Parque Nacional del Chicamocha

Amusement Park in Cañon del Chicamocha

Image by Jacqui de Klerk Lonely Planet

Don't be fooled by the name: Parque Nacional del Chicamocha, or 'Panachi' as it's known by locals, isn't a national park in the conventional sense. It's really a slightly tacky amusement park built atop some spectacular mountains. There are no hiking trails here, but there is a mirador (lookout) offering magnificent 360-degree views. The highlight of the park is the 6.3km-long, 30-minute teleférico, which descends to the base of the canyon, then ascends to the top of the opposite rim.

Other activities include an extreme swing and a zipline. The park also houses the mildly diverting Museum of Guane Culture (full of pre-Colombian Guane ceramics), several restaurants, a 4D cinema, a children's playground, a forgettable ostrich farm and the strange but striking Monumento a la Santandereanidad, a huge multistatue sculpture (with running commentaries in Spanish and English) commemorating the revolutionary spirit of santanderians (inhabitants of Santander province).

The most recent addition is an incongruous US$6-million water park (admission including national park adult/child COP$38,000/32,000) – an interesting thing to build on the top of an arid mountain range that regularly suffers from severe drought. The park is accessed via an underground road tunnel.


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