Chingaza National Park – a Weekend getaway from Bogotá
The more time I spend in cities the more I need to be away from them – living now in a huuuugge city like Bogotá it's a lot! I need this silence, the tranquility more than ever. No bustling junctions and life-risking scooters. No forced cuddling in the bus in the morning, no loud and noisy street vendors that try to sell me sunglasses when it rains and hot chocolate when the sun is hot.
But anyways, Colombia is a PARADISE for nature lovers like me. Disconnect and enjoy the moment. No worrying about things like getting home with all your belongings and checking for phone and money every few minutes.
Chingaza National Park – the place to meet deer
East from Bogotá and a two-hours-ride away – or more depending a lot on the traffic in the capital – you'll find this oasis of calmness. Did you know that Bogotá couldn't exist without it? 80% of all the city's water comes from Chingaza. The national park also supplies some more villages and therefore over 12 million people depend on Chingaza. Incredible, right?!
Trails in Chingaza
In the entire national park you'll find only five hiking trails that are open officially to tourists and hikers. Hard to believe right?! Most of them are found in the Western part of Chingaza. I've found those trails with description, you can download them and take them with you – only in Spanish but with photos:
- Sendero a las Cuchillas de Siecha
- Sendero a las Lagunas de Buitrago
- Sendero Laguna Seca
- Monterredondo sendero Suasie
- Sendero Las Plantas del Camino-Laguna de Chingaza
Sendero a las Cuchillas de Siecha
The by far most incredible trail I hiked was the Sendero a las Cuchillas de Siecha. Up and down, up and down, through the magnificent landscape and palmtree-like plants. Rubber boots would have been a great thing to have, because the national park is a swamp and many times by shoes were completely inundated by the murky water.
I passed lagunas with crystal clear water – great for filling up my water bottle – and followed the trail through more scrub. Very tired, but very happy I made it back to the cabin where I'd sleep for the night.
Where to sleep in Chingaza National Park
It's possible, but not recommendable to do day trips to Chingaza. It's certainly perfect for a weekend and the proximity to Bogotá makes it a great choice for a weekend outside the bustling city.
There're two options to stay in Chingaza National Park:
- Dorm in a cabaña in the Monterredondo section of the park
There's one official campsite in the national park, but Colparques (the organisation that runs the tourism in the park) told me that generally wild camping is permitted – but it is possible that the rangers ask you to move.
Tips for Chingaza
- rain jacket
- waterproof shoes or rubber boots
- water bottle – the water here in the park is drinkable!
- you can either decide to cook or preorder some food in the cabin in the Monterredondo section of the park (veggie options available)
- have your camera ready – the deer in the park are very friendly and are not shy, I guess they like the attention of the visitors
- sunscreen! The weather is chilly, but the sun is strong
- without a car it's
kind of hardimpossible to move around in the park – even getting to Chingaza is a challenge
- I decided to spend the weekend with Outlanders Colombia, which organised a bus, accommodation and everything else. The group war both Colombian and international and I had a lot of fun.
Credits main photo: Serge Castilho