Pionono Park, Bogotá

I had been trying to find time to schedule and organise all the hikes I had found. It’s actually quite difficult to find information to many of the places I want to visit and have been visiting, but to be fair I am off the gringo trail and have been doing things not in the guidebooks-go me! Anyways while doing research I found another 10 places to add to the list and Pionono Park is north of the city so I said to Angela that we should fast track this one as it would be an easy journey. Now I know there safe not so many easy journeys in Bogotá. For arrival information skip to the bottom.

The bus to Sopó, the town closest to the park, is from Portal Norte, or so we were told. So I said we could leave a little later than usual as it’s not stupidly far from where we live and we jumped on a local bus to The Transmilenio station. Angela said that we should have jumped on The Transmilenio but the closest station is 30mins away and I hate the big busses. So instead we opted for a local bus and as soon as we became stuck in traffic I know that she was right. We pass two hospitals en-route and it seems there is a bottle neck. But after a 30minute delay we were in our way and soon at Portal Norte.

Okay so there are a few terminals in the north of the city and it seems that even Bogotá has not worked out quite yet how to use them. So on arrival we were told we needed to go to the North Terminal which is at least another 10 blocks north. Angela wanted to walk but as we walked past a Bicycle Taxi I suggested that we jump on board. We joined another lady and the three of us were in for a fun and scary ride. And I’m sure our “driver” was in for a painful one as I’m not the lightest. Still he did well and for $2000 each we were soon at the North Terminal. We were told to go around the side and walked around the whole car park before a bus soon pulled up. We were given cards to tap in and out, which was exciting as it reminded me of an Oyster card. This bus didn’t have the man (yeah always seems to be a man) who collects the ticket money. I’m England we would call them a conductor but in Spanish a Conducer drives the bus and apparently this guy doesn’t have a job title. I’m really curious to find out how they advertise the jobs and establish the pay grade but I’m in Colombia so I don’t question these kind of things.

Sopó is roughly a 45minute trip out of Bogotá when you are on the bus and we were soon speeding along and arrived. I tapped us both out and the journey was $4700 each which is the cheapest so far. Ask the bus driver to drop you off along Carrera 4, otherwise it will head to the terminal the other side of town, and head to the main Plaza on Although I was following another blog I still wasn’t exactly sure where to go so we decided to stop and have a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs, juice, hot chocolate and pan which came to $11000 before speaking to the tourist information which is on the main plaza.

The town is actually really pretty and if you don’t fancy the hike you can take taxis to the park and I could see myself spending a lazy Sunday afternoon hanging around, drinking cervezas. However we decided to walk the 5km to the park. I laughed when I was told it would take two hours to make the climb but right from the beginning there is a steep up. There isn’t really any respite until you reach the top so just bare that in mind if you are not the best at hiking.

The hike again is along a road and cars do pass, as well as some crazy cyclists. Colombians are taking their cycling seriously after winning the Tour de France. But soon you get to see beautiful views.

And there are lots of helpful signs along the way to keep you on track but more importantly to remind you how little progress you have made.

But still there are lots of views of the mountains.

We were soon overtaken by a fat panting dog. Not really something to keep your ego up. But also on that corner a moped with a passenger ground to a halt due to the steepness. The passenger jumped off and started running up the road, also overtaking us, while the rider waited for the engine to cool down, caught up with her and they continued. I suppose if you live up here you get pretty fit.

And more shots of farms and houses across the valley.

Around half way we made a friend, Martin, as I named him, and he kept us going. The three men in the distance also over took us and they carried some decent beer bellies. However Martin kept positive. He would race ahead and wait, pacing indicating that we should try and catch-up. Or on occasions he would run back to see why progress had stopped or slowed.

There were a fair few dogs enroute, many of whom did not take kindly to Martin. But they were cute none the less.

And then we reached the top of the ridge which meant we could see Embalse de Tomine on the other side. We had been closer to this lake on the Lake Guatavita hike.

And then we reached the park entrance. Sadly for Martin dogs are not permitted so we ditched him at the gates while he was sniffing around. I don’t really know how to explain that “he’s not my dog”. We never saw him again and Angela made me feel suitably great about this as to be fair I threw poor Martin under a bus. Hikers should always stick together. He didn’t even get some of our beef sandwiches which is why I suspect he had been following us.

Still entrance to the park is $5500 and if you want to camp then it’s $27600 per person. Which feels like a lot. I’d suggest this is better served as a day trip as really most of the hiking is done on the way to the park.

We entered and headed down the trails too the first mirador.

And soon we were able to see across the whole valley. The clouds has boxed in the sky but we had a slither of blue to enjoy while we had lunch.

There are a few hiking trails in the park and we covered the circuits as shown on maps.me. They are not stupidly long so after a few hours we decided to head back to the town. This time it would be a very steep down, which presents a different set of problems.

Typically as we started heading down the sun decided to come out and clear the sky, although to be fair this seems to happen a lot around Bogotá around 3-4pm. Which is slightly annoying as it gets dark around 6:30pm each day so it doesn’t give you a lot of time. But still it could be worse.

The valley was beautiful in the sun and I was excited to see the views.

When we finally returned to town we stopped for a well earned rest and then headed to the dairy, La Cabaña Alpina, which is on the edge of town, to buy some strawberries and cream. It’s worth a little visit, if only to see the amazing amount of plastic everything is covered in. It’s located near the roundabout where you entered the town adjacent to the main road. From here you can chill out for a while or wait at the bus stop on the main road for a bus back to Bogotá. The price is the same at $4700 and you can either be dropped off on the main road or go back to the terminal.

How to get to Pionono Park

You need to head to a town called Sopó which is about 45 minutes north of the city. the bus leaves from Terminal Norte and you can get there by either taking The Transmilenio all the way to Portal Norte, which is a different stop, and then either walking north along the main road, jumping on one of the passing busses or opting for the bicycle taxi. It’s fairly hard to miss.

Once there don’t head into the terminal building, look to the far right and you will see a path that takes you around where all the busses pull up at their various stations. It’s almost like there is a second parking lot behind the first and you will see several different lines for different busses. Make sure you get on the bus to Sopó which will cost you $4700 each way.

Once you arrive in Sopó jump out on Carrera 4 and head to the main plaza. There is a tourist information point here which can point you in the right direction. Otherwise head directly to Carrera 3 and just follow the road up the hill. You will soon see signs for the park as it’s well signposted.

Currently entrance to the park is $5500 per person and camping is $27600 which feels a little overpriced for what you get. I’d recommend taking a day trip.

To return to Bogotá follow the same road back and flag down a bus on the main road. They will have a Bogotá sign in the front.

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