Guatapé, a magical place

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Colombia

With only a 2 hours’ drive from Medellin we arrived at the Hostal El Encuentro. Nicely situated at the lake and only a five minute stroll from town it was a perfect retreat. The small town had a special flair with its three-dimensional pictures on the houses. We have never seen something like this before and we fell in love with this extraordinary place.

We were just in time for the „XIII Encuentro Nacional de Caminantes“, which is a yearly hiking festival. People from all over the country and even from Venezuela come to join hiking tours. So we found ourselves in street parades and clots of people enjoying nature and chatting with us happily.

For sure we had to do the hike around part of the lake and climb the El Peñol de Guatapé, a big monolith poking out of the landscape. From here we had a breathtaking view over the artificial lake. The dam which created the lake, formed small islands and peninsulas the far your eyes can see. This was an astonishing place and the people here were so hearty and friendly.

We were actually very surprised when people in buses and the metro got up for women with children and older persons. Colombia is so clean since they even recycle. This is weird after seeing Central America – Costa Rica is an exception - where the folks just chuck trash out of the bus all the time.

The police we asked for the way were so curious about us they stopped and we had a longer chat. They gave us some information flyers about the different hikes and wished us a pleasant stay. We enjoyed Guatapé so much we could have stayed longer but the World Cup is pressing.

But not before we go and have a party. So we went out with Greg and Vanessa from the hostel and ended up with 7 or 8 shots of Tequila, dancing to some Salsa, Reggae and Techno mix. With 8 Tequilas – who really counts - in the system the dancing moves became more Columbian – that’s what we at least thought.

With a short night we left for Pereira, luckily only a 5 hours bus ride. We stayed one night in Pereira and found a street stall with many people. The hamburger was just great and we found a good night’s rest at the nice and clean Home Sweet Hostal. Than we were off towards Salento.

Accommodation: Home Sweet Hostal, Pereira

Price: COP 22 000 per person, 6 bed dorm, shared bathroom, WiFi, kitchen

Comment: nice, clean hostel with great food stalls close by and super friendly staff

Accommodation: Hostal El Encuentro, Guatapé

Price: COP 25 000 per person, 4 bed dorm, shared bathroom, WiFi, kitchen

Comment: just 5 minutes’ walk from Guatapé with a fantastic view onto the lake. The dorm “Agua”
                   was very small.