What is Monserrate?

Monserrate is a 3,152 meter high mountain that dominates the Bogotá skyline. It towers over half a kilometer above the elevation of Colombia’s capital city. The most striking feature of the (currently) green mountain is the white church that stands on top. The church was built in the 17th century with a shrine devoted to “The Fallen Lord” (El Señor Caído).

The picture below doesn’t do it justice, with the white clouds behind the white church. Believe me it is one of the first things you notice when are out and about in Bogotá during the day. For those of you who want more information, you can get your fix on the Monserrate wikipedia page.

Our Experience

The TransMileno, a Bus Rapid Transit system in Bogotá, passes right by our apartment. We rode it to the Universidades station at the end of the J line. From there it was a 15 minute walk to the funicular and cable car station.  We passed through Parque de Los Periodistas on the way from the station. The church stands out a little better against the sky in this picture of the park.

Through the park and past the Universidad de los Andes we came across  a road that looks like it has been there a while. It is paved with stones and can be seen in the video below.
We were going to take the cable car up and the funicular down, but the cable car was not operating the day we went. The other option is to hike up. We heard it takes 90 minutes and you climb 1,500 steps. Nobody voted for that option, hence the funicular ride.

What is a funicular?

Well for us, it was a standing room only car on a steep rail track pulled up by a cable. There a few videos in the video slider below showing the interior of the car, and segments of the ride up.

From the upper terminal of the funicular, it was time to walk again. This took us past stations of the cross and a stone cross covered with moss.

The air on Monserrate is noticeably cleaner than that of Bogota below. It was also a few degrees cooler so the little bit of hiking to the church at the top was easy.
I have to say it was worth the trip. Videos and pictures don’t quite capture the view. If I had a drone with a video camera mounted to it I could take some spectacular shots, but alas I don’t. And it is not in the budget, so the camera on my LG Nexus 5 will have to do for now.

On the way back to the funicular for the trip back down we saw hummingbirds as we passed some flowers. They are quick, but I managed to capture a couple of sends of them flitting about.