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Colombia: Salto de Candelas

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Salto de Candelas | Colombia | Americas

[Visited: December 2017]

Just when we (my niece and I) buy a bottle of water in a small shop in Sogamoso, the bus to Yopal passes by, and we end up waiting an hour for the next one. We are lucky as there are exactly two open seats. The ride takes us through the most spectacular landscapes of the country. First climbing to a viewpoint of Lake Tota, and then meandering through páramo landscapes, before plunging into the Cusiana valley on our way to Candelas, a small settlement and the trailhead for our hike of the day. Wanting to be sure about the right trail, we ask a woman, who then points to two dogs, and tells us they will be our guide. Indeed, they lead the way on a trail that takes us between some houses to the fields where coffee is grown. This morning, it was still cold, but we are at a much lower altitude now, and we soon start sweating.

Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Rainbow at the feet of Salto de Candelas

The trail takes us through fields of coffee, with views around of the Cusiana valley. It is well prepared here; at some stretches even has cobble stones. The river crossings are done by one-person bridges. We get always closer to the mountain range at the east side of the valley, the dogs always leading the way. Then, the forest closes around us, and we start climbing through lush vegetation. We see a cluster of palm trees, climb over moss-covered rocks, pulling ourselves up tree trunks and branches. On our right: the sound of water rushing down, always louder. The dogs seem to be excited as well, and when we finally step out of the forest again after a one hour hike, it is at a muddy viewpoint. Ahead of us: a wall of rocks, with clouds lingering around its summit, streams of water running down the steep, brown rockface.

Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Clouds clinging to the rockface opposite the Salto de Candelas waterfall

To our left: the powerful Salto de Candelas, a thick shower of water tumbling from above into the abyss below. The spray of water, falling apart in mid-air, a continuous show that is never-ending. We negotiate the slippery rocks and muddy path going down for better views. The drizzle we had before, stops, and when the sun pierces through the clouds, it projects a rainbow at the feet of the mighty waterfall. Supposedly 250 metres high, we cannot even see the top of the waterfall, but know this is one of the tallest of Colombia. We are the only ones around, and stay some time to absorb the beauty of the place. Whenever the sun comes through, we chase the rainbows below. Having this corner of Colombia to ourselves somehow adds to the beauty of the Salto de Candelas. Our dogs are panting, and we give them something small to eat before we head back to the main road.

Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Trail to Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Cusiana river heading south from the Salto de Candelas
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Clouds aailing in the landscape of the Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Lush vegetation oh the mountains surrounding the Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Cusiana river just downstream of the Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): The train to the Candelas waterfall runs through a forest
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Sapo rock on the way to the waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Salto de Candelas thundering down the muontains
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): One of the rivers on the way to the waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Bridge over a river on the way to Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Sophisticated part of the trail to Salto de Candelas waterfall
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Clouds hanging against a mountain from which water comes down
Picture of Salto de Candelas (Colombia): Palm trees on the way to the Candelas waterfall at Las Palmas

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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