Visit Mongui and Know its Heritage, Football Balloons and the Ocetá Páramo

Mongui is on the list of “Network of Colombian Heritage Villages“, being one of the most beautiful towns in the department of Boyacá, besides having a great history to tell its visitors in the middle of its cobblestone streets.

You will fall in love with its colonial and republican court buildings and the kindness of its inhabitants. Mongui has an average temperature between 8 ºC (46º F) and 16º (60º F), and it is located at an altitude between 2.923 and 3.854 meters above sea level.

In this guide you will have the necessary information to visit this adorable town.

Discovering Mongui, Boyacá, Colombia

Mongui is located in the department of Boyaca, 3.5-hours (223 km) from Bogotá and 1.5-hours (88 km) from Tunja, the capital of the department.

In addition, Mongui has special geographic characteristics that favours great variety of native fauna, flora, and soils throughout the municipality, and an important diverse biodiversity.

How to get to Mongui

To get to Mongui you must take a 3,5 -hours road trip (totaling 223kms) from Bogotá for until you reach Mongui; during your trip you will be able to appreciate the Cundiboyacence highlands.

Where to stay

In Mongui you will find numerous accommodation offerings for all budgets and personal tastes; our recommendation for is the Hotel Otti Colonial.

Ecotourism in Mongui, Boyacá

Ocetá Paramo

Ocetá paramo is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, this is because its valleys contain the largest number of species of paramo flora in Colombia.

Among the most characteristic fauna that you will be able to appreciate are the lupines, senecios, white-tailed deer and the beautiful hummingbird chivito de páramo; without forgetting to enjoy the magical viewpoints that will take your breath away.

Páramo de Ocetá

Mongui is the closest town to the paramo, so you can dedicate a day of your visit to the town to visit this beautiful valley of Frailejones, where you can visit the Black Lagoon, the Boat, the City of stone and it is also possible to see fields of senecios. If you are lucky and the sky is clear, it is possible to see the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy.

To get to the paramo you can choose the option of walking for 3 hours or take the service of a 4X4 car, but it is essential that you take the guide service to safely enjoy the paramo while you learn about this beautiful place.

Rock climbing

On the outskirts of Mongui you can test your endurance to climb a rock, with a duration of 4 to 8 hours depending on the intensity you want to practice.

In the center of town you will find guides who can offer you this service.

Mountain biking

2 available routes start downtown and extend over 20 km and 40 km, where you will have an ascent up to 3650 meters above sea level at the highest point; on the way you will be able to appreciate the beautiful landscapes. The average time is 5 to 8 hours and it is advisable to start the tour in the morning.

Know the Cultural Patrimony of Mongui

San Francisco Church, CC license

History of Balloons in Mongui

When Froilán Ladino was recruited in 1932 to render military service for Colombia in the war against Peru; when he was in Manaus he met Brazilian saddlers who were experts in the manufacture of leather balls; and two years later, when the war ended and he returned to Monguí, he joined his brother Manuel, to create his own tannery and to elaborate leather balls.

Froilán taught the craft of ball manufacturing to a group of twelve peasants who later became known as the “twelve apostles”. This activity was a new way to generate resources with an activity that could be combined with agriculture and cattle raising.

The Ladino company had its best period in the 1970s, when they were in charge of supplying demand throughout the country.

However, the boom in the entry of Chinese products in the 2000s caused a decline in the demand affecting domestic manufacturers like Ladino.

If you want to get more information and learn more historical data in the Ball Museum located in the village you will be able to learn.

Calicanto Colonial Bridge

The bridge was built by the Sanoha tribe in the XVII century over the Morro River, its name comes from the material with which it is made: calicanto, a glue made of a mixture of lime, sand, beef blood and molasses.

It represents a typical work of the Colonial era, after its construction was where the stones that were used to build the Basilica of Our Lady of Monguí were transported.

Basilica and cloister of Nuestra Señora de Monguí

This beautiful stone-built Basilica was finished during the seventeenth century and is consdiered cultural heritage of Colombia, besides being an architectural treasure of the department.

