I’m always down for an adventure, and I love hiking, so when I had read about Cascada la Chorrera in Choachí, I knew we had to find our way out there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much in the realm of a guide on how to get to Choachí, nonetheless the actual waterfall.
The gist was that you get a bus from a sketchy side of Bogota, take it until you see signs for the waterfall, and then there’s an option to walk or find a ride to the park itself. From there, there’s a small waterfall and a bigger one, but times varied on how long it would take to get to them.
Alex and I had a fun little adventure interpreting these loose guidelines, so I wanted to set the record straight on what you’re getting into and all the fun details.
1. Grab your bus from Bogotá
The buses that go up to Choachí leave from Terminal Transoriente, which is located in a slightly questionable side of town. It’s advised to taxi to and from as opposed to walking. When we got there, we told them where we were going and they shuffled us onto a small bus, and I believe the ticket was about 10.000 COP for each of us. It seems the buses leave pretty often, as we took off with a full bus about 10 minutes later.
2. Enjoy the ride and the views
The first part of the ride goes through some of the barrios that our graffiti tour guide had told us about. The art is amazing, and seeing some of the more local barrios around Bogota was also incredibly humbling. Then we started the descent. We had walked up to Monserrate the day before, and watched in awe as the van went up, up, up past Monserrate and beyond. I don’t know the exact elevation, but we were along the highest mountain in Bogotá and it was incredible to look over the entire valley. On the flip side, if you have motion sickness… well bring lots of bags.
3. Jump off the bus in Choachí
What I had read about the road to the park was about as accurate as it gets, there’s a big sign that says Cascada Chorrera and some street stands that seem to be a popular stopping point for travelers. It’s important to tell the bus driver when you get on that you’re going to the falls, otherwise they won’t stop.
4. Get to the park entrance
This is where things got a bit unclear for Alex and I during our journey. Keep in mind, we’re hikers and very active, so most physical challenges don’t intimidate us, but in retrospect this (or rather the walk back out) was the most challenging part of our day. We started the walk down into what looks like a massive valley after a nod from a local we asked where to go. Let me also say this was some of the most beautiful terrain we saw the entire trip. Not only that, there were adorable homes and small tiendas tucked into the mountains that we passed by on our journey. Pictures won’t ever do justice just how immense, green and beautiful this place was. For the pragmatist, our walk to and from the park took 1.5 hours both ways, and we covered about 6.5 miles in total just getting to and from the park, and it’s pretty hilly, too.
5. Enjoy the fruits of your journey
The actual hike itself in the park was a totally different experience that our walk to the park. You have to pay an entrance fee, they have one for the smaller waterfall and a different one if you want to do both, which costs about 12.000 COP or $4. To get to El Chiflon, the smaller waterfall it’s pretty easy going, and there’s a pitstop where you can sit and eat and some people descend and jump into the water. It was a bit cold while we were there, so we used this opportunity to sit and enjoy our lunch we had picked up at Mistral that morning.
6. Onto the main event
After you check out El Chiflon, it’s time to continue onto the main event. We were told it would take 1.5 hours to get to La Chorrera, which was a bit intimidating, but it ended up taking us about 45 minutes. There was basically no one else at the park when we were there, so it was comforting to see park employees camped out along the path. There were definitely some stairmaster moments, so be ready for a workout once you get into the more jungle-esk part of the hike. When you get to la cascada, a local guide says some words about the spiritual experience and connecting with nature, and then you’ll have a chance to go down to what is essentially a “splash zone” to take pictures.
7. Get back to the city
After taking a few moments to appreciate the grandness of La Chorrera, we started our long journey out of the park. It took about 2.5 hours to get back to the main street where we could wave down a bus to take us back to Bogotá. They come by about every 15-30 minutes, and you just hop on and tell them where you want to go. The downside to the ride back is that the bus is likely already full, so we had to stand the whole ride back, causing a bit of motion sickness for Alex.
All in all, we covered 9 miles over about 4.5 hours, plus some fun adventuring getting to and from the Choachí. If you have a day and are looking for some adventure, this is one trip you don’t want to miss!