Trek to La Chorrera, Colombia’s Highest Waterfall, Bogotá

One of the more frequented hikes near Bogotá, the La Chorrera waterfall is the highest waterfall in Colombia with a 590 metre drop and the sixth highest in South America. A short one hour trip on the bus will transport you to a different world, away from the polluted metropolis of Bogotá, where you can explore the green Colombian Andes valleys and trek Latin America’s 6th highest waterfall. Once off the bus you can either choose to hike along the 4km road or catch a lift in of the 4×4 cars that will whisk you there from the main road. To see the waterfall at it’s best make sure you visit in rainy season or soon after as the falls can reduce to a trickle in the dry season. It’s a great day out and the perfect starter hike if you have recently arrived in Bogotá and want to acclimatise.

Read my guides to Parque Ecológico Matarredonda, a high altitude páramo with stunning view of Bogotá, and Cerro de Guadalupe, that provides panoramic views of Bogotá which are both located close by on the same road.

Information

  1. Our Experience
  2. How to hike to La Chorrera
  3. Equipment to take

Our Experience

It was a foggy day when we decided to visit. At times on the bus we were driving through the clouds. I couldn’t see anything out of the windows and I was amazed that the driver could. I got a excited when the bus stopped to drop us off and there was a break in the clouds and the sun shone through but soon after we were engulfed in the clouds yet again. Strangely it had been a sunny day when we left Bogota but you never know what the mountains will have in store and as our bus drove around the tight corners ascending and descending into the clouds.

We crossed the main road and headed down the 4km track that takes you to the waterfall. We had decided to walk as I felt a 7km hike would be more rewarding, so we skipped past the parked cars who would have taken us most of the way, for a fee, and and the mist soon encompassed us.

After a few hundred metres I stopped to eat some chocolate, a must for any hike, and looked up to see some vultures sitting on the fence. I hastily changed lenses when another joined and managed to capture them flying away.

The road slowly descended into the valley below taking you past farmsteads and numerous dwellings. Most were silent to begin with but the closer we got to the village the more people we saw. We saw many places to camp and felt that this would be a relaxing place to bring children and to spend a weekend. It was the second time we had left the city since I arrived and I was happy to breath in the delicious fresh air after having spent a few weeks in Bogotá. There are a few shops on route and you don’t need to bring food as there are restaurants at the end.

Of course there is plenty of wildlife to see along the way. Cows. Dogs. Cats. Rabbits. And we could see the clouds covering the mountain tops as we descended.

After passing though the village there is a car park on the left, which is the furthest you can go by car, and you have to take the left. This will take you up a pretty steep hill and there were some Arepas de Choclo being sold on the way, and then once you crest the hill you get your first view of the waterfall. The top was in the clouds but the view with birds flying close by was spectacular.

There was also this little guy deep in thought pondering his life on a rock.

And here is the waterfall still from a distance.

The waterfall is actually on private land and which is owned by local family’s who use the money from they collect from the park to protect it and to invest back into the village. This explains why the park is so organised from the moment you arrive until when you leave. After you register and pay an entrance fee you have to sit through a short video and presentation, which shows you what you are missing as there are shots on one of the rare few cloudless days. And then you are permitted into the park.

One treat of the whole journey is reading the poorly translated signs which are displayed throughout the park and my favourite is below.

There is a gift shop, food stall and restaurant so if you want you can spend a lot of time here. The journey from this point is only another 2-3 kilometres but it feels a lot longer. The park is split into sections and you can pay a limited amount to reach some of the earlier sections, although I don’t know why you would not want to go all the way to the waterfall.  There is also an option take horse rides and there are all sorts of packages. You can also pay for a guide but you really don’t need one as there are plenty of rangers in the park to help and give talks at various points that you don’t really need one.

Soon we got closer to the falls and there was yet again another talk.

We skipped the option of going to the caves and reached the falls just as the clouds descended. There are some slippery steps steps down to right below the falls but the view is worth the effort.

Having reached the end of the path we headed back. There is a little one way system so do make sure you follow the right path and after a lot of up and down again you will make it back to the entrance. We headed back to the village in a hurry as I had promised Angela that it would only take 4-5 hours and after all this time we were really late to meet her mum. We took a took a taxi back to the main road and very soon after we arrived a bus to Bogotá appeared out of the clouds. There were some more stunning views as the clouds cleared a little and I really want to come this way again on a clearer day.

How to hike to La Chorrera

There are tours offered online but you really don’t need them as it’s a fairly easy journey. You need to go to the TansMilenio station Tercer Mileno, Carrera 14 and Calle 6, right next to Parque Tercer Milenio. It’s advised that you don’t walk, despite what the other blogs say.  The Bus station you want to reach is on Calle 6 and on Maps.me (which I really recommend you downloading) it’s marked with two names, La Estaanzuela and Transoroente. To find it, take the south entrance from the station and head to the right, west, away from the mountains. If you don’t find it within one block you have gone too far.

From here you will need to take a bus to Choachi, $10,000, and ask to be dropped at the road for La Chorrera. I’m not sure if there is a timetable and I think busses tend to leave when they are fairly full. It takes about an hour. Once dropped off there is transport to the Waterfall, we didn’t opt to take it on the way there and it’s about a 2 hour walk along a small road. Angela and I went on a Saturday so it was busy with people visiting from Bogotá but if you went in the week it would be very quiet.

After about two hours you will arrive in at a place with a few restaurants and a car park. The signs tell you to take the rod to the left so follow this and then you will come to the park entrance. Here you need to pay $15,000 if you want to go all the way to the waterfall and watch a short video. Depending on how much time you want to spend I’d say it’s another 2 hour round trip to the waterfalls as there are guides on the way giving talks. On the way back to the main road we opted for a car as we were running late, this cost $24,000 and at the road a bus came pretty quickly only charging us $8000 for the return journey.

It is possible to buy food, we were told the Cuban restaurant which you will walk past but is on the weirdest place to make money is really good and people go there from Bogotá just to eat or there are a variety of stalls and restaurants along the way. Enjoy.

Equipment to Take

There are several stores on the hike through the town and a couple of restaurants in the park when you arrive. Once you enter the park there are no facilities to buy anything after the entrance. There are a few steep climbs and descents but you really don’t feel that you are far from civilisation so if you don’t bring a lot you will be fine:

  1. Gortex hiking boots
  2. Waterproof jacket
  3. Waterproof trousers
  4. Dry bag or packback cover (I take both)
  5. Cell phone
  6. Cell phone battery
  7. Charger cable
  8. Sunglasses
  9. Sun Cream
  10. Painkillers
  11. Blister plasters (better if you have a small first aid kit)
  12. Hand soap
  13. Tissues
  14. Water filer
  15. Sun hat
  16. Food – you can never have too much and you will need it on this hike so pack appropriately.
  17. Water 2 litres minimum

Clothes

  1. Base layer
  2. Fleece
  3. Down Jacket
  4. Hiking trousers
  5. Hiking underwear
  6. Hiking socks

Read my guides to Parque Ecológico Matarredonda, a high altitude páramo with stunning view of Bogotá, and Cerro de Guadalupe, that provides panoramic views of Bogotá which are both located close by on the same road.

5 thoughts on “Trek to La Chorrera, Colombia’s Highest Waterfall, Bogotá

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