Before I write this entry I absolutely have to thank my close friend Hannah Pearson and our own Explorer, Davide, for recommending Guatape to me because I really couldn’t have missed this! Guatape is a complete paradise. After a pretty ropey 2 hour bus from Medellin after a night spent indulging in sangria and camembert pizza (unusual but great combination) we were hoping this sleepy place on the lake, famed for a massive rock and ex-home to Pablo Escobar, would live up to the hype we’d heard and it did.
On arrival we checked into hostel Galeria which boasted some phenomenal views and was owned by a character called Pablo…not Escobar, but from first impressions, looked pretty close! Galeria is one of those hostels where you feel like you just broke into someone’s living room and amongst a crowd of stuck in one place for too long travellers, you have no idea who is about to check you in! After a few moments hesitation, Pablo stepped up from his sprawled on the sofa with a cigarette after a heavy night position and welcomed us with strong embrace and cheek kisses and told us to make his home, ours. We sighed relief and headed into the town for a traditional Colombian breakfast… This wasn’t actually a choice of ours but it arrived at our table with fresh coffee and we ate it – the first of many translation mishaps I’m sure! Who knew rice and banana went together so well (I’m still not convinced it does but the Colombians obviously think so)! Breakfast attempted, we dived into the rainbow coloured streets of the town with pleasure, zipping from chocolate shop to jewellery stall before making a boat trip to Pablo Escobar’s old mansion ruin! Except we never actually made it to the ruin, instead we waited an hour by the jetty (‘Colombian time’ AKA. No concept of being on time, is becoming a small inconvenience…) And then took a boat out to view some new real estate which don’t get me wrong, was beautiful, but it wasn’t Pab’s house! Moral of the story… Don’t get onboard a dodgy boat tour. By the afternoon we needed a cervesa to pluck up the courage to climb the rock and we did! The Rock literally imposes over the town and the thought of the climb looms with both excitement for the famed view and slight worry! The 800 steps are, like everything in Guatape, 100% worth it and the panorama from the top, well, it ain’t your usual viewpoint view! I’m left wondering why Game of Thrones isn’t filmed here and how much it would cost to buy one of the little pockets of land that form the dalmatian landscape! Before you leave, grab a Mango Michelada (refreshing and helps with Dutch courage) to help you bolt back down!
Our evening was the perfect end to a blissful day. Hippy and peaceful the only way to spend the evening here is enjoying a curry at Don Sam’s with hostel friends and watching the sun set over the lake at Pablo’s Galeria Hostel. Guatape, you’ve got some million dollar views, looks like I’ll have to go back next year to see Escobar’s house… Or at least that can be my excuse!