The peak called Monserrate towers over central Bogotá and lends its name to the church that tops it. Perched more than 10,000 feet above sea level, the sanctuary—dedicated to the Passion of Christ—has beautiful gardens showcasing marvelous highland vegetation, and the city views from here are spectacular (sunsets are especially recommended). Ascend Monserrate by cable car, via railway, or on foot (this last is only for the fittest and those already acclimated to the altitude). That beautiful white house on the mountainside is Casa Santa Clara restaurant, a better-than-expected, special-occasion-suitable venue at which to try traditional Bogotá favorites like ajiaco, a thick potato-and-chicken soup.

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Cerro de Monserrate

Cerro de Monserrate is an enormous hill that rises from close to the city center of Bogota. There’s a church and some tourist shops and restaurants but the reason to make the trip is the spectactular views of the city. The top is accessible by hiking trail or by riding either an aerial tram or a funicular.

Bogotá From Above

Visiting the Cerro de Monserrate, a white church perched atop one of Bogotá's surrounding mountains, is a rite of passage for any visitor (and plenty of local residents). Many people choose to walk up the (many, many) steps to the summit on weekend mornings, when the path is crowded with sporty pilgrims. Whether you walk or elect to take the terrifying funicular or slightly-less-terrifying cable car, the amazing panoramic view of the city is well worth the effort. Go up on a sunny day, grab a chocolate santafereño (hot chocolate with cheese) from one of the many food stands nearby and enjoy the view until the chilly wind forces you back inside.

What a view!

So I found myself in Bogota, Colombia and was looking for a must see experience. I found it at the Cerro de Monserrate, one of the main mountains overlooking the city center. A short taxi ride brought me to the base in which I paid $10 USD to take a train up the mountain. Dizzying heights and beautiful landscapes grabbed my immediate attention. At the top I found unbeatable views of Bogota and a simple but very unique church.

Ascension to Monserrate

Walk through Bogota’s vibrant Le Candelaria neighborhood to the funicular for a breathtaking trip up to Monserrate, the mountain dominating the city. Enjoy the view, or eat at the restaurant, but don’t bring your sweetheart or your relationship might be cursed (or so they say). Colombia & Mexico City trip report:

Haunted Mansions and Clocktowers

That church hiding back there in the clouds is Cerro Monserrate, one of the most famous (and highest-altitude) landmarks in Bogotá. Perched atop one of the highest mountains ringing the city, the church and refugio are one of the most popular sites for tourists and locals alike. On weekend mornings, the route up the mountain -- yes, you can walk -- is packed with people in sneakers, making their pilgrimage up to Bogotá's highest restaurant. On sunny days, it offers a spectacular view of the entire city -- on cloudy days like this one, it looks just as haunted as I imagine it to be. Photo taken from the Plaza Bolívar in the historic La Candelaria district.

Looking down on Bogota from Monserrate

I took this picture at the top of Monserrate overlooking the massive city of Bogota.

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