One of the most emblematic tourist destinations in Bogota (the Capital and largest city in Colombia) is Monserrate, a mountain with an elevation of over 10,000 feet that dominates the city’s surrounding landscape. Nestled atop one of the peaks of Monserrate rests a famous sanctuary dedicated to the fallen lord of Monserrate (El Senor Caido). It’s history dates back to the year 1640 and it’s name gives honor to the dark-haired Virgin of Montserrat (which is a statue in Catalonia, Spain with strong religious significance).
Throughout history, Monserrate has become a cultural symbol of pilgrimage since it’s not only a sacred place surrounded by mysteries, beliefs, and rites, but is also believed to be a site where the Lord of Monserrate performed miracles, including alleviating droughts, blessing newlyweds and healing the sick. It also stands out for the beauty of it’s landscapes. Due to it’s height, tourists and locals alike appreciate it’s tall and closed vegetation, beautiful gardens, fountains and large variety of flora (which include forests of encenillo, pegascos, gaque, canelo, espino and arrayan). Monserrate is also home to more than 100 species of birds and mammals including hummingbirds, red-tailed squirrels, cusumbos, weasels, opossums and foxes.
Cost and Hours of Operation
To reach Monserrate you can take a taxi, uber or bus to Las Aguas station. Monserrate is open every day, hours of operation are as follows:
- Monday-Saturday: Monserrate is open from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30pm. Tickets can be purchased through the ticket office until 10:30pm. Ticket prices may vary but on average cost around 23,500 pesos ($4.87 USD) for a round-trip ticket. A one-way ticket costs around 14,000 pesos ($2.90 USD) and tickets for seniors (over 62 years old) cost 19,500 pesos ($4.04 USD). VIP tickets cost 64,000 pesos ($13.26 USD).
- Sundays: Monserrate is open from 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays, the ticket office provides service until 5:00 p.m. There is no access at night. Tickets are cheaper on Sundays. A round trip only costs 14,000 pesos ($2.90 USD), one-way tickets cost 8,000 pesos ($1.66 USD) and seniors can purchase a ticket for 11,000 pesos ($2.28 USD). VIP tickets cost the same.
- Holidays: Monserrate is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on holidays. A round-trip ticket will cost 22,000 pesos ($4.56 USD) and one-way tickets cost 13,000 pesos ($2.60 USD). The ticket office provides service until 5:00 p.m., no night access is available on holidays.
- Walking path: If you want to get a bit of exercise and walk up and/or down the mountain, a pedestrian path is available. However, beware, the path contains over 1,600 steps . It’s open from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every day except Tuesday. There is no cost to take the walking path. Of note, pets are not allowed on the walking path. However, you can bring pets up the mountain in a crate.
Although the list above is accurate as of today, prices may vary over time. Visit the Monserrate website here for current pricing. There is also access for handicapped people available. As for children, they have to be at least 1 meter (39 inches) tall to take the cable car or funicular.
Monserrate accepts credit cards (Visa, Master, American Express and Diners) and Colombian Pesos, foreign currency is not accepted. Purchasing tickets can take up to an hour, so it’s recommended to arrive in advance. When purchasing tickets you can choose to go by cable car, the funicular or by walking the 1600+ steps. Walking up the mountain is a good option for nature lovers and athletes who would like to appreciate the beauty of the mountain in all its splendor. Of note, remember to come in comfortable clothes and hydrate yourself. This way you can enjoy the journey and landscape.
On the mountain, you will find a variety of foods and restaurants including the Casa Santa Clara Restaurant, where dishes like mero costeño, tolimense tamales, bandeja paisa, curd with mamey candy and barbecue are served. The Casa San Isidro Restaurant has a French menu that stands out for its colonial style food, and finally, the Monserrate Parrilla Restaurant focuses on different types of delicious meats. Breakfast lunch and snack options are also available.
To conclude, if you are in Bogota I would highly suggest taking part of the day to visit Monserrate. The breathtaking views, wildlife, nature, history and food make for a great afternoon out for locals and tourists alike!