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Cundinamarca, Andean north-east

Bogotá Around

A cute little town whose highlight is the Siecha páramo located in PNN Chingaza (Colombians + residents 12.5pp, foreigners 37, kids + students 8pp). It is also close to the Tomine reservoir & Guatavita lake, only 1hr from Bogotá. The Muisca people, famous for their gold work (see more of their treasures in the Gold Museum in Bogotá), are an ethnic group who lived here from about AD 1000-1550 & spoke Chibcha, the same language as the Tayronas. The natives threw the artifacts directly into their Gods’ hands at the bottom of those lakes. Guatavita was one of those sacred lakes. For this reason lots of people drained the lake to gain access to the incalculable treasures lying beneath the waters. The quantity of gold that was actually found was smaller than previously thought (read more about it: The legend of ‘El Dorado’). How2getthere: @Bogotá: B @cra 13 # 72-73 = 1hr, 5.5pp.

You can visit the Guatavita Lake and get a tour (some days they offer UK-speaking guides) where they explain about the Muisca culture. Entrance foreigners = 14pp, Colombians + residents = 9.5pp. There is group discount available. You can walk 3 to 4km back to the parking or take a bus for 1.7pp.

TIP: Parapente Paraiso: only ±50min of Bogotá you´ll find the place where likeminded people who love adventure & contact with nature, can enjoy a variety of activities like paragliding, paintball or bike tours. Here´s your excuse to escape the routine & discover the region. Fullfil one of mans dreams: FLY! Km 4 vía Pionono, Sopó. Close to Guasca., Cel: 312-490 95 93. 

Visit this most interesting salt cathedral, on your way to Villa de Leyva. How2getthere: From Terminal del Norte Bogotá: B = 1hr, 4.2pp. From center Zipaquirá to the cathedral: T = 4/tr. Transmilenio-Portal del Norte = 1.5-1.8pp. Daily 9am-5:30pm. Entrance = 25pp, kids = 17pp. Don’t miss the original Nemocon salt mine nearby.

Go hiking @El Chiflón (45min), from here 1hr15 to La Chorrera, the tallest waterfall in Colombia (590m, 1935ft). How2getthere: B Bogotá to Choachí @cll 6-13 (Av. Caracas) = 45min, 6pp. Get out @Aventura La Chorrera. From here 45min to El Chiflón. Entrance = 8pp (incl. guide).

Chicaque Natural Park: hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, camping & beautiful landscapes = 14-14.5pp. Open: 8am-4pm. How2getthere: From Terminal del Sur: B = 40min, 7pp.

This is THE oldest climbing spot in Colombia. Here climbers use the USA level system which goes from 5.4 being the easiest to 5.15c being the most difficult. For daredevils there is free solo (= climbing without a rope) or highlining (= walking over a rope hanging between rocks). To reach the cliffs, walk from town along the train tracks for about 10min.

Climbing spots: traditional climbing @LP the longest route (5.7, 125m/410ft), El Riel the easiest (5.4, 15m/410ft) & La Clavícula (5.6, 75m/246ft) the most famous. Do some night climbing @El Caec (5.6, 80m/262ft). You can rent climbing shoes in town (also for big feet). Other interesting climbing spots: Florian, Mesa de los Santos, Puente Reyes & Machetá. Other activities: biking, caving, horseback riding, quad riding, bird watching, hot springs, yoga, paintball & hiking. How2getthere: From Bogotá Portal Norte or direct B from C.C. Santa Fe = 1hrs, 6pp. Get out @entrance to the rocks. Terminal Centro-Portal del Norte: B = 45min, 2pp. Tunja: B to la Playa, cross the street & take the B @the other side = 2hrs, 19pp. Sogamoso = 3,5hrs, 23pp.

Hot springs called Sta. Monica @Choachí: B @cll 6-15, 45min, 8pp. T from the village = 5min, 6/tr. Entrance = 20-30pp. Or 15km/9mi hike to the Chorrera waterfall.

Other interesting places: Chía, La Calera, Cajicá, Tobia, La Mesa (eco-park), Cuchillas de Bocagrande @PNN Sumapaz, Cerro del Tablazo, …