The Chicamocha Canyon- which is 1200 meters deep, 227 kilometers long and divided by a river with the same name- is one of the natural wonders of Colombia and number 77th in the world.
There are few routes around the region of Santander for watching or accessing the canyon: one of them is from La Mesa de Los Santos. Upon the mountain, about an hour away south of Bucaramanga, a town where you can find both peace and adventure can be spotted. The city of Los Santos is a small town that still preserves a bit of colonial architecture. If you go up by bus, you can either start in Bucaramanga or Piedecuesta. Flota Cachira or La Culona are the two companies that serve that route, and the tickets cost about 2 dollars.
There are different lookouts for the canyon around La Mesa de Los Santos. One of them is ‘Estación La Plazuela’ the second station after the thematic park of PANACHI (Parque Nacional del Chicamocha). This park is divided into two parts; one of them is located an hour away from San Gil on the road to Bucaramanga, and a smaller part can be found in La Mesa. They are connected by a cable car that travels up and down the mountain across the canyon, for the whole 6,3 kilometers between them. The cable car offers fantastic views of the canyon, its surrounding nature, and the Chicamocha river. This park is a celebration of the region’s culture. There you can find representative monuments, a ‘Chiva’ bus that takes you around the park, boogie cars, canopy, an extreme swing, charming coffee shops, stores to buy typical handmade items, restaurants, and animals such as goats and ostriches, and of course great lookouts.
Other than visiting this magnificent canyon, there’s plenty of activities to do and places you can see while in La Mesa.
Café Mesa de Los Santos is a family business that started four generations ago, as well as Hacienda El Roble (the place where the coffee grows). Café Mesa de Los Santos is an eco-friendly coffee, produced in a 320 hectares farm, 260 of which, are coffee plantations under 48 different varieties of trees. This farm is located 1650 meters above sea level and on soil that gives a sweet taste to the coffee beans. Most of this premium coffee is Arabica type, and it is exported to international markets, such as Japan, Australia, and the United States. At Hacienda El Roble, you can do birdwatching, guided ecological hikes, and coffee tours, where you will learn more about their coffee beans. There’s also a boutique hotel on the property. They also offer coffee tasting where you can try a variety of their best premium and fresh ecological coffee.
Refugio La Roca is a climbing park perfectly set for rock climbing. It offers accommodation in these beautiful little cabins and cottages, right by a canyon with stunning views. You can also find a yoga hall, a meditation and reading area, a communal kitchen, and a coffee shop/restaurant with delicious food and vegetarian options. There are two country clubs in La Mesa; Casa de Campo, and Club Nautico Acuarela. They are both perfect for practicing water sports such as sailing, wakeboard, water skiing, and canoeing amongst others. And if you like riding four-wheelers, there are a few tracks where you can rent one of them.
This is a pretty and rustic market, built to give all the farmers of the area a better opportunity to offer and sell their products. Besides, it helps people to have easier access to a large variety of products, all gathered in one place. Other than stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also find stalls with crafts, clothes, home decoration items, natural medicine, bars, and beautiful areas to sit around. There is also a lookout, going up a few steps, which gives you a beautiful view of the whole market, the nearby lake, and its surroundings.
To see more nature you can go to the Biological orchard and hike one of the trails that lead to the beautiful waterfalls. You can also visit Mi Colombia Querida, a small replica of a typical Colombian town, where you can find a lovely butterflies' garden. There’s also a little museum, a chapel and some restaurants and shops there. It doesn’t matter what type of traveler you are, whether you go alone or in a group, or how many days you can spend in this area- anyone who goes to La Mesa de Los Santos has a great time visiting it!
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