Its origin was a small chapel where the Franciscan missionaries met to evangelize the indigenous people who were in this region.

When you are in front of the front door you will be able to appreciate the coats of arms of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, as a symbol to remember the supremacy of Spain during the time in the region.

Franciscan Convent and Church

The Franciscan convent and church is located next to the Basilica, it has 2 floors and what you will appreciate most are the ceilings supported by Roman arches, at the entrance you will be able to appreciate a gigantic stone column in the form of a spiral of about 2.5 meters high.

Its construction took 100 years, since those responsible for its manufacture decided to devote the relevant time to each of the details; when you are walking inside the convent you will be able to see some paintings depicting scenes of Christianity, and some furniture used by the friars of the time.

Peasant for a day

Through sustainable tourism and the association of several farmers you can experience a day of a family in the sector; you can learn about morning activities, animal management techniques and the preparation of typical foods. This activity begins in the early morning and ends after lunch.

References
  • Network of Colombian Heritage Villages
  • Colombia Travel
About the author

Luisa Martin

Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.

Where to Spot the Spectacled Bear in Colombia?

One of the smallest bear species, the Spectacled Bear or Andean Bear is recognized as the guardian of the Andes and gardener par excellence. We invite you to discover this species that inhabits the Colombian territory and other South American countries.

Spectacled bear Facts

  1. South America: The spectacled bear or Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is native to South America;
  2. Endemic: It is the only species of bear that inhabits South America, and it is endemic to the tropical Andes.
  3. Ancient: It has inhabited South America for more than five million years.
  4. Last of its kind: It is the only living representative of the short-nosed bears, a group that inhabited only the American continent.
  5. Big Territories: This bear needs large areas to be able to feed and look for mates.
  6. Forest Engineer: The Andean bear has an efficient role as a seed disperser, making it fundamental for paramo and the Andean Forest.
  7. Wide distribution: The spectacled bear is present in the forests of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina (in the northern forests) and Colombia (with presence in the 3 mountain ranges, in protected areas).
  8. Highlander: They are able to live at altitudes of up to 4,750 meters above sea level and it is not normal for them to frequent altitudes below 2000 meters.
  9. Bioindicator: the presence of Spectacled bears indicates the availability of water and that nearby forests are in perfect condition.

Characteristics of the Spectacled Bear

Spectacled Bear rescued at La Planada Nature Reserve. Its name is Arcoiris (Rainbow)

One of the most important characteristics is the presence of white fur around the eyes in a circular shape, making its shape like that of a pair of glasses. There are many specimens where this white fur extends to the chest.

The size, coloration and shape of these white spots are usually different in each individual and are characteristics that are often used for identification at this level. The rest of their body fur is dark brown or black.

They are a very small species of bear; adult males reach a size of 100 to 200 kilograms while adult female spectacled bears weigh only 30 to 85 kilograms.

It is a species that normally remains alone, only when the female is in mating season can be observed accompanied. Spectacled bears only remain with their mother until they are one and a half years old, after which they separate from the litter.

Spectacled bears reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age. It is known that they can mate at any time of the year, although the highest reproductive activity is registered in April and June. Usually a female gives birth to a litter of 2 cubs, but sometimes 3 cubs are born after a gestation period of 5.5-8.5 months.

It is not aggressive, you may be surprised to find a bear that by instinct will stand on two legs when it feels invaded in its space or confused by the intruder in its habitat, but it will not try to attack if it sees a distant and clueless individual.

Where to Find the Spectacled bear in Colombia

There are many places in Colombia where the Andean bear is distributed, but seeing it is a fortuitous event. The places where you can have more luck to see the Spectacled bear in Colombia are:

Natural National Park Chingaza

During hiking activities in the páramo it is possible to see Andean bears directly or indirectly. Also on the trails you may be able to see tracks on the ground, scratches on the trees, territory marking, bedding and feeding troughs.

