Colombia

10 Reasons why we loved the Chicamocha Canyon

Morning view across the Chichamocha Canyon

What an amazing place, we fell in love with the Chicamocha Canyon the moment we arrived, with Goat literally on repeat saying “this is my kind of place”. Within an hour of arriving, we had added an extra day to our visit and then increased it again the day after, doubling our stay and spanking our budget (as though we were on our annual holiday). We enjoyed the area so much we literally had to drag ourselves away.

Below are 10 reasons why, in no particular order, we fell in love with this majestic area and would highly recommend a visit.

1. Act of impulse

I think one of the main reasons we loved the area so much was because we had no expectations, undertook virtually zero research and visited it on complete impulse having looked at a leaflet of the hostel, La Roca, which was pinned to a wall during our stay in Barichara.

For those who know me, I love to plan and spend hours (much to the annoyance of Goat) researching places to stay or things to do, often coming up with a complete itinerary before Goat has even had a look in – so for me, this was quite a big deal!

The spectacular Chichamocha Canyon - this was in fact, our view from the bus
The spectacular Chicamocha Canyon – this was in fact, our view from the bus
2. The journey

Not going to lie, for us the journey to the Chicamocha Canyon was quite painful. It took 5 hours on 3 buses with us getting dropped in the middle of nowhere, much confusion, quite a lot of rain which steadily dripped on me through the window and above all I was very hungry! Those who know me well will know what this meant for Goat!

However, despite our very ‘minor problems’, the final leg of the journey was definitely worth it, with many a twist and a turn. Slight caution to those who get travel sick!

Long and winding roads - getting closer to La Rocha
Long and winding roads – getting closer to La Roca
3. Amazing views

Formed 46 million years ago, the Chicamocha Canyon is 2,000 metres deep and extends over 108,000 acres. To me, this means little as I am numerically challenged but the views are truly spectacular, combined with the fresh mountain air mixed with the scent of luscious plants and flowers you really could enjoy the views for days on end.

Exploring the area on our first day
Exploring the area on our first day
One of the many stunning views
One of the many stunning views
4. The cat!

Oh my god, the cat! We loved this cat. Incredibly naughty with such an attitude this cat became our little shadow, often sleeping at the bottom of my bed before waking me up in the early hours to be let out to hunt and then meowing 5 minutes later to be let back in… this cat reminded me of my old cat Pixie. We really did want to take this naughty, rascal of a cat with us when we left.

No more blogs for today!
No more blogs for today!
How cute is this cat
How cute is this cat
Different position, the cat does need to get comfy
Different position, the cat does need to get comfy
Lets change position again
Let’s change position again
Morning nap
Morning nap
5. Refugio La Roca

This place is just WOW. It calls itself a hostel but could be classed as a hotel. We have since discovered it’s noted in Lonely Planet as a place not to miss so really we are telling the truth and is proof that acting on impulse does pay off.

There is so much to say about this place so I shall let the photos do the talking but in a nutshell, the place is incredible.

  • It’s eco-friendly and literally made out of rocks and natural materials
  • A climbing hostel – Goat was in his element
  • Houses an amazing yoga room with spectacular views
  • The dorm is one of the best we have stayed in, with a fleecy blanket on each bed – you can also stay in incredible private accommodations overlooking the canyon
  • Finally, the food is fantastic, we brought food with us to cook and didn’t eat it once, enjoying daily the homemade chocolate bread, fresh meats and best mojitos ever (extremely alcoholic) – this is where spanking the budget comes in.
Arrival at La Rocha
Arrival at La Roca
The restaurant and bar area where we spent many hours and many dollars
The restaurant and bar area where we spent many hours and many Pesos
More of the restaurant, set amongst a garden of green
More of the restaurant, set amongst a garden of green
Climbing equipment and branded clothing available to purchase
Climbing equipment and branded clothing available to purchase
The dedicated yoga room / library, with fantastic views
The dedicated yoga room/library, with fantastic views
Morning view across the Chichamocha Canyon
Morning view across the Chicamocha Canyon
Trying to catch up on diary writing, pretty good spot!
Trying to catch up on diary writing, pretty good spot!
One of our favourite dorms so far, I actually swept it every morning, pretending it was our home (much to the surprise of Goat)
One of our favourite dorms so far, I actually swept it every morning, pretending it was our home (much to the surprise of Goat)
A few of the home remedy marauna oils and cream products available to buy
A few of the home remedy marijuana oils and cream products available to buy
Night time view of La Rocha - Goat was trying to be arty!
Night time view of La Roca – Goat trying to be arty!
6. Climbing

This was a big highlight for us for different reasons. Goat hadn’t been on the rocks for the last six months so was delighted to be reunited with them and climbing once again, climbing grades much harder than in the UK. While for me, someone quite scared of heights and hasn’t climbed properly for about a year, I was just super ecstatic to get to the top.

