WA lot of people say that weekends should be spent somewhere away from where you live (i.e. down the coast, in the mountains, by the river etc). But when you live and work (remotely) in a foreign country like I do the concept of ‘getting out of the big smoke’ for a weekend away seems rather ironic since I’m away from my home country for 12 months on a working holiday. Nonetheless, people on working holidays also need time off (yes, believe it or not!) to recover and rejuvenate, and that’s exactly what I did when I visited Guatape last weekend.
Our journey began when we were picked up from our co-working space (yes, we did get some work done before we left – tieing up loose ends from the previous weeks work), and then we packed up our stuff, walked out the front doors of Selina (the co-working space), and waited for our tour guide to arrive. I decided a cappuccino was the best way to enjoy a chocolate brownie while we waited for our ride to arrive. The ‘boom-tune’ bus (as it became affectionately known) pulled in (big orange bus) and we were met by our tour guide, the very cool and fun Rafael (a self-professed Colombian hippy). All loaded up into the boom-tune and we were on our way to Guatape!
We had some very interesting experiences along the way – we were taken through Pablo Escobar’s neighbourhood, we picked up a bongo playing musician who sat on the front dash and played us some Colomian salsa-like music, and we ended up stopping for breakfast at Rafa’s house (a house turned hippy hangout – complete with hammocks above beds in the bedrooms), and a welcoming family-led team working to cook us breakfast.
Next up we were told to get on top of the boom-tune and ride it… Almost like a surfer riding a wave to our next stop, fitting as it was because we then arrived at a suspension bridge (above a beautiful river) which we ended up jumping off because I thought the weather permitted, and the river below nice and safe enough to swim in.
Having cooled off we then climbed a rock (El Peñón de Guatapé) which was 2,135m at elevation, and we climbed this rock up the stairs to where we were greeted with spectacular views of Guatape’s surrounding region in 360 degrees.
After viewing the spectacular scenery it was time to get on our way again on to our final destination – Guatape, but we were getting hungry (as it was around lunchtime) so back in the van we hopped, and we were on the road again. The drive was short to our tour guides house (Do It In a Van) which was a 1970’s style Spanish Villa (Rafa’s chillout ‘shack’) situated on the river and it was time for lunch.
After lunch we visited the very colourful, an interesting town of Guatape, where we viewed and walked around, checking out the local and colourful buildings of Guatape.
We then came back to our accommodation and settled in for the night. Rafa cooked us pizzas which was quite possibly the best pizza I’d had in Colombia.
The next day we woke up and it was time to get our gear on for some wakeboarding fun on the local river, after which we returned back to our accommodation for more lunch, and then it was time to return back to Medellin.
A weekend away (out of the big smoke) was just what we all needed.