Have you ever thought about hiking through the Andean cloud forest? Well, now you can, as long as you hike these two waterfalls near Bogotá.
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Colombia has some of the world’s most amazing waterfalls. The country’s biodiversity, mountainous landscapes, and surplus of water help contribute to the amazing waterfalls that you will see.
Some of these waterfalls include:
- El Chiflón
- La Chorrera
- Marinka Waterfalls
- Salto del Mortino
- Tequendama Falls
Located in Choachí, Cundinamarca, La Chorrera and El Chiflón waterfalls in Colombia can’t be missed, especially if you travel to or near Bogotá.
If you are not used to high elevation, I recommend adjusting to the elevation before hiking or doing any strenuous activities.
Bogotá has an elevation of 2,640 meters (8,660 ft). So grab some coca tea and let your body acclimate before hiking these two beautiful waterfalls in Colombia.
It is best to hike these Colombian waterfalls during the week if you can. If you hike on the weekends, expect the trails to be packed and parking might be a bit difficult.
If you go to the country during the rainy season, you will get to see these magnificent waterfalls at their peak. If you can’t plan your trip around the seasons in Colombia, you should wait a day or two after it rains to visit these waterfalls.
The rainy season is from April to May and October to November. The dry season is December to January and July to August.
What You Will Need for the Hike
You will definitely need some good hiking shoes, and preferably ones that are waterproof because the rocks and path can get slippery while you are hiking.
About the Waterfalls Near Bogotá
Parque Aventura La Chorrera Bogotá is open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.
These two waterfalls in Colombia are a total of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) and include many ups and downs as you walk along the rocky paths.
The path inside the park follows the old colonial Camino Real. This was a rocky mule track that was once the main road between Bogotá and Villavicencio. The distance between Bogotá and Villavicencio, is 72 kilometers (45 miles).
You will even see signs along the way pointing out where the people would rest while making the long trek from one location to the next.
Even though you are in the same attitude as the capital, the protected land feels warmer. It is covered by plants and trees.
Encircling the waterfalls (cascadas in Spanish) you will see a combination of bamboo, mosses, ferns, and sometimes animals.
Even though you can’t swim in the waterfalls, you can stick your head through the mist and cool off under the falling water.
Other activities that you can do at the park include:
- Guided rappelling
- Guided torrentism
If you are staying at a hostel or hotel, feel free to ask them more information on the waterfalls and how to get there. You can also check out their website to gather some more information before your trip.
La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
La Chorrera waterfall is Colombia’s tallest waterfall. It’s also the 6th highest waterfall in South America and 60th in the world.
Cascada La Chorrera has a drop of 590 meters (1,936 feet) and an altitude of 2,480 meters (8,136 feet).
El Chiflón Waterfall Colombia
Although this waterfall is much smaller than La Chorrera, it is still just as impressive. The terrain on this path will be more slippery than La Chorrera.
If you want to stop for a break and grab something to eat, there will be a restaurant and store at El Chiflón.
How Long Does it Take to Get to the Waterfalls?
If you’re driving, then it will take about an hour to go each way. If you take the bus, it will take longer.
There will be horses, donkeys, cows, dogs, hens, and many other animals along the side of the road as you’re driving up so be sure to keep your phone handy.
After driving for about an hour on the paved road, you will end up on a dirt road for another ten minutes. Then you will have to walk to the entrance of the park and pay the entrance fee.
How Long Does it Take to Hike the Waterfalls?
In total, it will be around a 3-hour hike. If you choose to stop in between and snap some photos, add some time to those 3 hours. You can also take a few breaks throughout your hike on one of the benches or rocks.
How to Get to La Chorrera and El Chiflón
You can get to the waterfalls by:
If you like things simple and don’t want to deal with public transportation, I think booking a tour online is your best bet.
The drive to the waterfalls is long and bumpy at times so getting a tour guide might be worth it for those who want to gaze out the window and take in the views of the city below.
If you take a taxi, bus, or drive, you will want to get to Parque Aventura La Chorrera, which is the entrance to the park.
You or your tour guide will pay the entrance fee of COP 12,000 (USD 3).
And if you have to go to the bathroom, now is your chance. There are no bathrooms available while you are hiking the waterfalls. I recommend bringing toilet paper because it is more than likely that the bathrooms will not have any. There are also showers for after your hike.
From the entrance, La Chorrera is about 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) away while El Chiflón is about 600 meters (.4 miles).
As you hike to the waterfalls, you will see marks and signs along the way to guide you. There are also guides throughout the park that will help you if you need them. And you might find a dog that will hike with you for a bit.
Walking to the waterfalls will be mostly downhill so just remember that when you are coming back from the waterfalls.
The last kilometer (.6 miles) or so to the waterfall is incredibly steep. And don’t forget to add that to the elevation of Bogotá.
Disclaimer: All tours are different, this is my experience going with a tour.
If you decide to take a tour, you will be asked to meet at a designated spot in or near the center of Bogotá so that the whole group can take the van together.
You will meet the members of your tour and your tour guide and then, you will take a van up to the beginning of the cascadas.
You will get dropped off and then you will have to walk around 5 kilometers (3 miles) to Parque Aventura La Chorrera.
On Your Own
If you decide to take the hike on your own, you can take a taxi to the entrance. If you decided to rent a car for your time in Bogotá, you can park at the entrance for a small fee.
If you take the bus, you will want to get to Parque Aventura from the Choachí bus station.
You can ask the bus driver to let you know when to get off for the waterfalls. You should also keep a lookout and have Google Maps open.
After the Tour
After your tour, you will most likely go grab a bite to eat. Check your booking to make sure.
If you have enough time, you will stop to see a páramo.
Páramo exists only in the Andes of:
A páramo can be referred to as an alpine tundra ecosystem that is located in Andes Mountain Range in South America. Alpine tundra is a type of natural region that does not contain trees because of the high elevation.
The páramo is the ecosystem that is above the forest lines (3.5 kilometers, 10,000 feet) but below the snowline (4.9 kilometers, 16,000 feet). You will see the different plants that are in this ecosystem. Some of the plants include finchones and chiches de agua.
My Experience Hiking the Waterfalls
Looking back, I loved it.
During the hike, I actually thought at one point my throat was going to close so that was a bit scary.
As I kept trekking, it did get a little easier. That does not mean if you feel out of breath keep going. You will know your body better than anyone else so don’t be afraid to stop or turn back around.
Don’t let the pictures fool you, I was hurting. There were some awesome views though.
I do not hike often so if you are a seasoned hiker, it might be easier for you. Either way, hiking these waterfalls was a bunch of fun and the views were truly something else.
Make sure you do some research and look up the hours before you head over to the tallest waterfall in Colombia.