72 Hours in Medellin: Day 3 Guatape & Video Diary

Our last day in Medellin was not actually spent in Medellin. I had read cool things about Guatape, which is a neighboring town and when I suggested it to L, she was like, of course we should go. We had to take the metro pretty far to the bus station and then the bus for a couple of hours to Guatape. The bus tickets were $15.000 COP ($5 USD) and they assign seats which means you don't have to scramble onto the bus to make sure you're seated next to your travel companions.
The bus itself was pretty comfortable. However, the route requires winding up and down mountains on curvy roads so if you're prone to motion sickness (like I am), I would highly suggest popping a Dramamine.

I had pancakes again, but I was much hungrier than the previous morning so I also got a side of bacon for $6.000 COP ($1.85 USD) and scarfed down every bite of food on my plate.
We were basically on the metro before 8, at Terminal del Norte by 8:30, and on a bus by 8:40.
Instead of getting off the bus in Guatape, we got off before the bridge so we could climb La Piedra. It's just this giant rock that has stairs built on the side and you can climb it and get some awesome views. Basically the surrounding area was flooded after a dam was constructed and it's made it look really beautiful.
The climb was admittedly a bit difficult for me. Though not as high as Bogota, Medellin is still 5,000 feet above sea level, which is similar to Denver.
Climbing up the rock wasn't that hard though. Your speed is limited by the fact that there are loads of other people doing the same thing and pausing to take photos, pausing to take rests, just going slowly in general. So it's a pretty easy pace.
There are also markers on the steps to let you know how far along you are. I think I saw them every 25 steps but some are worn down and invisible now. The whole thing is something like 649 steps to the top of the rock and then another 90 to the top of the tower.
The views are pretty special. You can see for miles because the rock is so high and the surrounding area is pretty flat.
We sat down to get some snacks before we climbed down. I got mango and a coconut ice cream pop. Both were fantastic and totally hit the spot. And if you're wondering about my weird wristbands, it's actually a motion sickness aid. And I think it actually helped.
The climb down actually took more time than the climb up because there was some major traffic jam. Someone was really struggling and I think got stuck at one point. It was a larger woman and unfortunately, some of the route down includes tight spaces.
To get into town, there were a few options including the same bus we took into town, tuk tuks, and this jeep. It was only $2.000 COP (<$1 USD) so we went for it.
We were dropped off at the edge of town and although we were both really hungry for lunch, we had to go buy our bus tickets back immediately. We had been warned that they sell out and it's not easy to get a ticket if you book too late.
I'd read about a yummy Thai restaurant but it was closed for lunch so we had to reroute to another spot. It was fine to have that detour though because the town is so picturesque.
We ended up eating at this little restaurant a few blocks outside of the city center, which meant it was nice and cheap. Plus, it didn't hurt that the food was fantastic. L went for the traditional bandeja paisa which comes with a variety of meats. I went for a fish version which was served with rice and beans and salad and my favorite: sweet plantains.
I also got a limonada de coco, basically a pina colada without the pineapple (or the alcohol) which was amazing. It was refreshing and delicious and I've been craving it ever since.
After lunch, we just walked around exploring all the gorgeous little streets.
Everything was so colorful and pretty and vibrant. It's definitely an instagram-porn kind of place.
And in anticipation of our long bus ride back to Medellin, we each got an oblea. L got one with chocolate and cream while I went for raspberry and cream.
We decided that we needed at least one "party" night so we got dressed up and hit the town. The plan was to bounce from rooftop bar to rooftop bar all night and then maybe go dancing somewhere.
We were a bit early for the party scene (it was 9PMish) so when we got to Vaggart, it wasn't open yet. So, we just took advantage of the rooftop views of the city.
We ended up at Envy next, which was pretty fantastic because they had live music and food.
I'd read that it was a bit pricey but actually, it wasn't that bad.
We each got a gin and tonic cocktail, L had one with feijoa (a type of fruit) and I had one with lulo and mint.
We also shared a plate of wings with an Asian-inspired sauce. These were bomb. I ruined my lipstick for these and it was more than worth it.
Our final stop of the night was at Woka Lounge. This was a sufficiently-covered rooftop (unlike Envy) and the timing worked out because shortly after we got there, it started pouring. And I mean, it was really coming down. There was thunder, lightning, the whole nine yards and the rain itself was like a waterfall.
We didn't actually end up going dancing anywhere because it was raining too much so we didn't want to go off in search of another venue and we were pretty tired. So, we ended up hopping in an Uber back to our hotel.

Here's my video diary from days 4 to 6: