the pleasant lakseside town of Guatape, El Peñol is somewhat
reminiscent of Rio's Sugar Loaf, albeit in a different rural setting.
El Peñol is a 200 metre high granite monolith rising from the banks of
an artificial, but stunning, lake about 30km from Marinalla, which is a
small town on the Autopista main road between Medellin and Bogota.
Climbing the 650 steps isn't as hard as it sounds, and one is rewarded
with spectacular views over Antioquia's countryside. A visit is an
essential day tour from Medellin that combines well with the Circuito Oriente tour - El Peñol is about 90 minutes drive from Medellin.
travel tip for day trips would be to take picnic / BBQ ingredients for
after your visit to the giant rock. There's a small park near the base
of the rock - entry costs $1 ($2000 Colombian Pesos ). Once in
the park, pedallo hire on the lake is free, as is fishing, and the use
of the park's openair BBQ facilities. It's an outright bargain for just
$1. To get to this park, once you've departed down the cobbled road
leading down from El Peñol, when you hit the tarmac road (the junction
is where the horses are waiting to take you up to El Peñol's main car
park), go right, over the bridge, and the park is immediately after the
bridge on the left. To get your bearings from the top of El Peñol is
quite simple. One can also hire boats and jet skis on the lake, but the
high prices mean you might as well get a pedallo for $1.