A trip to Guatape Antioquia is a must do when in Medellin. It’s a two-hour bus ride away and is the perfect spot for a day trip, long weekend and if you’ve got the time I’d stay even longer. Just landed in Medellin’s lakeside paradise and wondering what to do in Guatape? Well, look no further! I spent almost a week in this beautiful location. Walking, swimming, exploring the town and just generally chilling and discovered all of the awesome things to do in Guatape Colombia.

not so budget backpacker Scrimp v splurge guide - scrimp

1. laze by the lake

What to do in Guatape Colombia - lake
The gorgeous dock at the Galeria Hostel.

Guatape Colombia is a little town surrounded by a huge series of lakes and mountains. It’s absolutely stunning! And the weather is lovely. Hot and sunny most days. Therefore there is no better way to spend your time in Guatape than relaxing by the lake. I stayed in the Galeria Guatape Hostel which features the gorgeous dock at the bottom of the hill leading up to the hostel. It’s the perfect spot to relax, take in the scenery while reading a good book. It’s also the perfect spot to do a little bit of sunbaking.

2. climb el penol

What to do in Guatape Colombia - El Penol
The famous Rock of Penol

It’s impossible to research the things to do in Guatape Colombia without seeing a trip to ‘The Rock’ or ‘El Penol’ in prime position. And for good reason. Guatape’s Rock of El Penol takes pride of place across the skyline and is visible from all around. The incredible views at the top are well worth the 760 stair / 30 minute sweaty climb to the top. If you do one activity in Guatape Antioquia make sure it’s this.

HOW TO GET TO THE ROCK OF PENOL: The Rock is about a 5 minute drive out of town on the road to Medellin. Buses go from the centre of town from Guatape to Medellin every 20 minutes. Just jump on and ask the driver to stop at El Penol.

COST: The bus will set you back about $2,000 COP. While a climb to the top of El Penol will cost $18,000 COP. And while it’s expensive to climb a rock. The views are well worth it.

3. kayak around the lake

Things to do in Medellin - Guatape
You could be kayaking around these lakes!

I was so lucky with my hostel choice. Galeria Guatape Hostel offers kayak hire at $10,000 COP for one hour. The lake is so nice and calm and it’s such a lovely way to see the town. While Galeria is a little outside of town, it’s closer to El Penol, so you get some pretty epic views while you’re kayaking. It’s also an excellent form of exercise after the amount of alcohol you probably consumed in Medellin.

HOW TO GET TO GALERIA HOSTEL: Galeria Hostel is about a 5-minute drive out of town on the way to Medellin. Buses go from the centre of town from Guatape to Medellin every 20 minutes. Just jump on and ask the driver to stop at ‘Estadero LA MONA’. Get off here and then walk down the path to your left for 5-minutes. Then you’ll find the hostel.

COST: $20,000 for 1 hour.

4. explore one of colombia’s most colourful towns

I’m a sucker when it comes to a colourful colonials town. So when I was researching what to do in Guatape and learned it’s one of the most colourful towns in Colombia I knew I had to go. Set aside an afternoon to wander around the colourful streets, people watch and drink some of Colombia’s delish coffee. There are also a number of awesome little local jewelry stores selling some pretty fashionable stuff at half the price it would be at home.

5. Get Your Zen On

The perfect place for a spot of yoga.

I find when you’re in a place as relaxing and tranquil as Guatape it’s just a lovely location to do a spot of yoga. Now I’m no yogi, but Galeria Guatape Hostel was offering hour long yoga lessons for $10,000 COP a pop. Which is about $3 USD. An incredibly good deal. They are also really flexible of the time you take the classes too. We would take them in the afternoon just before sunset which was pretty perfect. No matter where you stay, I definitely recommend you get your stretch on by the lake. Wondering what to do in Guatape and haven’t tried yoga? This definitely needs to be on your list!

COST: $10,000 for an hour class

6. Have a Giggle Zip lining

Ok so looking at the zip line (Cable Paseo) in Guatape it seems a little lame. It’s quite small (680 metre to be exact) and it runs across a little part of the lake that sits on the outskirts of town. However, it’s pretty cheap and as someone who’s got a few issues with heights, it’s a really fun little activity to pass the time in Guatape Antioquia. The zip line itself will take about 5 – 10 minutes to complete and you’ll be laughing the entire way. It should definitely be on your list of what to do in Guatape.

HOW TO GET TO THE ZIPLINE: Head to the restaurants in town along the water. Look out to the lake and you should be able to see the zip line. Follow it to the left until you find the start.

COST: $12,000 COP

not so budget backpacker Scrimp v splurge guide - splurge

7. soar to such great heights paragliding

While the paragliding in Medellin is meant to be incredible I must say I think paragliding in Guatape must be next level. 360 views over the rock of Penol, the lake system and the cute little town should sell you enough. Not to mention that compared to doing an actitvity like this at home it’s incredibly cheap. Starting at about $160,000 COP (or about $50 USD). The Paragliding can be booked through the Lakeview Hostel and is a 2-hour drive out of town. There are two options to get there, either a full day tour, which will set you back $225,000 COP. Or hiring a motorbike for the day at $70,000 COP, riding to another town and paying for the paragliding separately ($80,000 COP). 

HOW TO GET THERE: Rent a motorcycle or scooter and ride to Cocorna. It should take 1.5 – 2 hours and when you see a restaurant hanging off a cliff you’re there.

COST: $160,000 COP if you DIY. $225,000 COP for the tour.


WHERE TO STAY: So i’ve already mentioned it a few times. BUT A STAY AT GALERIA SHOULD BE ON YOUR LIST OF WHAT TO DO IN GUATAPE.  IT is definitely one of my favourites in all of colombia. it’s extremely social, the staff are lovely and friendly, the views are amazing and the yoga is so relaxing. I loved it so much i was only meant to stay two nights and ended up extending to six! You can check the latest prices and availability here.
DAILY BUDGET: as this place is pretty chilled i stayed under budget and probably spent about $25 USD per day. I was cooking most of my meals and the activities were all pretty cheap.
GETTING IN AND AWAY: guatape is a 2-hour bus ride from medellin. Most of the hotels and hostels run day tours. However, it’s totally possible to do by yourself. Take the Metro to Caribe Station and then walk across the bridge to the North Bus Terminal. Then jump on the next bus to Guatape. They run about every 20 minutes. And will set you back $14,000 COP. The first bus leaves at 6 am and the last bus back to Medellin leaves Guatape at 7 pm.

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