I am currently writing from my other Columbia, the one in Maryland, USA! I’m so, so happy to be back– I could barely sleep the night before coming home. But, before I landed on the East Coast, I was able to sneak in a couple day trips away from the Bog, making me think back over a few trips I’d taken earlier in the semester.
- Cascada La Chorrera:
Earlier this year, Iyla and I ventured to La Chorrera (blog post here), the tallest waterfall in Colombia and only an hour drive from the South of Bogotá. In my opinion, this was a hike. With the high elevation of the region and our luck of going on a super rainy day, I had to stop and catch my breath several times. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time and I found the experience well worth the muddy trek.
In September, I went with two friends to Suesca, Colombia, a small town that revolves around rock climbing culture and sits about an hour north of Bogotá (blog post here). The quiet nights, stars, and fresh air were a big change from city life, and the humongous rock wall provided a lot of options and varying levels of difficulty for outdoor rock climbing.
More recently, a Fulbright friend and I went to Zipaquira, known for it’s underground Salt Cathedral. I doubt I’d go to the Cathedral again and again (there is a pricey entrance fee), but I liked it more than I expected to. It was strange and interesting to see absolutely everything made of salt, and because the ceilings are so high, I swear it wasn’t as claustrophobic as it may sound.
I probably wouldn’t have gone to Chia if it hadn’t been for my friend who took a GRE exam in this small town just north of Bogotá, but I’m glad I got to see it. Chia may be best known in the Bog as the home of Andres Carne de Res, a humongous, multi-building restaurant/bar/club with an equally humongous menu, pumping music, and rock wall.
- Villa de Leyva:
Finally, there’s Villa de Leyva, which is possible as a day trip, but I’d suggest an overnight stay. Like Barichara, Villa de Leyva is a small, preserved colonial town; however, due to its proximity to Bogotá (three hours by bus), it feels far more touristy than Barichara. I went a few days before flying to the US, for the Lights Festival, a Christmas celebration with candles and fireworks. The town is great for shopping, leisurely strolls (really, you should come here to relax), and nearby hikes.