Parque Nacional del Chicamocha


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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santander attractions

1. Teleférico

0.07 MILES

A 6.3km-long, 30-minute cable-car ride in eight-berth cabins that descend to the base of the Chicamocha canyon, then ascend to the top of the opposite rim.

2. Cueva de la Vaca

13.6 MILES

Located just outside the town of Curití, La Vaca is the most attractive and adventurous cave in the are,a with numerous caverns filled with stalagmites…

3. Museum of Paleontology & Archaeology

17.93 MILES

The unique Museum of Paleontology & Archaeology has a collection of more than 10,000 fossils, a 700-year-old mummy, a few conehead skulls, Guane artifacts…

4. Iglesia de Santa Bárbara

18.26 MILES

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5. Parque Para Las Artes

18.28 MILES

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6. Catedral Santa Cruz

18.4 MILES

A handsome 18th-century stone church, Catedral Santa Cruz is located on San Gil's main plaza.

7. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción

18.44 MILES

This 18th-century sandstone church is the most elaborate structure in Barichara, looking somewhat too big for the town’s needs. Its golden stonework …

8. Parque La Libertad

18.44 MILES

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