My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
Colombia has incredible natural attractions. The Chicamocha Canyon stands out because its dimensions go beyond any standards.
What is the Chicamocha Canyon?
This huge gorge crosses the departments of Santander and Boyaca. The trench is a huge geographic fault with gigantic dimensions. At the deepest point, the depth is 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) and the length of the gorge is reported to be 227 kilometers (141 miles).
The area of the Chicamocha Trench is more than 108,000 hectares. It is considered the second largest trench in the world and it is also deeper than the Grand Canyon in Colorado.
More than 30 million years ago there was a huge lake in its place. However, through natural erosion and various natural phenomena, what is now the Chicamocha Canyon was created.
This place is also of historical importance because the Guane, an indigenous culture, lived here. You can still find rock paintings by the earlier residents today.
The Chicamocha National Park is the touristic part and is located in the Santander department, around 90 minutes’ drive from the city of Bucaramanga. That’s about halfway to San Gil and Barichara. However, tourism and activities are not limited to this park. This is more like an amusement park and is not exactly what you imagine a national park to be.
Various activities are offered around the gorge. From hiking and bird watching to photography excursions and helicopter tours, you can choose from a variety of options.
What can we find in Chicamocha Canyon?
The Chicamocha Trench has a lot to offer. We will talk more about this further in the text.
A unique environment
Without a doubt, Chicamocha Canyon is characterized by its beauty. In the elections for the new 7 natural wonders of the world in 2009, he was also in the running. Around 100 million people voted at the time.
Its ecosystem is unique as you can find different climatic conditions. In some places there is a tropical dry forest environment and in other places there is a premontaneous thorn forest. Hence, one can find a multitude of palms, tall trees and ferns.
Nature lovers will find beautiful trees here such as the pink and yellow guayacan, cacti, Ceiba barrigona, Indian cocoa and many other species. The Canyon is a real Eldorado for nature photographers.
Given the immense extent of the gorge, there are countless viewpoints from which one can enjoy great panoramic views.
Chicamocha National Park viewpoint
One of the best places to admire the beauty of the canyon is undoubtedly in Chicamocha National Park. This vantage point allows for a 360 degree view so you can discover a wide variety of landscapes. Make sure you have your camera ready.
This is only 10 minutes away from Chicamocha National Park and offers a wonderful view.
El Tabacal viewpoint
This viewpoint is about a 90-minute drive from Chicamocha National Park. This viewpoint is overcrowded on weekends and public holidays and we do not recommend visiting on these days.
The Jordán viewpoint
This viewpoint is located about 1 hour from Chicamocha National Park. It offers an impressive view of the green landscape and the mountains.
A great variety of animals and birds
Chicamocha Canyon was once a paradise for many species and a large number of different plants and animals were found, such as different big cats and sloths. Due to changes in the environment, however, the inhabitants of the region have changed significantly.
The canyon is now inhabited by animals such as iguanas, armadillos, possums, and other interesting species. However, one of the region’s greatest attractions is the wide variety of birds, some of which are critically endangered.
We recommend taking a camera with sufficient range with you. If you want to photograph birds, you will be grateful for every millimeter of additional focal length. With a little luck you will spot some of the exotic birds. For example the Nicephorus cockatoo and the Amazilia castaneiventris, both species are endemic and threatened with extinction in Colombia.
Other birds, not quite as rare and sometimes well distributed in Latin America, are:
- The Turpial Guajiro: A small bird, between 15 and 22 cm with black and yellow feathers. It is the national bird of neighboring Venezuela.
- The Alidorado finch; A beautiful bird, up to 16 cm tall. Its plumage is black, gray, and part of its wings is golden.
- The Cucarachero Chupahuevos: A brown bird, usually measuring about 22 cm.
Birds such as woodpeckers or bald eagles.
Pictograms and cave paintings
Inside the Chicamocha Canyon you can find various cave paintings of the Guane culture. Chicamocha National Park does NOT organize tours to find these.
If you want to know more about the culture, we recommend a visit to the Guane Museum. It is located in the municipality of San Gil (1 hour from Chicamocha National Park) and is home to more than 130 archaeological objects belonging to this indigenous group.
There is also a museum in the national park dedicated to the Guane culture. Here you can admire necklaces, archaeological objects, pots and other objects of great historical value. There are pre-recorded voices (in Spanish and English) that provide information about these indigenous peoples.
- The temperature can reach over 30 degrees Celsius (86° Fahrenheit). You should therefore drink enough and in any case protect yourself from direct sunlight
- You should avoid Sundays and public holidays, as large crowds sometimes flock to the attractions on these days.
Chicamocha National Park (Panachi)
Opening times: Friday to Sunday and on public holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Prices 2021: The park has several entry options, these are:
- Park entry only: Adults $ 25,000 and Children / Adults $ 18,000
- Park + Cable Car: Adults $ 50,000 and Children / Seniors $ 32,000
- Park + Aquapark: Adults $ 38,000 and Children / Seniors $ 32,000
- Panachi Combo (Park + Aquapark + Cable Car): Adults $ 58,000 and Children / Seniors $ 43,000
The Panachi Combo is NOT sold in high season. The attractions are not included in the tickets.
Even if you don’t want to do any of the activities, I still recommend a visit to the park. On my first visit, I took the cable car to the other side of the trench and back again. The difference in temperature felt was impressive.
The park was inaugurated in 2006 with the aim of making it easier to visit the gorge.
Various elements of local architecture can be found in the park. These can also be found in the communities of San Gil and Barichara.
The park has different spaces that are designed for different purposes.
Plaza de las Banderas (Square of the Flags)
Various events and celebrations are held here. Before visiting the website, you should check whether an event is planned for the day you are planning to visit.