Alex, who is a great climber and a brilliant instructor, in fact, owns La Roca with her husband and really helped me grow my confidence and get to the top using various techniques we had never tried before.

Being able to climb over the canyon was a fantastic experience and again was a spontaneous activity that we are so pleased we did.

Goat's first climb - super happy to be back on the rocks
Goat’s first climb – super happy to be back on the rocks
Making it look easy
Making it look easy
I on the otherhand am clinging on for dear life
I, on the other hand, am clinging on for dear life
Half way up and desperate to get to the top so I can come down
Halfway up and desperate to get to the top so I can come down
Happy and tierd after an afternoon of climbing. Looking very fashionable and lets not mention the socks and sandels!
Happy and tired after an afternoon of climbing. Looking very fashionable and let’s not mention the socks and sandals!
Oh go on then...
Oh, go on then…
7. The Market

Exploring the local Farmers Market was a highlight of the trip and we were pleasantly surprised that we seemed to be the only tourists – it was just full of Colombians, local or on holiday. Wandering around all the stalls was great fun and we tried lots of little food and drink samples, often with no idea what it was. Best of all was the enormous fruit and veg selection, where we discovered fruits we didn’t even know existed.

Fruit & veg stools at the Farmers Market
Fruit & veg stools at the Farmers Market
So much fruit & veg to choose from and such a pretty market
So much fruit & veg to choose from and such a pretty market
Having a chat with a local smoothie vender about what fruits we should try and buy
Having a chat with a local smoothie vendor about what fruits we should try and buy
Fancy a piña in the piña promotion?
Fancy a piña in the piña promotion?
8. Exploring by bike

“Explore the area by bike” we were recommended. What they didn’t know was how infrequent I cycle and incompetent I am at it. Cycling downhill to the nearest town, Los Santos, we were told should take 15 minutes – 50 minutes later we arrived, due to the fact I was cycling at 2mph!

The town itself is very small and a nice little side excursion for a coffee, ice cream or visit to the church. On our very slow journey, we even bumped into a real-life mountain goat (a reminder that toy mascot goat is still lost in the jungle of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta from our trip to the Lost City).

You can see the speed demon that I am here

Finally we made it - 50 mintutes later
Finally, we made it – 50 minutes later
The old white church in Los Santos
The old white church in Los Santos
The little town of Los Santos
The little town of Los Santos
A real life mountain goat
A real-life mountain goat
9. Chicamocha

Such a fun name! Every time we said it, it made us smile, reminding us of coffee! Chicamocha, Chicamocha, Chicamocha!

Despite appearances Goat is having fun, drinking Colombian coffee and eating homemade chocolate cake!
Despite appearances Goat is having fun, drinking Colombian coffee and eating homemade chocolate cake!
10. Wise words

And finally, we shall close with these wise words that were dotted around La Roca – Goat absolutely loved them, you might even recognise one…

Goat loved this Bob Marley quote
Goat loved this Bob Marley quote
Wise words
Wise words

 

8 thoughts on “10 Reasons why we loved the Chicamocha Canyon

  1. Great blog Hayley and more fantastic photos!

    Very impressed with your climbing skills and at least you didn’t have stabilizers on your bike, just hope you had a bell to warn people !

    Look forward to seeing/reading your next adventures.

  2. Great post Hay. Lovely to hear your tales of adventure as really sounds like you are in the room talking to us. Miss you but glad you are having such a fantastic experience! Dee xx

  3. Well you two have surpassed yourselves this time. What wonderful photos and greasy commentary .
    As for the climbing photos, had an attack of vertigo just looking at them. Well done Hayley..
    Love to you both. Look forward to the next report on your adventures.

  4. Oh dear should really have read comment before posted – I blame it on predictive text!!!
    They are great comments, not a bit “greasy”

  5. I thought the commentary was wonderful but the photos were greasy ……. Spontaneous Travelling is so much fun…….None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds.

  6. great blog guys. sounds like you guys had a fantastic time. you’ve highlighted three big things the vG’s like (cats-Sofia, mojitos-Tash, climbing-me) so i think we’re going to have to follow in your footsteps.

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