Guatape and San Carlos Waterfalls


Want to explore beyond Guatape? This trip is for you! San Carlos is a small pueblo near Medellín that hasn’t yet been discovered by many foreigners. But it’s a hidden gem surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and nature.

A day trip to Guatapé is a great one to get your feet wet. But some excellent dual sport riding is to be found if you keep going to the next towns of San Rafael and San Carlos. These are two small towns that are hidden gems near Medellin and are surrounded by mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and nature. The best part is that they haven't been discovered by tourists yet!

The main roads are paved, but everything else is not. First off the road from Guatapé to San Rafael is a 35 kilometer, twisty as hell rip of a road with an elevation drop of over 1,000 meters. I would suggest if you want to stretch out a trip to Guatapé to two or three days, you can’t go wrong staying in one of the resorts around San Rafael, and using it as a base to explore the unpaved countryside.


The food and booze is cheap, the coffee is great, and unlike Guatapé, you won’t need a jacket at night.

Self-Guided Trip: $130USD


  • Guatape

  • El Peñol Rock

  • Waterfalls in San Carlos

  • Snaking through mountain roads 

  • Beautiful scenery the entire time

  • Steak dinner on the town square



Recommended Hotel: Hotel Campestre La Cascada


The motorcycle trip to San Carlos takes you through a winding road passing through the town of Granada. The road is totally beautiful with spectacular views. Sometimes there is mountain mist which makes the scenery even more magical.

Once you get to San Carlos, we recommend taking a hike to the 30 meter tall La Viejita waterfall. La Viejita is a nature trail of approximately one mile (900 meters) with easy access and is one of the most beautiful trails in the area.  Climbing up further along the trail, you come to a second waterfall known as “La Cascada” that has a pool of water at the bottom for swimming.​ If you want to explore other waterfalls and swimming holes we recommend getting a local guide. You can check with the local tourism office, called SENA, located in the town square to find reputable guides.

Located walking distance from the Hotel Campestre La Cascada is the San Antonio waterfall. The path has a couple of covered bridges that cross a stream and the paved trail is covered by trees and surrounded by nature. The hike and seeing the waterfall makes for good photo opportunities but they aren't exactly the best for swimming due to the rushing water flowing through. 

A short motorcycle ride out to the other side of San Carlos is the huge Piedra del Tabor that dominates the landscape. This gigantic Stone Monolith rises to a height of about 9,500 feet (1,800 meters) above sea level. It is possible to get here on an 8 hour round trip while going through thick vegetation.

Steak dinner on the town square is a great evening activity. We recommend checking out the Al Carbón de Leña restaurant that has great steak. La Costica Dulce restaurant is also recommended and has a great view of the town square from the second floor. 



Day two is another great day and the ride to Guatape is beautiful. Leaving San Carlos, head north past the Mirador San Carlos lookout point towards San Rafael. This road is rugged and unpaved and starts off taking you across the top of a mountain. Dropping down from the mountain, you will ride off-road through a valley before arriving in the town of San Rafael. San Rafael is a convenient place to stop and get a quick cup of coffee before riding the final 45 minutes to Guatape on pavement.


Guatape is a nice town but can be quite touristy and crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. There are shops selling t-shirts, wood carvings and other souvenirs on pretty much every corner. 


The big draw here is the famous Piedra del Peñol and the view of the lake and surrounding area from the top. The Piedra is a high granite monolith (technically an inselberg) that rises from near the edge of a man-made lake called the Embalse Guatapé. A brick staircase of 659 steps rises up through a broad fissure on the side of the rock. From the top, you’ll soak up magnificent views of this fertile region, the fingers of the lake sprawling amid a vast expanse of green mountains. 


The ride to Medellin takes around two hours on a paved road and is fairly uneventful if there isn't any traffic. Starting about an hour after leaving Guatape you will notice that the traffic begins to get heavier. Highway congestion from busses and people returning to Medellin can make the highway more challenging. The last leg of the trip dropping into Medellin's valley is a bit steeper so be sure to watch your speed and increase your following distance.

INCLUDED All our motorcycle rentals include everything you need to have a great motorcycle trip in Colombia:

  • Bilingual Guide / Adventure Photographer - Kawasaki Versys-X 300 or Honda XR

  • Motorcycles - Kawasaki Versys-X 300 or Honda XRE300 adventure motorcycles

  • Unlimited Kilometers - Drive wherever you want without having to worry about extra charges for mileage/kilometers

  • Hotels - Awesome hotel in Sonsón, Hot springs hotel in Nariño

  • Breakfast - Breakfast included 

  • Helmet - High-quality helmets with integrated sun visors

  • Gloves - We provide nice gloves

  • Jacket - High-quality motorcycle gear that keeps you safe and dry through all the climates that Colombia has to offer. 

  • Cell Phone Holder - RAM® X-Grip® phone holder to keep your device secure and accessible while navigating.

  • USB Charger - Charge your phone while you ride.

  • Top box - Huge 48 liter top box for all your things. The box also has a padded backrest so passengers can travel comfortably.

  • SOAT - Colombia's mandatory liability insurance

  • Medical Insurance - (Just in case)


  • Lunch and dinner

  • Snacks and drinks


  • A valid motorcycle class driver’s license

  • Credit card to leave a $500USD security deposit in case  the motorcycle suffers any damages


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+ 57 321 491 7060


+57 321 491 7060

US Number: 

(786) 623 4393