Colombia is known as the birthplace of magical realism; not only because it is Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel García Márquez’s homeland, but also because of its dazzling landscapes that will surely take your breath away more than once. There is no need to empty your wallet to enjoy an amazing day trip to Guatapé, where you will find one of the biggest monoliths in the world: the Peñón de Guatapé. If you are brave enough to climb the more than 725 steps it takes to get to the top, your hard effort will be rewarded with magical views! If you have a limited budget but you still want a relaxing and adventurous weekend getaway, don’t hesitate to visit Guatapé.
A road full of curves and Colombian food
On the two-hour ride from Medellín to Guatapé you will probably get hungry, so why not stop for a while and try some traditional Colombian cuisine in the food stands that are just beside the highway? This dining experience will be one of the fastest and cheapest you’ll ever experience! Take the chance to try the famous “colombian arepas” which are circular appetizers made from ground dough or corn flour. They can be fried or grilled and prepared with different types of fillings. You can also try the roasted cod or, if you want something sweeter, you can try the Colombian-style fried bananas. If you are a curious traveler, there will be no problem for you to see how they prepare your food. You might even be invited to participate in the process!
Climb the huge rock and be rewarded at the top
This is the part where you’ll regret not being in great shape (if you aren’t already!). The first two hundred or so steps are relatively easy: you start with tons of energy and an untouchable motivation. After you get to the four hundred steps mark, you are going to start wondering why you didn’t stay down eating more arepas with the older folks. If you start feeling hopeless, you can sit on the stairs and rest for a bit. To get your motivation back, you can admire the landscape and imagine just how good it will get once you reach the top. You’ll also find that you are not the only one stopping to rest! You’ll know you are close to the top when you find a small gift shop where you can spend some time choosing a nice souvenir for your loved ones. The access to the rock costs no more than 12,000 COP (Approximately 3.6 USD). Very cheap isn’t it?
A landscape worth photographing
Once you reach the top, you’ll forget about your aching lungs and legs. Most of the landscape is covered by water, but surprisingly it wasn’t until 1970 when public enterprises from Medellín flooded the area to build a hydroelectric complex. Although the landscape was not naturally created, it steals the attention of thousands of tourists each year. Feel free to buy something to drink and relax for a while, I assure you that the descent will be nothing compared to the climb.
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Get to know the town
If you are not into rock climbing, there are other activities you can do as well. You can take a scenic boat tour from 12000 COP (approximately 3.6 USD), which is another perfect way to spend the day (and a very romantic one too!). You can also book a trip to the hidden waterfalls, practice your fishing, go horseback riding, or simply walk around the picturesque town and take photos of the colorful houses! You can also try many Colombian dishes, as there are many restaurants where you can find delicious food from 15000 COP (approximately 4.6 USD). You should definitively try (and buy) Colombian coffee, which is generally regarded as one of the best coffees in the world.
A weekend getaway you will never forget
Why not change your fast paced lifestyle for the peace and serenity of this place? Such natural views are not something you come across every day. Visit Guatapé and immerse yourself in the the magical realism that Colombia can offer!
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