El Parque Nacional del Chicamocha

Chicamocha Park, Santander November 1, 2012

This is my last blog about Tony, Jane, Siggy and Hilary in Santander province. (As soon as we got back to the boat after our travels in Santander, we set off for Kuna Yala where we didn’t have any proper web access; so I wasn’t able to post any of the Santander blogs last month.)

The view from Chicamocha park.

Tony and I liked Santander best of all the places we visited in Colombia. Bogotá is too high and too cold. Cartegena is too hot. But Santander is just right! Maybe our opinion is affected by the fact that our friend Jaime Torres lives in Santander. Jaime and his family were generous and delightful hosts and tour guides throughout our stay in Santander.

Our first day in Santander, Jaime drove us to el Parque Nacional del Chicamocha. Chicamocha hard to describe. It’s a sort of hybrid of a US-style national park and a theme park. The natural beauty of the place is breathtaking. The Chicamocha canyon is the deepest (one of the deepest?) in the world. We took the 6.3 km telefericó trip that travels from the pleasant countryside of the mesa at top of the canyon on one side, down to the river at the bottom and then up to the main park on the wild side of the canyon. There are also amazing viewing platforms in the park.

But, wait, wait, there’s more:

  • The park has a magnificent sculpture commemorating the independence of Gran Colombia and the struggles leading up to it. The independence movement began in Santander province.
  • There is also a nice exhibit about the Guane Indians. (The park would like to relocate the museum in Guane to the park; it would receive many more visitors then. However, I don’t expect that the current curator of the museum in Guane will support such a move.)
  • A couple of zip-lining setups. The former President Uribe (dressed in suit and tie) is shown zipping in the advertising poster. Now that shows government support for the park!
  • An ostrich pen.
  • A good assortment of snack bars, restaurants, coffee (organic Colombian coffee, yum!) bars, and gift stores.