Surroundings of the Natural National Park Las Orquideas

Since 2016 there is registration in this protected area of the bear, so that in the stipulated trails there is evidence of the presence of bears; on very few occasions visitors have been able to make a direct sighting; the park caretakers if they have had the opportunity to see families of bears.

El Verjón, Near Bogota

This is the first time that the spectacled bear has been seen so close to an urban area; last July. 2021, a surprising spectacled bear was seen walking in the Cerros Orientales of the city of Bogotá. The sighting of the animal was recorded in a security camera video.

Municipality of Íquira

In the buffer zone of the Cerro Banderas Ojo Blanco Regional Integrated Management District (DRMI) and Nevado del Huila National Natural Park, a male bear was spotted by camera traps. In the department of Huila there are other municipalities where records of this endangered species have been documented in Santa María, Garzón, Guadalupe, Neiva, Algeciras, Colombia, Palermo, Teruel, Pitalito and San Agustín.

Threats to the Spectacled Bear

Currently, human encroachment on the spectacled bear’s habitat has caused a high percentage of deforestation, due to the increase of the agricultural frontier, which has caused the bears to move to higher and higher areas in the mountain range.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development have catalogued the spectacled bear as a species vulnerable to extinction.

Biological Corridor in Colombia for the Spectacled Bear

When we talk about a biological corridor is habitat for different species of wildlife, this time we will tell you the one that has the spectacled bear, tremarctos ornatus by the southwest and west of the department of Antioquia. This corridor can be identified in the following municipalities:

  • Jardín – Tamesis ( 28061 ha).
  • Andes – Betania – Ciudad Bolivar ( Farallones del Citará 30875 ha)
  • Salgar – Betulia (Cuchilla cerro plateado alto San José 8900 ha)
  • Urrao (29870 ha)
  • Anzá- Caicedo – Santa Fe de Antioquia (10087 ha)
  • Las Orquideas NPP (32000 ha )
  • Frontino ( 30139 ha)
  • Abraqui – Cañas Gordas – Giraldo ( 6900)

Currently the department of Antioquia is promoting a project for the conservation of the spectacled bear corridor, promoting:

  • The restoration of the forests
  • The protection and monitoring of the species present.
  • Establishing limits of the biological corridor and monitoring compliance.
  • Controlling the expansion of the agricultural frontier.
  • Constant education of the community in the conservation and protection of the biological corridor.
  • Development of projects for sustainable agricultural practices.

Ecological importance and importance in cultural and nature tourism

In addition to its ecological importance, the Andean bear has also been an emblematic animal, involved in the development of many of the indigenous and peasant cultures in the Andean countries. For many it is sacred, for others the big brother of the human being. In the oral traditions of the peoples, the bear is found in legends, tales, songs and myths.

The Andean bear is reflected in the common names of some plants, such as “la mano de oso” (Oreopanax bogotensis) and “la hierba del oso” (Xerophyllum tenax).

It is also very common to find sites or places that receive their names honoring the Andean bear: Alto del Oso (Colombia), Cueva del Oso (Ecuador), Quebrada El Oso (Colombia, Peru, Venezuela), Vereda del Oso (Colombia), among others. Thus, the Andean bear is part of the cultural heritage and worldview of the countries of the Andean region.

References
About the author

Luisa Martin

Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.

Sara Colmenares

The current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism-environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services, and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.

What you should consider when you visit Chingaza National Natural Park

All travelers staying in Bogota should devote a day or two to visit the great source of water” – Chingaza National Park. This huge park offers the most stunning views just a couple of hours from the capital of Colombia. The area is of great ecosystemic and cultural importance in the region and offers a great nature experience. 

In this post, you will find all the information you need to know to visit the Chingaza National Natural Park in Colombia, such as how to get there, what you can do in the park, where to stay, how much it costs and some recommendations for your trip. 

