After spending 3 days on the road driving south we arrived in Guatape, which is famous of the vast granite monolith Piedra del Peñol, that is possible to climb. It is not about the climb itself, but the view is amazing. The fantastic landscape is believed to be the product of a volcanic eruption. In the 1970s, the area was dammed, and the view from the rock changed: It now overlooks a dramatic series of lakes and islands, which is the view you can see today. Part of Guatape was flooded in 1970 due to the dam. The lake that was created now generates much of the regions power.
Esben’s panoramic photo of the view at the top of Piedra del Peñol
The Piedra del Peñol is 200 meters high and is located 2137 meter above sea level. The weight is estimated to be 66 million tons. The Piedra del Peñol contains granite, quartz and feldspar. The waters surrounding the Piedra del Peñol come from the river Nare. The rock was first climbed officially on July 16th 1954 by Luis Villegas Lopez, Ramon Diaz and Pedro Nel Ramirez. Climbing the huge stone took five days, but the top of the rock revealed beautiful views and a new species of plant, Pitcairma heterophila.
To get to the top we had to climb the 659 steps of the brick-and-mortar staircase.
On the decent it is mandatory to walk through the souvenir shops… and I found the WORST souvenir ever (right picture)!
The Piedra del Peñol is totally worth a visit, just because of the view. The Piedra del Peñol stands like a symbol of the region and can be seen from miles away.
We also spend some time in Guatape walking around the street enjoying the many houses, that are decorated with zocalos (colorful concrete bas-relief scenes). They were originally designed to prevent chickens pecking at the walls, and to stop children chipping away at the buildings with ball games. It is the only town in Columbia were we have seen the zocalos, and they are very beautiful and well maintained.
Take a close look at the zocalos…
Take an extra close look at the zocalos…
The zocalos referring to the local stores (here a bakery) or the local handcraft (upper pictures)
Guatape is a colorful and beautiful town
It is not only the town that is colorful, check out this Tuk tuk
At the time we were visiting Guatape, the annual festival “Feria de las flores” was about to start in Medellin. The festival is famous for the Desfile de Silleteros, when up to 400 campesinos (peasants) come from the mountains to parade a long the streets with flowers in their backs.
This is flower decorations for the parade displayed in Guatape
And seen from behind, you can see the straps for carrying the flower decoration. The straps doesn’t look comfortable
During our visit in the area of Guatape we stayed at Lifebreak Finca – learn more about the local life at Lifebreak Finca in the next post.