Mocoa

Mocoa is a small chaotic city of some 40,000 people on the fringes of Colombia's southern Andes. Surrounded by jagged mist-shrouded peaks on one side and lush jungle on the other, Mocoa truly lives up to its reputation as the 'gateway to the Amazon' (a title it shares with other cities such as Florencia and San Jose del Guaviare).

The End of the World! Cascada Fin del MundoThe city of Mocoa itself is far from beautiful: dominated by cheap clothes stores and overly loud discos, a new arrival could be forgiven for wondering what's so special about the place, but this would be a mistake. The real magic of Mocoa lies in its privileged position at around 600m alongside the channels of some of Colombia's (and the Amazon's) great rivers, in particular the rivers Caqueta and Putumayo - in one night-bus from Colombia's capital a visitor finds themselves surrounded by thick rainforest, toucans and monkeys, and some of Colombia's most spectacular waterfalls.

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

Mocoa's attractions are mainly focused around it's rivers and waterfalls, the most visited of which is the magnificent Fin del Mundo falls. Take a colectivo heading south out of Mocoa and tell the driver to stop at Fin del Mundo. A river-crossing over a rickety jungle rope-bridge leads to the head of the trail. It costs just 8.000 COP to hike the trail (which goes to the maintenance of the reserve), and what a hike it is - winding uphill through beautiful jungles until you reach the river after an hour and a half. The trail then follows the course of the river past 3 lovely little waterfalls and refreshing swimming holes, before arriving at the "End of the World" - a torrent jumping 80m over a cliff into the jungle below. Try and hike the trail first thing in the morning for fewer people and more wildlife, and make sure to stop in at the house where you pay entrance for a tasty tilapia lunch and close-up views of wild monkeys - including the pygmy marmoset, the world's smallest monkey!

There are many other gorgeous waterfalls surrounding Mocoa - another particular highlight is the off-the-beaten-track Hornoyaco Falls: the trail begins not far from the Casa del Rio hostel. It's a slippery hike after rain, and the final descent to the falls involves some scrambling over rocks, so wear the right shoes!

Chris at the Paway Eco Center

Other great places for a refreshing dip are the pools and canyons of the Afan River, and the jungle paradise swimming hole known locally as Canalendres - both of these can be reached in less than one hours walk from the city (both hostels listed after have maps and full info on the all the available hikes). Slightly further afield are the spectacular canyon formations of the Mandiyaco River - take any bus heading north towards Pitalito and get off at the bridge spanning the Caqueta River. The canyons are an easy 15 minute walk from the road.

The other main attraction of Mocoa is wildlife and although it's possible to see wild monkeys and toucans on the main roads around the town, for a real up-close-and-personal experience it's best to visit the Paway Centro Ecoturistico Amazonico: a lovely little animal rescue and welfare centre that is home to a menagerie of rehabilitated jungle creatures, including macaws, parrots, tortoises and, most excitingly of all, a young Woolly Monkey named Chonta, who will spend the whole time sitting on your head! There's also a great butterfly house. Entrance is 8.000 COP (to a great cause), and the entrance is just past the start of the Fin del Mundo hike.

...=> Mocoa Travel Guide Part 2: Accommodation, Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, 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