Peñol-Guatapé, Colombia – Colombian sugarloaf

A reservoir for the supply of energy of the big city – this is Embalse del Peñol-Guatapé, 50 km / 30 mi west of Medellin, but even more. Recreational and water sports pleasures of different kinds are offered. The Peñon de Guatapé or Piedra del Peñol as it is also called is accordingly commercialized, but worth visiting on quieter weekdays. The 220 m / 720 ft high monolith that reminds of Rio de Janeiro’s sugarloaf peaks visibly out. In a cliff fold a stairway with 679 steps was built to climb the mountain of granite, quartz and feldspar. From down the stairs seems awe-inspiring, especially since we are above 2,000 m / 6,600 ft. In the end we are faster on the top than expected, from where we have a marvellous view to the model railway landscape with the odd reservoir where hundreds of islands look out. Most visitors don’t ascend but are contended with visiting the souvenir shops and restaurants where they can take to the floor with local music. Spending the night is unlike the past years unfortunately not possible any more (N 06°13’18.9’’ W 75°10’44.5’’, parking 4.000 COP, mountain climb 8.000 COP pp).

There are some more spots in town where we aren’t welcome to camp – an experience that seems to by kind of typical for this country. People who know the place well send us to the other end of Guatapé where a camping area is located. The town itself is very pretty in paisa style. The houses especially along the lakeside promenade malecón have shaped painted plinths with flower, animal, or toy themes. The tradition of the colourful designed houses originally should keep hens from picking at the base courses and kids from scribbling them. A street to the right just behind the bridge that adjoins the malecón leads to the small campground where tenting is intended. But we fit in, pay 10.000 Peso (5,50 $) and get a beautiful view to the lake and Peñon de Guatapé (N 06°14’06.7’’ W 75°09’13.5’’).

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