El Peñón de Guatapé | Day Trip from Medellin

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One of the most popular day trips from Medellin is to El Peñón de Guatapé or LA Piedra, depending on who you ask. Translated to mean the Rock, this natural wonder was created by mother nature over 60 million years ago.

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Today, this is one of Colombia’s most popular tourist attractions. There are over 600 stairs built into the rock, which lead to one of the most beautiful views of the lake and surrounding area.

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Riding the bus to Medellin

There are a few different ways to get to Guatapé from Medellin.

We researched the best ways to get there, and here are the most popular ways to take a day trip to Guatapé.


The most affordable way to get to El Peñón de Guatapé from Medellin is by bus. The bus ride is 2 hours, which isn’t too bad for only 16,000 pesos ($4) per person.

Buses leave Medellin for Guatapé several times throughout the day, so this is the best option for anyone that wants to get to El Peñón de Guatapé without spending too much money.

Colombians travel by bus often, so these buses are more comfortable than buses in other countries. Here is how you can get to Guatapé from Medellin by bus.

  1. Head to Terminal del Norte (North Terminal). North terminal is the only station where the buses to Guatapé depart.
  2. You will need to go downstairs to buy your ticket. The bus station is large and very busy. You may get a little overwhelmed, but we got you covered.
  3. Go to ticket booth number 9 to buy your ticket from Sotrapenol. Sotrapenol is the nicer of the two buses that depart from Medellin to Guatapé.
  4. After you buy your ticket, be sure to double-check your ticket to get the correct gate. Many people get gate and seat confused because the bus ticket is printed in Spanish.
  5. Be sure to grab food and use the bathroom before boarding the bus. There are plenty of places to get food at the bus station.

Note: We didn’t know there would be stops to pick up people along the way, so it’s best to sit in the back. There will be locals hopping on and off throughout your ride, so sitting in the back will be more comfortable.

Our bus trip to Guatapé was a breeze. It was a little bumpy, but besides that our toddler slept 90% of the time, and when we woke up we were 15 minutes away from Guatapé.

The total cost of our round-trip to Guatapé from Medellin was $25 for the three of us. That’s pretty affordable if you ask me.


Private Car

You can get a private car to Guatapé, and although it is likely to be the most expensive option, it’s by far the most comfortable and convenient.

We received a few different quotes for a private car to Guatapé from Medellin. The most affordable option was 100,000 pesos ($25) which isn’t too bad considering it is two hours from Medellin.

The issue we ran into with this driver is that he didn’t speak English (we couldn’t find his card to text him on WhatsApp), so it was difficult to communicate with him.
We know we are in a Spanish-speaking country, and we’re working on our Spanish, but I’m not quite fluent yet.

The other driver that we met did speak English. He charged double, 200,000 pesos ($50) each way. We originally booked him for the additional comfort, but he was pressuring us to hire him for a tour, so we ended up canceling.

The night before it was time to go, we decided to take the bus from Medellin to Guatapé with our 3-year-old.

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