Day 5: San Juanito to San Francisco — Ruta Chingaza
Bike Touring Highlight
Lael planned a bike ride.
October 15, 2020
Leaving San Juanito, the most challenging (but rewarding) part of the route begins. The road parallels Cañón del río Guatiquía, an incredible, remote, and cloud-forested canyon cut by el río Guatiquía. The doubletrack jeep road is chunky, steep, narrow, and, at times, quite challenging. There are also several stream crossings, which can sometimes be knee deep. We were also told that they may be impassable after a big downpour.Despite the difficulty, the rewards are plentiful. If you ride the route just after the wet season, there are dozens of massive waterfalls that cloak the walls of the canyon. Also, Colombia is home to more species of birds than anywhere on the planet, and this area seems to be a prime location for spotting many of the more interesting species.Leaving the canyon, you’ll climb up to El Calvario, which has a couple of small shops to grab a snack. From there, you’ll descend back to the river before beginning a long and incredibly beautiful 3,400-foot dirt climb through a thick cloud forest with massive ferns, moss, and waterfalls.The day ends in San Francisco, a small town full of friendly people who gladly let us camp in their covered sports center.