Hike the Rock

They are saying stairs workout are the best. In that case, hiking La Piedra del Peñol is the best and most beautiful workout of your life.

El Peñón de Guatapé is a must see jewel when you go to Medellin. In the 1940s, the Colombian government declared it a National Monument. It is 2 hours away from the city and the easiest to visit it is to take a tour. I took a private tour: Land Venture Travel. It is very affordable.

The rock was first climbed officially in July 1954, when Luis Villegas, Pedro Nel Ramirez, and Ramón Díaz climbed the rock in a five-day endeavor, using sticks that were fixed against the rock’s wall. When at the top, amazed by the beautiful view, they thought of a way of allowing people to get to the top and see the view. This is how the stairs were built in the middle of the rock. Luis, Pedro, and Ramon wanted to share the beauty with the whole village.

On the way to the Piedra del Peñol, the rock of Guatapé, you can stop a few times to take pictures of the rock from far. Impressive. 

Piedra del Peñol

When you arrive at the rock, you can see all the stairs you need to take to get to the top. 740 of them! Take your time, you can do it. Make the effort to go up those stairs because the view from up there is just out of this world. The summit contains a three-story viewpoint tower, a convenience store, and a seating area. Just relax and admire the view. Peaceful.

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The World from the above

Don’t we all have the obsession to see the world from the above?
Didn’t we start flying for that reason?
I love to discover each city from the above. I always search for the highest point; It can be a mountain, a tower or a building. You can tell a lot from seeing a city from the above. The roofs, the architecture, the city mapping tells a lot about the history of the city. I have a feeling that I did not “own” the city until I see it from the above.  Here are my favorite “from the above” views so far:

  1. Prague

Prague is famous for its traditional houses with the red roofs. The houses are white and all see is those red roofs pop up.

You can go on top of the towers at the end of Charles Bridge to have a view of the Prague Castle or Prague Old Town. It is worth the 200 stairs

Before entering the Castle or while walking in its garden, there are many different view points from where you get to admire the red roofs of Prague.

Prague From the above
Prague From the above
Prague From the above
Prague From the above
  1. Budapest

Climb up the St Stephen’s Basilica to have that view of the city . You can also admire the city from the above from the Buda Castle.

Budapest From the above
Budapest From the above
  1. Medellin City

Medellin is located in Aburra Valley in the Andes Mountain and it went from being an agricultural town to the second largest city in Colombia.

Take the famous cable cars to found yourself on top of the city.

Medellin From the above
Medellin From the above
  1. Guatape

The Penol of Guatape near Medellin offers a view of the paradise. When the first man was able to go all the way up the rock, he was so amazed by the view that he said he needs to share  that view with is everybody else. This is how the stairs along the rock were built. Now the 740 stairs still look rustic but they are well designed to allow people to get on top of the rock and admire the breathtaking view. What looks like paradise, is actually a view of the flooded villages and a huge reservoir of water.

From the above Guatape
Guatape From the above
  1. Bogota

Take a look at the Capital of Colombia, an urban Jungle.

Go up the Cerro de Monserrate to have the view of Bogota , Modern Capital.

  1. Los Angeles

The DTLA tall buildings are now part of the LA scenery famous postcards and it doesn’t seem the skyscrapers project is slowing down.

Go up the Skyspace LA from where you can have a view of the DTLA. You can also ride the glass slide, the latest LA Attraction.

  1. Paris

My favorite place in Paris is Montmartre. Beside the Sacre Coeur Church and the square with all the cafes and artists, you can also catch a great view of Paris.

Paris From the above
ParisFrom the above
  1. Seville

Seville stays a picturesque city even from the above. From the Giralda Tower, you can see the Alcazar Garden and the houses are so close that you can even spy on neighbors. Seville roofs are so famous that there is a “Rooftop Tour” https://www.getyourguide.com/seville-l48/seville-walking-tour-from-the-roof-tops-t35852/

Seville From the above
Seville From the above

 

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Piedra del Peñol & Guatapé Tour

A must take, Worthy Tour

Piedra del Peñol or more commonly known as el Peñón de Guatapé is a must see jewel when you go to Medellin. It is 2 hours away from the city and the easiest to visit it is to take a tour. I took a private tour: Land Venture Travel. It is very affordable.

