Chicaque Natural Park is a stunning cloud-forest reserve just half an hour from southern Bogota and easily visited as a day trip or on a long weekend. With miles of hiking trails, incredible ecotourism, and beautiful accommodation, Chicaque is ideal for anyone with an interest in nature and hiking. So, here’s the ultimate guide to visiting Chicaque.
How to get to Chicaque
Getting to Chicaque is relatively easy, with several different options available depending on your time and budget. The easiest and cheapest way is to wait until the weekend to visit when the park runs the Chicaque Express – a minibus will take you from alongside Terreros Transmilenio station directly to the park entrance for just 6.000 COP. There are four departures in the morning and three return buses in the afternoon from the park.
You can also get to Chicaque during the week on public transport – take a bus first to Mosquera, and then get a separate smaller bus with Coomofu, asking the driver to drop you off at the entrance to Chicaque. Unfortunately, with this option, you will have to walk the three kilometres (1.8 miles) from the road to the official Chicaque entrance.
If you choose to visit the park as part of a tour, then you will be provided with transport included within the fee: a popular company to visit with is Andes Ecotours, which specialises in nature tourism and birding.
What to see and do in Chicaque
There are loads of different things to see and do on a trip to Chicaque. The best way to enjoy the park is to bring some decent shoes and get hiking! With miles of trails throughout the park, you’re sure never to get bored if you’re active and enjoy nature. Particular hiking highlights are the trail to the viewpoint – a stunning rocky outcrop known as ‘The Eagle’s Peak’, complete with incredible views of the park and nearby mountains – and the waterfall trail. If you get bored of hiking, you can also hire horses for the ride back up from the park lodge to the entrance.
More adventurous travellers will really appreciate the park’s adventure sports options – you can fly across the treetops on an incredible 340-metre-long (98 feet) zip line where you will reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour! You can also enjoy a canopy activity on a tree platform located in a massive 200-year-old tree – you’ll ascend 25 metres (82 feet) on either a rope or a ladder, and you can enjoy remarkable views from the top.
Another favourite activity in Chicaque Park is birding and nature tourism. Keen birders will be especially impressed by the avian diversity within the forests of Chicaque. With endemic hummingbirds, such as the Black Inca, and near-endemic species, including the Moustached Brush-Finch and Golden-bellied Starfrontlet, the park is in great demand on the birding circuit in Colombia. Keep your eyes out for sloths as well; these super-slow mammals are occasionally spotted in the trees along the various hiking trails.
Where to stay in Chicaque
Chicaque has some excellent accommodation options, with choices available to suit every budget. Most people choose to camp or sleep in the main lodge. Camping is the cheapest option, with a plot and three meals at the lodge included in the cost of US$25 per night (you’ll need to bring a tent). The lodge is a more comfortable option, with a room and three meals setting you back around US$50 per night (based on single occupancy).
However, if you have a bit more money to spend, then there are a couple of options at Chicaque that are truly mind-blowing and a once-in-a-lifetime experience – the ‘nests’. These are two treehouses where you can spend the night! The Roblegrande Nest is the aforementioned platform 25 metres (82 feet) up in the canopy, where you can sleep simply in a tent or sleeping bag, while the Tanager’s Nest is a stunning and fully equipped little house, seven metres (23 feet) up in a lovely tree with a view of the distant mountains. With a balcony, toilet, and space for four people, it’s one of the coolest places you can sleep in Colombia.