The previously booked tour to Guatapé and Peñol was going to start at 7,30 am. Being more or less relaxed about the latin timing, I didn’t bother until 8. Then I sent a whatsapp (favorite form of communication here) to the organizer. Got a message back, that the driver should pick me up in minutes.
At 8,20 he was still not here. I used this time to get some work done on my laptop. Shortly before 9 the guy was here. I was lucky because most of the group was already in the van, meaning that I didn´t have to make a round in Medellin. One more couple joined us, and we set off to Guatapé. It was located 1-1,5 hour drive from Medellin, depending on the traffic.
I was hoping that in the lagoon I will be able to swim, so took all the beach gear with me, together with big bottle of water.
On the way we stopped for breakfast. I was hungry and expecting something large. Instead, we got an arepa with goat cheese, and a cup of hot chocolate/coffee. Needless to say, I was left a bit hungry, but was promised that in few hours, there will be bandeja paisa dish (bandejas description) coming for lunch (I was told that it was 2400 calories, so worth waiting). Grabbed 2 bananas to kill the hunger, and off we left.
On the way, we stopped to visit a church made in stone. Thats where I bought another bottle of water, realizing that less than 80 km from Medellin it might be really hot (meanwhile in the city the temperature barely went above 24 degrees).
Next stop was the replica of the town Peñol, when the original one was flooded due to building a dam. In one of the pictures below you can see the remainings of the highest building there – a church.
On the other side, there were couple of mansions beloning to Pablo Escobar, the unquestioned king of cocaine in the 80’s until 1993. There was also a house of his close coworker – sicario who, according to the story told on the boat killed his Patron by shooting him in the face.
Not much was left there, the buildings were left for dilapidation. I was told that next to his mansion, Pablo decided he wanted a disco. The highlight were obviously women. In spite of the fact that Medellin has one of most talents (ie. beautiful women) in Colombia, he still preferred to party with brasilians.
Piedra del Peñol was our next destination.
The rock itself is a major tourist attraction in the region. You have to climb 700 steps, which translates to around 220 meters. It reminds me a bit of Golden Rock, Kyaiktyio in Burma. From there, the view is breathtaking- the green color of the water, stunning panorama.. I didn’t really feel like going down from there.
It was so big that I didn’t manage to finish.
Here came the only disappointment of the day (maybe apart from small breakfast and 1/1.2 hour later driver). In spite of the fact that a friend of mine told me that swimming in the lagoon is doable, I heard from our guide that the water is extremely cold (around 18 degrees), and it is not practiced, since few people sank and police is prohibiting entering the water. So this much about swimming in this part of Colombia.
Later we went to Guatapé, town famous for being the most colorful in Colombia, or maybe even in the world. Its called pueblo de los Zocalos.
All the sculptures on the walls of the houses represent either the occupation of habitants, or ilustrate the surrounding world (some of the sculptures are registered, so that nobody else can copy the unique image.
Upon returning I found a place that was serving delicious Tamal – in this case the mix of meat, with some vegetables, wrapped in flour pancake. Really good!