GUATAPÉ: SO CLOSE TO THE CITY, YET SO DIFFERENT FROM CITY LIFE

It was warm but not hot when we were there. Pants, comfortable walking shoes and a t shirt were appropriate but if you are hiking in the heat of the day shorts may be a better choice…

Where:

Piedra del Penol is located  about 2-2.5 hours outside of Medellín in Guatape, Antioquia

What:

It was warm but not hot when we were there. Pants, comfortable walking shoes and a t shirt were appropriate but if you are hiking in the heat of the day shorts may be a better choice. I would recommend carrying a small pack with water, a raincoat, and of course a camera.

When:

Open 7 days a week and year round. Pro tip: It is best to hike early in the day because the clouds tend to roll in throughout the afternoon…also no crowds but shhh.

Why:

Usually to earn a view like this a full day of hiking through rough terrain is required. This is not the case at La Piedra. The simplicity and accessibility of this “hike” in relation to the “best view in the world” make this a no brainer for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

More:

It took less than an hour to get up and though arduous at times, La Piedra is by no means is a hard hike. You will be on the staircase the whole time and there were plenty of children completing the trek. The ride to Guatape from Medellín is easy but nothing to be scoffed at. Traversing in car through the city traffic in el centro followed by the residential area of Bello was a great way to see other parts of the city. As we approach the highway, we start gaining altitude….and quickly. I feel my ears popping as the high rises in El Poblado look smaller and smaller. Soon we enter a tunnel, and upon exiting the city is out of sight. Rolling hills, blue skies and green grass replace concrete jungle.  Hard to believe that less than a half hour it was bumper on bumper with moto-delivery men shooting the gaps. I doze off the rest of the ride and nurse my lingering hangover from the legendary Parque Lleras nightlife the night before. I can tell the aguardiente is still in my veins and a reggae tone beat is stuck in my head. We finish the last bit of dirt road and are in the parking lot for La Piedra del Penol. This thing is bigger than I expected. Guatape As an out of shape, but somewhat athletic male in my twenties I tell the girls that I’m not worried about the ascent but am thinking quietly about if I have what it takes. They decide to grab drinks at the base as me and a colleague buy our tickets to climb. Piedra del Penol is 722 feet high and straight up. It’s an absolutely stunning monolith perched on a hill overlooking Lake Guatape. I start my ascent. The stairs are numbered and I hear someone coming down saying 659. I look down and see 125… out of breath and not even ¼ of the way up. With calves burning and sweat on my brow I summit the monolith. It wasn’t that bad at all and as I do a 180 to see the view of Lake Guatape my jaw drops. Dark blue water with shamrock green islands dot the coast as far as the eye can see. It truly is a remarkable view and well worth the 659 steps. We pop the caps off two seemingly deserved beers and I let out a long sigh. The sun is hot, the beer is cold and I can’t decide which is more beautiful; the women or the view. We descend the monolith after a cold one and I enjoy the way down far more than I enjoy the way up. Not only because it is easier but because I soak in the view for each one of my 659 steps. As it turns out I did have what it takes and it was well worth it.  For the view I earned the sun I basked in, I would have climbed twice as many stairs. Rarely in life is anything this remarkable attained with such little effort.