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Sustainable Tourism Bogotá


Ecosystems are a group of highly integrated natural elements that interact in a particular way creating processes of biological nature. These elements include plants and animals but also the air, water, nutrients and the soil that is found in a location. The following ecosystem guide will help you decide where you want to go and what you are likely to find when you get there. 





We often get asked what a páramo translates into. Well, it really has no translation as it is a unique Andean high-altitude ecosystem found nowhere else on earth. The geographer and explorer Ernesto Guhl (1982) described it as "a land of liberty in its full sense, a place were man is tested by nature". The weather extremities, the altitude and the speed at which temperature and humidity change, make the páramo one of the most inhospitable places on earth and yet also one of the most magical! The plants of the páramo are only found above 3,400 meters of altitude and the few animals that are encountered here are uniquely adapted to this harsh, yet dynamic environment. 


Altitude: In the northern Andes where Colombia is situated, páramos are found between 3,400 and 5000 meters of altitude. Here the air is very thin.


Temperature: The average temperature is 10ºC, but within the cloud the temperature can quickly drop to 4ºC. With full sunshine, temperatures can reach 18ºC. In sum, the páramo is rather unpredictable and you can expect rain and sunshine to alternate several times throughout the day.


Fauna & Flora: Often described as a "wet desert", páramos have fewer species of animals and plants than other tropical ecosystems, however many are found nowhere else on earth (endemism). Encounters with mammals include white-tailed deer, wild rabbits, guinea pigs, coatis and spectacled bears. Bird sightings include mountain tanagers, hummingbirds, eagles, condors, finches, wrens, ducks, gallinule and snipes. 


Terrain: The páramo is without a doubt the most challenging terrain we encounter during our hikes. The humidity in the soil turns dirt into mud, the steps are uneven and the terrain is challenging to maneuver. 




The sub-páramo is perhaps one of the lesser recognized ecosystems in the Andes. It is a dwarf transition forest between the cloud forest and the páramo. It has some flora (plants) from the cloud forest and some from the páramo, but also contains endemic (unique) flora found only here. Most of this forest has been developed for agriculture, with only a small percentage of the original vegetation still present. 


Altitude: The altitude range of the sub-páramo is between 3,200 and 3,400 meters above sea level.


Temperature: Mostly cool with temperatures ranging between 7ºC and 14ºC.  Cloud cover is often present which allows for great walking-in-the cloud experiences.


Fauna & Flora: Encounters with small mammals are sporadic. Bird life is more abundant here and includes mountain tanagers, hummingbirds, flowerpiercers, finches, spinetails and wrens. Plant life is colorful and aromatic with an abundance of edible and medicinal plants. 


Terrain: The sub-páramo is of average difficulty, mostly dry terrain with segments of rocks exposed. The forest is thick and thorny, making the use of trails necessary.

Cloud Forest

The Cloud Forest is the main ecosystem found near the capital city of Bogotá, along its eastern and western borders. These cloud forests have been protected primarily by the steep geography of the region. In the east you find the Cerros Orientales, which is the main biological corridor connecting the Páramos of Chingaza and Sumapaz. Here bird sitings are common (hummingbirds in particular) and signs of small mammals like wild cats and coatis are found. On the western border there are numerous forest reserves for birdwatching such as Chicaque and Tablazo - both accessible, lush and wonderful. The cloud forest as its name suggest, is often overcast, with a hovering cloud that makes the air and soil humid and fresh. 


Altitude: The altitude range of the cloud forest is between 1,900 and 3,200 meters. Most of our Cloud Forest hikes are done around 3000 m.a.s.l. 


Temperature: Fresh, with temperatures ranging between 10ºC and 18ºC. April/May and October/November are the months when the probability of rain is higher.


Fauna & FloraChances of seeing bird life are very high with regular sightings of tanagers, toucanets, hummingbirds and migratory warblers. With regards to small mammals, they can be seen occasionally as long as you are away from populated rural areas. These include squirrels, sloths, agoutis, coatis and night monkeys. The type of flora or plants seen depends on the altitude that you find yourself at. At higher altitudes there are smaller endemic trees up to 5 meters high, as well as lots of ferns and bamboo. At lower altitudes, the increased humidity and temperature allow for large oak trees and figs over 20 meters high.  


Terrain: The terrain in the cloud forest is mostly made of stone pathways that can turn slippery on rainy days. The challenge in the cloud forest is mainly the steep inclines, more than the soil itself. These mountain trails require good hiking shoes and can be demanding in terms of cardio.

Sub-tropical Forest

(coffee & chocolate lands)


Below our cloud forest, the temperature increases considerably making for a sunnier and drier environment. The sub-tropical forest is very green and lush, but can go many months without major rainfall. Warmer days and cooler nights are the perfect environment for coffee plants to grow (keep in mind coffee is of African origins). To reach this region, you must drive at least two hours away from Bogotá either towards the south, east or west of the city. With more temperature and humidity, this forest allows for more insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals to thrive. Some mosquitos can also be found here. Many locals are unaware that there are coffee fields within driving distance of Bogotá but we aim to change this perception by showcasing some of the best coffee Colombia has to offer. 


Altitude: The altitude range of the sub-tropical forest is below 1,900 meters to about 800 meters. Most of our tours in this ecosystem are done around 1,700 m.a.s.l. where coffee grows best, whereas the cocoa (chocolate) farms are found at 800 m.a.s.l.


Temperature: During the day temperatures can reach 30ºC and drop at night to 15ºC, but the average temperature is closer to 24ºC. You will find ripe coffee beans from April through July and again in November. During the other months you can see coffee flowers and green coffee beans.


Fauna & Flora: Being that the coffee lands are mostly agricultural land, biodiversity has been hit hard due to hunting and deforestation. Regardless, we have encountered animals such as: crabs, tarantulas, non-venomous snakes, night monkeys, bats, owls, hawks, squirrels, agoutis and opossums. With regards to birdlife, these lands feature over 200 species, including many rare and endemics.  


Terrain: The sub-tropical forest is mostly accessible and easy to maneuver. Although there are steep trails, we generally stay near farms where it is accessible for everyone. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.  

Andean Wetlands


Bacata was the name of our region before the Spanish conquest in the 1530´s, and at that time, it was a wetland covering over 50,000 hectares of land. Throughout the development of the city, these wetlands have been reduced to about 300 hectares, and yet our capital city boasts the largest amount of birds of any other capital city in the world. The Muisca natives that inhabited Bacata were water loving people, using the wetlands to bathe, fish, hunt, give birth to their babies and so on. The Europeans, however, coming from the Spanish dry land, saw no point in the water and dried it to give way to pastures that would later be urbanized into the 8 million people city that it is today. North of Bogotá we find the Fúquene lagoon, which a few hundred years ago, was one of the largest lagoons on the continent. Nowadays a few locals keep the old tradition of harvesting reeds to make handicrafts alive, traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.


Altitude: The Andean wetlands can be found around 2600 m.a.s.l. and up to 3700 m.a.s.l.


Temperature: Average temperatures range between 15ºC and 19ºC, much like the city of Bogotá.


Fauna & Flora: Junco and Enea reeds found at the water's edge provide shelter for families of tinguas that can easily be spotted feeding in the open water. Other common sitings include grebes, ducks, yellow-hooded blackbirds, flycatchers, egrets and paraqueets. Although less commonly seen, snakes, weasels and wild guinea pigs also reside here.


Terrain: Near to the water's edge you will find the terrain to be quite swampy, but generally the land around the wetlands is flat and easily accessible.

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