Discovering Chingaza National Park 

In the Eastern Cordillera, east of Bogota, an incredibly important ecosystem functions in a territory formerly worshipped by the Muisca indigenous. It is Chingazaa National Natural Park of 76,600 hectares that provides 80% of the drinking water of Bogota – the capital and largest city in Colombia. Amazing, right? This region is a water factory thanks to its paramos, Andean forests, lagoons, creeks and rivers, and is nicely embellished with unique Frailejones. 

The paramo ecosystem is native to the Andean mountains in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru and extends from 3200 to 5000 MASL. “The paramos play a fundamental role in sustaining the lives of millions of people, providing essential ecosystem services such as water production for urban use, irrigation and hydropower generation. Paramos soils and vegetation provide efficient forms of carbon storage and sequestration” (IUCN, 2010). What makes Colombia so special is that it is home to most paramos in the world, including the largest paramo on earth Sumapaz! After this parenthesis, you should know that climate change and human activity are endangering the paramos. Livestock and agriculture – especially potato crops in nearby areas, are the main threats to the Chingaza páramo. 

In Chingaza, you will find over 60 lagoons of glacial origin that impress with their crystal-clear waters. You will feel lucky to drink such pure water! The largest and most important lagoon culturally is Chingaza lagoon, at 3250 m (10600 ft) ASL. The three Siecha lagoons are quite tourist-attractive too. Lagoons, mountains, and water were sacred worship sited for the Muiscas, where they made offerings. In their language, Chingaza means Serranía del Dios de la Noche (God of the Night Mountain Range). 

Chingaza is also a haven for native flora and fauna. The park covers areas up to 4000 m (13120 ft) ASL, so the animals and plants that inhabit these zones are capable of withstanding extreme conditions such as temperatures as low as 4°C (39°F) and constant rainfall. This means that the flora and fauna that you see here are endemic to this ecosystem. There are over 2000 plant species and around 390 bird species reported in Chingaza National Park. A number of mammals and frogs are found here too. 

How to get to Chingaza 

Chingaza is located a couple of hours from Bogota by car. There are 3 access points to Chingaza NNP: 

Guasca access: the Siecha control post is located 15 kilometers from the town of Guasca. You can only reach Lagunas de Siecha from this entrance. 

  • Private vehicle access: Route Guasca – La Trinidad rural settlement-San Francisco sector. After passing the Paso Hondo site, take the detour where you will find a signal indicating vehicle parking. From there, continue on foot for 1 kilometer until you reach the park cabin. No parking is available at the cabin. Vehicles are to remain on the road as indicated. This trip is recommended on a 4×4 vehicle. The distance between Guasca and the parking location is 14 kilometers. 
  • Public transportation access: Take a bus or taxi in Guasca to Paso Hondo, at La Trinidad rural settlement. The bus will drop you at Paso Hondo, from where you must continue on foot for 6 kilometers (1.5 hours) to the Siecha control post. Hikers are advised to be extra careful due to the transit of food-loaded trucks. 

La Calera access: La Calera urban center – Cemento Samper ruins – Buenos Aires rural settlement – Piedras Gordas control post (22 km from La Calera). Continue for 28 kilometers to the Monterredondo administrative center. Access through this sector is only possible by private vehicle. No public transportation access exists.  

  • Private vehicle accessRoute La Calera – Guasca. After 1 kilometer, take the detour on the right (passing the old Cemento Samper facilities-La Siberia), and then follow the road directions to the Chingaza Natural National Park. Although the road is not paved, it is in good conditionso cars, jeeps, and buses can drive here. 

Fomeque access: starting from the Fomeque urban center, continue for 26 kilometers, passing through the La Paila-Laguna de Chingaza control post, continue for 28 kilometers to the Monterredondo administrative center. 

  • Private vehicle access: Fomeque – La Paila control post. 26 km on the road to San Juanito, Meta. You should take this land access in a private 4x4 vehicle or hire one at Fomeque.  
  • Public transportation access: There is a route from Fomeque to San Juanito, Meta which passes by the La Paila control post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. However, this route does not return the same day and there is no camping or accommodation available. 

