One of the most intense experiences on our travels throughout Colombia, was climbing El Penol Rock. El Penol Rock, also known as the the Rock of Guatape or the Stone of El Penol, is a 65 million year old granite rock located in the town of El Penol. It sits 7,000 feet above sea level at its highest peak. It also has 740 steps carved into it that take you roughly 700 feet from the base to the top. Climbing it was a hell of a challenge!
The Stone of El Penol
Not only did we scale the rock ourselves, but we also saw it by air, by land and by water. It was extremely rewarding to have climbed all those steps considering how difficult it was. The view of the rocks and from the rock were amazing view, as you can see from the aerial shots. This is one hell of a big rock. It just sticks straight up into the sky, out the middle of nowhere. The city created all these lakes to surround the rock and to conceal the power station. But the lakes are beautiful and really add to the whole landscape.
History of the Rock
According to history, the indigenous Tahami people actually used to worship the rock. It was first climbed in 1954 by three men that used sticks fixed against the rock’s wall to scale the massive structure. Apparently is took them five days to climb it! The ownership of the rock has also caused controversy over time. The towns of El Penol and Guatape both claim ownership of the rock, but the residents of Guatape tried to settle the matter by painting the town’s name on the side of the rock. Word has it that the people of El Penol heard about the planned and assembled a mob to stop them. They were only able to paint a letter “G” and an unfinished “U” which you can observe today.
Should you go?
The stairway leading to the top is very narrow at times, which gave me a lot of anxiety starting off. But we got to the top in under 50 minutes! Once I was at the top, it wasn’t so bad. The views really are breathtaking. The Stone of El Penol is about two hours outside of Medellin and definitely worth a visit! I would recommend it to anyone that’s up for a physical challenge. Make sure to follow along on all of our adventures!
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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.