Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia that will astound you. Are you a Motorcycle Adventure Touring Warrior who has not ventured to Colombia yet? You are in for a treat. Read on….
As one of the most bio-diverse countries on earth, Colombia has an incredible patchwork of wildly differing landscapes and extraordinary natural beauty.
From awe-inspiring mountain ranges to mysterious cloud forests, scorching deserts, and rugged, surf-spattered coast, here are eight of Colombia’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Numero Uno or No 1 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia has to be Caño Cristales.
Deep in the dense forests of the Sierra de la Macarena National Park lies a river with a beauty so strange and unearthly it has been called “the river that ran away from paradise.”
More commonly, it’s “el Rio de Los Cinco colores” (the river of five colors.) Since, for several months each year, usually between mid-May and early December.
The pools and cascades of the Caño Cristales become liquid rainbows.
An abundance of colors burst in front of your eyes with vibrant reds, pinks, yellows, oranges, and greens—the phenomenon caused by the blooms of the aquatic flower, Macarenia Clavigera.
The Sierra de la Macarena is a vast, wild tract of mixed forest, tropical jungle, shrubland, and savannah in an isolated range. Until the mid-2000s, it was a known guerrilla hideout and completely closed to tourists.
These days, tourists often hop on a direct flight from Bogota to the small town of La Macarena. And from there, they´ll enjoy a half-day hike, boat, truck trip to Caño Cristales. On arrival, you´ll see them surrounded by swimming holes and waterfalls.
Remember, Guides are mandatory inside the park; all, hired without problems from the local town.
You Hardcore Dirt Riders should visit Caño Cristales on a guided 9-day tour with MotoDreamer. But heed the warning: this one is for expert off-roaders only!
Numero Dos or No 2 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia stands proudly waiting for you in the Cocora Valley.
Beautiful scenery is everywhere in Colombia’s coffee region. Jade green mountain ranges, forested hills, and verdant meadows abound. But one place in the Coffee Triangle stands out.
It’s not because it’s unlike anywhere else in the region. But more because it’s unlike anywhere else on the planet.
Just east of Salento, the Cocora Valley sits in the lower reaches of the Los Nevados National Park. This park is a broad, perennially lush valley framed by sharp peaks.
What makes this valley, also known as el Bosque de Palmas (Forest of the Palm,) sprouting the ground in every direction are the gigantic Palma de Cera (giant wax palms), the enormous palms in the world, and Colombia’s national tree.
Some of these strange, spindly giants with smooth, cylindrical trunks are naked. They are bearing just a crown of leafy fronds at the top. Many are towering an incredible 60m high.
Seeing hundreds of these majestic trees scattered across this resplendent valley is a sight to behold.
Measuring yourself up at the base of one of these behemoths, and you’ll appreciate how truly tiny you appear in their presence.
The Cocora Valley is a rain-soaked region, and some days a thick, swirling mist descends on the valley. Some say the foggy weather makes Cocora even more beautiful, shrouding the valley with a mysterious, almost prehistoric air.
Numero Tres or No 3 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia is beckoning you to venture into the Chicamocha National Park & conquer the formidable Chicamocha Canyon.
The park, bounded by the spines of the mountainous chain surrounding the Chicamocha Canyon. 54 km south of Bucaramanga, Chicamocha is a bit of a sidestep from the typical Gringo Trail. But, it’s a region experienced Colombian adventure riders know and love.
227 km long and around 2 km deep, Chicamocha is a lush and fertile canyon with undulating slopes carpeted in emerald green vegetation.
Witness the Chicamocha River racing along the bottom in a series of rapids. For that reason alone, whitewater rafting opportunities have caught the attention of adventure rafters the world over.
Being not so far from San Gil, Colombia’s ‘adventure capital,’ a small adventure sports industry around paragliding, climbing, and camping started offering activities within the park.
There are some great day hikes and multi-day treks within the park. But for Adventure motorcyclists, it’s the 50km, 45A Route from Piedecustra to Aratoca that makes this natural wonder well worth a detour.
The road winds its way along the high ridges before descending almost to the canyon floor. For a remote rural Colombia road, its surface is almost unbelievably perfect. The curves seem to go on forever, and the views are something else altogether.
Numero Cuatro or No 4 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia lies The Tayrona National Park. Time to rest? Forget that; you are an Adventure Motorcycle Touring Warrior enjoying yourself.
At its southern edges, the forests of Tayrona creep up the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range.
It meets the wide bays and picturesque coves of a rugged, undeveloped slice of the Caribbean coast at its northern boundaries.
For many adventurous souls, Tayrona is the very definition of paradise.
For a beach destination with sparkling clear water and idyllic, palm-fringed stretches of white sand, Tayrona has no equals in mainland Colombia.
