We participated in this tour by a courtesy of Turibus Medellín, but the opinions are 100% ours.
It was one of the only grey mornings we’ve had while in Medellín, and yet, we had only 2 more days there so it was now or never. The tour started early and we weren’t used to it. We’d been waking up late and enjoying the day until late. But we managed. We were at the meeting point 20 minutes before the appointed time (7 am). The bus was there, but there wasn’t anyone there so we sat and waited. Around 10 minutes later, our guide, Julia, appeared to check on the tickets and welcome everyone.
She then, told us that she didn’t speak English.
The kids were fine with it, we were already there, so we went with it.
It was a bit over an hour drive until our first stop: Iglesia del Peñol. A small church, built to look as if it was built in a rock. The rock itself was made out of cement. The kids were asleep and only Angelo went to see it. We had 15 minutes, and it’d take us more than that just to wake them up. To be really honest, I was super tired too and didn’t feel attracted to it, so it suited me just fine.
A short drive again and we reached the second stop: the replica of the old town of Peñol. By then, the kids were awake and we were able to enjoy the 20 minutes stop. The old Peñol was flooded to become a water dam and it’s people were taken to the new Peñol, where the church above was built.
The replica town is cute, tiny, just by the dam, with restaurants and lots of souvenir shops. We bought some delicious treats there, like coconut arequipe (milk caramel with coconut), which, by the way, you should try!
The third stop, and it was already 11 am, was the Comfama Guatapé park. It’s a huge park, full of trees, birds, squirrels, and entertainment options. Although not as well equipped as other Comfama parks, it’s still a nice day out. This is where we stopped for breakfast. It consisted of arepas (a cornbread kind of hard, but it’s quite hard and chewy), scrambled eggs, butter, a white fresh cheese, and hot chocolate. It wasn’t really good, but it may be because we just don’t like arepas anyway. When it was over, the group who wanted to climb to the top of Pedra del Peñol went on their way, while we decided to stay at the park and enjoy it.
What we didn’t know is that we’d stay in the park until after 3 pm. We should’ve asked and gone with them, even though we weren’t gonna climb the 750 steps to the top.
Right after breakfast, we went to the toilet. Well, there was no running water. It wasn’t the best start to our stay, BUT they turned on the water after that, so when we went to the loo again after lunch, it was working just fine.
To our surprise, we actually had fun there. Even Melissa did, and she’s been having a ‘bored’ phase. We spent a long time at the playground, found the perfect spot to see the Peñol boulder, played some more and it was already lunchtime.
Lunch was a lot better than breakfast, with chicharón de cerdo (crispy pork belly), bean soup, rice, minced pork or sausage, a small salad and a juice.
While we were eating, lots of squirrels came around asking for food, cute little things.
When we were finished, we were told to meet back at the bus at 3:30 pm and we were like ‘What’re we going to do until then?’.
But we still had fun.
We went to the dam, where we rode a small boat. Before boarding it, we had to leave our belongings in a locker – and rent a lock. To balance the weight in the small boat, I ended up sitting in the front and not doing anything while Angelo and the kids were rowing. They said it was hard and tiring, but I think it was a very relaxing moment. Hahaha.
When we finished, the boys decided on playing chess while we had ice cream. It wasn’t the best ice cream ever, but it was fine.
The kids then played Chess, Ludo, we walked some more, found lots of squirrels. Melissa and João decided to go to the dam again for a pedal boat. They were there, having fun, while I sat watching, and Angelo and the other kids were playing dominos.
I noticed they weren’t moving and they waved at me – something they don’t really do anymore. I thought something was wrong and sent Angelo to talk to the guy as I don’t really speak Spanish. Turns out Melissa’s pedal had stopped working and they were stuck. The guy went to rescue them and, although embarrassed, they said it was the funniest experience in their lives.
When they finally came back, a free bingo was starting so the younger kids went to play with Angelo and Melissa remained with me to talk about the experience while laughing hysterically.
None of them won anything at the Bingo, but they had fun and when it finished, it was time to head back to the bus.
So, you see, even though it was a long time inside a park, it had enough to keep us entertained for a long time. They also had a natural pool, and we skipped it because Coral had just gotten better from her cold and it wasn’t one of the sunniest days ever.
We waited for 20 minutes on the bus because half of the people weren’t there yet, but Julia (the guide) decided to leave anyway after that.
We were taken to the town of Guatapé, where we had a slow and relaxing boat ride through the dam. It was pretty, but nothing more than that.
There was a zip line there and we wanted to try it but it was for 15+ only so we didn’t.
After the boat ride, we walked around the beautiful Guatapé town. It’s all colorful and pretty. We had a snack there, buñuelos (deep-fried round cheese buns), walked between the beautiful colorful houses and it’s incredible decorations that protect them from when the floods, watched the huge amount of tourists doing the same as us, played with a few stray dogs, and had a nice time. We had only 45 minutes there, and we wish we could’ve stayed for longer.
We slept almost all the way home and reached Medellín a bit before 7 pm. Everyone was back on the bus when it left, I don’t know how they found everyone that was left at the park when we left it.
The whole tour includes breakfast and lunch and costs US$ 28 per adult. All of the park activities are free of charge for park users. It’s a very economical and family-friendly day trip, which the whole family can enjoy. It wasn’t perfect, I think we had too much time at the park and very little in the town of Guatapé, but it was enjoyed by everyone in the family very much.
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