I just returned from a beautiful trip full of adventure and surprise to find such beautiful places in my country, having traveled through several countries often forget how interesting it can be go our own lands.
To get to Peñol, we must first get to Medellin; There are different ways to get there: By air through the different airlines in the country (LAN, Avianca, VIVA COLOMBIA, etc) or by land (this option was the one we took). It is approximately 420km and is almost 8 hours.
The trip was grueling, because I left Bogota at 3:30 am and had hardly slept, but it was all worthwhile when you are going deep to Antioquia lands, begin to feel the heat characteristicand start to see green landscapes and its mountains.
When we have finally got Medellin and have some rest, we went to Peñol (I was traveling with my parents, brother and aunt, with whom I did not travel with to many years ago), it means the trip was meant to reconnect us for Christmas festivities.
To reach the Peñol, it should be offset by land, either in private cars, buses or contracted tours. We chose to go in our own car, it took us approximately 2:40 hours and the distance is 74 km (46 mi).
Now that I´ve explained to you how to get there, I’ll tell you why this place seems to me a magical place and why I was so excited to visit it. “El Peñol” Stone is located in a municipality called Guatapé. This particular village was submerged 37 years ago in order to build a dam (to generate power for the entire department), this means that hundreds of people living at the time in the village and already had a life there, had to leave the village and move a few kilometers away. This site was a strategic site for the construction of the dam as it is surrounded by high mountains and allowed the filling with water was much simpler and did not have to make major engineering works.
Today the old town of Guatapé lies submerged in the dam (reservoir or lake) of Guatapé. Before reaching our destination we found a small town that looks like something out of a fairy and in which children seem to inhabit for the small size of it and also of the buildings. This is known as the “Replica de Guatapé”. About seven years ago It was built on top of a mountain a copy of how the original town looked liked on that time before it was submerged. The church has a colorful blue and is surrounded by a typical constructions of the colonial era.
The small town offers visitors a view of the dam and where thanks to high temperatures which is facing most countries and has caused the water level decreases, it allowed us to see from above a cross of the old church from submerged ancient church 37 years ago. Seeing this was a sublime act, I felt as if the memories of this ancient people would emerge from the depths of the waters.
Following our tour we finally went to the stone “El Peñol”. A stoic stone stands in the middle of this landscape surrounded by water. This stone that has been in place for hundreds of years has a height of 220 meters. It was first climbed a little over 60 years ago and today it is possible to climb to the top thanks to the 740 steps that have been arranged for pedestrian access to visitors.
It is said that this stone emerged from the depths of the waters thousands of years ago thanks to the confining forces of the earth. And thanks to this natural phenomenon is that today we have a great attraction to visit.
The climb to the parking where you should leave the cars and buses to proceed with the walk to get to the top, is a difficult climb and thank you to the number of visitors it could be very slow. But to go up and get to the lighthouse lying on its top, defenitelly worth it! To access must buy the Access ticket for around $ 5 – $ 7 USD. We started!
In this lake you can practice different water sports or also get into a boat ride in a restaurant that has all glass walls, so you can make out the lake in all its splendor. Another activity that can be done is flying by helicopter ride around the lake and its small islands spotted from above.
By following the climb that lasts about 40 minutes to reach the top, you will find places to have something to drink and hydrate after this rewarding physical activity. Also you will find a beacon, that will allow you to get up a few meters higher and have a 360 ° view of the place. This view fill your soul of peace and give you more desire to continue along this beautiful country, which has diverse types of landscapes and where its people will always serve you with open arms to show the beautiful place of which they are part.
As the rise and fall can be strenuous for some of his visitors, descending Stone you will find some Colombian food restaurants that will give you the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal at the forefront taking the lake view.
We must have a very good physical condition, something to hydrate ourselves and also shoes and comfortable clothing. To begin the ascent you start to see the numbers on the steps in every 25 (which is supposed to give you encouragement to follow to the top), and begin to see the small islands in the lake. A lake of a distinctive blue and green, the color is because of the the trees that surround every island, makes of this view a unique and incomparable landscape.
From here we will go to another unique place out of a fairy and that will make you want to stay a few days in this area of the country.
Remember the stone “El Peñol” and Guatapé Lake are a must destination if your plans are to visit Colombia and Medellin further. You will not regret and want to order more, the climb is worth it!