Imagine standing beside the imposing Cascada La Chorrera, Colombia’s highest waterfall. At a staggering 590 meters (1,936 feet), this natural wonder is sure to leave you breathless.
Is it easy to get there on your own? Should you book a tour? Should you do it?
There’s no need to worry about all these questions.
My friend Adrien and I have been exploring Colombia since 2015, and we have already blazed the trail for you. We’ll share our first-hand experiences so you can plan your trip with confidence and ease.
Join us as we uncover the mysteries of La Chorrera, pinpoint the optimum times to visit, and prepare you for the exhilarating journey ahead.
Dream makers 😎
Cascada La Chorrera: Your Takeaway
- Colombia’s Crown Jewel: La Chorrera is not just a waterfall; it’s a testament to Colombia’s grandeur. Standing at 590 meters, it’s the tallest in the country and the 6th highest in South America.
- Accessible Adventure: You don’t need to be a travel expert or a Spanish speaker to enjoy this gem. Just an hour’s bus ride from Bogotá (heading towards Choachi), followed by a 5km jeep or taxi ride, and you’re at the park entrance.
- Hiker’s Paradise: The journey to the falls is a visual treat, winding through paramo landscapes and cloud forests. It’s a 2-3 hour trek from the park entrance. Some sections may be a bit challenging, but it’s manageable for most fitness levels.
- Timing is Everything: For a more dramatic waterfall, visit during the rainy season. However, dodge the weekends and public holidays. Start your day early to avoid afternoon showers and secure your return bus.
Guide to Visiting Cascada La Chorrera
Organizing the day trip from Bogotá is quite straightforward. However, a bit of Spanish and a thirst for adventure will make your journey smoother.
But fret not, I’ve got you covered every step of the way.
How to get to La Chorrera with public transportation
Your journey begins at a bus station, Terminal Transoriente (near a police station), nestled near the vibrant neighborhood of La Candelaria. This area is pulsating with the true spirit of Bogota, but let’s keep it real—its authenticity also comes with a bit of a “dodgy” reputation. So, for your safety and convenience, hail an Uber, Didi, or Cabify.
Once you’ve arrived at the terminal, your mission is to locate the bus heading toward Choachi. Operated by either Transoriente or Cotransfomeque, these buses don’t run on a strict timetable. They set off when they’re good and ready, usually when it’s full. The first bus typically revs its engine around 5 a.m., with the last one returning close to 7 p.m.
Now, here’s where you get to choose your own adventure.
You can either: hop off at the roadside leading to the waterfall (for a day trip from Bogotá) or continue to Choachi (overnight stay), an additional 10km down the road.
Whichever you choose, remember to snag a left window seat for the best views.
If you’re planning a day trip, give the bus driver a friendly nudge to drop you off at La Chorrera (a quick cross-check with Google Maps doesn’t hurt either).
From the intersection on the main road
You’ve now arrived at the side of the road—here. Congratz: you’re just a 5km adventure away from the park entrance.
You’ll be greeted with a sign for La Chorrera, pointing you in the right direction. The next 5km will take you through picturesque paramo scenery, quaint local farms, and into the heart of the cloud forest. Yes, it’s as magical as it sounds.
Before you embark on this last leg, you have two options:
- Hop into one of the waiting jeeps to whisk you to the entrance (around 20,000 COP)
- Embrace your inner adventurer and walk. The path is mostly downhill, with just the last section providing a bit of a workout.
Driving your own car from Bogotá? You’ll likely need to park here and tackle the last steep stretch on foot. And remember: Google Maps reigns supreme over Waze on this journey.
You’ve arrived at Parque Aventura la Chorrera.
Hiking to Cascada La Chorrera: A Colombian Adventure
The hike to La Chorrera is a journey that takes you through the heart of Colombia’s stunning landscapes, from verdant farmland to an Andean cloud forest teeming with life. It’s a two-part adventure, starting with a leisurely walk and ending with a more challenging trek.
Your first stop after the initial leg of the hiking trail will be a quaint cluster of buildings, home to a small restaurant. Here, you can refuel with a delicious meat platter that won’t break the bank, and grab some water for the journey ahead.
Follow the signs pointing left to La Chorrera, and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in charming farmland. After about 15 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Parque Aventura La Chorrera Tourist Centre.
While there are a few package options available, I recommend going with the basic one. This includes access to the 2 waterfalls (Chiflon & Chorrera) and a snack. Just a heads up – the entrance fees have shot up from 8,000 to 40,000 COP over the past decade.
Now, the real adventure begins!
The trail to Cascada La Chorrera is well-maintained until you cross El Chiflon waterfall. After that, things get a bit more challenging – the trail narrows and becomes slippery and steep.
But trust me, the surroundings are worth every step. You’ll be walking through a vibrant cloud forest, filled with orchids, bromeliads, and hundreds of bird species. It’s a riot of life and color, thanks to the constant moisture that makes everything grow almost on top of each other.
About an hour into this trail, you’ll start to hear the faint roar of the falls. If the day is clear, you might even see the top of La Chorrera from afar.
But on a misty day, like when I visited, the falls remain shrouded until you’re right upon them.
Suddenly, there they are – La Chorrera, Colombia’s tallest waterfall, dropping a staggering 590 meters. The forest opens up, granting you a breathtaking view of the falls. From this vantage point, you’re just a 10-minute walk down the valley to the base of the falls.
Standing at the base of La Chorrera is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Looking up, the water seems to fall from the clouds through the jungle. The misty spray is icy cold and refreshing after the hike, though it will certainly take your breath away! The falls are nestled in the heart of the forest, with a view stretching along the valley to farmland beyond.
On your way back, make sure to stop by the smaller waterfall, El Chiflón, which, while only 55m, is equally stunning. You can walk behind the waterfall and at its foot, making for a lovely way to end the trail.
Going back to Bogotá
Heading back to Bogotá should be straightforward.
Once you’re out of the park, stop at this Cuban restaurant for a well-deserved meal. The chef offers a main course, mojito, and dessert for about 50,000 COP. You can then arrange for a local to drive you back to the roadside for about 20,000 COP.
From there, simply wave down a bus heading for Bogotá. The last bus typically passes around 6 p.m., so I recommend being at the intersection by 5 p.m. at the latest.
Tours to visit Cascada La Chorrera from Bogota
The day trip to Cascada la Chorrera from Bogotá comes with its share of adventure and surprises.
However, if you’re after a no-fuss, all-inclusive experience, a tour from Bogotá might just be your ticket to this natural wonder.
Sure, it’s not the most wallet-friendly option, but let’s not dismiss it just yet. You’re paying for convenience and expertise.
The best tour I found is this one: “Waterfall La Chorrera de Choachí Private Hike Tour.”
This isn’t just a shuttle service but a fully immersive experience. They’ll scoop you up from anywhere in Bogotá and whisk you away to Guadalupe, a vantage point that puts Monserrate’s views to shame. That’s just the appetizer. As you journey towards the waterfall, expect to soak up fascinating tidbits about Andean flora and fauna and the region’s rich history.
Let’s crunch some numbers to see the value in black and white.
Embarking independently with a buddy, here’s what you’re likely to shell out:
– Uber to the terminal (round trip): $10
– Bus to the crossroads (round trip): $10
– Jeep to the park entrance (round trip): $10
– Entrance fee: $20
– Grand total: $50
In contrast, a private tour for two will set you back about $170. It’s a steeper figure (3 times more), but consider what you’re getting: door-to-door service, insider knowledge, and a hassle-free experience.
In the end, choosing between these options boils down to your personal preferences and budget. If you’re a seasoned globetrotter who enjoys the thrill of navigating local transport, going it alone might be the way to go. But for those who prefer the path of least resistance or are short on time, a tour ensures you won’t miss a beat—or a view.
La Chorrera Waterfall: Facts & Tips
Why is Cascada La Chorrera so special? As Colombia’s tallest waterfall with an impressive height of 590 meters (1,936 feet), it’s a sight that’s hard to forget. Not only does it hold the title of the tallest waterfall in Colombia, but it also ranks within the top 100 worldwide and boasts the 6th spot among South America’s towering waterfalls.
When to Visit Cascada La Chorrera
Timing is key when planning your visit to this natural marvel.
The best time to go is during the rainy season, or at least after a rainy day, as the waterfall is most spectacular when there’s a substantial drop of water. I made the mistake of visiting in February, only to find a mere trickle of water.
Also, try to avoid weekends and public holidays as it’s a popular day trip from Bogotá.
And remember, the early bird catches the worm – start your day early to avoid the afternoon rains and ensure you don’t miss your bus back.
Activities at La Cascada la Chorrera
Cascada La Chorrera is more than just a feast for the eyes. If you’re up for some adventure, you can try abseiling, canyoning, or crossing suspension bridges near the Chiflon waterfall. These activities are only available on weekends, so plan accordingly.
Cueva de los Monos
Despite its name, which translates to “Cave of the Monkeys”, you won’t find any monkeys or caves here. However, it does offer a different perspective of Cascada la Chorrera, which is worth the detour.
Cash is King
While credit card payments are supposedly accepted at the park entrance, a 3% surcharge applies, and there’s a chance the card machine might not be working. Cash will also be necessary for all transport costs.
Don’t expect to call your mum while you’re there – phone reception is pretty poor, except for Tigo users.
Cascada La Chorrera is suitable for all ages, making it a great family excursion. Just keep in mind that the park sits at an altitude of 2,500m and there are some muddy and slippery sections. That said, most visitors with a basic level of fitness can complete the walk. You won’t hike with a tour guide but the path is well-indicated.
Staying in Choachi
If you’re not in a hurry to get back to the city, consider spending a few days in the quaint village of Choachi, the gateway to the waterfall. It’s an unassuming place, but its charm lies in the surrounding countryside and a few glamping sites.
Check out the wooden cabins at Huitaca and AltaGrazia, or the glamping site at Colombia Mountain Tours. In addition to visiting La Chorrera, you can hike to various páramos, visit fincas, or soak in the Santa Mónica hot springs—More ideas here.
Packing Essentials for Cascada La Chorrera
Don’t forget to pack the essentials: good hiking boots, water, cash, suncream, and a rain jacket.
FAQ’s: Cascada La Chorrera
Here are some questions you might have about La Chorrera
Can you swim at La Chorrera?
No, swimming is not allowed at the two waterfalls as the water is used by the town of Choachi for daily life.
How long is the hike to La Chorrera?
The hike from the park entrance is approximately 2-3 hours. Add an extra 2 hours if you plan to hike from the intersection of the road.
What is the elevation of the Cascada La Chorrera?
Cascada La Chorrera sits at an elevation of around 2500m.
Don’t just take my word for it. Come and see this natural wonder for yourself. I promise you, it’s worth every step.
Author’s note: This article was originally published by Chris on the site www.seeColombia.travel. It has now been edited by Thomas Espeute, following the acquisition of SeeColombia.travel by Tomplanmytrip.
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