As you drive to the entrance of the gargantuan rock face the first sign that greets you states boldly – The Best View in the World. Since I’ve been to many high vista points, some beyond spectacular, this to me was a challenge.
To state something that is the ‘best in the world’, always makes me wonder what they are justifying. So I was up for the challenge.
Piedra del Penol, is part of your day trip when you visit Guatape. And honestly, there is not much more to do here, other than take a walk along the Malecon and have lunch or dinner in Guatape.
At first glance this rock simply doesn’t make any sense at all. It stands high and tall in the middle of nothing else that has such properties to it. The area around it was made into a man-made water reservoir. It is one of the most important by far for Medellin, the surrounding areas and, I even heard rumors, all the way to Bogota.
It was time to climb to the top. 740 Stairs. Just the thought of it makes me freak out.
Information For Piedra del Peñol
- The price to enter and climb the rock is 10,000 pesos – $5
- The views are definitely spectacular, leaving you speechless. Not sure if I would claim it to be ‘The Best View in the World’. But definitely up there.
- The entrance is not made for big (overweight) people at all. As a matter of fact, I was shocked to see how narrow the turnstile entrance really was.
- When reaching the half way point, (I think) Virgin Mary is blessing this area.
- There are two tops. The first one is the restaurant area at 659 stairs
- The second one, where it’s 740 stairs, is the main vista and it’s amazing
- Duration – at most you will need two hours to do the whole thing. I’m being generous with the time. I’m including if you want to grab a bite to eat or a drink at the top.
- This place is not at all for handicap or disabled people. There are no facilities for them.
- As for younger kids, be prepared to carry them for most of the trip up and down. It is not for the faint hearted.
Fun Facts About Piedra del Peñol, Colombia
- It is also called Peñon de Guatape
- This is a monolith with over 220 meters high.
- According to archaeologists it was created around 65 million years ago.
- The Stone of Peñol is composed of quartz, feldspar and mica.
- On the northern face of the stone you will be able to see a G and half U.
- Residents from Guatape and El Peñol had disputed its ownership for years until Guatepe habitants decided to paint their town’s name on it but people from El Peñol noticed and the project was never finished.
- To gain even more ownership of it, the town of El Peñol built a church in the center of town representing the rock (as they they owned it)
- During the days when Guatape’s main economical activity was agriculture it was considered an obstacle. It was an extremely fertile soil but because of the rock production took longer to grow.
- There are plans to build a cable railway to help getting to the top a lot easier.
- El Peñol is privately owned. Luis Eduardo Villegas is the Paisa who owns the land where this rock is located. His siblings ignored this part of the land when they received it as inheritance from his father and left it to him.
Legends Surrounding Piedra del Peñol
- One of the most important legends told about this place is that the devil tried to take it a few times. He didn’t like that so many people visited it, so he took an ax and tried to take it down. But he couldn’t. Instead God took care of it everyday by erasing most of its work and the only thing left is a large crack at its base.
- It is also called the airport of witches by some. There are people that say that after 9 pm witches land at the top of it to gather.
- There is also a story that an elf goes up and down the huge ladder searching for the gold that is said to be inside the rock.
History of Piedra del Peñol and the Area
- The Tahamines Indians, the former inhabitants of the region considered it to be sacred. They called it “mojarra” or “mujara”.
- In 1940 the Colombian government declared it a national monument.
- The rock was first climbed officially in July 1954 – Luis Villegas. His family are the owners of it to this day.
- You can also climb the 740 step ladder to get to the top from where you get amazing views of the surrounding towns. Construction of the stairs started in 1955. They were finally finished in 1957.