Travel Tuesday takes us to the dazzling yet quaint lakeside town of Guatapé, which is less than two hours outside of Medellín, Colombia.
Our first introduction to the area was El Peñon de Guatapé, commonly referred to as La Piedra (The Stone). You can’t miss it as it towers over this region dominated by lakes.
This summit of this massive rock can be reached via 740 steps, a trip that takes about 30 minutes. There, you’ll discover a snack bar, gift shop and an understanding of how out of shape you are. This is quite a difference from the first time the rock was climbed, in 1954, when it took five days to make the trip.
The spectacular view of the majestic surroundings overlooks one of the country’s largest lakes.
Naturally, a boat trip is a must to experience the surrounding beauty and to see La Manuela, Pablo Escobar’s former mansion, which is now a bombed-out ruin.
When we arrived at the town itself, an explosion of color took our breath away.
The cobblestone streets added to its quaint, old world charm.
We were greeted in the town center by these 3-wheel tuk-tuk style taxis, which was the perfect way to view the highlights of this delightful place.
The Church of Our Lady Carmen is ornately adorned inside and out and towers over the main square.
Vibrant wall art known as zócalos, are beautifully sculpted and painted depictions of village life that embellish the lower half of most buildings.
Each zócalos reflected an aspect of the inhabitant’s occupation, interest, history or sense of humor.
All the ‘zócalos’ were re-painted in 2011 in an initiative to encourage tourism, as Guatapé turned 100 years old.
We met two of the zócalos artists and learned how they mold, carve, polish and paint the cement figures.
According to legend, these zócalos were originally designed to stop chickens pecking at the walls.
I was visiting with my parents, who loved this vibrant and historical town as much as I did.
Although, we did encounter this lettuce-eating fish that my mom had a battle with.
This catch of the day didn’t want to spend any time at all in my mom’s stomach, so she had to let him go. The wrestling match took about an hour, but she was good to go after that. I told her that she was supposed to throw the fish back, not up… live and learn.
If you are ever in Medellín, a few days in Guatapé is is a great place to enjoy outdoor activities, colorful art or simply reflect on all of God’s beauty.
…and then, she paused for thought.