Medellin to Guatape – How To Get There & 15 Best Things To Do

Wondering how to get from Medellin to Guatape?

Guatape. A Picturesque town, relatively close to Medellin. Known for its large rock with great views, this colourful town is frequently visited by travellers.

There is so much to do and see in Guatape, most people wonder if it’s worth staying for more than one day. More on that later, let’s find out how to get there first.

Short on time? Book your trip here:

🚌 Day Trip to Guatape from Medellin

📱 Grab a travel eSim and arrive with data!

Where is Guatape Colombia?

Guatape is only 2 hours away from the vibrant Medellin. There are multiple options for getting there, but generally, they all follow the same route.

How To Get From Medellin To Guatape

Getting to Guatape is not hard. However, there are multiple ways of doing so. I’ll go over all the ways of getting from Medellin to Guatape, to give you a thorough explanation of making the journey.

The Journey by Bus

Taking a bus from Medellin to Guatape is quite straightforward. Buses go every half hour from 6 am till 6 pm.

I’ll give you an in-depth guide on how to take the bus from Medellin to Guatape:

one of the buses that take you from medellin to guatape parket at guatape bus station

Step 1: Head to Terminal Norte

Take a taxi or Uber to the north bus terminal. There are two bus terminals in Medellin, so make sure you don’t accidentally head to Terminal Del Sur.

Alternatively, take metro line A, the blue line, to Caribe station.

Step 2: Find ticket booth #14

Once you arrive, head down to the ground floor of the bus terminal. There you will find all the different ticket booths. The one you’ll need is ticket booth 14. They’re all numbered, so it should be easy to find.

If you can’t find it, ask any staff member for the bus to Guatape and they’ll point you in the right direction.

A bus ticket costs COP $19,000 one-way, about $4.25 at the time of writing.

Step 3: Find your bus

The lady in the ticket booth pointed us in the right direction for the bus. But check your ticket for ‘rampa’, which is the gate of departure and head down to the buses just outside, behind the ticket desks.

If you’re carrying a large backpack, hand it off to the person stowing them into the cargo holds of the bus, and hop on!

Check your bus ticket for your “puesta”, which is your seat number. When we got on they were quite strict, even though none of the passengers actually cared.

What to expect

The last stretch of the bus journey was quite windy. If you’re prone to travel or motion sickness, grab some Dramamine from a pharmacy before you leave Medellin.

The bus itself was not very big, but quite comfortable. It will stop along the way for anyone heading in the direction of Guatape, so be prepared for people standing in the aisle when it gets full.

It’s also quite usual for buskers to hop on and perform a song for everyone. You don’t have to tip them if you don’t want to.

Optional: Get Off At La Piedra Del Peñol

On the way to Guatape, the bus will stop at the famous Guatape Rock, La Piedra Del Peñol. It’s possible to get off there straight away and enjoy the fantastic views from the top. However, this is only viable for day-trippers, since there is nowhere to store luggage at the site.

Step 4: Arrive in Guatape

After the bus passed the rock, you’ll stop at Terminal de los Buses in Guatape. Get off the bus, grab your luggage, and head into town.

There are tuk-tuks (moto-taxis) waiting at the bus stop to take you to your hotel if you want. It’s worth mentioning that these have set prices, which is quite handy if you don’t like negotiating. Just make sure they don’t try to take advantage, which means not paying any more than COP $10,000.

In my experience, they don’t try to do this.

By Taxi

Another way of getting from Medellin to Guatape is by taxi or Uber. Be advised, Uber and taxi drivers may be reluctant for the journey, since it’s relatively far from Medellin.

However, we’ve met people who had done this, and they paid COP $270,000, or around $60 USD at the time of writing. (12th of May 2023)

This should be a fixed rate, which makes things easier. You won’t have to negotiate.

We got quoted COP $175,000 with Uber. Which is just under $40 at today’s exchange rate.

Organised Day Trip

The most popular way of getting from Medellin to Guatape is by Day Tour. If you’re short on time this is the best way of visiting Guatape.

You’ll be taken to Guatape by organised bus, dropped off at La Piedra Del Peñol, and taken to the town after. Often lunch and a boat trip on the lake are included.

This is the easiest, best way to see Guatape in a day!

⭐️ Explore Guatape and La Piedra Del Peñol in a day with this trip!

el piedra del peñol, with the 649 visible along the side, as seen from the car park

Drive yourself

Another option is to drive yourself. But be warned, Colombian traffic is chaotic.

I advise you not to do this if you’re inexperienced with South American traffic. It’s also quite an expensive option, and you do not need a car in Guatape at all.

The way back

If you’ve opted for the day tour, you won’t need to worry about getting back. But if you’ve taken the public bus, this is how to get back to Medellin:

Head to the bus stop

The bus stop in Guatape, where you’ve been dropped off, is where the buses leave from back to Guatape. You’ll find a ticket booth that sells tickets for the same price of COP $19.000.

The LAST bus leaves for Medellin at 5.30 pm. Buses back also go every half hour.

