Macoa: Beauty Amongst Tragedy

To many Macoa exists soley as a small blurb towards the end of their Lonely Planet Colombia guide. Though it occupys a small space in the guide books Macoa has a big heart that is more than worth your time should you choose to visit Colombia. Earlier this year Macoa suffered a catostrophic mud slide that killed more than 300 people. This tragedy unfortunately has repelled tourists in a time where tourism stands to benefit a community in need most. One can see from bridges the destruction wrot by the mighty mudslide. Cloths and parts of houses still sit along the rivers shore. A grim reminder of the power of mother nature. Many are saying the intense rains that triggered the mudslide are further proof of climate changes ability to intensify natural disasters. I am inclined to agree with this point of view and there are even some who say that local mining in the area has weekend the soil leading to the slide. That however, I will leave to real journalists.

 

Despite the horror of such a disaster life goes on. People are happy and welcoming and the nature is as beautiful as ever. I stayed at Hostel Dantayaco just outside of town next to El Fin Del Mundo. For starters the hostel was beautiful, hospitable, and attracted a good group of people. Both staff and guests were exceedling kind and you will have a great day adventuring or spending the day chilling in hammocks. Many tourists of all types visit the area. There are adventurers, bird watchers, and spiritualists all of which will expose you to knew ideas and a great time. Personally, my favorite part was venturing into El Fin Del Mundo. El Fin Del Mundo will cost  you only 3,000 pesos to enter and will lead you to 3 separate waterfalls where you can cliff jump and swim to your jungle hearts content. To top it all off is the final waterfall which is incredibly high and has a spectacular view of the city of Macoa. Fin Del Mundo is far from the only hike in the area but was certainly the most memorable for me.

 

Dont skip Macoa. You wont regret it.

Villa De Leyva Colombia Hikes


Chances are if you are on a climbing trip in Colombia you are starting in the trady train tracks of Suesca and making your way north to the dramatic red stone of La Monjarra. In between the two areas is a charming colonial city by the name of Villa De Leyva that is perfect for rest day hiking, biking, and eating! Though the town is quite touristy it has gathered its popularity for good reason. The cobblestone streets and boutique eateries are cozy and fairly priced while boasting beautiful nature just outside the town square. 


I stayed at Renacer just outside the main town which provided plenty of information on hiking and exploration in the area. There is a great mirador hike directly behind the hostel but I recommend visiting the Angel Step if you really want to see something spectacular. First hop on a bus to Santa Sophie and then ask for the bus to the Angel Step. The trip should not take long. The entrance can be a bit confusing if you speak limited Spanish as the entrance of covered in signs that say “no entry” and “private property”. Simply pass through the fence and find a farmer and pay the 1$ entrance fee and be on your way. Follow the trail on a narrow ridge that gives you a fun sense of exposure till what looks like the end then descend on your left and have lunch on top of a massive waterfall! The trip is short but if you go 500 meters down the dirt road where you entered you can hike to another waterfall called Hayal which is also stunning. 


After your waterfall tour return to Villa De Leyva for a world class coffee and a fancy dinner before continuing north to La Mojarra.