5 Best day trips near Bogotá: go by yourself.

Even though Bogotá is a big city full of many different things to do, why stop there?! Colombia is full of many quiet little villages and towns to check out and an abundance of natural parks to explore. Great for you, many are located just an hour or two away from the city. Here are some of our favorite places nearby where you can enjoy for the day and be back to enjoy the nightlife in town!

View from a picada joint

Salto Tequendama

Salto Tequendama is a waterfall on the Bogotá River that is located about 30 minutes from the southern bus terminal of the city. ‘Hotel Tequendama’, located right by the falls, was a hotel that was known for the high amounts of suicides in the past century, being almost 1 person every day. Now, the original building still stands but has been turned into a museum. The building itself is a beautiful Victorian house that stands right on the edge. There you can find many little shops along the side of the road selling drinks and the typical picada, a meat platter filled with sausages, different kinds of grilled meat, which usually comes with potatoes. They might not look very appetizing, but they are pretty delicious.

How to get there:

You need to get to the southern bus terminal (Terminal Sur). If you taking transmilenio, get off at Portal Sur station. From there, take the bus 10-5 which will take you straight to the terminal. At the terminal, look for buses that go to Mesitas. The waterfall is well-known, so sometimes you can just tell them you want to go there and they will make sure you get off at the right place. To get back into town, simply wave at a bus heading back to Bogotá, they will just pick you up there on the road. Simple! MAP

Cobblestone alleys of Guatavita

Guatavita

You have probably heard of the sacred lagoon of Guatavita before from the stories of the El Dorado legend. Guatavita is probably best-known for the lake and not that many people stop by the town itself. Guatavita town is located on a reservoir, not the Laguna de Guatavita, which can be confusing for those visiting both the town and the lake. The El Dorado legend says that Guatavita lake, which is a sacred lake of the Muisca people, the population of that area, used to be the place of offerings, in which golden articles would be thrown in. The Guatavita town itself is a beautiful and quiet colonial town with clean, white buildings, and bull ring, and cobblestone walkways. It really is worth a visit as well!

How to get there:

First, you need to get to Portal Norte transmilenio station. Inside this same station is where you catch the “flota” that goes to Guatavita. If you are going to the lake, let the driver know so he can drop you off at the stop, which is about 10 minutes by car from the town. From there it is a 7-kilometer walk to the entrance unless cars passing by offering you a ride. (Take caution, these offers might be friendly and free, although sadly, there are people who want to charge a fare for everything. Make sure you have that cleared up before getting in the car.) MAP

Part of the trail walking through cow fields and fog

Cascada La Chorrera

La Chorrera waterfall is the tallest waterfall in the country, standing at 590m tall, and is located only half an hour from downtown! La Chorrera is definitely a great place for those that love nature. From the entrance, it is a 1-hour hike to a small waterfall, then about another hour to get to the main act. Hidden in the mountains and green cow fields, the walk is breathtaking from start to finish.

How to get there:

First, get to ‘terminal transoriente’, near “Tercermilenio” transmilenio station. There, take the bus heading to ‘Choachí’ and tell the driver you will be getting off at ‘La Chorrera’. From the highway, it is about a 40-minute walk on the dirt road (at least 1 hour if it’s raining and muddy) to the entrance of the park. It is pretty easy: there are always signs indicating which way to go. However, if you are lost, ask anyone around! MAP

Espejo de agua

Nemocón

This is the less-known town located next to Zipaquirá, the famous salt cathedral town. What is so special about this place then, you may ask. Well, Nemocón is known for the salt mine, and the infamous espejo de agua. This is an alternative to the more touristic and expensive Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral. The entrance fee to the mine is 14,000 COP (USD$4), much cheaper than the salt cathedral’s  57,000 COP (USD$21) fee, and includes a guided tour inside, which is only available in Spanish. It is a quiet little town only another bus connection from Zipaquirá bus terminal. The mine is very beautiful and is the one place you can see Earth working its wonders.

How to get there:

First, get to Portal Norte transmilenio station. From inside the station, catch a flota to Zipaquirá. Once you arrive at the Zipaquirá bus terminal, get the bus to Nemocón. The whole trip should take around an hour and a half! MAP

Trails through the cloudy forest. source

Chicaque

This natural park, located 1 hour and a half southwest of Bogotá is a beautiful nature getaway from the big city. The park has a great structure, with different options for activities, like some very nice hiking trails, horse riding, and even a zip line! The park also offers lodging and camping options for the ones wanting to make it more than a day trip and expert guides service for those wanting to learn more about the local fauna and flora – but beware, those are a bit pricey. The entrance costs 15,000 COP during regular weekdays and weekends or 16,000COP in high season and holidays weekends (around USD$6). Also, for the hungry ones, the park has 2 restaurants with different price points inside. The park is open from 8am, and the entrance of those spending the day is only until 3 o’clock, and for those spending the night, it’s 5:30 pm, or until 6:30 pm with an extra fee.

How to get there:

The easiest way to get there is by taking a bus towards Mosquera in the Portal de la 80 transmilenio station, and from this little town main square, get a bus of the company Coomofútowards Soacha. Then just tell the driver to drop you off on the trail to Chicaque. Once you arrive, just take the path that with a sign of the park and in around 40 minutes you will be at the entrance of the park. During weekends the park provides the service of transportation during specific hours. For more information about prices, the weekend transportation and trails inside the park, check their website!

MAP

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