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