Today we went to the National park Chicamocha. It is Parque Nacional de Chicamocha – or Panachi – to shorten the name! The park is close to Bucaramanga and there are a lot of buses that go back and forth from the park.
We decided to take an uber there up the back of the mountain, so we could stop by Mesa de Los Santos. It was so beautiful, though the road is super winding so I felt a bit nauseous most of the time. The whole area is very quaint and beautiful. We passed goats, chickens and cows as well as beautiful farmland – it would be amazing to live here – but I couldn’t deal the with roads!! I also found out that the state is trying to find a way to get water up the mountain. The homes had big water tanks on the roofs for rain water as there aren’t cisterns in the area yet. That is why the area has not developed more quickly. The front of Chicamocha is much more developed.
We really wanted to walk around the canyon and hike up and down it – but like the guidebooks say – it is really hard to do – one has to go on a very specific route – there aren’t really hiking trails here – I was also struck by how few people were here. It may because Semana Santa is normally a time for people to go visit their families. It was really an amazing area and so beautiful, but there were not a lot of people.
The uber dropped us off at the back entrance to the park where we could get the teleferico to the front of the canyon to look around. This is where the national park center is and it has rides and a water park and is the main tourist attraction. We had a coffee and then bought a ticket to go on the teleferico. There was a bit of a line here – but we quickly moved ahead as there were only two of us.
The ride went down the canyon and then up the other side. It lasted about 20 minutes and was absolutely gorgeous! At the bottom of the canyon is a river and a quarry. There were some people who lived along the inside of the canyon, but not many. It would have been great if we could have hiked up and down the canyon here. The ride went slowly enough to see things and I am so glad we did it.
We sat at the restaurant near the entrance to have a beer and look out over the canyon and fed stray kittens. There were a lot of stray cats here, and when the owner of the restaurant saw us giving the kittens food, he chased them away and asked us not to do it.
We walked across the street to the water park looking for a place to jump the fence and go hiking around the mountainsides. It was so gorgeous – I wanted to walk around the beautiful scenery – plus – I was wearing hiking boots just in case and wanted to try them out! We finally found a place behind the water pump to the water park where the fence was pretty open – we ducked under it and took off!
There were wild goats walking around talking to each other and trailing babies– and there were trails that the goats had made that we followed down the canyon. We walked among mango trees, cacti, wildflowers and butterflies. It was all beautiful and surreal. We sat and looked around feeling supremely lucky to be there.