Hiking in parque Chingaza

With plenty of Easter hope… Here we go again with our blog on Colombian adventures.

IMG_3582Last 4 days we went to Parque National Chingaza, a nature park with its entrance about 1,5 hours driving from Bogota. The entrance is limited to a very small number of people, but we were lucky being able to reserve 2 days in advance to have a spot on the campsite during Semana Santa. Alternatively if you show up at the park, most of the time they will let you in for the day.

The park is known because it’s the Paramo providing most of the water for Bogota. (A Paramo is some kind of ecosystem important for water conservation). A plant specific for Paramo are Frailejones (see below) that takes up water from the air/clouds/rain and provides it to the soil in case of dry season.

The campsite where we stayed was an hour driving into the park and surrounded by mountains, lakes, plenty of birds, deer and a small population of timid bears.

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…the bears are so timid we did not see any, but we saw sufficient wildlife and the views are stunning. No public transport to the park, so hitchhiking it was! After spending the first night in la Calera (30 minutes from Bogota, where the road to the park starts) we started hitchhiking outside the village right at the start of the small road… 5 minutes and the first people took us with them for an hour drive up to the entrance of the park… Another 5 minutes and the next friendly people took us for the next hour driving up to the campsite. Below some views on the way to the campsite:

(No policy yet in Colombia to repair nature after closing your cement factory… gives nice but creepy views)

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Once arrived we installed and went for the first 1.5 hour hike (Sendero Suasie) leaving from the campsite.

There are a limited number of well explained hikes leaving from the campsite. Others require a car to get to the starting point…so we did some “informal” walks around the campsite… The scenery is crazy beautiful so there’s plenty to see and do (including fishing for trout in the lake).

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Some of the deer are really at ease to come close and say good morning or good evening while walking across the tents.

Since it is raining season we only saw the sun a couple of times in the course of the 3 days inside the park, but nevertheless temperatures stay around 15-20 degrees during the day and 10 degrees at night. While hiking feeling cold is not an issue…while sleeping some extra measures bring warmth. We were lucky to get a clear sky the second night…

On the way back we had to be in Bogota at 16h, so we could not wait for the day tourists to return…we found a group of friends and managed to ride along with their driver paying 50k cop until La Calera.

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More blog posts coming up: Cartagena, Islas de Rosario, los Llanos, Minca, … a bit of catch-up work to do!

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