If you’re an avid wildlife spotter or birdwatcher, a few days exploring Tayrona’s hiking trails is a must. It’s home to a tiny primate called the cotton-topped tamarin, as well as howler monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and poison dart frogs.
However, beauty has a downside. Tayrona can suffer from overcrowding, especially in the peak December-January tourist season. A sacred site to the indigenous Kogi people, Tayrona needs protection. Recovery is the top priority to help the local environment. the park often closes for weeks directly after the peak season.
Numero Cinco or No 5 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia is time to turn up the heat with the magical Tatacoa Desert.
Between Bogota and San Agustin is one of Colombia’s most surreal natural wonders. Desierto de la Tatacoa is a rugged, scorching badland.
Its dry, rocky canyons form a labyrinth of eroded red cliffs and gullies. Bizarre, towering rock formations punctuate the arid landscape, which appears hauntingly void of life apart from the occasional giant cactus.
Once the hot desert sun has set, Tatacoa becomes an excellent stargazing destination.
In this part of the country, there is little to no light pollution, so on clear nights, an astonishing number of stars are made dazzlingly visible.
Home to an astronomical observatory, at 6:30 pm each night, you’ll have the opportunity to see the stars through a high-powered telescope, with the local astronomer on hand to point out the constellations.
Numero Seis or No 6 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia. It’s time for the “Big Boys” swimming on the Pacific Coast to astound you.
Beach vacations in Colombia are synonymous with the Caribbean. Furthermore, Colombia, the only South American country with both Atlantic and Pacific Ocean coastline.
Colombia has an entire, separate, and largely-forgotten coast lapping at its western shores. The Pacific Coast of Colombia extends for 1,392 km, with the Chocó department claiming the longest stretch of seafront.
This seafront is one of the least developed regions in Colombia, the complete opposite of the Caribbean resorts’ manicured attractiveness and tame beaches.
In Chocó, where the sand ends, the jungle begins.
Deep inside the rainforest, waterfalls stream over mossy ledges to crash into wild rivers below. Hence, thermal pools, hidden sanctuaries in the jungle, wait to be discovered by only the most intrepid and foot-sure adventurers. Most settlements on the Chocó coast, tiny fishing villages are isolated and poor. A lack of infrastructure makes travel here a somewhat challenging prospect.
Still, modest steps are made towards lifting the region’s economy through eco-tourism. Also, the wild waves of the rugged Chocó coast harbor epic secret surf breaks.
The area is rich in wildlife – most notably dolphins, turtles, and humpback whales. Also, these majestic creatures hug the Colombian coastline on their yearly migration.
Whales are often spotted from shore, but head out on a boat tour during the June to October whale watching season for an up-close encounter.
Numero Siete or No 7 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia. Now, the Sand Dunes of La Guajira are beckoning to see your skills with a bike.
There is no place remotely like La Guajira, a tiny coastal region on the northernmost tip of Colombia, where the desert touches the Caribbean Sea.
The arid landscapes of La Guajira have a desolate, almost alien beauty to behold. Also, witness the cracked yellow earth, straggly clumps of cactus, and tiny settlements of tin and thatched roof houses.
And then, the parched, hard earth of the plains gives way to a vast expanse of windswept sand, whose edges plummet precipitously into the crashing waves of the Atlantic below.
Occasionally, standing atop one of these towering dunes, you’ll find yourself gazing in wonder over the blue waters of the Caribbean and the red cliffs of the Guajira desert.
The Guajira Desert is the land of the nomadic Wayuu people. Since the Spanish never succeeded in conquering this harsh environment. And to this day, the Wayuu have managed to maintain a large part of their traditional lifestyle and culture.
Numero Oche or No 8 of Eight Natural Sceneries in Colombia. You have dealt with 3 of the 4 elements; now it’s time to fly with the birds in the Chicaque National Park.
The cloud forests of Chicaque remain an untouched wilderness, despite being just 30 minutes south of the crowded capital of Bogota. Well, and indeed, in the clouds, at around 2,700m above sea level. However, the protected private reserve boasts some of the most magical forest scenery anywhere in Colombia.
Also, some 300 bird species call Chicaque home, as do a dozen different mammals, including the two-toed sloth and spectacled bear.
An excellent ecotourism destination, Chicaque features miles of magnificent hiking trails, varied accommodation, and also, numerous activities.
Inside the park are nine well-marked ecological trails. It also offers a canopy walk at the top of a 200-year-old oak tree, ziplines, horseback riding, and guided birdwatching tours.
Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer)
Edited for SEO optimization by Mike Bowley at www.mikedbowley.com
Do you have suddenly plenty of time to be on your motorbike? Have you considered the thought of back-to-back tours of Colombia? Here are three more reasons why you should come to Colombia:
Join MotoDreamer and behold the eight natural sceneries in Colombia that will astound you.