Guatape and El Penol

We ride out of Medellin and head east out of the city over the mountains toward the small town of Guatape. Not far away is the giant monolith of El Penol which rises out of the rolling land in way similar to Devil’s Tower back home but with softer edges.
We catch our first glimpse of the rock from the road that leads us back to Guatape.
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The village itself is known for it’s colorfully painted buildings and narrow cobblestoned streets. We wander around one morning to take some photos and have breakfast on the town square. I love how each building has murals painted in the lower halves of the outside walls with pictures that depict what business is inside. There are flowers painted on flower shop walls, food on the sides of grocery shops, tools on the side of the hardware store and then there’s the bar.
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We settle into our hostel and ride back to the rock to hike the 750 steps to the top of the tower on top of the rock. I’m so glad there are cold drinks being sold up there, even if it is at a premium.
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The 360 degree view is fantastic!
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Luis Villegas was the first man to climb the rock back in 1954. And as bad as the stairs are, I can only imagine how hard climbing it was without them. Back down for one last look out on the flat spot of land in front of the rock that sits high above the highway below.
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We meet a couple of German overlanders traveling with their two dogs and have a nice chat. Always good to meet fellow travelers. We meet John and Alanna Skillington at the Lakeview Hostel too, which is a treat. We’ve been hearing about them for months through mutual friends. They have been riding north from the bottom of South America for more than 18 months as we have been riding south, and finally, here in Guatape, we meet. They are lovely people and give us lots of great suggestions for the road ahead.

We spend a day hiking to a small waterfall not far out of town with some other people from the hostel and a lovely local guide, Christina.
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Lovely Guatape!

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