Although we didn’t, I advise you to book tickets in advance to make sure you have a seat on the bus you want to take. We didn’t and just got on and paid on the bus, but the bus can be full sometimes, making you stand the whole way to Medellin.

Luckily, we had seats and headed back to Medellin Terminal Norte.

How much does it cost to go to Guatape?

To make life a little easier, here are all the prices I’ve mentioned before:

  • By bus: COP $38,000, $8.35 for a round trip
  • By taxi: COP $270,000, $60 for a one-way trip
  • By Uber: COP $175,000, $39 for a one-way trip
  • By Day Tour: Around $70 for a full day, including lunch and a boat trip
the view from guatape rock, with the 'islands' and the lake

How Long Do You Need in Guatape

Some people visit Guatape for a day. But I don’t think that’s enough! It’s great if you’re short on time or have an already set schedule. But for longer trips, you should consider spending at least 2 nights in this beautiful town.

A day trip is plenty to take a short boat trip on the lake and enjoy the view from the rock. But there’s a lot more to do in Guatape. Which won’t fit in a single day.

Where to Stay

Hopefully, you’ve decided to stay more than one day in Guatape. Which means you need a place to stay! There are many great options in Guatape, here are my recommendations:

📍 Budget option: Finca-hotel Montecarlo

We stayed at Finca-hotel Montecarlo. This small hotel has only got a handful of rooms. It’s only a few minutes outside Guatape with a stunning view of La Piedra Del Peñol.

Montecarlo was the quietest hotel we’ve experienced in our 6 months of travel before then. It’s affordable, has warm showers, is clean, and has a kitchen to use if you’d like to cook for yourself.

👉 Book this quiet, comfortable hotel here!

📍 Mid-class option: La Madriguera

Just across the road from Finca-Hotel Montecarlo lies La Madriguera. Just as quiet, but with a better view and therefore slightly more expensive, but still quite affordable.

They offer breakfast, which is something Montecarlo doesn’t. They also offer kayaks for COP $40.000, about $8.75, per 4 hours.

👉 Enjoy the stunning views of the lake and rock from the garden at La Madriguera!

📍 High-end option: BubbleSky Glamping Guatapé

The best quirky spot in Guatape. These ‘bubbles’ offer a stunning view of the area, all while being secluded by dense vegetation.

They even offer hot tubs to finish off the luxury feeling.

👉 Get yourself into an oasis of peace with these unique bubbles!

Is Guatape Worth Visiting?

Guatape is ABSOLUTELY worth visiting. This wonderful and colourful town offers great restaurants, stunning views of the lake, and not to forget, the unique La Piedra Del Peñol.

Even for just a day, Guatape is worth visiting.

tuk-tuks parked on the main square of guatape

Weather in Guatape & Best Time To Visit

The weather is similar to Medellin with a little bit more rain, so bring a raincoat!

The best months to visit are December to January and June to September. There are the dryest and warmest months, with average temperatures of 24°C to 27°C, which is 75°F to 80°F.

You can expect some rain during these months, but usually not for long.

Is Guatape Safe?

Guatape is considered to be safe. Unlike Medellin, where you should avoid certain areas, you’re free to walk around Guatape and the neighbouring countryside.

But, as goes for all travel, it’s wise to take precautions anyway. Don’t walk alone at night, don’t use your phone outside if you don’t have to, and don’t flash your cash and other valuables.

15 Best Things to Do in Guatape

Once you have arrived in Guatape, dive right in and enjoy the picturesque town with these 15 best things to do!

1. La Piedra Del Peñol

The main reason people visit Guatape is this massive, famous rock is the highlight of Guatape.

From the park, take a tuk-tuk all the way up to La Piedra Del Peñol for a set price of COP $15,000.

Head your way to the ticket office, grab your entry ticket for COP $20,000 ($4.36), and make your way up via the 649 steps.

Enjoy the view!

2. Watch the locals play a soccer match

Guatape has a full soccer pitch, often in use by teams playing matches.

It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. Watching the teams play with other locals.

a colourful street in Guatape

3. Chocolate workshop

At Cuscun Colombia, in town, you can follow a chocolate-making workshop.

Learn about the whole process, from growing cacao to munching on the brown gold.

4. Mountainbiking

Another popular thing to do in Guatape is mountain biking. Most trails are easy to follow, so you can rent a bike and head out. It’s also possible to take a guided tour if you’re inexperienced.

5. Have a meal on the Yate Majestic

This oddly shaped boat is home to one of the better restaurants in Guatape. Be sure to make a reservation in advance!

6. Kayak

Kayaking on the reservoir is also very popular. Kayaks are available from the boulevard, and many lakeside hotels rent them out.

7. Hike to Mirador de Luis

A great viewpoint to see the town and the rock in the distance. Only a short walk outside of the centre of Guatape.

8. Take a boat trip on the lake

If you walk along the boulevard, you’ll be bombarded with people selling boat trips. These trips take you out onto the lake and offer great views of the area.

They mostly have the same prices, but ask a couple of people to be sure.

9. Jetski

These same people will also offer jet skis. Which is great fun!

10. Visit the Casa Amarilla Art Gallery

A great little art studio with different pieces.

