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Sometimes life in a city with more than 10 million people becomes overwhelming. The polluted air, noise and the traffic jam… Luckily, there is a very special landscape in Colombia called “páramo”, where the air is absolutely clean and you hear nothing but birds singing.

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So what is a páramo? They only exist in Colombia and partly in neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador. Beginning on 3000 meters above sea level, it is a special tropical alpine ecosystem that holds our water supplies just like a sponge here in Colombia.

laguna paramo Iguaque

It’s where our mythical lagoons, temples of the indigenous groups are located. It’s cold and humid. The weather can switch from warming sunshine to mist and rain from one minute to the other, and back again.

frailejones paramo iguaque

These flowers, the frailejones, only exist in the páramos. They can hold more than 40% of their weight in water and they only grow 1 cm per year. Some of them are 4 meters high. See then how old they are?

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The hikes are usually challenging, since the begin at around 2800 m and sometimes goes up to over 4000 m.a.s.l. But it’s ever so rewarding. By the lagoon there’s usually plenty of space to have picnic or meditate.

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The happy hiker herself in full gratitude to Madre Tierra after climbing the path to the páramo of Iguaque at 3800 m.a.s.l. For some reason they call the path “la pared” – the wall…

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Páramo Iguaque is located in the surroundings of popular tourist destination Villa de Leyva. Villa de Leyva is promoted as an authentically colonial Colombian village but it’s really just full of Italian restaurants these days. However, few tourists go to the páramo. And even fewer reach the lagoon, as they give up at “la pared”.

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Villa de Leyva can be really cosy. We stayed at hostel Colombian Highland Renacer. Really peaceful, a short walk away from central Villa de Leyva.

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Remember that visiting a páramo means bringing warm clothes and getting up really early in the morning. Enjoy the hike, meditate, breathe. And then – just chill in a hammock.

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