A village totally unlike any other. That’s El Puerto at Laguna (lake) de la Cocha. Canals with narrow boats, wooden houses with balconies full of flowers and mountains in the background. No wonder this village in southern Colombia is also called Little Switzerland. From Pasto, you can easily make a day trip to Laguna de la Cocha. But is it really as picturesque as it sounds? Laguna de la Cocha near Pasto Colombia: discover it here!
Laguna de la Cocha near Pasto in Colombia
Not only is Laguna de la Cocha a gem in southern Colombia, but it’s after Lago de Tota Colombia’s second largest natural lake. Het meer vind je op slechts 20 kilometer van Pasto, Nariño, op een hoogte van 2680 meter. The lake and the surrounding villages are surrounded by high mountains and low-hanging clouds, giving it a mysterious touch.
On the lake you will find an island named La Corota, containing Colombia’s smallest protected natural area. Namely, Santuario de fauna y flora Isla de La Corota. Here you can take a walk through beautiful nature and drink canelazo .
You can sail across the lake in one of the narrow boats and get to the island. A fun activity to enjoy nature more intensely. Don’t forget to bring warm clothes, because especially without the sun, it is quite cold.
Little Switzerland in Colombia
What most people come to this lake for, however, is not the lake, but one of the lakeside villages. Called El Puerto. A village that can rightly be called remarkable. Never before have I seen anything like this in Colombia. The wooden houses with flowers, the cute little bridges and the canals with narrow boats. It certainly lives up to its nickname Little Switzerland.
Wander through the streets and walk across the bridges. Most cottages offer either a souvenir store or a restaurant. And these days, you can spend the night there, too. That must be a fun experience in this special place.
Worth a visit?
Yes, absolutely! It is useful to mention, however, that it is really becoming a tourist village. It’s super nice to see, but by now the cottages are all either hotels or souvenir stores or restaurants. On weekdays outside the high season it is quiet as far as tourism is concerned, but on weekends and during the high season it seems to be enormously busy. So try to avoid those moments.
Laguna de la Cocha practical
How do you get to Laguna de la Cocha?
From Pasto, colectivos (small minibuses that leave when full) go to Laguna de la Cocha. These depart from only 1 place, which is calle 21A with carrera 7. Approximately across from Templo del Santo Sepulcro and next to a hospital. From my hostel I walked there in about 20 minutes. The drive from Pasto to Laguna de la Cocha takes about 45 minutes.
Taking a boat tour of the lake: how to arrange it?
From the village of Little Switzerland, narrow boats enter the lake. You can choose from a variety of tours. From half an hour to 1.5 hours. The boat trips are quite pricey, so it is advisable to share a boat with several people. I traveled alone and just accosted a random person on the street asking if I could share a boat with him and his family. It saved me an enormous amount of money and it was also very pleasant with the Colombian family from Pereira.
At Laguna de la Cocha, it is around 15 to 18 degrees. Especially with a lot of wind, it feels pretty cold. Moreover, due to its high mountain location, it also rains frequently. So bring warm clothes and possibly an umbrella.
Where to stay.
I stayed at the fantastic Casa Hospedaje La Bohemia in Pasto. From there, a day trip to Laguna de la Cocha is easy. They also fully explain how to get there and what are recommended places to go for lunch, for example. Of course, you can also stay overnight in one of the cute cottages. This will cost a bit more and is unnecessary in terms of the time you need to see everything.
Traveling through Colombia? Don’t skip the department of Nariño!
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