What to do in Chingaza 

Hiking5 hiking trails currently exist: Lagunas de Siecha trail, Lagunas de Buitrago trail, Laguna Seca trail, Suasie trail, and Las Plantas del Camino – Laguna de Chingaza trail. The hikes along these trails let tourists admire the stunning cloudy landscapes with crystalline lagoons and a bunch of Frailejones while learning about the ecosystem, its importance and the cosmology of past inhabitants of the region including the MuiscasGuayupes and farmersThere are also 3 viewpoints: La Arboleda, La Ye (from where you can see the Chingaza lagoon) and Mirador de los Condores. 

Wildlife observation: In Chingaza, you can spot animals such as the white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) – the largest species of deer in Colombia, which you will mostly find in pairs sneaking through the vegetation. Also, you can find the little red brocket, mountain paca, the endemic Pristimantis dorado frog and the puma. The main attraction of the park is the Andean bear, though. Also known as the Spectacled bear, the vulnerable species Tremarctos ornatos is actually difficult to spot because it is solitary and elusive. However, you can always trace it by tracks on the ground, scratches on trees, beds made of leaves and other signs. 

Flora observation: Among the 2000 species of plants in Chingaza, 5 are Frailejones. There is even an endemic species called Espeletia uribei, one of the tallest in the world since it reaches up to 18 meters. The Chingaza orchid (Telipogon falcatusis a small, beautiful epiphyte orchid, which means that it grows on the surface of a plant. 

Birdwatching: As mentioned above, around 390 species of birds have been recorded in Chingaza. Occasionally, on clear days, majestic Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) can be spotted soaring over the paramo from Mirador de los Cóndores. Other representative birds are the masked trogon (Trogon personatus) and the endemic Flame-winged parakeet (Pyrrhura calliptera). 

Where to stay in Chingaza 

You can make day trips to Chingaza, but there are two options for accommodation in case you want to spend an entire weekend away from the city. 

Camping: There is a camping zone in the Monterredondo sector equipped with parking, electric power, and bathrooms with drinking and hot water. 

Dorm in a cabin: Also, in the Monterredondo sector you will find a cabin managed by Corpochingaza, a community tourism organization in charge of the ecotourism services in the park. 

Entrance fees to Chingaza 

The entrance fee to Chingaza National Natural Park varies depending on the nationality and age of the visitors. These are the entrance fees for 2020: 

  • Colombians, resident foreigners and tourists from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru (ages 5 to 25): COP 16,500 
  • Colombians, resident foreigners and tourists from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru (over 25 years old): COP 20,000 
  • Non-resident foreigners (over 5 years old): COP 53,500 
  • Children under 5 years old and Colombians over 65 years old have free entrance. 

Additionally, depending on the vehicle you enter to the park in, you have a different fee: 

  • Car: COP 14,500  
  • Van (Colectivo): COP 37,000  
  • Bus: COP 78,000  
  • Motorcycle: COP 10,000 

What you should consider when you visit 

  • Visitors must purchase an all-risk policy for entering and staying in the protected area. 
  • You must file an entrance request at least 15 before your visit. 
  • The trip to Chingaza is only possible with a private car. If you don’t have one, contact a local tourism agency that organizes transportation for you. Having said that, the access roads are unpaved and care must be taken while driving. 
  • Plan a 2-day or 3-day trip to Chingaza if you want to hike several trails to explore more of the park. Distances are long and the weather is variable. 
  • Entrance hours are from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm. You must leave the park by 4:00 pm if you are not sleeping there. 
  • Only 40 people are allowed per trail, except for the short Suasie trail – which allows 80 people, and Lagunas de Siecha trail – with capacity for 60 people. 
  • If you are camping in the park, make sure the equipment is suitable for high mountain environments. 
  • Wear cold weather, waterproof clothes in layers (so you can peel off when necessary). This includes hiking boots or rubber boots since the trails can be very muddy. 
  • Use sunscreen! Even if you think you don’t need it because it is cloudy. Also, a pair of sunglasses doesn’t hurt. 
  • Don’t feed the deer and any other animal in the park! This is for their sake. 
  • Don’t throw any garbage or take your garbage with you. 

