Places you must visit in Villavicencio, Meta.
It is of course possible nowadays to fly from Bogotá to Villavicencio and on to Puerto Lopez, but far more interesting and exciting to take the bus.
Bogotá being the capital city of Colombia is large and very diverse. There are a number of different bus terminals when you decide to take a trip. Be sure to take the right one as any kind of travel across town can take an eternity.
Salitre is my preferred terminal as it is in a safe location, close to the airport at El Dorado and there is a large shopping mall close by. There are frequent services to Villavicencio for $36,000 COP/US$9, a journey of 3 hours.
There are of course numerous eateries in the terminal and an early morning caldo, a consume soup with meat and potatoes, is a delicious way to start the day. Depending on the time you depart, it can be a slow trip out of Bogotá. Along the way, vendors board the bus so it is easy enough to get refreshments.
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The initial part of the journey gives you a chance to see the industrial areas of Bogotá, which you would not normally venture to see. The sheer size of it all is impressive. Industrial complexes extend as far as the eye can see. The road is congested with large camiones (trucks), creating a lot of hustle and bustle.
Once clear of the city suburbs, there is a long climb up the mountains dotted with eucalyptus trees, not native to Colombia, but have taken a solid hold. The first town of any significance is Chipaque at an altitude of 2,400 metres/7,900 feet. Livestock farming is very important here so you see plenty of fincas (farms) and also potato and onion fields.
Caqueza is the next landmark along with Quétame, Caimito, Povitos, and Chipaque all of which are farming communities. Very cool and fresh given the altitude. The road becomes very twisty and narrow so progress is extremely slow, while still climbing. In places, you could walk faster! 3 hours for 75 kilometers (45 miles) will give you an idea. One needs a head for heights, for at times the side of the road falls away completely straight down to the valley floor, thousands of feet below.
Arriving at the crescent of the climb all the way from Bogotá suddenly there is the steep descent down into Villavicencio; the capital of Meta. One can see the Llanos stretching all the way to the Amazon rainforest and a flat plain in total contrast to the Andes.
Villavicencio and Surroundings
Villavicencio the Capital of Meta Department is a city full of attractions where you can find amazing socio-cultural places to experience the local traditions or if you’re more interested in living out the llaneros fauna and flora, you must visit the surroundings of this main city.
The average mean temperature in Villavicencio is mid to high twenties (75℉) which will allow you to visit to enjoy and see Los Ocarros Biopark, many beautiful waterfalls, Cristo Rey monument, and numerous parks.
Wanted to visit more destinations in the Meta Department? check out our Caño Cristales package here!
One hundred kilometers to the east lies Puerto Lopez which takes 1 ½ hour and $18,000 COP/US$4.50 to get there. The landscape is flat for miles and miles with cattle ranches and the periodic oil well with flames shooting up into the sky. Very dramatic. It is hot and humid.
Puerto Lopez is a small port on the river Meta
Places of interest include:
Obelisco del Alto Menegua a 30 metre tall obelisk that marks the centre of Colombia. Views from the viewing deck are remarkable.
Merecure Agroecological Park has a super hotel within the reserve and is highly recommended.
Menegua Lakes Nature Reserve affords the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful lakes by boat or horseback.
This trip illustrates the extreme contrast between the Andes, which is a huge part of Colombia, and what lies beyond going south towards Brazil.
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