he main reason we had for visiting this area, was to climb El Peñol, a monolith located just outside of Guatapé; however, when we first got there it was not possible because when we asked around at the entrance for the climbing area, the people there had little clue as to how to go about it; so at that point we had to settle for simply going all the way up the almost 650 steps of the rather ugly zigzagging stairs to reach the top. The rock is actually 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 up there are spectacular and it’s possible to appreciate the greatness of the dam project that dates from the 1970s, when the old town of El Peñol had to be relocated in order for the whole 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 went around exploring the surrounding area to look for the perfect shot of the monolith, the road took us to this bridge. It was already late in the afternoon so we decided to cross it on the bike, carrying our bags with our cameras and all; because turning around would mean another hour on the road in the dark. It was scary as we didn’t know if it 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 access the rock to climb: one is from the main road to Guatape and it’s right next to La Mona’s restaurant; and the other is by the road that is 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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