Last Sunday I was super excited to go to Choachi’s hot spring. It’s 1.5 hours away from Bogotá by car, in the southeast, behind Monserrate and Guadalupe. You will cross a the mountains and pass the foggy páramo and get to see some frailejones.
When we got there the car parks were already full. It looked chaotic. My Colombian company uttered, ‘this is why we don’t like hot springs in Colombia. It has a bad rap. You see, only the lower class goes to hot springs. It’s dirty and crowded.’ Right. Incredibly classist. #ThisIsColombia
So I was going to be the only one going for the hot spring.. I went up to the ticket counter, the guy said, ‘I can sell you tickets, but it’s very full now so it’s up to you.’ It was jam packed. At 12.30pm. On a Sunday of a long weekend.
The hot springs cost 35.000 for adults, 25.000 for kids on Sundays and public holidays. It’s cheaper during the week. Cheaper even on Mondays when it’s a workday. I would really suggest going at 8am when they open. I’m sure it’ll be empty plus at least feels cleaner since you’ll be the first one to hit the pools.
Since we were there already we thought we might as well take advantage of our trip. We had passed by a Bella Italia restaurant earlier so I looked it up on TripAdvisor and it turned out to be the best restaurant in town! This is definitely a good example why I should stop trusting TripAdvisor’s fake reviews from now. Even my home cooked pasta was better. (Or maybe I just cook extremely well?! But the owner is from Italy!!) The pork loin with pasta came with slabs of cold tough meat while the ‘ragu’ was some vinegar mix. That cost COP 32.000. My half-portioned pasta looks and tastes like my camping dinner – pasta + spoonfuls of liquids that happened to be red and sour. COP 16.000 It was a huge rip-off. A disgrace actually. I guess it’s ok when food is bad but it was hard to stomach when it’s over-priced as we were eating in plastic chairs (Trust me, the other day I paid COP 30.000 for a set lunch in a hotel in Bogotá, with juice, soup, salad, fruits and a main course, and this was expensive. Usually it’s a third or half. And Choachi is in the countryside.) Ok enough ranting.
Since I didn’t get what I came for, I went on TripAdvisor again (why did I do that?!!?) to look for perhaps another tourist attraction. I found La Chorrera, apparently the highest waterfall in Colombia! There was no way I was going to miss it!
La Chorrera is located between Bogotá and Choachi, just 7km before Choachi (it sounds near but since the road is meandering it would take 15 minutes). When you go from Bogotá, you will have to look for a left turn into a dirt path. Then after a bumpy 20-minute ride, you’ll get to a car park where you’ll need to leave your car and walk up, unless you have a 4×4.
From the car park it takes 2.5 hours to walk to the waterfalls and back. If you want to get into the park you will have to go before 2.30pm. There’s even a lunch place that costs much less than our rip-off meal. We didn’t make it before 2.30pm so this is on our to-do list for the future.. Yea so basically it was kinda a rubbish day. Looking at the bright side, I’m glad I went ‘scouting’ and now I have the info for you!
We had a similar experience in Choachi, went for the hot springs, saw it was packed, decided against it, ate at an overpriced restaurant (although it was good) and then went to La Chorrera but arrived too late (and unprepared) for the big hike to the big falls so just made do with seeing the littler ones. We still need to get back there for the hike to La Chorrera too but the drive was so beautiful.
Oh no..! This shows how important it is to talk to people!!!
Ok let’s go together then! Definitely a trip for this year!
Let’s make it soon!?
That sounds like a great idea! Maybe a weekend in the second half of February after my exams?