Colombia’s popular tourist town of Guatapé, Antioquia, roughly 2 hours outside of Medellín, has opened a new Malecón, or waterfront parkway, modernizing and increasing public space by more than 19,000 square meters. The public work was realized by joint efforts of the Guatapé mayor’s office, Empresa Autónoma de Guatapé (Guatapé Autonomous Enterprise),Cornare, and EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellin, Medellin’s electric, water, sanitation and gas utility).
Guatapé is a lake front town that sits on EPM’s Represa de Guatapé, a hydroelectric reservoir; and at the foot of El Peñón de Guatapé, a granite basolith between Guatapé and the town of El Peñol. The town is easily reached by bus and is popular with both local and international tourists.
“The construction of the Guatapé Malecón is a fundamental contribution to the dynamism and growth that we are experiencing in this municipality,” said EPM’s CEO Jorge Londoño De La Cuesta. “EPM wanted to participate in this effort, and now we present the work that opens a new panorama for the people; for those that live here and for the tourists that will now begin to add do their travel memories this new space that speaks very well to Paisa culture, a locality that for its characteristics really represents Antioquia and Colombia.”
The approximately $6 million USD project was paid primarily by EPM, who contributed 77.32% of the budget. That does not include a forthcoming boat dock on the frigid lake stocked with North American rainbow trout, that will cost another $2.4 million USD.
The town of Guatapé also recently received notoriety for banning polystyrene and single use plastics.
“With the realization of this project we don’t just improve the municipal and community infrastructure. In terms of cultural options, urban planning, displacement, and quality of life for the population, we also materialize the proposition of contributing to competitive and sustainable territories, generating regional development,” added Londoño.
3 years ago, before the new improvements were put in place, a tragic accident happened on the lake near the town, when a commercial tourist boat capsized with over 150 passengers on board, causing 7 deaths. Not only are the waters cold, but the bottom near the town is muddy, which can trap feet and legs. Swimming is not allowed from the shore of the lake facing Guatapé.
Photos courtesy EPM except El Peñon, by Loren Moss