June 6 – June 24, 2019
Day 240 –

Two and a half weeks in a small village, volunteering in a restaurant.

After finally getting out of Medellín (where I didn’t really like the vibe), I am happy to go out of this big city.

An easy hitchhiking and two cars later, I arrived in Guatapé. I was not disappointed to choose this place to volunteer instead of Medellín: This little village is beautiful. Located just next to a lake, the village is known for its Piedra: a 220 meters monolith that face the lake and its surrounding (the second biggest in the world after the one in Rio de Janeiro).

The village is made of colorful street where many building have “Zocalos”: ornamental straps in the lower half of a wall. They are sometimes just decorative but they can also tell a story or show something from the village of Guatapé and the monolith.

I am going to the Lake View hostel, where I will be volunteering for the next few weeks. On top of the hostel is the restaurant Thai Terrace, a thai restaurant and one of the best restaurant in Guatapé.

I join the team of volunteers over there, which are really nice people.

The Work

I first work in the morning at the breakfast shift. My job is quite simple: take the order, bring the food and…. clean a lot of dishes. The good thing about this shift is that I am done at 11:30 or 12:00 and I have plenty of time to discover Guatapé.

I then moved to the restaurant on the night shift, from 17:30 to 22:30. I work over there as a waiter. It is my first experience as a waiter and I was really looking forward for it.

The job can be pretty exhausting, depending on the day. Sometime the hostel is full and the restaurant very busy. And sometime we have nobody.

The volunteering includes free bed, free breakfast (which is amazing!!). We also get the tips from our shift and the leftover from the restaurant. As a dumpster diver, this is something that I like!

The best is probably to be part of the staff and the volunteers team. We spend our free time doing different things around: Going for a swim, taking a walk, eating the local cinamon roll.

Just next to the hostel, there is also a small hill where we went sometime to chill or play card for example.

I obviously don’t forget my Spanish. With my free time, I follow a book to learn. With the other volunteers, we also try (sometime) to speak in Spanish between us.

The surrounding

Guatapé is an amazing place. There is a lot of hikes you can do around the area. The lake is surrounded by some mountains, from where you have a beautiful view of the area.

One famous hike is also the waterfall hike, going through the forest, following a river.

San Rafael is also a small village not far from Guatapé. It is known for its big river, where man locals come to enjoy a swim during the week-end.

This place is very peaceful. I ended up spending two and a half weeks in Guatapé, and I didn’t even saw them passing ! I enjoy Colombia more and more.

After two weeks, the staff from the hostel organized a nice boat tour on the lake. The receptionists, the waiters, the bartenders and even our boss was there!

We have been on a boat to visit the lake. We passed just next to one of Pablo Escobar house. We spent some time in a nearby house to chill. Some music, some beers, a jacuzzi, some friends. And everything was here to spend a good after-noon.

As a very nice surprise, I randomly met in Guatapé three friends from the Martinique camp. What a small world ! These three polish friends were travelling by boat hitchhiking as well in the Carribean. I though they were much more north in Colombia, but at the end, not.

And since just one coincidence is not enough, I was looking for other people to hike in Los Nevados national Park, my next destination just after Guatapé. So guess where they were heading to ?

After 20 days in this beautiful village of Guatapé, I then sadly say goodbye to continue my adventures. Let’s go back on the road of hitchhiking to Salento and Los Nevados National Park featuring beautiful landscapes, hikes, palm trees, high mountains and maybe more !

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