This weekend Dave and I headed to Guatapé – or as I like to call it, the Newport of Medellín. Essentially it’s a town built around a huge rock. The rock is the attraction, that is.

The rock separates Guatapé from its neighboring town, which hasn’t done nearly as well marketing itself to tourists, because I can’t remember the name. La Piedra also bears “GU” on one side, which was an effort of the Guatapé citizens to claim ownership over the giant rock, but the plan was halted once the neighboring town requested the national government declare the site a historic landmark. Either way, La Piedra certainly raked in its share of gawkers this weekend who scaled the 700-ish steps to summit the rock and see “La major mirador en el mundo.”

Our hostel, El Cuentro, although a 15-minute walk from the city center had a great view, and also had bike rentals! The thing to do is to take the mountain bikes on a dirt path that ends at the paved (thankfully) road up to La Piedra. I was happy to have shocks on my bike because it was pretty bumpy. Though the sometimes difficult ride is put in perspective when you pass 7-year-old boys careening down the same hill not even noticing the giant rocks.

DSCN2736DSCN2763

Guatapé is the second town to occupy the area, because the first one was flooded during the creation of a hydroelectric dam. What’s left is a calm body of water that snakes through a series of pointy islands, each decorated with their own set of Caribbean-colored houses.

DSCN2741

The only downside of our stay was that one night was a bit too short. We managed to gorge ourselves on Indian food and bike to La Piedra, but another day would have allowed us to hike through some of the hills surrounding the town.

February 2, 2014