Day Tripping in Guatape : 10 Places You Can’t Afford to Miss

We started touring Guatape through the center of the city, behind the main downtown square. Known as the town of the zócalos, a city full of color and incredible landscapes. It gets its name from Cacique Guatapé, who was the most important chief of the aboriginal ethnic groups that lived in this area in its pre-Columbian stage. We decided to explore it alone and without a guide since it is a beautiful place to get lost walking.

The best thing about this city is that it is very easy to explore in a leisurely day visit. We chose to spend one night to see the Bosko Hotel Glamping.

Zocalo Square – What to do in Guatapé

It is a space for social housing, built and launched to celebrate the bicentennial of the municipality. These are the most representative cultural elements of the municipality, many of which were made in the first years of the 20th century. When they began to be made, they were not made for aesthetic reasons but to protect the walls from humidity and barnyard animals. They are still preserved on the facades of the town’s houses. Today you can find new models of plinths that tell different sections of indigenous history and the colonization of Antioquia.

Its construction began with the Zocalization decree of 2009. It is strategically located to connect the boardwalk, commerce street and memory street, which are symbols of the Guatapense zócalo. We arrived there from the picturesque Umbrella Street, ideal for a quiet walk and taking lots of photos. It is the ideal point for both locals and tourists to come together to enjoy its cuisine among the beauty of its colorful streets.

memory street

This street got its name because of the largest flood that the city had in the 1970s, due to the creation of the El Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir. Many of the plinths on this street are old ones that were not rebuilt. Forty years after the construction of the reservoir in this town, its inhabitants try to preserve that part of history.

It is located next to the municipality’s Main Park and is easily identified by the water fountain, a representative construction of local architecture. In one of the houses on this street is the Guatapé Historical and Community Museum. They told us that it is a single family that is responsible for the design of the baseboards throughout the city, something that was passed down from generation to generation. Also along your journey through the street of memories you will find billboards that explain this whole story a little.

Main square

It is small but perfectly located, with its Church and the Municipal Palace around it. The main gastronomic points of the city are also concentrated here. Being such a tourist site, know that prices are high compared to other towns. For example, a pizza cost around $10, and a simple breakfast cost $5. We recommend “El Castillo” accommodation for its ideal location and low price. As always in Colombia, grateful for the hospitality of the people and highlight the cleanliness of all the places where we stayed. The night cost approximately $30 dollars.

Travel by tuk tuk

The “tuk tuk” are like “mototaxi” that take you around the city in a more fun and different way, while they tell you a little more about its history. It is an approximate 20-minute journey that cost us $15,000 Colombians. The driver told us the history of some specific sockets, which represent the history of the owners of each house or premises. The incredible thing is that they are all handmade, in cement and with a carving and painting process carried out by the family that makes them by hand.

The first thing we saw was a place where City Tours are sold, with its plinths decorated with small tuk tuks that indicate precisely this item. This is what happens with private homes, as someone who is a rancher or farmer has their plinth that represents this activity. In bars they have boards with images of people playing pool or drinking beer, for example. The cutest thing was that a family has a pedestal in their house representing their pet called “Zuly”.

At the end of the tour we passed by the Zócalo Sculpture inaugurated at the entrance to the city in 2019. It is a sculpture of a giant sheep in commemoration of 100 years creating sockets. It is the most important figure since the sheep was the first “symbol” used for the designs of the sockets for those who worked in the livestock sector.

El Malecón – Boat tour

Another way to see Guatapé is from the dam, on a boat ride that in this case we did alone, since we were in a time of little tourism. Since it was only us who were going to take the excursion, we haggled a little the price was $150,000 Colombians, and they left it to us a little cheaper.

They told us a little about the history of the little houses on each island that were formed with the creation of the reservoir. It did not happen from one moment to the next but rather it gave all the inhabitants time to vacate their properties before they were underwater. After the tour we went to eat at a restaurant called “La Mona” where we ate very well and a little cheaper. For example, meat and chicken cost around $5 and include a lemonade.

The Peñol Stone – An unmissable thing to do in Guatapé

The Peñol stone is a monolith 220 meters high, with 700 steps to climb on foot. An inhabitant of the area climbed this place for the first time in 1954. You can get to the base of the peñol by tuk tuk, or transportation from the main square. For those with cars like us, we had to pay for parking. The most beautiful thing about the entire experience is definitely the 360 ​​view of the beautiful landscape that the city of Guatapé has. If you have the opportunity to visit it, you really cannot miss this free excursion to the Peñol stone.

We were in a somewhat complicated time still due to Covid, so the climb was a bit complicated for us due to the issue of having masks on. Even so, it is a somewhat exhausting walk but it can be completed in 30 minutes of easy walking. Halfway there you will find breaks, bathrooms, a small place to buy souvenirs, and at the highest part there are nice places to eat, stop for something fresh or a coffee. Also a first aid station if necessary.

Glamping in Guatapé – Hotel Bosko

We arrived at the Bosko Hotel by car and ready to enjoy the night and a day stay just to rest. It is one of the best hotels in Colombia and the beauty of these domes in the middle of the Guatapé mountain is incredible. Everything around the rooms is magical and has some of the best views of the places where we have stayed.

The comfort of the room is incredible, the price of the stay includes coffee in the room whenever you want and breakfast. It has air conditioning and a private bathroom inside the dome. What is striking and undoubtedly beautiful is the outdoor shower but covered by plants and trunks of fine trees. The bed has heaters inside the mattress since it gets quite cool at night. Everything is a luxury, so it can be expensive for some people. The value is around $200 dollars per night depending on the season, and what type of dome you are staying in. And a dinner can cost $30 dollars. Still, we feel it was very worth it.

Apart from the amenities such as the pools or the river, you can do different activities.  The dome is half glazed and has no curtains. For me it is a good thing to take advantage of to see the sunrise that should really be unmissable.

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