icons/avalancheicons/bootscompassfacebookicons/gloveshandsicons/hearticons/helmeticons/ice axeinstagramminusmountainicons/pathsMap Pinplusicons/questionicons/guideicons/ropeicons/gogglesicons/stafftenttwitteryoutube

Mountain Madness Arrival in Bogota, Colombia

Mark Gun­log­son writes in from Bogotà, Colom­bia before the recon trip to the El Cocuy Nation­al Park begins! 

After a long day of trav­el yes­ter­day to Bogotà and today final­iz­ing arrange­ments for our explorato­ry trip into El Cocuy Nation­al Park, I’ve set­tled into lunch near the Plaza de Boli­var. Get­ting to the hotel last night, how­ev­er, was not so set­tling and had the mak­ings of an inaus­pi­cious start to this expe­di­tion. Going through the motions of get­ting a pre-paid trans­fer from the air­port with an autho­rized taxi seemed a no-brain­er, but maybe not so much.

In a sprawl­ing city of over 7 mil­lion souls, a taxi dri­ver can­not be expect­ed to know all the hotels, so with the google map that I brought in hand, the dri­ver would pull off on desert­ed streets to read the map. The first time was OK, sec­ond time gave me more than just pause, but the third time things got weird as we drove in to what can only be described as a late-night, drug-tak­ing hang­out with cer­tain sor­did behav­ior. As we drove past piles of garbage burn­ing and dodg­ing rub­ble in the streets that had fall­en off the decrepit build­ings, it seemed things were clear­ly not hap­pen­ing the way they should.

Tired, just past mid­night, and sort of lost in this sur­re­al part of the city was not the intro to Colom­bia I had in mind – a quick shift into reverse and a cou­ple of turns and we were back on track though.

As we drove towards the city cen­ter, we passed sev­er­al groups of police on late night duty, which was both unnerv­ing and reas­sur­ing. But, each block clos­er to the hotel brought the charm for which Bogotà is known seemed plau­si­ble. Clean parks, nar­row inter­est­ing streets, and colo­nial build­ings con­trast­ed the mod­ern Bogotà skyscrapers.

What hap­pened last night could have hap­pened in any big city of the world – a cou­ple of wrong turns and you nev­er know…. Today, though, I find my first brush with this bustling city what I expect­ed: a big Latin Amer­i­can city steeped in inter­est­ing his­to­ry, a vibrant cul­ture, and friend­ly people.

The rest of the group arrives on Sat­ur­day — let the adven­ture begin!”

~ Moun­tain Mad­ness Pres­i­dent, Mark Gunlogson

Prepa­ra­tions for the trip. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Streets of Bogotà. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Plaza de Boli­var. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Deli­cious local food. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Local restau­rant. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Next Colom­bia blog

Pre­vi­ous Colom­bia blog