References 

  • Album Jet Vive la Aventura Colombia – Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia, National Geographic, Compañía Nacional de Chocolates 
  • National Parks Colombia
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN 

About the authors.

Ana María Parra

Current content writer for Sula. Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Top 5 of the Best Nature Tourism Experiences in Colombia

The second most biodiverse country on the planet has incredible nature experiences for everyone. With its variety of ecosystems, from rain forests, savannas and deserts to moorlands, cloud forests and glaciers that provide water, and its system of National Natural Parks and Natural Reserves, Colombia is a great place for nature tourism. 

In this post, we will talk about the best nature experiences in Colombia. 

Exploring the Biodiverse Chocó 

In this biodiversity hotspot on the Colombian Pacific coast, you will find many options for an nature experience in Colombia

Due to the rainfall, the tropical conditions and its isolation from the Amazon basin, the Biogeographic Chocó has an outstanding diversity of fauna and flora, as well as a high level of endemism.

Nuquí, Chocó

The activity not to be missed is whale watching, which you can enjoy in Bahia Solano, Nuqui and Utria National Natural Park from July to October.

It is amazing to see groups of humpback whales migrating to the warm waters of the Pacific to mate and raise their calves.

This is also a season of turtle and bird migration, so the coasts seem to come alive. Bird watching, scuba diving, snorkelling and hiking are other nature tourism activities you can do in the wonderful Chocó.

The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Bahía Solano, Chocó

Getting lost in the Caribbean 

The Caribbean region of Colombia boasts nature, colors and joy. The white sanded beaches of the Caribbean, that merge into tropical lush forests with exotic birds and variety of other animals.

Getting lost in this landscape is one of the best nature tourism experiences you can have in Colombia.

Visiting rivers and waterfalls in Minca

Visit the Tayrona and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Parks to explore the biodiverse forests and mangroves, and the highest coastal mountain in the world, of course. 

One of the best sights you can enjoy is the Lost City (or Teyuna), an ancient indigenous civilization built around 650 AD that is currently considered the greatest archaeological finding in Colombia.

You can reach Lost City after a trekking of minimum 4 days, along a trail of over 20 km and a climb of 120 steps made of stone. It is among the best trekking trails in Colombia.

Lost City – Tayrona Park, Santa Marta

As for Minca, it is a hidden village full of peace, with natural attractions such as waterfalls and rivers, and it is a great birdwatching spot.

The most northern tip of Colombia, and South America, La Guajira, is a one of its kind place. Visit the golden dunes and paradisaical beaches in Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas, the highlands of the Macuira National Natural Park and the Flamingo heaven at Los Flamencos Sanctuary.

During all your days in La Guajira, you interact with the Wayuu indigenous community, which is a rewarding experience. 

Birds of La Guajira, White Ibis – Eudocimus albus

Adventure in Santander 

If you like extreme sports, Santander is the place for you. Adventurous travelers come to this department located in the center of Colombia, north of Bogota, to enjoy paragliding, rafting, hiking, bungee jumping, buggies, rock climbing and more.

San Gil is the capital of extreme sports, in Barichara you can go hike the royal road of Lengerke and in the Chicamocha Park, you can take the zip line to cross the Chicamocha Canyon  while admiring the stunning natural  landscape. 

Learn more about the Chicamocha Canyon in our entry The Chicamocha Canyon, the 1st Largest Canyon in Colombia.

Climbing Paramos in the Andes 

You cannot say you had an nature tourism experience in Colombia if you did not hike to a paramo. Colombia is one of the 6 countries in the world with the paramo (moorland) ecosystems!

Paramos are considered water factories, since rivers that supply water and energy to nearby towns originate there.

