In Guat­a­pa, every build­ing is a work of art. Res­i­dents paint their homes and offices in gor­geous vibrant col­ors and dec­o­rate the floor of each build­ing with ‘zocalos’-like murals. Guat­ape is some­times called the most col­or­ful city in the world.

guatape in colombia

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: South Amer­i­ca

With its steep, windy streets and vibrant col­ors, Guat­ape is per­fect­ly pho­to­genic, but it’s the zoca­los murals that make it stand out. Some friezes are just plain cute: sun­flow­ers, pigeons and sheep are espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar. Oth­er zoca­los adver­tise busi­ness­es: loaves of bread in a bak­ery, sewing machines out­side a cloth­ing store. The most elab­o­rate pieces of art are a few murals that tell of a jour­ney, or a com­mem­o­ra­tion of his­to­ry: musi­cal instru­ments that mark the home of a famous local musi­cian.

guatape frescoes
The zoca­lo tra­di­tion seems to have start­ed about a cen­tu­ry ago — no one knows for sure when or why — but in recent years it has gained par­tic­u­lar pop­u­lar­i­ty. Today, such art is strong­ly sup­port­ed by the gov­ern­ment because it helps make Guat­ape one of the most pop­u­lar resort towns in Colom­bia and a favorite day trip des­ti­na­tion from Medellin, a city two hours west.


Guat­ape is anoth­er Colom­bian mar­vel: the city sits on the banks of a strange reser­voir that twists and turns in all sorts of direc­tions. The town is in the shad­ow of El Penol, one of the largest cliffs in the world, to the top of which you can climb an amaz­ing stair­case.

See also
Ometepe - the island of two volcanoes