Travel, Food & Books

Monserrate Bogota

The Church on top of Monserrate Mountain was a Catholic church built between 1650 and 1657. Located 3,152 meters above sea level, Monserrate was a favourite place for pilgrimages in the earlier days, and it hasn’t stopped in the modern-day. The church’s popularity continues soaring, and it has become one of the top visited places in Bogota.

We’ve been living in Bogota for over six months now, and we’ve always thought of visiting Monserrate, but we couldn’t find the correct time to go up there. We talked about this yesterday and made a plan to go tomorrow, but when morning came, we didn’t feel like going because when I checked the weather forecast, it said that it was going to be cloudy.

However, at about 7:15 am, we finally decided to go on with the plan. I hopped on to the taxi without having my breakfast and began our journey to Monserrate. We arrived there just after 8:30 am.

There were three ways to go up to the top. Hiking, taking the cable car or the Funicular.

Monserrate Funicular and Teleferico Ticketing Counter

By Funicular

Funicular Schedule
Monday to Friday: 6:30 am ~ 11:45 am
Saturday: 6:30 am ~ 4:00 pm
Sunday: 5:30 am ~ 6:30 pm (Ticket Office: 5:30 pm)
Public Holiday: 6:30 am ~ 6:30 pm
Monday ~ Saturday & Public Holiday: 10,000COP for one way
Sunday: 6,000 COP for one-way

By Teleferico (Cable Car)

Teleferico (Cable Car) Schedule
Monday ~ Saturday: 12:00 noon ~ 11:30 pm (Ticket office until 10:30 pm)
Sunday: 10:00 am ~ 4:30 pm
Public Holiday: No Service
Monday ~ Saturday & Public Holiday: 10,000COP for one way
Sunday: 6,000 COP for one-way

By Foot (Hiking)

While browsing online for information about this place, it was clear that Sunday was the safest day to walk up to the top. Others start walking as early as 6 am until 1 pm, and during those hours, expect some crowd.

There were over 1,500 steps, and considering that you start at 2,675 meters, and the top is 3,152 meters, it’s another 477 meters more to go before you reach the top. But the walking paths take you around for about 2.35km instead of a straight walk, and while walking up, there’s altitude sickness to deal with too.

When we first stepped out of the taxi, we didn’t know where the starting point was, so we followed the crowd. The walking trail started at the parking lots, next to the traffic light.

The do and don’t rules

Although there’s a restriction about alcohol drinking, however as we walked along the trail, I’ve seen vendors selling beers!

During the hike up to the top, there were so many people going up and down the trail from as young as a baby(mother carrying) to seniors. Police officers can also be seen along the path, and it made me feel safe taking out my phone/camera along the way. Occasionally though, I saw a young man sprinting up to the top.

The routes were cemented and well-maintained, and it was the most comfortable trail I’ve ever walked through so far. Along the hiking trail, there were many stalls selling food and drinks that you don’t have to worry about your stomach while walking up to the top

The Trail and Scenery

Some vendors sell accessories such as earrings, chains, and rings, some offer to engrave your name on the bracelet, and also some Christian figurines selling about 12,000COP per item. I wonder how they took their items up here. Must be with the funicular/cable car right?

Pay for a Candle and Pray

I noticed there were two places where you could relieve your bladder, one in the middle of the trail and another one when you almost reached the top. But I’m not too sure about the charges as I didn’t use the facility. However, I think I saw a notice mentioning 1,000 COP per entry.

Banos at Monserrate Trail

When we finally reached the top, my leg muscles thanked me and soon went into hibernation mode. It was one tiring journey. We took 75 minutes walking uphill, and about ten times stopping to catch our breath as well as appreciating the beautiful scenery.

I tried looking out for hummingbirds, Inca Ventridorado, Mirla Autoctona and Pava o Gallineta as advertised in the banner as birds that could be found in Monserrate but I couldn’t spot any of them.

The view along the trail and on the top was fantastic! Instead of the cloudy forecast, what greeted us was a bright blue sunny sky. So don’t ever trust the forecast, instead, trust your gut!

Also, don’t believe what you read online saying that it would be cold up in the 3,152 meters above sea level. The sun was so close to you that it burnt your skin! I was sweating along the hike, and I felt that I got a sunburn. It’s a must to apply some sunscreen before starting the walk!

We could also see the view of Guadalupe Mountain from here, and I wonder if we could schedule our time to visit this place in future. One can only hope!

Guadalupe view from Monserrate

When it was time to go back home, we couldn’t be bothered to walk down. We bought the tickets from the Teleferico (cable car) office, and headed on to get our ride. But it was closed, so we took the Funicular instead (using the same tickets).

Monserrate Teleferico Booth Counter

The queue wasn’t long, and the process of getting in and out of the funicular was smooth. It only took less than five minutes to get down. My advice would be to get into the last row to get an unblocked view while going down the hill.

Going back home, we couldn’t get a taxi with the Tappsi Easy application. It often happens when you order it from touristy places, during rush hour or when it rains. Having no choice, we flagged down a taxi by road. We’ve done that a few times now, and so far we haven’t faced any problems. Let’s hope it continues for as long as we live in here.

Taxi from Chapinero Alto to Monserrate: 10,500 COP
Taxi from Monserrate to Chapinero Alto: 17,000 COP
Funicular One Way: 6,000 COP per pax (Sunday)

Travel Date: 09th December 2018

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