Nov 18

Hiking in Colombia: La Chorrera Waterfall

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia

 

Colombia has a number of well-known, popular hikes that travelers here can enjoy: El Cocuy and the Lost City being the most famous. However, in the countryside around Bogota there are numerous incredible day-hikes available which are generally fairly unknown and under-explored. One of these is the hike to La Chorrera waterfall, near Choachi, to the east of the Colombian capital. I spend last Sunday doing this hike with some friends, and it was genuinely one of the most enjoyable day-trips I’ve ever had in Colombia…

 

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
Getting wet at La Chorrera

 

The hike begins on the side of the road between Bogota and Choachi; one you have jumped out of the bus, you follow the signs directing you towards the waterfall. This first section of the hike is accessible by car, so it is possible to avoid walking it, although I would recommend not to, as it’s a nice addition to the trip. This section should takes about 45 minutes, and takes you through pretty paramo scenery, small local farms, and, further on, into the beginning of the cloud forest where the majority of the hike takes place.

 

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
The pretty scenery at the start of the hike

 

After this first part of the hike, you will reach a few little buildings, including a shop/restaurant (where you can also buy an excellent meat platter for just 15.000 COP). Here you can also grab some tasty snacks, or some water as you prepare for the second part of the hike. Follow the signs to the left for La Chorrera and, after a 15 minute hike through some gorgeous farmland, you will arrive at the entrance of the first waterfall of the day: El Chiflon. Here you must pay the 8.000 COP entrance fee, which will allow you to go and take a look at the impressive Chiflon falls, from below and above. You can start off with that or, as we did, press on to the big falls first…

From the entrance at El Chiflon, the trail narrows and becomes a little more treacherous. It’s nothing dramatic, but much slippier and steeper, so a good pair of boots or trainers are a must. The surroundings more than make up for the trickier terrain though; the trail passes through amazing cloud forest, filled with orchids, bromeliads and hundreds of species of birds. This kind of forest never ceases to amaze me; the sheer scale of life is remarkable, as the constant moisture means that everything seems to be growing on top of everything else!

 

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
Approaching the falls

 

After following this trail for about one hour you should begin to hear the roar of the falls (on a clearer day you can see the top of La Chorrera from much further back on the trail, but when we visited the top was shrouded in mist until right when we arrived); it’s faint, but you can tell there’s something big around the next corner. Suddenly you see it; La Chorrera is Colombia’s highest waterfall (interrupted: the highest uninterrupted is Salto Bordones near San Agustin), with a total drop of 590 meters. The forest opens up and you are granted a full length view of the spectacular falls. From this point it’s just another 10 minutes down the valley to the base of the falls.

 

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
590 meters…

 

The base of the falls is simply stunning: craning your neck upwards the water appears to be dropping from the clouds through the jungle. Walking down to the slippery rocks directly beneath La Chorrera you are met with a blast of icy cold spray; its refreshing after the hike, but certainly takes your breath away! The falls are in a stunning location right in the middle of the forest, with a view along the valley to farmland beyond. The water was falling in torrents when we visited, most likely due to the high rains the area had been experiencing. The soaking socks and constant umbrella carrying seemed worth it in that moment…

 

La Chorrera Waterfall Colombia
Looking up into the mist, it’s impossible to see where the falls are coming from…

 

Practical Guide: Take a bus from Bogota to Choachi. These leave from a small terminal 2 blocks from the Tercer Milenio transmilenio station near Jimenez in the center. It costs 8.000 COP and takes about an hour or so to the roadside turning to the waterfall. Ask to be dropped at La Chorrera. The whole hike should take 4-5 hours depending on fitness levels. To return to Bogota, simply wait on the corner of the road and flag down any bus returning to the city.

Chris

 

4 thoughts on “Hiking in Colombia: La Chorrera Waterfall

  1. Vyas on

    There are regular buses from Bogota to Choachi located on Calle 6 east of Carrera 13 (Avenida Caracas). Transoriente y Cootransfómeque companies run buses from 5.15am to 8pm every day of the week and it costs 7.500 pesos.

    We travelling in Dec,2015 and had a bit of difficulty in finding the place to take the bus. There is a police station near this bus station and they were very helpful in showing us the place to take the bus.
    one word of caution: it can take more than 45-60 min being projected to reach the waterfall hike start point.

    For those who want to go through an arranged trip following information mght help.

    Agencies

    => Agencies organize day trips to La Chorrera for the bargain price of 55,000 Pesos. At that price, we suggest you to join one of their tours, you’ll meet people, stop on the way to have local snacks, and you will not loose time with local buses.

    Reply

      Christa on

      @Vyas: Wonderful advice to a non-Spanish speaking visitor – I’d rather have someone lay out my day. I won’t be travelling there w/ an Agency, so do you have names of any that I can connect with just for this one day-trip? Thank you!

      Reply

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