Chaparral

The view from Inside the Cathedral Cave near Chaparral

Chaparral is a small city and municipality in southern Tolima department, about 5 hours by bus from Bogota via Giradot. Whilst not traditionally a touristic area Chaparral has a lot to offer, and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and a large number of rivers and caves to explore. Tolima itself is perhaps one of the least visited Colombian departments when it comes to tourism, so the region is ripe for travellers seeking an off-the-beaten-track destination to explore.

Nestled between the central and eastern ranges of the Colombian Andes, on the fringes of a large hot plain, Chaparral's climate belies it's Andea geography - it's sweltering hot here most of the year, and a great place to come to escape the chill of Bogota, but to still enjoy some adventurous travel, in stark contrast to the Tierra Caliente staples of Giradot and Melgar. 

..........................................................................................................................................
ATTRACTIONS, VISITS AND ACTIVITIES
..........................................................................................................................................

Inside the Beautifiul Chaparral ChurchWithin the town of Chaparral itself there are several things worth taking a look at. The dramatic church on the main square, with it's Cistine Chapel-inspired frescos, is a particularly impressive church in a nation of impressive churches, and is a highlight of Chaparral.

Also, if you ask someone nicely in the parish next door, you may be alllowed to climb up to the bell-tower of the church to enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the town and the dramatically folded mountains of southern
Tolima.

The local food market is also worth an early morning visit for some delicious local tamales and arepas. 

The real highlights of a visit to Chaparral however, lie outside of the main town. A lovely 1 hour hike along the hills and valleys on the fringes of the town takes you to the Tigrera waterfalls and swimming holes: 2 waterfalls and pools feeding into each other, with deep waters for swimming and rocks and rope-swings for the more adventurous visitor to enjoy leaping into the cool waters below. The top pool and waterfall is the more beautiful of the two, although the narrow path leading there is a little bit hair-raising. 

The Tulini River

If La Tigrera seems pretty, then the Tulini Caves will blow you away! One of those spectacular natural attractions that seems like it would be a big desal in a country with fewer natural wonders than Colombia, these series of giant caves set along the incredible gorge of the Tuluni River, the caves can be reached as part of a full day hike through the local countryside, and then along the river itself. Giant caves such as 'La Catedral' could house an orchestra, and the 'Cueva de los Guacharos' is home to a populaton of the weird and enigmatic oilbird, as well as some pretty cool torchlight caving. As parrots wheel around the gorge and you swim in thr deep green pools of this hidden river, you won't believe you're one of thr first toursits to visit!

=> Make sure to take a guide from the town though, these caves would be near impossible to locate alone - guides will charge around 50.000 COP per person for the day, and can be found through your hotel.

...=> Chaparral Travel Guide Part 2: Hotels, Restaurants, Nightlife, Getting There

..........................................................................................................................................

Leave your comments

0

Comments

  • No comments found

Search for the Best Hotels in Colombia

Check-in Date

Check-out Date

Off2 Colombia Blog

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials