Guatape Lakes outside of Medellin

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
45 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
South America
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 40
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
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All Tags
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
322nd/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Bottom 20% SUMMARY RATING: Ok if passing through


The Guatape Lakes are a nice day trip to take from Medellin – views from the top of the 220m (720 feet) tall La Piedra are cool and the walk around the colourful town of Guatape is nice.  But I’d challenge a lot I’ve read about this being a “must see”.  I found Hiking the Lost City Trek, Soaking up the Cartagena Old Town, Walking the Valley de Cocora and soaking up Salento, hanging out in Tayrona National Park and spending a Couple of days in Medellin riding the cable cars must sees in Colombia.  The Guatape Lakes are a nice day trip if you have a spare day


#1 The views of all the lakes and islands from the top of La Piedra

#2 Scaling the daunting steps for great views of the surrounding area

#3 Chilling out having lunch in the small colourful town of Guatape

Travel Tips

  • Getting there and around – the bus from Medellin leaves from the Bus Terminal at Caribe Metro Station, takes around 2 hours there, 2 hours back (so make sure you get a seat!).  It’ll drop you off at La Piedra, where many on the bus will also get off.  I’d suggest leaving early from Medellin so that you can climb the rock before it gets super hot and can aim for lunch / late lunch in Guatape town.  Getting from La Piedra to Guatape town is easy as there are loads of tuk tuk style vehicle there to take you and you can buy your return ticket back to Medellin from Gauatpe town (the town itself is very small, so can easily find the bus station)
  • Walks – when on top of La Piedra, have a look around to see where you fancy walking down to the lakes.  We ended up wandering into one of the nice hotels nearby and found some beautiful grass areas to chill out on
  • For how Guatape can fit into a bigger 3 week trip to see the highlights of Colombia,  see 3 weeks in Colombia

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone