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The coldest paradise in Cundinamarca
Low temperatures, unusual vegetation and an overflowing silence are characteristics of the most beautiful paramo in Colombia.
For all those travellers whose passion takes them to hidden and unknown places, I bring you in this post one of the tourist attractions that, being close to Bogotá, attracts many visitors every year; among them, locals and foreigners, backpackers and ecologists, families and singles, tourists and students: The Páramo de Sumapaz.
What to do in the Páramo de Sumapaz?
The Páramo de Sumapaz as a tourist destination is very varied. You can go in search of hiking, camping, cycling, ecology or cultural tourism experiences. When you go, you should be very clear about the activities you are going to do and bring the right equipment for them.
Hiking and camping in Páramo de Sumapaz
For trekkers, satellite GPS equipment and all the necessary cold-weather camping gear is a must. Although temperatures are much cooler after sunrise, it tends to rain lightly throughout the night due to the altitude of the mountains and their thick fog.
I recommend starting the walks at 6 am and finishing at 6 pm, so that you can set up camp and light the campfire just before the night rain starts.
Before you travel, watch this video of Federico Kircher, a hiking explorer who ventured into the Páramo for three days.
My experience as a camper.
Hay dos formas de visitar el Páramo, pero en mi primer viaje al Sumapaz, cometí el error de llegar directamente a la laguna principal.
The governmental organisation “Parques” in charge of administering these spaces, does not allow travellers to stay in the surroundings of the park, nor have they established norms that allow the enjoyment of the park. They are settled in the Laguna de los Tunjos. For this reason, it is not advisable to visit this side of the Páramo, since you would not be able to find places to set up camp and light campfires.
I also managed to camp for two days and one night without being seen, because I found a hill hidden among rocks near the main road and set up camp there. Unfortunately I could not light campfires because of the proximity to the park and because the height of my hill would not hide the fire.
I tried to climb higher, but it was impossible. The The area around the Tunjos lagoon is, on one side of the road, a giant mountain covered with thick vegetation. and covered with thick vegetation, and on the other side, a precipice difficult to descend and full of swamps and and full of swamps and unstable surfaces.
Despite all this, camping in these conditions was fascinating and, although I would have liked to explore a little more, sleep in the open air and revel in the little darkness at night that is characteristic of a páramo, I enjoyed the peace and silence that only at that altitude could achieve.
If your plan is ecological and cultural…
If you want to visit the Páramo for academic purposes, Laguna de los Tunjos is ideal. Here you can find out valuable information about the history of this province from Parks officials and take a close look at the Páramo’s native plant, the frailejón.
The frailejón is the reason why the Páramo de Sumapaz is the most important water source in Cundinamarca. It is a plant that, once it is born, absorbs water from the fog and feeds the soil and nearby lagoons. It grows only one centimetre a year and lives for a long time.
They have been misused by the militias that settled in the Páramo. the Páramo when the war conflicts were at their peak.
Please note that you cannot access the lagoons. Parks officials have closed access at the request of local inhabitants.
How to get there?
It is advisable for campers and hikers to take a Cootransfusa Ltda. bus from Terminal Salitre via Usme, to San Juan del Sumapaz and/or La Unión and tell the driver to drop them off at the Quebrada Honda bridge and from there start the route.
If you don’t have GPS and you want to camp, don’t go too far away. too far. There are no roads, as it is not a place visited by explorers. explorers.
Even though it is a national park, you will not find or ranger huts to guide you. And, what can get you you get lost, are the kilometres of landscapes that are exactly the same and without any type of of vegetation or mountains to guide you, since the beautiful frailejones occupy the entire frailejones occupy the whole Páramo.
You can also leave from the Portal de Usme in a Alimentador bus to Usme Centro. You get off at the penultimate stop in the central square of the town.
If you go for adventure, as I did, you can take a bus with a sign that says “la base” which will drop you off a few kilometres from the main park. You can walk or backpack.
But if you don’t want to suffer as much as I did and you’re only visiting for a day, wait until you get there. day visit, wait for the Cootransfusa Ltda., between 8 and 9 in the morning and between 3 and 5 in the afternoon morning and between 3 and 5 o’clock in the afternoon, which will drop you off in front of the park.
Find out the departure times from San Juan at the terminal, so that you don’t miss the opportunity to return in comfort.
Actually, as it is a destination with little administrative organisation, there are no known hotels or farms that officially offer accommodation near the lagoons of the Páramo de Sumapaz. However, because it is such a large province, the surrounding villages have some hostels that, although they are not registered on websites such as Booking or Trivago, you can contact them through their Facebook pages.
Sumapaz is immense
Despite all these indications, you should bear in mind that the Páramo is a huge province and you can enjoy it. In the main villages there are beautiful places that you can also visit. Visit farms, old churches, rivers and lakes. The Páramo and its surroundings have so much culture, history and natural attractions that, once you go there the first time, you will want to enjoy the infinite silence of the Sumapaz mountains.