Photo Journal: Lake Views From Colombia’s Piedra del Peñol

el penol

Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa

This photo was taken in Colombia, after climbing El Peñol, a 740-step monolith in Guatape. It was a great experience, especially as I was taking a break from traveling solo and having some adventures with friends (including the lovely Seattle’s Travels).

Ascending the winding steps awarded aerial views of the surrounding crystalline lakes, lush green islands and colorful pueblos. The most magnificent view was enjoyed at the top — where it reaches 2,135 metres (7,005 feet) at its highest point — where even the rain and clouds couldn’t ruin the beauty and serenity of the country landscape. It was a welcome respite from the bustle of Medellin.

Tip: the best way to savor it all is paired with a frosty local beer from one of the restaurants or bars at the top.

el penol

Guatape. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

el penol

Reliefs in Guatape. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

Afterward, most people head to Guatape — a neon-colored pueblo about 10 kilometers (6 miles) away — to check out the rainbow bright buildings, savor a local meal, partake in water sports like wind surfing, kayaking and peddle boating, and watch locals crafting intricate reliefs depicting local life and culture.

For me, this day trip from Medellin was a major highlight of my 2-week Colombia trip.

Have you visit El Penol and Guatape? Please share your experience in the comments below.


  1. Jessica that top image is epic love it! 7K feet? That’s nothing to sneeze at. I recall being like 2 miles high – elevation not on coca tea 😉 – in Cusco, Peru. Air was at a premium. I need to visit Colombia as one of my Columbian buddies keeps pushing his land on me. El Penol will be added to that list today. I dig your blog, your style and all of these fab travel pictures. Keep up the inspired work/play! I’ll be back soon!


    1. @Ryan: Thank you so much for the kind words. Oh gosh. I remember all the cocoa leaves I chewed hiking around Peru. Didn’t seem to help me, either! That being said, South America (and New Zealand and Switzerland) is my favorite destination for adventure 🙂

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