As you begin your ascent up the modestly named La Piedra (or the Rock), a sign boasts that the view of Guatape from the top is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the world. Curb your skepticism for a moment -- once you make your way to the top of the more than seven hundred stairs and see the beauty that Guatape has to offer, you cannot fail to agree with this bold statement. The steps are not as challenging to climb as they sound, and on the ascent you are rewarded by incredible views of the blue lakes, islands and mountains with a three-hundred-sixty-degree panorama. Back at the bottom, there are a number of restaurants and souvenir shops offering local handmade trinkets for affordable prices.
A short, fifteen-minute tuk-tuk ride away is the delightful town of Guatape itself, where the hostels are located. The town in recent years has become almost totally dependent on tourism, and you will be hounded by local restaurant owners on your way to your Guatape hostel. If you ignore this mild nuisance, you will be rewarded by beautiful architecture of this quaint little village next to the lake. Guatape is nothing if not original, with all the buildings painted in vibrant colours, with paintings on each building denoting the profession of the people that live there.
Guatape would warrant a trip in its own right if it were in a dark, secluded part of the country. In spite of this, it is easily done as a daytrip from Medellín, which is only two hours away by bus, or one-and-a-half hours away by taxi. Most hostels offer trips here but it is simple to do on your own for a fraction of the cost by taking the Metro to station Caribe, where buses leave every hour from the Terminal del Norte.
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