A quick 15-minute drive to the edge of Bogotá, one can discover the beauty of Cerro de Monserrate and the viewpoint that allows you to watch the world of Colombians from the sky.
Dominating the city from above, you can discover the history of this sacred place that has been watching over Bogotá for thousands of years, while also enjoying restaurants, hiking, birdwatching, a cable car, and a train on the mountainside.
Located outside of one of the busiest downtowns in Latin America, Cerro de Monserrate offers a look into authentic travel. Today while still a religious pilgrimage, this tourist attraction will allow you to understand the locals a bit more from up above. Continue reading to learn how to take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the nature whether it be with a hike or a nice dinner watching the day end with your travel partners.
How To Get There
First, to get there you need to get a taxi or walk to the base. Here you can begin your trek up to the top or purchase a ticket for an enjoyable and comfortable ride up. Depending on the day and time you visit, there may be a long or short wait for both modes of transportation. But you will never wait too long.
Contingent on the mode of transportation you take, your arrival time will vary. If you are an avid hiker, you will want to take advantage of the close nature to the city. If not, you can choose between two astonishing modes of transportation, the funicular or teleférico (cable car).
What Can You Do at Cerro de Monserrate?
If you are an adventurous traveler, you will want to hike to the top of Cerro de Monserrate. With about 1700 steps along a steep 1.5-mile (2.414 km) hike, this hike is well trafficked as it is surrounded by lush scenery right outside of the bustling city of Bogotá. If you do not want to hike with thousands of others to the top for church services, do not plan for a Sunday morning hike.
If you are unsure about your ability to hike at 8,661 feet (2,640 meters), do not be discouraged, you can take the cable car or the funicular up.
– Enjoy The Views from The Teleférico or The Funicular
The fastest way up, the teleférico is your somewhat average cable car. Unique to the teleférico is the way it carries you along the side of a mountain as you speed past the lush scenery of the walking path. Whereas rather than being suspended from a cable, the funicular is a cable railroad system alongside the steep slope of the mountain.
With slight differences between the funicular and the teleférico, the choice is yours! You can take one up and the other one down! Or just take one both ways! However, if you visit during a national holiday such as: Christmas, New Year’s, Semana Santa, Good Friday, or Corpus Christi, only the funicular will be running.
– Market Shopping
What would a tourist location be without market vendors? Although the market on top is smaller than others, the stores have all the essential souvenirs one would want to buy during their time in Bogotá. If shopping is not one of your interests, you will also find restaurants, birdwatching, or the sanctuary.
– Sanctuario de Monserrate
After your hike along the cobblestone path or ride up to the top you will find the magnificent Sanctuario de Monserrate that houses Basilica Sanctuario del Señor de Monserrate. This Catholic Church is unlike any other iglesia (church) as it watches and protects over the city from the sky and a large part of the experience is the pilgrimage up.
Do not be surprised when you see as many locals as tourists up here, as it is a sacred place to pray for many after their pilgrimage along the cobblestone path. If you choose to join the pilgrimage on Sundays you may see locals walking on their knees, blind folded, or barefoot in sacrifice for healing.
Who would have thought sitting on the side of a large capital with millions of residents you would be able to find somewhere to watch birds in peace? As shocking as it sounds, Cerro de Monserrate is the up-and-coming location for hummingbirds and over 200 other types of birds sitting around Bogotá.
Where To Eat
– Restaurante Santa Clara
Directly on the top, Restaurante Santa Clara is the perfect place to go to grab a bite to eat while watching the sunset over one of Latin America’s busiest cities. Come for the views and stay for the delicious local Colombian dishes such as: Bandeja Paisa, Ajiaco Santafereño, or arroz attolado. If you do not have time for a meal in the evening, they offer “onces santafereñas” or teatime at their Café Santa Clara.
– Restaurante Casa San Isidro
For over the past 40 years, Restaurante Casa San Isidro has been awarded as one of the top French restaurants in Bogotá. While the menu varies, the focal point of the restaurant is to center your experience around the current season. Let your tastebuds come alive while you watch the world from above.
– Monserrate Grill Restaurant
Monserrate Grill Restaurant offers a different view than the city below, as it looks out over one of the nature reserves that lines the capital of Colombia. With a more casual vibe than the other two restaurants, here you will find exquisite grilled meats paired with typical Colombian cuisine.
The Best Time to Visit
Due to Latin American wet seasons, December through March are the best months to visit Cerro de Monserrate. While the month you choose makes a difference, the time of day you venture to the mountain is key.
If you are hiking, make sure to arrive at the base early in the morning or afternoon as the trail is only open from 5 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon to start your journey up. However, if you are not a morning person or avid hiker and would like to see the breathtaking views, sunset is the best time to visit.
How To Enjoy This Experience with Kuoda
Traveling to a big city in Latin America takes a lot of care and attention and can be a bit intimating when the news only shows us the bad. At Kuoda, we pride ourselves on providing you with safe and trusted tour options. Don’t let the news scare you away, there are so many destinations waiting for you, and we can ensure that your hand-crafted journey won’t let you down!
To make your Colombian travels easier, contact our travel designers today to discuss how you can best spend your time at Cerro de Monserrate.