Day 4: Chingaza to San Juanito — Ruta Chingaza
Bike Touring Highlight
Lael planned a bike ride.
October 15, 2020
On day four, your second day cycling through the national park, the incredible scenery continues as you work your way toward Laguna Chingaza, the park's namesake and one of the Muisca’s most sacred lakes.As long as the weather is clear, the skyline is dominated by the massive ~4,000-meter peaks that form the natural boundary between the Cundinamarca and Meta departments. Watch for deer and the elusive spectacled bear as you traverse this incredible landscape.Near kilometer 141 you’ll need to show your passport at the park control before continuing onward. Just after Laguna Chingaza, you’ll begin the relatively short but stout (and chunky) ascent to the last and perhaps most breathtaking pass before leaving the páramo and descending into the Guatiquía Valley.From here you’ll begin a steep and rocky descent toward San Juanito, and, once again, see grazing lands encroaching on the páramos and cloud forest.San Juanito is a small town that was, in the not-so-distant past, a stronghold for the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), a location where they detained kidnapped victims. The town and surrounding areas have yet to fully recover from decades of conflict that gripped the region, despite the official declaration of peace signed in 2016.As ecotourism is beginning to take root in the area, locals are excited to welcome visitors and share the beauty of the area. A long term goal of the Ruta Chingaza is to increase locals’ financial opportunities for ecotourism while also promoting conservation on the landscapes that border Chingaza and its high cloud forests and páramo.