soars 200 metres above the surrounding countryside. A concrete staircase has been built into one side of the rock allowing visitors to reach the unobstructed viewpoint at the top. After a sweaty climb up the 600+ steps, you can grab a cold drink from one of the many vendors or continue up a few more steps to the top of a multi-story giftshop resembling a miniature garrison to get the best possible view. If you’re feeling short of breath because of the altitude (Guatape’s altitude is about 2100m) there’s a guy with an oxygen tank about 2/3 of the way up. Considering Medellin is at 1500m, you probably won’t need it.
Getting to Guatape From Medellin, simply take the metro to the Caribe station, which is connected to the northern bus terminal (terminal de transportes norte). Then catch a bus to Guatape (appoximately 2 hours). You can take the bus all the way into the town or get dropped at the turnoff which leads up the rock. The walk from there to the staircase takes about 20 minutes; alternatively, you can take a taxi or horse. It’s possible to get the bus back to Medellin from here as well. Despite the long travel time, it’s definitely worth making a day trip here from Medellin!
As of March 2013, the entrance fee to the rock is 10000 pesos, or about US$6. The bus from Medellin to Guatape costs 12000 pesos each way. A beer at the top costs 5000 pesos and a set lunch at the turnoff costs around 8000 pesos.