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

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Ultimate Guide to Cartagena

I stayed in Boca Grande, the Miami Beach of Cartagena. The other good place to stay is inside the walled city, in the old town.

 

Day 1: The walled city and the fortress

Enter the walled city. The clock tower, Puerta Del Reloj, is the symbol of the city. When walking around, you will see colorful Fruit Ladies. Tip them and you will be able to take pictures. The old town has the most famous ice cream shops. If it’s a hot day, you will need to go to Gelato Paradiso for a threat. For lunch or happy hour stop at Plaza Santo Domingo to enjoy a drink, traditional food and at happy hour time, the Colombian dancers gather and you can admire the Maple Dance, the traditional dance by the slaves.

After the visit of the old town, head first to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the old fortress and then to La Popa, a cathedral on top of the city. You will need to get a cab to go to those 2 places.

At night, have dinner at the sophisticated restaurant La Vitrola. It is a dressy spot for both locals and tourists. Then walk to Café del Mar at the entrance of the walled city. The huge outdoor lounge offers the best view possible of the sunset. Grab a Club Colombia Beer and enjoy the best DJ. That lounge is my favorite lounge is the world.

 

Day 2: The Rosario Islands and Playa Blanca

You will need to book a tour to get to that beach. Every morning the boats leave for Playa Blanca from the main port. Note that you will have to pay for a port tax. It is a 45min ride and you will found yourself in paradise. The Water is clear and the sand white.  The Seafood lunch is part of the tour and it is so good. The downside is the beach is full of locals that are trying to sell you items. Be patient and politely say no.

If you want a private beach, you will have to go to a resort.

At night, you can party on a Chiva Party Bus. Book the party bus at your hotel or online. The Chiva Bus is a typical Colombian Party Bus. They pick you up at the hotel; there are music and local alcohol on the bus. Everybody is dancing and singing. After partying in the bus, all the Chiva buses stop at the walled city before dropping everybody off at a club in Getsemani. They come back around midnight to pick you up.

 

Day 3:

  • You can go to the beach in Cartagena.
  • You can go to Santa Marta Beach by boat or taxi but it is 4h away! You might want to stay the night there to fully enjoy the beach and relax
  • You can so go to the Lost City – El Pueblito, the archeological remains of a lost city in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in The Tayrona´s National park. Again, it will be better to stay in the area for the night to fully enjoy the experience.
  • You can go to the Mud Volcano and enjoy healing powers of the mud baths

 

 

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.

Ultimate Guide to Bogota

Bogota in 3 days

I’m staying in the old town, La Candelaria neighborhood. It is perfect for the touristy activities during the day but it is a dead neighborhood at night. For the night festivities, you have to head to Zona T.

Day1: Monserrate and Usaquen

Cerro Monserrate is a few blocks away from old town but unless you love hiking, you are better off taking a cab to the cable cars that will take you all the way up. At Monserrate, you can have a 360 view of Bogota, visit the Monserrate Church and you can also see from there el Cerro de Guadalupe which is a huge statue of Guadalupe. If you have extra time, you can also cab it all the way there.

For lunch, head to Usaquen, a colonial town near Bogota. They have really good restaurants and cafes. You can relax by the park and check out the Iglesia Santa Bárbara (Santa Barbara Church). If you go there on a Sunday, they have their famous flea market, the perfect place to buy souvenirs made by locals.

At Night, head to Andres Carne de Res. It is in Chia, an hour outside of Bogota but you won’t regret it. It is a huge restaurant with amazing food and after dinner time the music becomes loud and everybody will be on the dancefloor. It is the best restaurant I’ve been to.

Day2: Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the Mystic Lake Guatavita

Start the day early and go the Salt Cathedral a few hours away from Bogota. You will need to get a tour or cab it there. I got a private chauffeur for that day.

After the visit of that breath-taking cathedral built in a salt mine, I headed to Lake Guatavita. On my way there, I stopped at a small food cart to get the traditional Arepas con queso which is special bread filled with Cheese. So Yummy.

Lake Guatavita and the village are 1 hour away from the Salt Cathedral. You will fall in love with the lake and the little village.

At night, Zona T is an area famous for its abundance of good food, and a plethora of pubs and bars, including the famous Bogotá Beer Company and Andrés DC. Andres DC is the most stop for drinks and dancing. It is a 4 story building with a bar and dance floor on each level. This is where the young crowd is.

Day3: The Tequendama Fall and La Candelaria

La Candelaria is the name of the Old Town. It is full of museums from Museo de Oro to Museo Botero and Museo de la Esmeralda (Emerald Museum). The one that is worth going to is the Botero Museum. Botero is a Colombian artist and you will see his work in every city. He is famous for his paintings and sculptures of people in “large” and they actually call that “boterismo”.

Head to the main square, called Plaza de Bolivar. The Plaza is surrounded by Capitolio Nacional, which serves as the seat of both houses of the Congress of Colombia, Palacio de Justicio and Palacio de Nariño (the official office for the executive branch of the Colombian government). At the Plaza, you can feed the pigeons and make sure you take a picture. Walk along the Palacio de Nariño and take a picture with the guards at the entrance to the Palacio de Nariño, cross the street and check out the 17th century Iglesia de San Augustín. Few streets away, you will see one of the oldest cathedrals of Colombia, Catedral Primada de Colombia.

If you need a break, enter any of the typical coffee shops and try the traditional Chocolate con queso. It’s Hot Chocolate with Cheese! It’s actually not that bad.

If you have some time left head to Tequendama Falls and the Abandoned Hotel that are 2 hours from Bogota with cab or bus. I was told by locals that it smells very very bad and it is actually not that impressive.

If you have extra time, you can also take a Coffee Plantation Tour. After all, Colombia is famous for its coffee.