If Bogotá’s rain keeps you indoors, once summer begins to slowly seep through the clouds, The city paper offers a range of destinations to add color to your big city blues. Better yet, they are a few hours from the capital and do not require a plane ticket.
The Eastern Plains begin at the last tunnel on the Bogotá-Villavicencio Highway, which descends from 2,800 meters above sea level to sweltering 500 meters in two hours, on your own wheels, and slightly longer if you travel on one of the many public buses that leave from Terminal de Transportes to the capital of Meta every hour. With its well-kept rotundas, flower gardens and a few modern shopping centers, Villavicencio does not have the merit it deserves as a place where you can escape for a weekend to enjoy the good weather and friendliness of Llaneros.
Nestled along the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental are several towns known for their drive-through restaurants where skewers of meat roast on open-air charcoal pits and carved Rodizio to suit the appetite. The neighboring towns of Restrepo and Cumaral are gracious, and while accommodation options are limited, expect residences used by truck drivers as pit stops. Minivans can take you there for a small fee. Highlights of the Gateway to Cattle Country include the “Villao” coleos, held during the summer months at the town’s main outdoor rodeo, where cowboys chase a fleeing cow. in a narrow strip of sand. These weekend events are usually accompanied by snapshots of the region’s favorite spirit, aguardiente, and the locals in poncho clad in their tassels with wide-brimmed hats and leather boots. A leisurely stroll in a natural setting where the species of the region have flowery watering troughs and plenty of space to walk around, the Bioparque Los Ocarros is a pleasant place to pass the time. Nearby, the Parque Las Malocas, is a patchwork of thatched huts reflecting the different architectures of the indigenous villages, an attraction for visitors interested in learning more about the peoples who inhabit these plains, home to stunning sunsets and the sea. music played on harps.
Cucunubá and its Tatacoita
Just off the main road from Bogotá to Chiquinquira, near the town of Cundinamarca d’Ubaté, known for its stalls of farmhouse cheese and other dairy products, including rice pudding (arroz con leche) and arequipe, there is a small community of traditional weavers and artisans. . Cucunubá is located in a high altitude valley which is arid given a microclimate which produces many clear days and very cold nights. Because of these extreme temperatures, it’s a destination for those who want to bask in the sun during the day and sit around a crackling fireplace at night. There are several old haciendas in the valley that have been turned into hotels offering hiking and horseback riding. One of the main attractions of Cucunubá, besides the thick wool ruanas, is Desierto de la Tatacoita, a small desert where sandstone has been eroded to create strange rock formations and towering columns. There is a frequent bus service from Bogotá to Ubaté and after a arepa con queso, take a colectivo to a city that time has forgotten. Most hotels offer spa facilities and swimming pools.
La Vega in bloom
During long weekends, Bogotanos enjoys reaching popular hot spots such as Anapoima, Apulo, Villetta, Melgar and a multitude of small towns nestled in the foothills of the Magdalena River. While many of these towns are home to country clubs and gated communities, to the west of the capital and an hour from Portal de La 80 Transmilenio station is La Vega, a mandatory stop on the Bogotá-Honda highway for take off the jersey, check the tire pressure or have a cold drink. The first thing you will notice when arriving at La Vega are the nurseries and lush vegetation, much of it smothering the road with the buds and leaves of flowering acacias and urapán. The rugged landscape surrounding La Vega and small towns such as Tobia, Nocaima, and Vergara offer visitors hiking trails to appreciate local agriculture, such as the sugar cane fields used for panela making and river rafting. Tobia. And if you love birding, this area of western Cundinamarca won’t disappoint, as the hot days and abundant waterfalls that feed the streams and lagoons on top of the mountains attract hummingbirds, hawks and white herons. .