Espeletia, Páramo at the Andean Forest

Colombian moorlands hold 98% of the world’s flora endemic to this ecosystem and the country is home to the world’s largest one, Páramo de Sumapaz. Because of this, many are protected as national parks or flora and fauna sanctuaries.  

If you are planning to visit, take into account the low temperatures, the humidity and the high altitudes -moorlands are above 2600 m (8530 ft) ASL.  

Sumapaz 

Is close to Bogota, to the south, so it is perfect for a day trip. The Muisca indigenous people deemed this place a sacred spot and it boasts wildlife, including deer, tapirs, coatis, golden eagles and the typical moorland plant: frailejones. Don’t miss its several lagoons, the Verjon bats cave and the Buenos Aires viewpoint.  

Chingaza National Park

This is an important natural reserve for the center of the country, as it provides around 80% of the capital and nearby municipalities water supply. There are 6 hiking trails and 3 viewpoints for you to discover the life hidden in the Andean forests and moorlands.

It is possible to see condors, eagles, the unique Spectacled bear and deer. Chingaza also has a lagoon system of about 20 lagoons, including Laguna de Siecha. Prefer hiring local guides and remember to file a request at least 15 days before your trip to the park. 

Ocetá 

This páramo is known as ‘Colombia’s most beautiful paramo’. It is located in Boyacá and remains well-preserved, since it is not visited as much as the other moorlands.

Páramo de Ocetá

Ocetá has a dazzling variety of flora, including silver, yellow and white frailejones, yellow senecios, violet lupins and tons of liquens and moss. It is also a place to see the national bird of Colombia, the Andean condor.

The Stone City, a rocky zone with alleys enclosed by 15-meter high stone walls is the number one attraction.  

Puracé 

Puracé is the only active volcano of the Coconucos volcanic range, in the department of Cauca. It is a National Natural Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

In this mountain, 4 main rivers in Colombia have its source (the Magdalena, Cauca, Patía and Japurá), and you can also enjoy almost 30 clear lagoons and sulfur hot springs.

You can hike along several trails and probably spot the Andean condor -Puracé is actually a privileged spot to see them. Also, this is an ancient indigenous territory. 

Iguaque

It is a sanctuary for flora and fauna in Boyacá, near Villa de Leyva. Like many territories in Colombia, Iguaque is sacred for an indigenous community, the Muiscas.

According to their mythology, the Iguaque Lagoon was the cradle of humanity, as the goddess Bachue emerged from it to populate the earth. Its glacier lagoons provide water for nearby towns and the local wildlife.

Laguna de Iguaque, Sanctuary of Fauna and Flora Iguaque, department of Boyacá, Colombia. © Creative Commons

Having a real nature tourism experience means to connect with nature truly and here, you will be able to cleanse your soul and purify your spirit surrounded by nature. 

Visit our entry Discover the Natural Attractions of Villa de Leyva, Colombia to find more about Iguaque and Villa de Leyva natural attractions. 

Bike Tourism in Quindío 

A new nature tourism project in Colombia was launched at Vitrina Turística Anato 2020: a bike tour through the Central Andes range between south of Quindio and north of Valle del Cauca.

At least 200 km (124 mi) can be cycled by tourists interested in nature, community and adventure tourism. The road includes the municipalities of Calarca, Buenavista, Pijao, Cordoba, Genova (Quindio), and Sevilla and Caicedonia (Valle).

Bike tours in Colombia

The idea, funded by the local and the Suiss government, the municipalities and the Chambers of Commerce, aims to diversify the tourist corridor of the Coffee Cultural Landscape.

In this way, tourists can enjoy different activities such as hiking, jeep Willys rides, wildlife observation, adventure, cultural and historical experiences, and even yoga. 

 

Of course these are not the only nature tourism experiences in Colombia. There are plenty more destinations for nature tourism in the country, each of the 6 natural regions boast amazing settings for tourists to travel consciously and connect with the environment. Experiences such as exploring the great Amazon basin or traveling the Eastern Plains cannot be set aside.

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About the author.

Ana María Parra

Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.