la piedra del peñol hikes medellin

If you drive by the town of Guatape in Colombia, it would be very hard to miss its famous rock. La Piedra del Peñol has become a huge tourist attraction, and for good reason.

Visiting the Guatape Rock is an easy day trip from Medellin. Many great tours to Guatape leave from Medellin, but you can also go on your own.

We decided to visit the town and rock on our own, and you can too!

Buses run multiple times a day to the town of Guatape from Terminal del Norte in Medellin. It can be very affordable if you only want to visit the famous rock, but there is more to do here than that!

In this guide, I will cover all the details you need to know about visiting La Piedra del Peñol and other things to do around Guatape.

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The view of the Guatape lake from the top of Piedra del Peñol or Guatape rock. It looks like the lake was started from the center and stretch out from every side.

The History of La Piedra del Peñol (Guatape Rock)

The most asked question is how many stairs you have to climb to reach the peak of La Piedra del Peñol. There are over 700 steps to the top. They are currently adding some different sections, which could vary sometime in the future.

The Guatape rock used to be a figure of worship among some indigenous tribes. It is made of granite and has a huge crack in the side. This crack was referred to as the mark from the devil who tried to take away the sacred rock many years ago.

Piedra de Guatape currently sits at around 2135 meters and you will climb 220 meters.

Interesting Facts About Guatape Town and El Penol

When arriving in this region, Google Maps will show that the rock is between Guatape and El Peñol.

There is a division between these two towns of the true owner of this huge touristic structure.

It went so far that the town of Guatape started to write its name on the side of the rock. They didn’t get too far before El Penol stepped in.

Because of this, this structure has many different names, such as Guatape Rock, Piedra de Guatape, Piedra del Peñol, and the Stone of El Peñol.

A picture of La Piedra del Peñol from Guatape lake as we were riding in a boat.

Things to Know

As you start to plan your Colombian itinerary, it’s important to know the logistics of this activity, as we all have general travel information for Colombia.

How to get to Guatape from Medellin

As I said previously, visiting the town of Guatape is extremely easy from Medellin. The buses are cheap (we paid $17,000 COP).

When in Medellin, you should go to the Terminal del Norte. This huge bus station can take you to many different places.

Find the sign that says ‘Guatape‘ at booth number 14. Here you will pay for your bus and they leave every hour. The trip will take around 2 hours.

To get to Terminal del Norte, you can take the metro to the Caribe station, which is right next to it.

Alternatively, you can take an Uber or Taxi to Guatape for around $250k pesos. This is not recommended as it is very pricey but is a viable option if traveling with multiple people.

If you are short on time, a day trip is the best option. It costs around $35 USD, and it includes transportation, a boat tour, breakfast, and lunch.

  • Bus from Terminal Del Norte ($17,000 COP)
  • Uber/Taxi (~250k pesos)

Guatape Rock Tour Costs

If you are coming from Medellin, the most popular way to visit Guatape Rock is to tour the city. This tour is only one day but will last multiple hours, so be prepared.

It includes breakfast, lunch, a boat tour, and a tour of the town. Medellin to Guatape Day Tour costs around $35.

You can find the tour through Viator with thousands of reviews or ask your hostel/hotel for good tour agencies in town.

Walking up the first of the 700 stairs to the top of la piedra del peñol.

Related Post: 9 Amazing Hikes in Medellin

How to get to La Piedra Del Peñol from Guatape Town

Once in town, getting to the famous Guatape Rock is quite easy. You can either walk, take a tuk-tuk or catch a bus.

The bus stop is along the water and can be found on Google Maps. I will pin the starting location below. We actually caught it while it was driving, and it cost us $4000 COP, but I have heard it could cost as cheap as $2000 COP.

Below, I will list the rest of the options in a format easier to read.

  • Walking (~30 minutes)
  • Tuk-Tuk (~$10,000 COP)
  • Bus (~$4000 COP)
  • Truck (~$4000 COP)

If you don’t want to trek up the road, taking a tuk-tuk is your best option. The Bus dropped us off at the gas station at the bottom of the road leading up to Guatape Rock.

Best Time to Visit

There is no truly best time to visit. The weather stays similar throughout the year, but it does tend to rain more during the months of April/May and October/November.

Colombia’s weather is highly correlated with El Nino and La Nina. Monitoring this can help predict bigger weather patterns. However, rain can generally occur on any given day throughout the year.

