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A Day Trip to Guatapé - A Full Guide (2023)

When planning a trip to Colombia, Medellin is on top of the list, and whenever you look up on the internet what to do in Medellin, a day trip to Guatapé will be mentioned.

A day trip to Guatapé is one of the must-dos when staying in Medellin. Are you looking forward to doing it as well? Well, here's a comprehensive guide about everything you need to know before going.

Table of Contents:

How to Get to Guatapé

Let's start with the most important question first: How do I get to Guatape?

You have three options. You can go by yourself by bus or taxi and travel independently. The other option is a guided tour. You can choose between a private or a group tour. I have chosen the guided group tour and was quite happy with my decision.

Budget Option: Public Bus from Medellin to Guatapé

Would you like to travel like a local and are on a budget? Traveling to Guatapé by bus is your option. I have not done so, but have found a great way description for it on:

Let me summarize it for you:

1. Get to Terminal Del Norte

2. Get your ticket (for 17,000 COP) at the ticket booth Number 14

3. Hop on the bus and enjoy the ride

3. Get off the bus at El Peñol and take a tuk-tuk to Guatapé or vice versa

A Tuk Tuk in Guatapé

Get from Medellin to Guatapé by Taxi:

This is probably the most independent way to plan your trip to Guatapé but the most expensive for sure! If you're choosing traditional taxis, be aware that they have a fixed price. A trip to Guatapé costs 270,000 Colombian Pesos that's around 66$ for only one way!

Hiring a driver by Uber is less expensive. The Uber app shows 250,000 COP for a one-way drive, but the other question is if you will find someone who will drive you the whole way.

I honestly would not recommend going by Taxi or Uber for two reasons:

  1. It's not sustainable to hire a driver unless you're a group that occupies all seats.

  2. It's very expensive!

However, I'm not judging you when you're doing it. I'm sure you'll have your reasons.

Guided Private Tour to Guatapé

The private tour is quite similar to the guided group tour with one exception, you're alone with your guide instead of being in a group.

Doing that is depending on your preferences and you can easily book a tour on

Guided Group Tour to Guatapé

If you're not into planning you can lean back, book this tour here, and do as told. It's what I've done while being in Medellin and yes, sitting on a bus with 40 others is touristy, but the whole trip is, no matter if you're going alone or not.

Read a full description of the tour

The guided tour starts early in the morning at 06.45 a.m. Your tour guide will message you via WhatsApp and share the meeting point within 24 hours. At 07.00 a.m. the tour starts with a bus drive and a welcome from the tour guide. The first stop will be at a restaurant, located near Guatapé, where you have Colombian breakfast. After that, you get on the bus that drives you to El Penol. After a short introduction, you're free to go. You can decide whether you want to make it on top. Next, the tour bus drives to Guatapé. Here, you can either explore the town by yourself or join the included walking tour. After that, it's time for lunch. The tour guide will ask about your preferences (chicken, beef, pork, or vegetarian) and it will be served at the same restaurant where you already had your breakfast. The last stop of the tour will be a boat tour, where you can enjoy the Guatapé's reservoir. It's time for your way back, the bus will drop you off at the same location as you got in.

In my opinion, it was a well-structured tour, with enough free time, a fun guide, and a great opportunity to meet new travelers. The bus was well-equipped with wifi, air-conditioned, and comfortable. I had nothing to complain about the tour.

Things to Do During a Day Trip in Guatapé

Okay, after we have discussed transportation ways, let's talk more about what you can do in Guatapé. There are some things to do, however, a full day is enough to experience Guatapé to its fullest. The things I'm going to mention below can be done in this exact order, or in every order you'd like to experience Guatapé

Hike up the Giant Rock El Peñol

This is probably one of the main reasons to visit Guatape - the Giant Rock called “El Peñol”.

This rock counts as one of the highest in the world and with its size of 200 meters, it undoubtedly shapes the landscape of Guatape.

The rock is located not far from the town, approximately 10 minutes away.

The entry to climb up the rock is 25,000 COP which is around 6$. Once you've bought your ticket it's your turn to get active and make your way to the top. After the 649th step, you have made it.

Enjoy the view, take your photos, and get ice cream (what surprisingly lots of locals like to do in the morning!)

Wandering around Guatape’s colorful Town

One of the main reasons why Guatapé is known as a place worth seeing (besides the giant rock) is because of its colorful painted murals, in Spanish 'zócalos'.

The paintings are on the lower parts of the buildings and showcase the hidden meanings of the residents.

For me, the best way to explore a town is by pinning all the spots on Google Maps and walking around. The chances are high that you will meet a pinned location.

Here's a list with all of my pinned locations:

  • Plazoleta de Los Zócalos

  • Parque Principal de Guatapé

  • Parroquia Nuestra Señora Del Carmen Guatape

Plazoleta de Los Zócalos

Doing a Boat Tour at Guatapé Reservoir

During the 1970s, a hydroelectric complex was constructed, and Guatapé became a prominent hub for electricity production within the nation.

Thanks to the hydroelectric complex the Guatapé Reservoir became a popular area for locals and tourists known for being surrounded by green hills and numerous small islands.

It's no surprise the rich and famous of Colombia have chosen this place to build their mansions. The scenery is the perfect getaway from the bustling city of Medellin.

💡 If you are looking for a getaway as well, there are plenty of beautiful Airbnbs to book for some relaxing days.

Besides being a great spot for spending some relaxing days, you can enjoy the scenic view on a boat. Many operators advertise it in Guatapé town, and if you've booked a tour it's probably already included. If not - a boat ride on a small boat costs roughly 100'00 COP ($ 25) or you can hop on a bigger one for 15,000 COP ($ 3.70).

During the boat ride you come across three landmarks: a cross in the water, Pablo Escobar's abandoned mansion, and the villa from Colombia's football star James Rodriguez (well, his ex-wife lives there).

Pablo Escobar's Mansion in Guatapé


No matter what type of travel you choose it's a perfect day trip in a more relaxed environment packed with history, culture, and natural beauty. A day trip worth doing!

💬 A controversial opinion of mine is that I highly recommend doing the guided group tour. My humble self enjoyed leaning back and being on a well-structured tour with who someone guided me from point A to B.

Yes, it is a touristy thing to do. However, the only advantage of doing the trip by yourself is that you choose the order of doing the activities plus choosing when. Nevertheless, Guatapé is packed with tourists and in my opinion feels almost like you're on a group tour even though you're not.

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