When I was researching what to do in Medellin, the small town of Guatape came up. Once I saw some pictures of the town, I knew that we had to make a stop there. I was happy that our trip was to the point where it was flexible so we could make a change to our itinerary easily.
Guatape is a short 2 hour bus ride from Medellin. Since we planned to be gone for only 2 nights, we just took our small backpacks and left our big bags at our hostel in Medellin. To save a little money, we took the metro to the bus station instead of taking a taxi.
We planned to take the same bus to Guatape as our friends we met in Medellin, meeting at the bus station at 9am. We got there around 8:20am with plans to purchase our overnight bus tickets to Bogota after we secured our tickets to Guatape. Due to our poor Spanish, we ended up getting tickets for an 8:30am bus which didn’t afford us time to get breakfast or buy our overnight bus tickets. We texted our friends to let them know we would meet them in Guatape and then boarded the bus.
Minibus from Medellin to Guatape
There were no assigned seats so as soon as we could board on the bus we did. We snagged 2 seats that didn’t have a raised floor due to the bus wheel. Even though these were the “best seats available” they were still terrible. I’m not an overly tall person at 5’8” but my knees were completely pressed up to the seat in front of me. There was no luggage storage so my backpack had to go between my legs. To say it was cramped would be an understatement.
Once the bus was full, we left the station. As we drove through more rural parts of the country, there were people being picked up on the side of the road. Even though there was no room for them, they kept piling into the bus. Right on time, 2 hours after we left, we arrived in Guatape.
Full Size Bus from Guatape to Medellin
Since we were in Guatape over a holiday weekend, we purchased our tickets the day before we wanted to leave. For 12,500 pesos or $4.50, the same price that we paid to get there, we had our tickets.
We waited at the bus station for our bus to arrive. While we were mentally prepared for another mini bus, we were very happy to see that we had a full size bus. I believe this was due to the demand as it was a holiday weekend.
Our ticket had reserved seat numbers which was nice. With the way that people in Latin America push to get a seat on the city bus, I could only imagine the chaos that would ensue if there were no reserved seats on a relatively long bus route on busy holiday weekend.
Once we were on the bus we both felt so much better than we did on our mini bus to Guatape. We had adequate legroom and comfortable, reclining seats. As expected, every single seat was full when we left the bus station. That didn’t stop the driver from continuing to pick up passengers on the side of the road, leaving standing room only.
Because it was a holiday weekend we hit quite a bit of traffic coming into Medellin. Our 2 hour bus arrived over 3 hours after it left. It was fortunate that we had not booked our night tickets to Bogota. Depending on the time that we purchased, we may not have been able to make it to the hostel to pick up our bags and get back to the bus terminal in time to catch our night bus.
Getting from Medellin to Guatape on the bus is very cheap and easy. Many travelers go to Guatape as a day trip which would be extremely easy to do. There are many agencies that sell trips to Guatape on more luxurious busses for a premium, but for a short bus ride, we sacrificed a little bit of comfort to pay a fraction of the cost.
We were very happy that we decided to spend a few days in Guatape as it was a charming town and our favorite place that we visited in Colombia.