You can’t visit Guatape without climbing El Penol Rock. The El Penol Rock is a true natural wonder, landmark and already over 65 million years old. This massive rock formation boasts a whopping 649 steps carved into its side, leading daring climbers to a 360° panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The path to El Penol Rock, in case you are arriving by bus or tuk-tuk, starts at the Zeuss Penol Service Station, a gas station right next to the main road from Guatape (here is the exact location). From there you have to hike a little uphill to the entrance of the rock. The entrance fee to El Penol Rock is 25.000 COP per person (6.25 USD) and to reach to top will take you around 30 minutes, depending on your level of fitness. Half way up, you have the opportunity to take a break and enjoy the views. And whats also convenient is that there are two separate staircases for people walking up and down, so you won’t bump into others.
At the summit of the rock, you’ll discover charming little shops where you can buy ice cream or obleas (thin round waffles filled with with variety of fillings and toppings to create a sandwich-like treat) as a well-deserved treat after your ascent.
If you have the chance, try to be at El Penol Rock early or in the late afternoon, as most of the day tourists arrive around midday to visit the rock. That way you avoid most of the crowds and don’t expose yourself too much to the hot sun.