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La Piedra del Peñol - Guatapé

Guatapé, Antioquia
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El Peñón de Guatapé​


8am - 6pm

Table of Contents

Climb 740 steps to the top for breathtaking panoramic views

La Piedra del Peñol, also known as El Peñol Rock or simply La Piedra, is a massive granite rock located near the town of Guatapé, in the department of Antioquia, Colombia. The rock stands at an impressive height of 740 feet (226 meters) and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
The rock is considered a natural wonder and is a popular tourist destination in Colombia. It is believed to have formed around 70 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, and is made up primarily of granite.
The summit of La Piedra del Peñol can be reached by a 700-step staircase that was built in the 1950s. Climbing the stairs to the top of the rock is a challenging but rewarding experience, as the views from the top are truly spectacular. From the summit, visitors can see the beautiful Guatapé Reservoir and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also take boat rides around the rock to enjoy its beauty from a different perspective.
La Piedra del Peñol is also an important part of the local culture and history. The town of Guatapé is known for its brightly colored houses, and the rock is an iconic symbol of the area. There are several legends and stories associated with the rock, including one that tells of a giant who lived on top of the rock and would cause earthquakes and landslides when he was angry.
In conclusion, La Piedra del Peñol is a natural wonder that offers visitors stunning views, exciting outdoor activities, and a glimpse into the local culture and history. It is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Colombia.

The history of tourism at La Piedra del Peñol

La Piedra del Peñol has been a popular tourist destination for many years, but the history of tourism at the rock can be traced back to the early 20th century. The first recorded ascent of the rock was made by a group of explorers in the 1920s, and the rock’s impressive size and unique shape quickly caught the attention of tourists and adventurers.
In the 1950s, a staircase was built to the top of the rock, making it more accessible to visitors. This was a turning point for tourism at La Piedra del Peñol, as it allowed more people to climb to the top and enjoy the spectacular views. The construction of the staircase also helped to boost the local economy, as it brought more visitors to the area and provided jobs for the local community.
As tourism at the rock grew, so did the development of the surrounding area. The construction of the Guatapé Reservoir in the 1970s further increased the popularity of the rock as a tourist destination. The reservoir created a beautiful lake that surrounded the rock and provided an additional attraction for visitors. The reservoir also provided opportunities for water sports and other activities, making the area even more appealing to tourists.
The rock’s popularity has continued to grow in recent years, with an increasing number of tourists visiting from around the world. The surrounding area’s colorful houses, beautiful lake and the local culture and history also contribute to the popularity of La Piedra del Peñol as a tourist destination.
La Piedra del Peñol formed through a process called plutonism. Plutonism is the geological process in which magma, which is molten rock beneath the Earth’s surface, cools and solidifies to form igneous rock. In the case of La Piedra del Peñol, it is believed that the rock formed from a large body of magma that cooled and solidified deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Over time, due to tectonic movements, this rock was brought closer to the surface and exposed, eventually becoming the large granite rock formation we see today.
It’s also believed that the rock has undergone a process of erosion and weathering over time, which have helped shape its unique appearance, including the stair-step-like features on its surface, which are a result of the different cooling rates of the magma as it solidified.
Overall, La Piedra del Peñol’s history of tourism can be attributed to its natural beauty and accessibility, as well as the development of the surrounding area, making it a must-see destination for visitors to Colombia.

Climbing the Peñol Rock

Climbing La Piedra del Peñol is a somewhat challenging but rewarding experience. To reach the top of the rock, visitors must climb a staircase that consists of 659 steps. The climb is strenuous, but the views from the top are well worth the effort.
Before climbing, visitors should wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring water and snacks. It’s also recommended to wear a hat and sunscreen as there is little shade on the way up.
The staircase starts at the base of the rock and winds its way to the top. Along the way, there are several viewpoints that offer great views of the surrounding area. It takes around 15 to 30 minutes to reach the summit, depending on the individual’s pace.
Once at the top, visitors will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Guatapé Reservoir and the surrounding mountains. The summit also features a lookout tower that provides an even better view of the area. Visitors can also find a restaurant and a souvenir shop on the top.