Plaza de las costumbres
Here you can buy traditional foods from the Santander department as well as handicrafts.
There is an auditorium here with a capacity of 150 people.
You should also pay a visit to the chapel with its large and beautiful windows.
Here you can find handicrafts, souvenirs and other interesting things to buy.
Here is the monument of the Santandereanidad.
This gigantic monument consists of 36 sculptures and was created by the artist Luis Guillermo Vallejo. It is 55 meters long and 22 meters wide and represents a tobacco leaf.
The monument also honors the Comuneros, who were one of the first insurgent groups to oppose the Spanish Empire.
The monument is aimed at Socorro, a historic city and the birthplace of the Comuneros. The name of the square was chosen because it feels very small next to the construction.
Various attractions and activities are offered in the park:
Children and family attractions
10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The cable car is one of the most iconic attractions. You drive around 20 minutes to the other side of the gorge.
Each cabin can carry up to 8 people. Driving is a great experience and the view is spectacular.
There are also tickets for pets, these cost 10,000 pesos.
Price: Entry: $ 3,000
Pony rides (children only): $ 6,000 pesos.
One can interact with ostriches of birds, see their giant eggs and learn about the reproduction of these exotic animals.
However, it is forbidden by law in Colombia to ride on ostriches. I asked about this.
It is also possible to interact with other birds such as pheasants and geese. Children can have a fun pony ride.
Price: $ 3,000
In this place, children and their families can interact with these beautiful animals and also feed them.
The goats are also milked and you can buy products such as Arequipe, Cortados, Kumis.
Price: Adults and Children $ 8,000
Gravity Zero Massage Chair Price: $ 5,000
An ideal attraction for the whole family. You can enjoy a mini movie with the best effects in real time. The legs will tickle and you will even feel the sensation of rain.
If you feel tired and need a break, you can enjoy the zero gravity massage chair. This device is equipped with the latest technology and will reduce stress as quickly as possible.
Price: $ 9,000
Ice fields for ice skating are an absolute rarity in Colombia, but you can find one here.
Price: jumping: $ 10,000
saltarin: $ 5,000
Here you can find swings and bouncy castles.
We recommend the following activities for adrenaline lovers:
Price: $ 30,000 per pair
One of the extreme attractions of the park. Here you will be lifted to a height of 15 meters and as you swing at high speed you can admire the incredible scenery of the canyon.
This attraction can only be used by two people at the same time.
Ziplining chicamocha $ 25,000
Ziplining Lookout $ 15,000
Ziplining for kids $ 7,000
The park has 3 ziplining attractions. The first is 450 m long and you can experience the entire Chicamocha Canyon.
The second is much shorter, but it’s more extreme, you go down at a higher speed. The last one is ideal for children, the route is very short and safe.
Price: $ 200,000
A flight takes around 20 minutes and the view is second to none.
Reservations can also be made at the following numbers: 313-8571363 – 316 821 0852 – (7) 7243839.
Price: $ 20,000
Here you rope down 40 meters from a waterfall. Nothing for weak nerves.
Single buggy: $ 20,000
Double strollers: $ 25,000
Here you can drive a 1 km long route with an off-road buggy.
Chicamocha National Aquapark
Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: Entry (Aquapark only), Adults $ 25,000 / Children and Seniors $ 18,000
There are two swimming pools. The first is ideal for children and has a depth between 20 and 60 cm and is surrounded by various attractions, such as slides.
The second pool is for adults and has a depth of 1.20 meters. In the aquapark there are also two slides that merge into one another.
The main attraction of the water park is a beautiful river that flows around the place.
Snacks can also be bought everywhere.
Chicamocha Gorge Tours
Given the beauty and tourist attraction of Chicamocha Canyon, various tours are offered.
Chicamocha National Park Tour
Price: $ 40 per person
This expedition is ideal for families and everyone who wants to spend a relaxing day. On this tour you will get to know the Chicamocha National Park.
The guides (who only speak Spanish) talk about the culture of Santander. You can also enter the Guane Museum, take the cable car in the park and eat typical dishes.
The park attractions are not included in this package.
Canoe tour on the Chicamocha Canyon River
Price per person:
Group of 2: $ 630,000
Group of 3: $ 420,000
Group of 4 through 7: $ 320,000
Group of 8 through 9: $ 330,000
Group of 10 or more: $ 340,000
The prices are valid for the year 2021.
Start: The tour starts in Bucaramanga.
This tour takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive along the Chicamocha River. There are class IV rapids.
There are English and Spanish speaking guides on this tour. However, due to the difficulty of the rapids, it is recommended that only experienced extreme sports enthusiasts book this tour.
The tour includes transportation, necessary equipment, lunch in Jordán city, and a visit to a tobacco farm in the middle of the canyon.
The tour is operated from a group of 4 people. If you want to start with fewer people, a surcharge will be charged.
Chicamocha Canyon helicopter tour
Price (per person): 1 person $ 670,000
A maximum of 5 people can enter for a value of $ 2,699,000.
Meeting point: Hotel Punta Diamante, around 30 minutes from Bucaramanga.
The flight time is around 30 minutes. You can see beautiful places like the Guatiguará Valley, various lakes and of course the magnificent Chicamocha Canyon.
The total duration of the tour is around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
This tour is not recommended for pregnant women or people with heart problems.
The tour can be canceled at any time due to poor weather conditions.
How to get to Chicamocha National Park
The park is located between the municipalities of Aratoca and Piedecuesta, one of the closest towns is Bucaramanga. From there, the distance is around 43 kilometers, a journey time of 90 minutes.
The distance from Bogota is 330 kilometers and the driving time is around 7 hours.
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