More Activities to do Around Medellin

Where to Stay in Guatape, Colombia

  • Lake View Hostel: This is the most popular place to stay when visiting Guatape, especially for backpackers. It has a great rooftop area overlooking the lake and the restaurant is fantastic.
  • Casa Kayam Hostal: For a more unique experience, check out Casa Kayam. This is located a few minutes away from town in the heart of nature.
  • Casa Pastora Hotel: If you’re looking for something quieter, this accommodation is for you. I’ve also heard that breakfast is one of the best in town!
la piedra del peñol

My Experience Hiking the Guatape Rock

Climbing the stairs wasn’t that bad because you could take many breaks. Along the way, there are many different views that you can stop at. It is very humid here, so wearing a breathable shirt would be smart.

There are many restaurants around the park entrance but we didn’t try any of them. I’m sure the prices are heavily inflated, but maybe the food is amazing.

Bring good walking shoes and extra cash for the top. When you reach the top, you will want to reward yourself with ice cream and maybe a souvenir.

A picture of the different restaurants and shops situated right next to the Guatape rock.

Entrance Fee

Once you arrive up the hill to La Piedra del Peñol, you can easily find where you can buy a ticket. The cost has increased slightly. I think in the past, it was $18,000 COP, but when we went, we paid $20,000 COP.

This comes out to $5 USD, which is around the same price as it has been in the past.

la piedra del peñol

How Many Steps are there on the Piedra del Peñol?

The steps might seem daunting at first glance. There are over 700 steps up to the top, but the views are so worth it. You can stop multiple times along the way if you need to.

Sometimes you are forced to stop as they let a group of people go down and then they let a group of people go up. It seemed this could be due to them doing construction work which could help fix this problem.

There is a nice viewpoint that takes you off the steps. It is around halfway up and has some statues and an amazing view.

la piedra del peñol steps
la piedra del peñol

Piedra Del Peñol View

This is what everyone comes for, myself included. The views of the lake in Guatape from here are surreal. To be honest, I’ve never seen anything like it. It seems like many different islands are scattered throughout. This would be an amazing lake to live on.

Once at the top, you will have some options for snacks (like ice cream) and souvenirs. Above the gift shop is a slightly higher viewpoint but with a lot more people. We stayed at the top for around an hour and then headed back down.

Some people stay even longer to take in the views as long as possible.

la piedra del peñol

Other Things to Do in Guatape Town

The town of Guatape has a lot more to do than visiting Piedra de Guatape. As it is a lake town, there are many water activities, such as jet skis, boat tours, waterfalls, and visiting the old town to see the beautiful streets.

A lot of activities can be found by talking to one of the tour agencies by the water along the street.

Since we didn’t go on a tour from Medellin, we decided to walk around and see what deals we could find.

Boat Tour

We took a boat tour while visiting Guatape and it was amazing. You can see many different lake houses and Pablo Escobar’s old house. His house was blown up quite a few years ago but it is still crazy.

You can either find a cheap boat ride for around $40,000 COP or take a private boat with a professional in the region.

It might seem expensive to pay for this type of tour while on a budget, but it was for sure interesting to see the different buildings and imagine what this lake used to look like.

guatape boat tour
A picture of the house that was owned by Pablo Escobar on guatape Lake. It has since been lit on fire and you can tell easily from that picture.

Explore the Town

It is also highly recommended to walk around the town of Guatape. Here you will find the famous umbrella street with colorful buildings.

There is a nice square that you can hang out in and right next to this is a beautiful church. We had some great food around this area and then returned to our hostel afterward.

There might be more nightlife going on than what we experienced. It started pouring down rain after dinner, and we bought some beers to hang out outside a convenience store.

guatape umbrellas
A picture of the red and white church in the city center of Guatape Town.

Day Trip to San Rafael

Staying for a few days in Guatape town? Looking for some more adventure? Visit the town of San Rafael, which is only 17 miles from town!

You can hike to Cascada La Samaria, a stunning waterfall in the middle of the forest, or visit La Cazuela, a natural pool.

This area is full of more adventure than you realize and Colombia makes it all easily accessible!

Final Thoughts

Experiencing the phenomenon that is La Piedra del Peñol is a must when visiting this region of Colombia. It is very doable from Medellin if you don’t want to spend multiple days here. It is very touristy so if you do come on your own I would highly suggest getting there early. Overall I would recommend you add this to your itinerary in Colombia especially if you’re visiting Medellin.