Why is there graffiti on the rock?

The large graffiti letters that spell “GI” on La Piedra del Peñol are believed to stand for “Guatapé Independiente” (Independent Guatapé). The letters have become a symbol of a long-standing territorial dispute between the towns of Guatapé and El Peñol, which are located near the rock.
The dispute dates back to the early 20th century and centers around the question of which town has the right to claim La Piedra del Peñol as its own. The town of Guatapé claims that the rock is located within its municipality and therefore should be considered a part of Guatapé. On the other hand, the town of El Peñol claims that the rock is located on the border between the two towns and should be considered a shared resource.
The dispute has led to a number of incidents over the years, including disputes over the management of the rock and the revenue generated by tourism. The graffiti “GI” is often seen as a way for residents of Guatapé to assert their claim to the rock and to assert their town’s independence from El Peñol.
In recent years, the dispute has largely been resolved and the two towns have worked together to promote tourism to the area and to manage the rock. Nonetheless, the graffiti letters “GI” remain a reminder of the past dispute.

Getting Something To Eat

There are several options for food and drink near La Piedra del Peñol.
One option is to visit the restaurants in the town of Guatapé, which is located near the rock. Guatapé is known for its traditional Colombian cuisine, and visitors can find a variety of local dishes such as bandeja paisa, a dish that typically includes grilled meat, beans, rice, avocado, and plantain. Additionally, visitors can find seafood, grilled chicken, and arepas (a type of Colombian corn cakes) in the town.
Another option is to bring a picnic and enjoy it on the top of the rock. Visitors can bring snacks and sandwiches, as well as a water bottle to stay hydrated during the climb.
There are also small kiosks and souvenir shops near the base of the rock that sell snacks, sandwiches, and drinks. Visitors can buy water, soft drinks, and fruit juices as well as traditional Colombian snacks such as churros and “empanadas”.
At the bottom of the rock you have numerous restaurants selling typical Colombian food. There’s a couple restaurants that have amazing views of the lakes while you’re eating.

Location Hours & Fees

Monday to Sunday from 8:00am to 6pm
Admission Fee: 20 mil per person
Parking Cars: 8 mil
Parking Buses: 10 mil

There is a fee to climb La Piedra del Peñol. The fee is used for the maintenance of the rock and the surrounding area, as well as for the construction of new facilities and improvements to the existing ones.
It’s worth noting that the fee is a one-time charge that allows visitors to climb the rock as many times as they want during the day of their visit.

Getting There & Parking

Taxi: It is possible to take a Taxi to Penol, A taxi ride from Medellin to Penol, would typically take around 2 hours and cost around COP 150,000 to COP 200,000. Which equals to around 40 to 50 US dollars.

From Rio Negro Airport: If you want to go straight to La Piedra del Peñol from the airport. You would need to take the the bus to Rio Negro and then take the Taxi to Belen Bridge coming in to Medellin. and then take the bus from Belen Bridge to Guatape. It’s about 1 hour trip from Jose Maria Cordova International Airport.

Bus North Terminal: Go to North Terminal (Terminal Norte) You will find buses that go directly to Guatape the bus ticket is around $14 mil. The bus trip from Medellin to Guatape is roughly 2 hours.

Bus South Terminal: Is most affordable option is to take a bus from Medellin to the town of Guatapé, where the rock is located. Buses depart from the Terminal del Sur in Medellin and take about 2 hours to reach Guatapé. Once in Guatapé, visitors can take a taxi or walk to the base of the rock.

Car: Renting a car and drive from Medellin to Peñol Guatapé. The drive takes around 2 hours and offers beautiful views of the countryside. Visitors can park their car near the base of the rock and start the climb, be sure to get there early because parking can fill up quickly. Renting a car provides you flexibility to explore while traveling to or from Guatape without the need of waiting for Taxi or Bus.

Private Driver: It’s about the same as renting a car, but you have someone that is knowledgeable of the area and route to Peñol Guatapé. You will have the same flexibility of exploring near by towns and stopping at different places and taking photos. The price varies based on the driver and vehicle size.