Our main reason for visiting this area, was to climb El Peñol, a monolith located just outside Guatapé. However, when we first arrived we couldn’t find the entrance to the climbing area. When we asked around, nobody knew where it was. So we had to settle for climbing up the almost 650 steps of the rather ugly zigzagging stairs to reach the top. The rock is privately owned and there is an entrance fee of $8000 COP per person (about 3€). On the top, there is a mirador and a small store selling refreshments.
The views from the summit are spectacular and it’s possible to appreciate the greatness of the dam project, which dates from the 1970s. Back then, the former town of El Peñol was relocated in order for the place to be flooded. Apparently, when the water level is low it’s possible to see some of the ruins of the old town in the lake.
When we explored the surrounding area to look for the perfect shot of the monolith, the road took us to the bridge pictured below. It was already late in the afternoon so we didn’t want to turn back from where we came from and drive for an hour in the dark. So we decided to risk it and cross the bridge on the bike, while carrying our bags with our cameras and everything else! We didn’t know if the bridge would hold and I screamed the whole way through.
When we got to the other side we saw that it was even in worse shape than we initially thought, with some parts missing. It was one of those moments during my trip around Colombia with Alain when things could have turned wrong.
Just before we left Medellin, we were lucky to meet one of Alain’s friends who invited us for a couple of days of climbing. From what we saw, there are two ways to reach the rock for climbing: one is from the main road to Guatape which it’s right next to La Mona’s restaurant; the other is by the road right after the ramp that takes you to the main entrance. The climbing was good, with gorgeous views, but the rock was sharp and a bit rough on the fingers.
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