Trekking from Chingaza National Park to San Juanito
This ancient path is located in the eastern mountain range among rugged mountains and deep canyons, where the visitor will be surprised by the grandeur of the natural landscapes. The trail starts in the heart of Chingaza National Park and descends to a small village called San Juanito. This trail used to be a part of a network of roads through which the first settlers from Fómeque and Choachí ventured for commercial exchange with the plain provinces.
San Juanito is one of the few municipalities in Meta department that is not situated in the plains. It is located at 1.900 m.a.s.l.l in the Guatiquía River basin, 45 km from Villavicencio and on the eastern side of the Chingaza National Park.
Although this magnificent trail is close to Bogota, it requires quite long transfers by car on bumpy roads. This is definitely an “off the beaten path” destination and the traveller will not regret having chosen this trail as a unique mountain adventure in Colombia.
Day 1: Very early in the morning (about 5 AM) you will be picked up from your hotel in Bogota and we will head towards the Chingaza National park (about 4 hours). At the entrance of the park we will receive a short introduction speech by parks rangers. Later we will continue by car crossing the park till we reach our trekking starting point – the Chingaza Lake. This is where our adventure by foot begins. Hiking from Chingaza Lake towards the refugee called Rajadero where we will spend the first night. Probably this will be one of the most exciting hiking spots, since we will cross fields of “frailejones” (typical “páramo” ecosystem) and will pass several mountain lakes walking up and down. Average hiking altitude is about 3.500m. Length of the trail: 13 km. Night in refugee Rajadero which is a very basic wooden house where the hikers sleep on the floor.
Day 2: Today we will continue our hiking in order to reach the small village of San Juanito. Today’s challenge will be to face a long descent from 3.100m to 1.900m, during this descent we will pass from “paramo” to lush Andean forest. Length of the trail: 10 km.
We expect to reach San Juanito at about 2-3 pm where we will have late lunch. After a small rest we will visit the place called “The Cave” located near San Juanito (if the travellers are too tired, it is possible to postpone this visit for the next morning).
Night in a small basic family house in shared rooms with shared bathrooms.
Day 3: In the morning, before we head back to Bogota, we will drive for about 20 min down the Guatiquia canyon in order to see the waterfalls which run down the mountains towards the Guatiquia River. Return back to San Juanito. Transfer back to Bogota. Those are 130 km on unpaved road and the drive might take about 5-6 hours depending on the road conditions.
If the traveller wants to extend the trek till Villavicencio (2 more trekking days), please check the tour “Trekking through Guatiquia Canyon”.
- Bilingual guide
- Local trail guide (mandatory)
- Private transportation Bogota – Chingaza and San Juanito – Bogota
- 1 night in the mountain shelter “Rajadero”
- 1 night in a family house in San Juanito (multiple rooms)
- 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners
- Entrance permits in the National Park Chingaza
- Mandatory insurance for mountain experiences (should be issued by local insurance company)
- Meals not stipulated in the program
- Porters – available for an extra cost
- Personal expenses
- Snacks and water during the hike
- This trail requires a special permit from the National Parks authorities. It is necessary to consult with us before you book the tour. This trail allows maximum 10 pax.
- If you decide to take a porter make sure you also bring a small day pack where you can carry your personal items like money, documents, camera, lunch and water. The rest of the equipment should be packed in a back pack not bigger than 50L
- If you do NOT take a porter, try to bring as few things as possible since you will be carrying your back pack during the 2 hiking days.
- The driest season in high mountains in Colombia is from December to February; still, the trail is open all year round. Normally day temperatures fluctuate between 10 and 20 C and in the night it might go down to 3-5 C.
- The mountain refugee “Rajadero” is a very basic wooden shelter with no light, no bathroom, no beds. Basically it serves as a place where you camp under the roof and are protected from strong mountain winds. You have to sleep on the floor. For that reason it is essential that you bring your camping mattress and sleeping bag.
- In San Juanito there are no hotels. You will sleep in a family house in multiple rooms with shared bathrooms. The linens will be provided.
- All waste produced must be taken out of the park
- Ensure that you are in good physical shape to take the hikes (no heart problems, no breathing issues, and no knee injuries)
List of things to carry
- Bring a backpack not bigger than 50 L
- Please bring warm, wind and waterproof clothing, the weather conditions are changing and it might be cold, windy and rainy
- Thermic night wear
- Bring walking boots and a spare pair of shoes for resting in the night
- Use of hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is strongly recommended
- Walking poles could be useful (optional)
- You can also bring a scarf and gloves, especially in the morning it might get quite cold
- Bring snacks and water
- Bring biodegradable personal hygiene products and personal medicine (if necessary)
- Small fast drying towel
- Reusable water bottle
- Front light is essential for the first night
- Camping mattress
- Sleeping bag
- Personal documents
- Photographic camera
- Cash in Colombian pesos