Visiting Monserrate in Bogota
Visiting Monserrate in Bogota was the first on our itinerary when we happened to have a 16-hour layover in Colombia. We left the airport at 7:30 in the morning, and our tour guide was already waiting for us at the gate, and he whisked us off immediately to our first destination – 10,000 feet above sea level.
There are two ways to reach Monserrate: on foot or by taking a funicular or a cable car. We opted for the former because we wanted to see more in such a short time.
When we arrived at the ticket booth, we were among the few tourists going up. There was no line-up, so it was easy breezy for us.
As we started our ascent, the views of the city slowly revealed through broken clouds.
We were really hoping that the clouds would be gone by the time we arrived at the top of the hill.
But, of course, it didn’t happen. The weather condition that day was obviously against us.
From the funicular stop, we walked our way up by following the path of the “Way of the Cross.”
On this path, you will find sculptures depicting the last hours of Jesus’s life at each station. This is, no doubt, where pilgrims go on Holy Week.
As you walk up, you will pass by the old Monastery building of Monserrate.
Get ready to flip a coin when you pass an ancient wishing well.
And, of course, don’t forget to pose at the city’s name sculpture – which for me shouldn’t have been placed here. It ruined the “time travel” atmosphere of the place. 🙂
On the topmost part of the hill is the Basilica of the Lord of Monserrate, built in the 17th century. As you can see on its facade, its architectural style is neoclassical. This reminds me of a neoclassical church in Camaguey, Cuba.
There was a mass going on when we arrived, but they still allowed us to explore the small chapels on the side of the church.
The Basilica is the hill’s main attraction; every year, thousands of pilgrims come here to pray or offer gratitude to God.
How to get to Monserrate
Option 1: Take a funicular. This is the most comfortable way to go up there, especially on a wet day. It is open from 6:30-11:45 AM (Monday to Friday) and until 4:30 PM on Saturdays. On holidays and Sundays, it’s open until 6:30 PM. The cost is COP12,000.
Option 2: Take the cable car. When the funicular is closed, the cable car is open, and it is open from 12:00 – 11:30 PM. On Sundays, it’s available from 10:00 – 4:30 PM.
Option 3: Go on foot. If you have more time, take this route – assuming you’re healthy, too! 🙂
Get a Tour Guide
If you are in the same situation as me – having a long layover in Bogota – get a tour guide to explore the capital of Colombia. Everything ran smoothly, and our tour guide was flexible on what I wanted to see, do, try, and taste. GetYourGuide is a reliable tour agency with 24 hours cancellation – which is very important to me.