Guatape, Colombia January 2020

The dramatic face of Piedra del Penol (The Rock).

The rock! I was afraid to climb the rock when I heard it was hundreds of steps straight up. At elevation around 7,000 feet. I don’t like stairs. Turns out it’s 705 to the very tippy top, 659 to a beer/food/ bathroom break. But, we made it in 20 minutes. Without throwing up. And the 360 degree view? WORTH IT!!

Ian makes his way up the hundreds of steps of Piedra del Penol.
View from the top of Piedra del Penol of the reservoir.
Made it to the top!
The zigzag stairs go one-way and are periodically marked with the number of step you’re on.
The stairs going up are mostly outside, and the stairs going down are built within a tight crack in the rock.

After catching our breath at the top of piedra del peƱol and enjoying a cerveza while trying to keep our jaws from completely dropping off from the incredible views, we climbed down and caught a tuk tuk into town for $4 US.

Super colorful downtown Guatape.

Guatape is postcard perfect at every corner. Each section of buildings has its own bas-relief theme along the bottom. These range from simple geometric designs to 3-D sculptures of provential life.

Bas-relief on the buildings in Guatape.
Another charming corner of Guatape.

The place we stayed at was amazing. Homemade bread, homemade arepas, homemade jam. The organic eggs are from mountain wandering chickens. The chocolate in the hot chocolate is from a farm right around the corner. Free kayaks to use, a hot tub and sauna. No wonder they have the highest booking.com rating!

We stayed in a room at beautiul Serendipity Hospedaje.
Kayaking with a great view of Piedra del Penol.

Even though we splurged on our room ($55 US per night) we found that Guatape was more affordable than Medellin. For example a glass of wine in Medellin was between $4 – $5 US, but only $1.75 in Guatape.

Another gorgeous plaza in Guatape.

Getting to Guatape from the Poblado neighborhood in Medellin: take the metro to the Caribe station. Walk over the sky bridge to the giant bus station. Go to Window 14 to purchase tickets. It’s a 2 hour bus ride for $4.50 US each. Comfy, reclining seats and with the window open it was nice and cool as you go up in elevation. And the view of the countryside is worth the trip itself!

And now, Ian’s Take: I like beer. I like beer a lot. I noticed that in recent years while travelling abroad that the craft beer scene has hit the world. Sort of. Being from the U.S. and with the addition of imports from Europe, we are spoiled with hundreds of breweries with thousands of varietals. So of course I want try what the rest of the world has to offer. Or at least I did. Let’s just say that some of the world has a long way to go.

Ian and Surf Monkey Pale Ale (Costeno Beach, Colombia).

I keep trying these cerveza artisionals that are a bit lacking in either correct ingredients or know how. Let’s say I have stopped trying. A lot of these ‘artisional’ beers remind of some of my own home brewed attempts. I have had some decent batches, however most of them I choked down while gagging due to the fact I just spent $50 in ingredients and waited 2 months. I have tried some IPA’s that hadn’t met a hop if it bit em in the arse and had red ales that you could pour on your pancakes. Sorry Colombia. What Colombia does right is make some great tasting lagers or light ales. Let’s say the equivalent of a PBR, Bud, or Corona. And my go to favorite is the Michelada.

The makings of a great Michelada, Jardin, Colombia.

A very simple drink. Squeeze a lime or sour orange into a glass with salted rim and pour in your beer of choice served on the side. So refreshing! I can drink em all day. On a side note, I have had a couple nice micros in Japan. So if any of you have tried some quality craft brews abroad, please share. Until next time, bottoms up! And salud!

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