Near the rock of El Peñol, a few minutes down the road is the colorful town of Guatapé, which is known for its zócalos (colorful panels) lining the bottom of each building.
Some of the zócalos are simple geometric figures while others portray life in Antioquia. Generally, when you see zócalos on a house, they depict the occupation of the owner of the house. You'll see farmers, jeep drivers, carpenters, musicians, and more.
Others portray real life townspeople, including the mayor who delivered on his promise to put zócalos on every building in town. He made it a requirement for every building to have zócalos. This served several purposes, including beautifying the town, increasing town pride, and driving more tourism to Guatapé. Looks like it worked!
You can hire a tuk-tuk from Guatapé's plaza and get a tour around town. The driver will tell you the town's history and take you to some of the best zócalos, allowing time to stop and take photos.
Part of the town of Guatapé was also submerged with the creation of the lake, and one street in particular was dedicated to preserving the zócalos that were salvaged from that part of town before its demolition. The Calle del Recuerdo is only a couple blocks from the plaza.
Wander around the streets within a couple blocks of the plaza and you'll have a wonderful fill of zócalos and colorful buildings. One small block, Plazoleta de los Zócalos, has been designated for souvenir shops, and there are a couple of cafés to enjoy.
Visit Guatapé with Paisadventure on any of our tours that pass through Medellín, or add it to any customized tour.