About 35 kilometers north of Bogotá, is a wonderfully beautiful nature reserve called Pionono. Not only does this natural park offer impressive vistas, but you will also find the extraordinary páramo. For that reason alone, this place is worth visiting. And do you like paragliding? Then this is the place to be near the capital of Colombia. For me, visiting this area is a matter of 15 minutes by bus, but it is also a very easy day trip from Bogotá. Go off the beaten path in Colombia and discover Pionono!
Parque Ecológico Pionono: a special piece of páramo
Once you arrive at the top of Pionono, you have the feeling of being very close to the clouds. Not surprisingly, because at the top of Mount Pionono you are at an altitude of 3,200 meters. This altitude provides an average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius, but in the nights and early mornings the temperature drops to freezing. Despite this altitude and harsh temperatures, the natural park boasts an abundance of flora and fauna. Think hares, armadillos, hummingbirds, swallows and many reptiles and amphibians.
But perhaps the most special thing about Pionono is the area called subpáramo. Subpáramo is a kind of transition zone between the high altitude tree line in the Andes Mountains and the beginning of the real páramo. And even here already you can find very special plants that you only see in páramo. It is not very easy to see páramo in Colombia without a guide or car, so Parque Pionono is highly recommended for those eager to witness this extraordinary natural phenomenon on their own.
Hiking, camping and paragliding in Colombia
Once you arrive in the park you can take a walk there through páramo and many beautiful other trees and plants, to the highest point of the mountain. The hike takes about 1.5 to 2 hours and is fairly easy. At least if you are used to the altitude. If not, it will take more energy.
Camping in Colombia
For the real die hards among us, Pionono is a great place to spend the night. After all, you can camp there. Whether that will really be a relaxing experience remains to be seen. There are toilets, but no shower or running water. You have to bring your own tent and at night it cools down to freezing with ease. There are opportunities to barbecue, though, and in the evening you can enjoy a beautiful starry sky or bright lightning. Don’t forget all the animals that come to life at night, either. There is also a hut to sleep in these days; you have to arrange this in advance.
This is where you can camp
Paragliding in Colombia
And if that is not enough, you can also do paragliding, mountain biking and many other sporting activities at Pionono. Almost no foreign traveler knows this, but Sopó is one of the most beautiful places in Colombia to paraglide. Easy to reach from Bogotá, insane views and off the beaten path. Click here for all information on paragliding and mountain biking in Sopó!
At an altitude of 3,200 meters, one side of the mountain overlooks Guatavita and Lake Tominé, while on the other side you can enjoy a panoramic view of Sopó and the valley. And really, it’s beautiful! Standing there, it is fantastic to see our new village from above, and to see how incredibly green the surroundings are. Our finca cannot be seen, which is further south. What a peace in this place high in the mountains. It is the weekend, but there is virtually no one in the park. The fresh air and the smell of the trees have a calming effect. This will not be the last time we come here.
How to get to Parque Ecológico Pionono?
If you are coming from Bogotá take the bus to Sopó at Estación Terminal (get there by the transmilenio). There you cross the road to the white station Satélite and there you will find the bus to Sopó. This ride costs 4400 pesos and takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic. When you arrive in Sopó find a cab there to take you to the park on the mountain. The park is located about 5 kilometers from the central square in Sopó. You can walk that too, but it’s a very steep way up.
Opening hours and entrance fees
Pionono is open Wednesday through Sunday and on holidays from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The entrance fee is 4900 pesos (€1.40; November 2017) per person. Children under 12 and seniors over 60 may enter for free. Want to camp? Then you pay 24,600 pesos per person per night.
What else is there to do in Sopó and where to stay?
In this mini-guide Sopó you’ll read all about Colombia’s cutest village! Sights, hikes, restaurants, hotels, surroundings and more. Because besides paragliding and Pionono, there is much more to do, such as admiring fantastic street art, an environment where you can easily spend a few weeks and great restaurants. Recommended places to stay include Casa Agrreste and Jardín Colibrí. Or find here another hotel.
Clothing advice and what to bring?
Although you will get pretty warm from the hike, warm clothing is still recommended. As soon as you stand still or the sun disappears, the cold makes its appearance and a thick sweater is no luxury. Also put on good walking shoes, as some of the trails can be quite slippery and muddy, especially if it has rained. The weather can turn quickly, so a raincoat is also handy to put in your bag. Don’t forget to cover yourself well with a high factor sunscreen: you are close to the clouds and even when cloudy, there is a very high solar power. You cannot buy food or drinks in the park, so bring your own. The nearest place to eat and drink is the Parapente Paraíso restaurant and café.
Get off the beaten path and discover Colombia! Click here for a complete travel itinerary Colombia off the beaten path in this part of Colombia.
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