Paramo de Oceta
Our fellow travelers recommended us to visit Mongui and from there to hike the Paramo de Oceta, which is declared to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. We booked our trip with Mongui Travels (https://monguitravels.com/paramo-de-oceta/) two days in advance. The trip costs 40000 peso pp, and for 35000 peso per group you can additionally book a jeep to bring you up the first steep stretch of the path (we didn’t regret that we took this option!)
When preparing for the trip, think about bringing enough water with you ( at least 1,5 l pp), sunscreen, waterproof jacket, some snacks and optionally a lunch box (it can also be ordered at the travel agency in advance). The main condition is as for all hikes, comfortable, non-slippery shoes.
During our hike we were lucky to have an amazing, amicable, knowledgeable guide Orlando, who was always positive and could answer all our questions. He speaks English well, but I was also happy to practice my Spanish with him.
The hike usually involves 16-18 km and brings you to the altitude of 3854 m, so walking upwards can be very exhausting! However, you will be definitely rewarded with breathtaking views and peculiar, unusual flora. After 6-8 hours you will be back in the village.
Fiesta de los Reyes Magos
In the village we were taken by surprise by the unfolding Fiesta de los Reyes Magos – a religious celebration taking place on the 5th and the 6th of January. Though we were tired from the hike and slightly wet after a short rain, instead of heading to our hostel, we stayed for some time in the village to wander at the theater performance taking place at the main square. Then we walked a bit through this little village beautifully decorated for the fiesta and even found some mulled wine that tasted absolutely savory after the hike.
Getting to Mongui
We went to Mongui from Villa de Leyva, which was quite challenging as we had to change several times. First, we took a bus from Villa de Leyva to Tunja (costs 7500 peso pp, takes more or less 1 hour, depart every 15 minutes as soon as the bus is full). From Tunja we went to Sogamoso (costs 8500 peso pp, takes about 1 hour; when you have arrived at the station, just ask for Sogamoso and you will be directed to the person who sells the tickets – there is no dedicated cashier desk for this direction; the bus departs every 15 minutes as soon as it is full). From Sogamoso we took a taxi to Mongui (it cost 25000 peso and took 30 minutes).
From Bogota, you can take a “superdirecto” bus to Sogamoso (30000 peso pp) and then a bus to Mongui (costs 4000 peso pp, takes 40 minutes, departs every 30 minutes).