On Tuesday morning, we caught a 9 AM bus from Medellin to La Pierda for 11.000 COP ($6). After one and a half hours, we arrived at El Peñol, a town rebuilt after the original town, El Viejo Peñol was submerged when the Colombian government created a reservoir for a hydro-electric dam in the late 1960’s. A giant cross can be seen in the reservoir in remembrance of where the town once existed.
We continued down the road from El Peñol for another 30 minutes and reached Peñon de Guatapé (the rock of Guatapé). This monolith formed more than 70 million years ago stands over 650 feet high. At 11:00 am, we began to climb the first of 740 stairs to the top of the rock. By 11:15 am we had reached the observation deck and were rewarded with unobstructed views of the chain of man made lakes that surrounded us. Luckily, we made it to El Peñol before noon, because suddenly the clouds rolled in masking our views of the enchanting geography, at nearly the same moment as an abundance of other gringos made their ascent. With wobbly legs, we lethargically made our descent to the exit, and caught a bus to the adjoining town, Guatapé.