11. Check out the Church in the main park

A pretty building from inside and out, worth checking out!

12. Enjoy the umbrella street

If you Google Guatape, you’ll definitely find pictures of this street. A quite common theme in Colombia, because this is also found in Cartagena.

Wondering about Cartagena? I wrote a post comparing the two most popular cities in Colombia.

the famous colourful umbrella street of guatape

13. Visit the ‘Memory Street’ – Calle de Recuerdo

A little backstory: Guatape was founded in 1811. Back then, the lake didn’t exist. A large hydroelectric plant was built in the 70s, trapping the water in what is now the lake.

Unfortunately, because of this, some villages were flooded and forever gone. Calle de Recuerdo remembers this history.

14. Join a Free Walking Tour

‘Free’ walking tours are the best way of quickly learning the history of an area. We always join these wherever we are!

With ‘free’ tours you’re expected to tip, but the amount is up to you.

15. Shop at the Artisinal Boutique shops

Guatape is FULL of little artistic shops. You can spend a whole day just checking these out. That might be a little much, but a few hours is definitely fun!

Guatape 1-Day Itinerary

Assuming you’re not taking an organised trip:

Take the public bus to Guatape at 8 am to arrive at 10 am. Get off at La Piedra Del Peñol. You can walk up to the entrance from here, but since it’s quite steep, you can also take a tuk-tuk for COP $5,000 ($1.09).

You’ll probably spend around 2 hours here, so once you’ve had enough of the stunning view, head back down and grab a tuk-tuk to Guatape for COP $15,000 ($3.27)

From the park, walk down the street that goes past the left of the church. Enjoy the beautifully coloured buildings. This street is full of restaurants, so this is a good place to grab lunch too.

By walking down this street, you’ll pass the famous umbrella street.

Head down to the lake and rent a jet ski, go on a boat trip, or do anything else on the pretty lake.

After spending a few hours on the lake, head back to the park, but now take the street on the right of the church. Here you will find lots of artisanal shops.

The last bus to Medellin leaves at 17.30, so I’d recommend taking 1 or 2 buses earlier, in case they’re full. 16.30 or 17.00.

a man walking down one of the many colourful streets in guatape

Medellin to Guatape – FAQs

I tried to be as thorough as possible, but it’s possible you’re wondering about some other things. These are the frequently asked questions I came across:

How far is Guatape from Medellin?

Going from Medellin to Guatape should take about 2 hours. If you’re driving yourself or taking private transport instead of the bus, you’ll probably be a lot quicker.

We left Medellin during rush hour, and the journey took us 2 hours and 15 minutes.

What is the easiest way for a day trip to Guatape?

The easiest way of visiting Guatape from Medellin in a day is by day tour. You can book one here!

What is the cheapest way to get to Guatape?

Travelling from Medellin to Guatape by public bus is BY FAR the cheapest option!

You’ll pay just under $9 for a round trip.

How to read a Colombian bus ticket?

There are a few bits of information on the bus tickets that are of use:

  • Rampa: this is the ‘gate’ your bus leaves from.
  • Puesta: your seat number
  • Silla: this is another word for ‘seat’.
  • Vehículo: the number of the bus. It is usually displayed on the front or side.

How long is the bus ride from Medellin to Guatape?

The bus ride takes about 2 hours. However, during rush hour it can take up to 2,5 hours.

How long does it take to climb Guatape Rock?

Depending on your fitness level, climbing the 649 steps from bottom to top will take you 15 to 25 minutes.

How much does it cost to climb Guatape Rock?

Going from Guatape to the rock and back by tuk-tuk costs COP $30,000 ($6.58).

An entry ticket to climb to the rock is COP $15,000 ($3.28).

How to get to Guatape Rock?

From Medellin, the best way to get to the rock is by public bus. This will cost you COP $38.000 ($8.35) for a round trip.

From Guatape, the easiest way is to take a tuk-tuk from the park. A round trip will cost COP $30,000 ($6.58)

a view of the restaurants around the park in guatape

Do I need a car in Guatape?

You do not need a car in Guatape. The town is only small, so very much walkable.

If you’d like to explore the surrounding area, take a tuk-tuk, or rent a bicycle, scooter or motorbike.

Should you stay overnight in Guatape?

The opinions vary on this, but I’d say yes. You should stay overnight in Guatape.

There are some amazing, stunning, and quiet accommodation types for different budgets.

Not to forget a load of different things to do that won’t fit in a single day!

Are there ATMs in Guatape?

There are multiple ATMs in Guatape. Some around the park near the church, and one down by the bus terminal.

Most places also accept cards, so don’t worry about running out of cash!

Which is better, Guatape or Salento?

Both of these villages are great for different reasons. If you have the time, I highly recommend visiting Salento!

Salento is known for the massive palm trees in the nearby valley and is just as colourful as Guatape.

Medellin to Guatape – Final Thoughts

There are 4 great options to get to Guatape. Public bus, organised tour, taxi, and driving yourself.

If you’re on a tight budget, the bus is the cheapest option.

Overall, Guatape is a great place to visit and spend some time. Or even multiple days!