One of the most popular things to do from Medellín, Colombia is to take a side trip to Guatapé, a colourful pueblo situated 2 hours drive east of the city. The village is nestled on the banks of a large man-made lake, created when the government flooded the surrounding land to build a hydro-electric dam in the '70’s.
Guatapé is unique for the two dimensional reliefs painted in bright colours along the lower walls of the buildings. The images are believed to depict the profession / products of a shop, the cultural heritage of the community or beliefs of its resident ... and some left us, well, just a little bemused!
As scenic as the lake setting of the village is, Guatapé’s main claim to fame is nearby Piedra del Peñol, simply referred to as 'The Rock'. It was around mid-afternoon when we decided to tackle 'The Rock', so we hailed one of the brightly embellished tuc-tuc’s and sped away along the winding road toward the entrance - we were both surprised how fast the tuc-tucs can go for a little 3 wheeler!
Standing at the foot of the 650 step staircase and looking up, we realised what an imposing natural phenomenon 'The Rock' really was. Some locals believe it’s a meteorite from outer space, but whatever the truth of its origin, the 200m climb to the top looked like a seriously good workout!
Upon reaching the top we were rewarded with (literally) breathtaking 360° views of the lake and surrounding countryside.
One advantage of traveling mid-week and out of season was that there was hardly anyone at the summit, so we settled in for a couple of cervezas and held out hopes for a memorable sunset. While a spectacular sunset didn't quite materialise for us, the panoramic views were still well worth the climb ...