Andres pick us up at the hotel and instead of taking the boring highway that usually big tour buses take, we took the beautiful scenic route to Guatapé. We had the first stop at the Tequendamita Fall. If you didn’t get a chance to go see the Tequendama Fall in Bogota, this is the perfect occasion to see the small replica and no bad smell here.

Then, we headed to la Piedra del Peñol, the rock of Guatapé. We stopped a few times to take pictures of the rock from far. Impressive. All along, Andres was telling the story of Medellin, Guatapé, and el Peñón.

When you arrive at the rock, you can see all the stairs you need to take to get to the top. 740 of them! Take your time, you can do it. Make the effort to go up those stairs because the view from up there is just out of this world. Just relax and admire the view. Peaceful.

After the effort, we headed to Guatapé village for lunch. Andres had a perfect local restaurant in mind where we enjoyed Club Colombia Beer and a typical Colombian lunch. After lunch, Andres gave us a tour of the village. We walked through the waterfront and Remembrance Street. I felt in love with that very colorful village.

Andres Munera was an amazing tour guide. I will recommend everybody to take the tour with him. He was very friendly, had anecdotes about the region, speaks English and Spanish and he is very knowledgeable. It is worth it to take a personable tour to get to know the rich history of a Piedra del Peñol and Guatapé.

Thank you Andres

Ultimate Guide to Medellin

I stayed at the Diez Hotel in Zona Rosa which is the best neighborhood for cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Day 1: Day trip to Guatape

It is 2 hours away from the city. I took a private tour. It is very affordable and Andres Munera was an amazing tour guide. I will recommend everybody to take the tour with him.

We took the scenic route to Guatape and did the first stop at the Tequendamita Fall. If you didn’t get a chance to go see the Tequendama Fall in Bogota, this is the perfect occasion to see the small replica and no bad smell here.  Then, we headed to El penol, the rock of Guatape. We stopped a few times to take pictures of the rock from far. Impressive. All Along, Andres was telling the story of Medellin, Guatape, and el Penol. When you arrive at the rock, you can see all the stairs you need to take to get to the top. 740 of them! Take your time, you can do it. The view from up there is just out of this world. Just relax and admire the view. Peaceful.  After the effort, we headed to Guatape village for lunch. After lunch, Andres gave us a tour of the waterfront and Remembrance Street. I felt in love with that very colorful village.

 

Day 2 and 3: Medellin city

 I took the hop on hop off, turibus. It is the perfect way to visit the city.

The bus stops are:

Plaza Botero is the Home to 23 of Fernando Botero’s larger-than-life sculptures. That Plaza is worth an extended stop to admire all the amazing “large” people sculptures. Parque Berrio is across the street from Plaza Botero, this small park is always filled with juice vendors and local street performers playing traditional Colombian music.

Jardin Botanico is the big Botanic Garden of Medellin.

Pueblito Paisa is small traditional village recreated atop Cerro Nutibarra, a small hill in the center of the valley. The hill offers terrific, near 360-degree views of the city. It also has a church and souvenir shops.

El Castillo Museo y Jardines was Inspired by the castles of the French Loire Valley, El Castillo was constructed in 1930.

Parque Arvi: take the famous Medellin Metro cable to get to that Park, one of the region’s largest nature reserves.

Parque de los pies descalzos : this park in the middle of the city offers relaxing activities that can be done barefoot, hence the name of the park.

 

At night stay in Zona Rosa. The Park is surrounded by restaurants. Pick any, they are all good

For the dance and drink part, head to Mojito Bar, one street away from the park. The little bar runs on mojito and they have salsa classes some nights. Don’t be shy and dance.