The waterfall of the Guadalupe River at El Salto is the site of Guadalupe I, a hydroelectric power plant dating back to 1932 that serves Medellín and the surrounding region. The companion Guadalupe III at the base of the waterfall was built in 1966. The boundaries of the Gómez Plata, Carolina del Príncipe, and Guadalupe municipalities meet at the base of the waterfall.
A two-cabin cable car from the top to the base of the waterfall started operating in 1962 to serve EPM and the surrounding communities. The cable car has a 730-meter (2,395-foot) horizontal length to cover a 565-meter (1854-ft) vertical span, with a maximum speed of 4.4 meters per second (15.8 km/h or 9.8 mph). The cable car system was built by Bell (Kriens, Lucerne), and the cabins by Metalleger (Sierre, Valais) from Switzerland.
The power plants and surrounding facilities are owned by Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), the power utility company that serves the city of Medellín and the surrounding region.
Know Before You Go
Each of the two cable car cabins can carry 12 people (1200 kg, 2645 lbs). EPM employees and locals have boarding priority since their transportation is the cable's car primary purpose. The cable car has a small symbolic fee (100 COP for 20 rides in 2016, roughly 0.03 USD). The cable car station is inside the EPM El Salto power plant facilities. Pedestrian access is available since only EPM-authorized vehicles are allowed to enter. Vehicles may park outside of the EPM El Salto gate. The drive from Medellín to El Salto takes roughly 2½ hours on a fully-paved road. Road signage is sparse after exiting Medellín and primary national routes. Several tour operators provide transportation to El Salto, including lunch at one of the towns along the way. Alternatively, more adventurous travelers may catch a municipal bus towards Guadalupe from Terminal del Norte Bus Station in Medellín at Caribe Metro Station, and then obtain local transportation to EPM El Salto 7 km away. If driving from Medellín, take Colombia National Route 62 eastbound (road to Puerto Berrío) and exit towards Yolombó. Take a left on the bridge crossing the Porce River continue to Gómez Plata and Carolina del Príncipe. Take the fork on the right towards El Salto before reaching Guadalupe.