El Penol / Guatape:
Located just east of the city about an hour and a half away from Medellin is the beautiful lake and recreational area of El Penol (literally ‘the Stone’). Similar to the famous Sugar Loaf of Rio de Janeiro, El Penol is a 650 feet tall granite monolith rising from the banks of Embalse del Penol, an artificial lake built in the early 1960’s. Adventurous visitors can even climb the 649 steps to the top and get a bird’s-eye view of the entire region including the beautiful lake below. There is a visitor’s center and place to buy snacks on top of the rock.
Since the construction of a hydro-electric damn and subsequent flooding of the area, El Penol has become a popular tourist area. There are numerous activities to engage around the lake including hiking, biking, horseback riding, water sports and swimming, and an amazing zip-line in Guatape just to name a few.