I’m not the sportiest of girls. I love hiking, skiing, swimming and a host of active pursuits. The problem is that what I have in enthusiasm, I lack in actual skill or ability. That’s why it was with mixed emotions that I accepted an invitation to take part in the Guatape walking festival.
I needn’t have worried. The wonderful thing about the hiking around Guatape is that there are routes for all walking abilities and all have equally spectacular views of the Antioquian countryside.
The hike that was chosen for us was a relatively short 6km wander along tracks, by lakes and through hilly woodland. With a lively bunch of fellow walkers ranging in age from children, adults to the oh dear me is she going to be able to make it up this hill we marched, lolloped and loped our way along the 6km course.
We travelled at a pretty steady pace, with the occasional stop for a little talk about the area or for a fresh fruit and condensed milk snack break. Luckily the weather stayed dry and clear making it the perfect day to enjoy a wander in this stunning countryside. The day before we had been taken, by the lovely Medellin tourism people, on a speedboat tour around Guatape town. On the ride we had seen a couple of several storied party boats, with salsa pouring forth from their sound systems and people aboard looking like they were having an awesome time.
What I wasn’t expecting while on our peaceful hike through the countryside, was to, just as we were getting a little tired and the sun was getting pretty burny, was to round a corner, through some pine woodland and come across our own party boat.
This is how all hikes should end. No more of the bundling into a bus with some warm lucazade, getting into a damp tent or chilly caravan. I am now firmly of the opinion that all hiking should end with a large party boat blaring salsa and serving ice cold beer. I will not be convinced that a reasonable hike will ever end in any other way.
After a couple of speedily consumed beers and a lot of awkward toe tapping, jiggly dancing from me (as I continually point out, I cannot dance ) we ended up back in Guatape with just a few hours to kill before we attended the closing party of the hiking festival.
The closing party for the hiking festival was incredible. Me and Chris were all set to sit around listening to some very dull speeches, take a few pictures and get out of there. What we weren’t expecting was the parade and party atmoshphere that took over the town centre. Hiking clubs from all over Colombia had turned up for the festival and in the parade they took the opportunity to celebrate their towns and departments. I’m finding it super hard to imagine a club of Yorshire ramblers donning fluorescent wigs or tight gold costumes, wearing body paint or dancing around in the street. That, though is exactly how the hikers of Colombia celebrate a day of hard hiking. With a serious party.
I loved Guatape. I visited for just two days but I’m already itching to go back. There are a huge amount of activities on offer such as climbing El Peñol, cycling, kayaking, zip lining, fishing and boating. Though I would say that none of them are more impressive than the totally free and completely beautiful walking trails that exist all over this area.
I visited Guatape with See Colombia Travel at the invitation of the Medellin tourism board.