GETTING THERE FROM MEDELLIN
One activity Ryan had been itching since we arrived to Medellin was to rent a scooter for the day and explore the surrounding mountain towns. Since we had arrived the previous week and hadn’t seen much of the city our surrounding areas, we thought renting a scooter would be the perfect adventure! Knowing we only had a day before heading back to the orphanage, we rented from Medellin Scooters for 24 hours and planned to reach a picturesque town surrounded by a massive lake called Guatape. It was a pricier activity to rent the scooter ($180,000 COP/$44 US), but we totally loved being able to take our time getting there and not having to feel constrained to a bus schedule. The cheapest option is taking a bus which would only cost you 13,000 COP + 2,000 COP at the metro station if you’re looking to save money.
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GET THERE BY SCOOTER
We left the city around 9am and made our way up the winding switchbacks to the top of the mountain range overlooking the entire city below. We found several spots to stop along the way and enjoy the incredible views all around us. Buses said it took around 2 hours to get there from Medellin; however, our journey took us about 3 hours due to stopping for pictures and asking a few times for directions.
THE VIEW AT THE TOP IS WORTH THE 700+ STEPS
Once we got into town, we went straight for what is known as El Peñol the gigantic rock that gives you a breathtaking 360 degree view of Guatape Lake. It costs about 18,000 COP/$6 US to be able to climb the 750 steps to the very top. A government project in the 1960s that flooded Antiquia with drinking water is the reason the structure of the lakes takes on such a unique look. We were told you can actually dive down to an old town at the bottom of the lake!
After several rounds of pictures at the highest point of El Peñol, we climbed back down and enjoyed a delicious Cerveza Michaelada con mango (made with a light local beer that was served with a splash of orange soda, lime, salt, and a mango inside!) and soaked up what an incredible day we had.
THE MOST COLORFUL TOWN IN COLOMBIA
After spending time at El Peñol, we decided to cruise around the area and explore the main parts of town. About 10 minutes into our ride, we came across a cute town with narrow cobbled streets lined with colorful and vibrant houses. We observed tourists and locals alike strolling the streets, eating at restaurants that bordered the lake, and experiencing various water activities such kayaking, tubing, and boating. We drove around more and fell in love with Guatape and would totally recommend spending more than a day here if you have the time!