Day Trip to Colombia’s “Grand Canyon” — La Chichamocha

By Jinny | July 25, 2015
Have you ever had those feelings when you encounter something completely new and unexpected, but it feels so familiar and comforting? Those are the exact feelings I got when I first went to one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been in my life: La Chichamocha. I have no idea why this place felt so familiar because I’ve never been to anything like this before, but it was as if I’ve seen this place before in my dreams or something. It was one of the most epic major deja vu I’ve ever had.

 

Anyways, the Chicamocha in Santander is supposed to be like the Grand Canyon of Colombia. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before, but I can’t imagine that it would be more incredible than this place. Apparently the Santander region of Colombia has the World’s 2nd most tectonic faults and has frequent earthquakes. There are mountain formations literally everywhere.

Overlooking Chicamocha

Overlooking Chicamocha

 

Incredible view from Chichamocha

Incredible view from Chichamocha

 

I went with my new friend Andrea and one of her friends, Angelica. It was a little over 1 hour drive up the mountainous roads from Bucaramanga, swerving in and out, through which we saw donkeys being carried up the road. We stopped by a couple stops along the way and this was all before I even knew where we were actually going. We went through farm lands and dirt roads before we finally got to Chicamocha.

 

Dirt road heading to somewhere... not sure where though haha

Dirt road heading to somewhere… not sure where though haha

Mini farm fiesta on our way to Chichamocha

Mini farm fiesta on our way to Chichamocha

 

Once we got there, we had some amazing burgers. I’d even compare the quality to that of Unami Burger—the meat was so fresh (probably because the ranch was right next to the restaurant) and the french fries were so much better than any that I had in Belgium (that’s where they were invented for those who don’t know).

 

Then we headed to the Chicamocha National Park. First, we had to take the cable car down the mountain and then back up another mountain, in a V shape. It was about a 20-30 min cable car ride, in which the views just kept getting better and better. We also made a new friend on the cable ride—a female medical student from Peru who was around my age. When we got to the other side, it was like a big park—there were lots of man-made activities to do such as a water park and zip lining.

 

Bienvenidos a Parque National del Chicamocha!

Bienvenidos a Parque National del Chicamocha!

Manmade activities on Chichamocha

Manmade activities on Chichamocha

 

We walked around for a bit and then something stood out in my eyes that I could not look away: death swing. I’ve seen pictures of something like this that exists in Ecuador. It’s a swing that goes over the cliff of the mountain so that if you fall, you’d literally die—Swing of Death, but they called it “Xtreme Swing” here.

 

Chances of death? Well… it looked sort of safe, so of course I wanted to do it. Only problem was that I needed to have another person in the swing for weight balance. None of the girls wanted to do it, but our new Peruvian friend Lucia finally volunteered!

 

I wasn’t scared, but more excited to do it, until I got on the swing and got strapped down and it started to literally rain. So they literally strap your entire body, even the feet and hands, so that there’s no escaping—not sure if that’s more dangerous or safer in case the swing breaks, haha. The scariest part was actually when they real the swing in because you’re on a 90 degree angle and don’t know when you’ll get dropped until you’re dropped.

 

Lucia and I let out two rounds of really loud screaming and then literally said to each other in the most calming way, ‘ok that’s good. We don’t have to scream anymore.” So this little clip here is literally those first two rounds:

 

That was probably one of the most incredible experiences EVER. It was even better than the bungee jump in Macao and for fraction of the price too! It was only 23,000 COP for two people, so like $5 per person (I fucking love this country).

 

Afterwards, we walked around the park some more and then took the cable car back down and up to the other mountain. There, I tried a Colombian dessert called Arequipe (basically this super super thick dulce de lech) with Postre de Natas. It was really good, but I felt like I was eating a cup of peanut butter because it was so sweet and thick—nonetheless, really delicious! I also tried popcorn ants—seriously, real ants. I was more grossed out to touch it, but it wasn’t bad, just crunchy.

 

Arequipe with Postre de Natas

Arequipe with Postre de Natas

 

That was about it. We went back home afterwards. Overall, La Chicamocha was literally one of the BEST places I’ve ever been in my life—and the park was only 44,000 cop to enter, which is literally around $15. For the breathtaking views and the incredible swing ride, I would pay any price because it was that worth it.

 

Seriously guys, the more I explore Colombia, the more I feel like this is the hidden gem of the world. The tourism here is still not very known to people outside of South America, so everything I’ve done so far is under crowded and feels like my own private tour. Forget all the drug stereotypes and the danger—yes, sometimes I do feel scared when walking alone, but that’s just because I’m a young attractive female walking alone at night—because this place is one of the most incredible countries I’ve ever been in my life!

 

xoxo from Bucaramanga,

Jinny~
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