Hi friends! Today I’m back with another recap of our adventures in Colombia! If you missed the first few posts you can find them here.
This time we’re talking about a day trip we took to Peñol and Guatapé! This was a bit of a drive outside of Medellin, but still in the state of Atioquia. This area of rolling hills and little streams was absolutely beautiful!
The water is green this time of year due to a certain type of algae that grows here. It was SO green!
We actually joked that it looked like the “dip” from the movie Roger Rabbit. Anyone know what I’m talking about?
It was sort of spooky looking!
Weirdly enough, I had spotted this same area from the plane when we arrived in Colombia, and took a picture because I thought the green water was really interesting. Who knew I’d actually be getting up close and personal with it a week later?
Once we arrived in Peñol, we met our tour guide who explained some of the history of this area. Apparently it used to be a thriving town, but in the 1970s the government flooded almost nine square miles of it to make room for a hydroelectric plant. The people of Peñol were against this idea and protested, but the government flooded the town anyway. The citizens of the area packed up all their stuff and moved to a neighboring town, and now they call themselves people of the Phoenix because they survived a hard time and made it out to the other side. They also built a replica of what the town used to look like so that people wouldn’t forget.
Side note: while exploring the town replica we found a Jack lookalike and couldn’t resist giving him some love. 🙂
After checking out the town and buying a couple souvenirs, we headed down to a boat that would take us on a tour of the area.
Fabio’s uncle, Juan Pablo, joked that he was Captain Morgan and asked for some rum (lol).
Then we set off into the green water. Eek!
Our tour guide explained that this cross was constructed to mark the spot where the old church from the town used to stand. It’s crazy to think that the whole town we had just seen was right here under the water!
Then our tour took quite a turn, as our tour guide pointed out this little hut where Pablo Escobar used to make international business deals. Yes, as in, cocaine drug lord Pablo Escobar.
I knew Pablo Escobar’s house was close to this area (I had read about it when researching which day trips to do) but I didn’t expect to start hearing about Pablo Escobar in the midst of this tour about the lost city of Peñol.
But before we knew it, we were boating past Pablo Escobar’s house!
It was pretty cool to see, even if it was just a bunch of ruins (I think our tour guide said it got bombed by the Cali cartel, but I don’t want to ruin season 2 of Narcos for myself by looking it up! Haha!)
Apparently this area is also very popular with celebrities because a short distance away we saw the house of the famous soccer player, James Rodriguez.
I wasn’t too interested in that fact, but the boys thought it was cool!
Overall we had a great boat ride and learned a lot!
After our boat tour was finished, we stopped for a quick lunch (more traditional Colombian platters) before it was time to in get our real exercise in for the day…
…climbing the giant rock of Guatapé!
This rock is a natural formation, and it has 740 very steep steps to the top.
At first I honestly didn’t think this sounded too challenging, but I didn’t realize how steep the steps were going to be! They sort of reminded me of staircases in Europe that have very steep and high steps. Phew – this was a workout for sure!
As we started climbing, the views started getting better and better.
Guatapé is just a short distance from Peñol, so it was cool to see the flooded areas from an aerial view.
Up and up and up we went! We had to take a few breaks to rest, and take pictures of course.
After much climbing, we made it to what we thought was the top.
At this point there were a few little shops and restaurants where you could buy souvenirs or a cold beer. We thought we were done climbing, but then we noticed a small spiral staircase – sort of like a lighthouse – that would take us up to the very top. Alright then, up we go!
Finally, we made it to step 740! Woohoo!
The 360 degree views from that high up were pretty amazing, and made the climb so worth it.
After spending some time soaking up the scenery, it was time to climb back down, down, down.
Finally we made it to the bottom. So glad we conquered this giant rock!
Overall, I thought our day trip to Peñol and Guatapé was a lot of fun, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is booking a trip to Medellin and looking for some fun activities outside the city!
Question of the day: How do you feel about heights?
It was a little scary looking down from the top!