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The Parque Natural Chicaque is also called Cloud Forest - due to the thick white clouds and the mystic mist that wraps up the landscape. The wind is constantly changing the view: Sometimes you can’t see very far and thick white clouds illuminated by the sun are so bright that you eyes start to water. But then suddenly, the cloud cover breaks up and gives sight to a green luscious mountain and steep rocks. The extraordinary vegetation of the park makes it feel like you were in a jungle. Everywhere you look are green plants: giant trees, little bushes and ferns, wooden vines and lianas interspersed by pops of colors of blossoms and flowers. On our visit there (on a Saturday) there were very little tourists, so most of the time we were exploring by ourselves. All this leads to a very tranquil atmosphere.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, this is the perfect trip! It is only 45 minutes south from Bogotá. (For more inspiration on day trips from Bogotá, have a look at our Blog Post Top 8 Day trips from Bogotá.)
The camping site
Chicaque offers a lot of different activities for tourists. First of all, the hiking trails can be easily explored by yourself. They are very well signed and it is easy to follow them. For the hikes, you can either choose to take the road or ecological trails, however, some sites are only accessible through the trails.
The paths are mostly steep and rocky - and slippery, especially if it rained. The entrance of the park is situated at the top of the mountain range, so in order to explore the park, you will usually go downhill. Naturally, on your way back you’ll have to climb all the way up again.
Rock cliffs view from the refuge
Amongst the most beautiful hikes is the one to the ‘Eagle’s Peak’ where you get rewarded with an amazing view. Usually, in the morning and the afternoon the sky is more clear, in between it’s cloudy. The park itself was surprisingly humid during our visit. The climate can change quickly, sometimes it is warm, other times it is fresh.
They also have the 'Camino de las Mariposas' - the butterfly trail where you supposedly see a lot of the flying elegant insects. Next to butterflies you can find introduced llamas, a lot of endemic birds like the toucan, sloths, insects, and deer.
Another trail is a round trip starting from the refuge in the middle of the park to a giant waterfall. At the refuge you will find a restaurant and other facilities, it is great for a little break before beginning the ascend back to the entrance.
The park also offers guided tours with knowledgeable guides who will teach you about flora and fauna of the park.
Near the Refugio in the center, it is possible to take part in adventure sports like ziplining and canopying. You can also go horse riding - ideal if you don’t want to climb all the way up back to the entrance ;)
The green vegetation
The park offers enough activities so that you could easily stay overnight, e.g. at one of two camping sites, the refuge or in one of the more luxurious tree houses. The park even rents camping equipment and sells firewood for a nice bonfire.
For those staying overnight, the park offers a free walking tour of approximately 3 hours which lets you get to know the park at night. You will listen to the different sounds of the forest, look for fireflies glowing in the dark and other insects.
For a trip to the Parque Natural Chicaque, you should wear sturdy shoes and comfortable (sports) clothes for the hikes. Due to the changing weather situation, it is recommended to bring sunscreen and a hat as well as a rain jacket.
Llama at Chicaque
On the weekend it is very easy to get from Bogotá by public transport, as the park offers a direct bus service from the Transmilenio station Torreros/ Hospital in the south of Bogotá. There are buses in the morning at 7, 8, 9, and 11 am. A guide from Chicaque (easily identifiable by a vest/ jacket of the park) is waiting at the eastern side of the station at the Servientrega store. This minibus costs 6.000 COP and takes around 40 minutes to the park. You will be directly dropped off at the entrance.
During the week it is a little more difficult to get there. You have the possibility to rent the minibus service from Chicaque park or travel there with two stops by public transport. Check out the info here: http://www.chicaque.com/ubicacion/como-llegar/
If you have a car available, you can also go there easily by car. The park offers free parking near the entrance.
On Sundays and holidays, the park can get more crowded, as the Colombians make the most of their free time and visit Bogota’s surroundings. If you’d like to spend a calm day we would recommend going on a Saturday or even during the week.
Always have your camera ready, especially at the viewpoints. Should the cloud and mist cover break up and a breathtaking view should emerge, don’t hesitate to take a photo - only moments later it could look completely different!
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