Kevin, out for a hike in the beautiful country of Lesotho, Africa. Photo taken February 13, 2014.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The best view in the world?

Maybe. It certainly ranks right up there among the best views that we've ever seen.

Yesterday we did a day trip to El Penol and the little tourist town of Guatape. El Penol is a rock monolith that has 740 steps that you can climb to get to the top, and it overlooks a beautiful lake that was formed when the Colombian government built a hydro electric dam in the early 1970's.

It's a two hour bus ride to get there from Medellin, so we tried to get an early start. Took a taxi to the north bus terminal, and paid 11,500 pesos ($5.43 CAD) each for tickets to El Penol. Ruth and I were given the front seats, but it's still difficult to get decent pictures from a moving bus.

Busy highway leading out of Medellin, with lots of motorcycles and cyclists on a Sunday.

Typical countryside once we got out of the city.

It's amazing how the buses manage to maneuver through some of the congestion in this town along the way. Wouldn't want to have been driving Sherman!

Our first view of El Penol. You can see the observation tower on the top of the rock.

Andrea and Herber have been here before, and they explained that there are three ways that you can get to the entrance to the stairs leading up the rock. You can take a horse, or you take take one of those little three wheeled motor scooter taxis, or you can walk. 

After a two hour bus ride, we chose to walk!

You can see the staircases leading up the side.

The best view in the world? I guess we'll see....

We paid 12,000 pesos ($5.66 CAD) each for the entrance to the steps. Andrea and Herber had been here before, so Andrea decided to stay at the bottom and wait for us. There are 740 steps to get to the top, so we had a bit of work ahead of us!

Starting to get a view. It's a beautiful area.

Lots of steps. There is one staircase leading up, and one intertwined with it, leading down. Really interesting how they built it!

About half way up.

Photo op!

Looking down at where we came from!

Made it to the top. Well, almost. Still a few more steps in the tower.

Gorgeous scenery.

The view from the top!

Best view in the world? Maybe. It sure is a pretty area.

Back at the bottom, we decided to take one of those motor scooter taxis to the town of Guatape, a couple of kilometers away. Not convenient to walk really, and we could have taken a bus but it would have been only slightly cheaper. Plus, our legs were actually a little tired from all those stairs! Gotta get back in hiking shape I guess.

The town of Guatape is really pretty. We could easily stay in this area for a few days just exploring. In fact, we'll keep it on our list. If we have time towards the end of our trip we may come back. It's a bit touristy and busy on weekends, but I can see where it would be pretty quiet during the week.

The entrance to town. Guatape is famous for those designs you see along the walls and outside each of the houses. Usually, the designs are related to the occupation of the homeowner although sometimes not.

Colorful little town.

Some narrow streets. Not motorhome friendly!

We've been keeping our eyes open for what overnight possibilities would be available had we been driving Sherman. So far, I would say that the best RV possibilities for what we've seen so far would be accomplished in a small class B van. There are no official RV campgrounds in Colombia, and so far we haven't seen a single RV. But we do see places where tent camping is advertised, and a class B van would fit.

The church and plaza.

Beautiful wood finishing inside the church.

Found a place for lunch. Good thing we were hungry! The other three had trout, and I had chicken. Very good.

People enjoying the day. It is popular to go for a boat ride, but we decided not to.

Now there's a fancy tour boat!

More narrow streets.

Walking around town.

Waiting for our bus back to town.

With the two hour bus ride back, it was just after 8:00pm by the time we made it home. What a fun day we had!

I think today will be a day of rest (and it's a national holiday here in Colombia) and then tomorrow will be a travel day as we move on to the small city of Manizales. Our couchsurfing hosts have invited us for a return stay and we will take them up on that since our flight leaves from Medellin in mid December. So we'll do some more exploring of the city then.



  1. This sound like an great place to visit. Excellent Pics as usual.

    1. Thanks Tommy. Yes, I would say that Guatape and the rock should be on the "must see" lists of anybody visiting Colombia.

  2. I love it when you guys start traveling again. Never been to Columbia so this is quite interesting. You two look comfortable in all kinds of cultures. Looks a little bit like Mexico? Or Peru? I heard guinea pig is quite a delicacy there? Our son was on a trip there when they served it to his group. But he's a vegan.

    1. I love it when you guys start traveling again.

      Funny, so do we! Interestingly though, our statistics show that our readership actually goes down when we're not traveling in the motorhome.

      Guinea pig is actually a delicacy in Peru, not so much in Colombia. We have not seen it on the menu anywhere yet.

  3. Awesome photos - fantastic day for all!!!

    1. Yes...glad you enjoyed it. We sure did!

  4. Methinks the influx of RVs is stymied by the Darién Gap, an impenetrable forest/swamp between Panama and Colombia. Love that fancy tour boat---is that a little outboard motor propelling it?

    1. Yes, and of course you are correct. You need to have a vehicle shipped here, usually from Panama to Cartegana. And given our experience so far...we would do it in as small a vehicle as we would be comfortable...much smaller than Sherman!

      We actually weren't very close to that fancy tour boat. But yes, it does look like a small outboard. Possibly for emergency use...?

  5. Some amazing scenery thanks for all the pics.

  6. What an adventure you are having! Thanks for taking us along. Trout! I love trout!

    1. You would love it here Croft...trout is a very popular dish for Colombians.

  7. Great views, especially the header picture! I wonder what the suction cups on the windshield are for?

    1. The suction cups on the windshield is where they typically hang signs advertising the destination.

  8. I think you guys are giving readers an idea of how great the rest of America is. After all, we are all Americans not just people who live in the U.S.

    Colombia and the rest of South America are truly beautiful. So I guess I was on target saying we need to get a Class B to rv in South America (with you guys of course in your van) :)

  9. Yes, a class B is the way to go from what we've seen so far! What a trip that would be huh??

  10. You're right, that's a pretty little town, very colorful, beautiful church and plaza. And they love those narrow streets, don't they? Quite a feat getting to the top of El Penol -- and then down!

    1. Yes,it was beautiful little town and the scenery all around that area was fantastic. Actually the climb up really wasn't too bad but by the the we had climbed back down our legs were starting to feel a little wobbly.

  11. Love your photos! It looks like it was busy while you were there! I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Colombia, too. Will have to keep checking in to see what you're up to. :) Happy travels!

    1. Yes, it was quite busy as it was a weekend and a long weekend at that. If you go during the weekend it will be much quieter but then you miss out more of the typical activities that would go on over the weekend, it just adds more to the cultural aspect of the outing.

      I am pretty sure that we will continue to have a great time here in Colombia. Thanks for checking in and taking the time to comment, we love reading them.


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