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Mocoa

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Mocoa is a municipality and capital city of the department of Putumayo in Colombia.

The city is located in the northwest of the Putumayo department. The municipality borders the departments of Nariño to the west and Cauca to the north.

Get around[edit]

Taxi: Available all around town but quite expensive compared to other means of transport. A taxi to the Fin del Mundo trail should be about COP8,000 after bargaining.

Bus: The Terminal is only about 5 minutes walking from the city center. Here you can get to close-by towns and villages like Sibundoy, Villagarzon, Puerto Limon, Puerto Guzman, Orito or Puerto Asis (for instance), and of course to bigger towns like Pasto or Pitalito.

Colectivos: Mainly Pick-Ups, sometimes minivans. Tell the locals where you'd like to go and ask if there are colectivos to get you there. The usual charge for short distances (couple of km) is about 1000 COP. Colectivos to Fin del Mundo (going all the way to Villagarzon and Puerto Asis) leave regularly from a corner in the center, and also from the bus terminal. It is 2000 pesos for the ride to Fin del Mundo. To get back from Fin del Mundo trying to flag down a colectivo can be difficult - they speed past the turn off which is up a hill and a dangerous place to stop. You may be better off waiting for a taxi who has just dropped off some passengers (you should be able to bargain a good price with him since he would otherwise be returning empty), or walk about 500m towards Mocoa where there is a school and a set of two ramps in the road - the colectivos will have to slow down here, so it is easier to get on.

Hitchhiking: The area around Mocoa is quite safe and hitchhiking works good.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Centro Experimental Amazónico (C.E.A.): Center of the governmental organization Corpoamazonia (for sustainable development of the south of the amazon in Colombia). You can find following things there: Animals that have been confiscated, most of them not ready to be released yet; Some fish species, one of them being the Pirarucú (biggest sweet water fish); Paths leading through the natural forest; A botanical garden; A center for reunions in the middle of a lake; Plant nursery where they grow small trees and other plants. The C.E.A. is also planning on building a little zoo for species of the Amazon. Until now the entrance fee has been free. How to get there: By "Collectivo". It's located approx. halfway between Mocoa and Villagarzon. Recommendation: After your visit you can take a swim in the river Pepino.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Fin del Mundo (Waterfall): (meaning: End of the World) A natural reserve and extremely beautiful waterfall, just a few kilometer outside of Mocoa. Take a "colectivo" for 2,000 COP to the entrance and cross the bridge to start the trek. You want a colectivo heading towards Puerto Asis - the guys in the terminal will be yelling Puerto. The Entrance fee is 3000 COP (March 2016 prices). After roughly one hour walking (mainly uphill) you'll reach the top and come across several pools (bathing is possible) and many smaller waterfalls. A restaurant, located beautifully in a cave is along the way too, but only open in the afternoon. The actual "Fin del Mundo" is at the very end of the trek and you'll arrive on top of the fall - looking down approximately 70 to 80 meters! Once there you'll find a small path to your right that leads down all the way to the falls bottom (great spot for making pictures) but its not very easy walking and sometimes slippery - so be careful! Once on the bottom you need to follow the same path up again! To return to the bridge you'll have to follow the same way back which you came from. But since it's only going down, it will be quite fast. The trek from the main road to Fin del Mundo takes about 1.5 hours. You first climb, then descend into the valley of the river on which the waterfall is located. At the highest point of the trek there is a small shelter and a trek to the right, which goes to another waterfall called Ojos Del Dios. It is definitely possible to visit Ojos del Dios without a guide, despite what you might be told, although the path can be very muddy and requires a slightly difficult river crossing. The waterfall itself falls through a hole in the roof of a cave. Can be done in combination with Fin del Mundo in one day.
  • Hornoyaco (Waterfall & Lagoon): (or: "Cascada del Hornoyaco") is located only a few kilometers outside of Mocoa town (even closer than Fin del Mundo). It's a natural paradise in the mountain range Churumbelo with an amazing lagoon at its bottom. Hiring a guide for this trek is not necessary - if you REALLY want to pay for a guide the price should be around COP70,000/day. There are several options of how to get to the Hornoyaco. The cheapest way is either hitchhiking (which is certainly safe around Mocoa) or you take one of the many "Collectivos" (Pick-Ups) which will charge you 1000 COP from Mocoa to the starting-point of the trek. Of course you could also walk. Ask the people for the direction to Fin del Mundo, which is better known than the Hornoyaco. Along the way from Mocoa to Fin del Mundo is a sign claiming "1 km to Hornoyaco" and indeed, after about one kilometre you'll reach the starting-point of this trek. But from here to the actual falls it's still a little walking (approximately 1-1.5hrs). The Trek: Cross the big bridge to the other side of the river and follow the biggest path (a bit to your right). Very short after the bridge you'll encounter multiple paths leading in all kinds of directions - just stay along the biggest (which is also the only one with build-in logs on some parts, to make walking easier). If you come across a little farm to your right with a little fish pond in front of the house you'll know you're on the right way. Further up there are two more smaller bridges to cross. Now the way itself goes mainly uphill and it can be very hot and humid at times. The main path splits almost at the end of the trek into two directions: One leads higher up onto a wide hill-slope without (almost) any trees; the other way goes to your right. Choose the one to your right and soon, at another intersection, you'll see a sign saying "Ornoyaco Falls ->". From here you can't miss it anymore. Follow the arrow on the sign (pointing to your right) and carefully "climb" down this small path. This bit can be extremely slippery (especially during or after rain)! It's a narrow and steep path, there are lots of roots from trees and lose rocks and water going down on the track! After only a few minutes and a couple of hundred meters you'll reach the bottom of the Hornoyaco waterfall and it's amazing lagoon. Put on your bathing suit and go for swim!! There are some spots where people made campfires and it also should be possible to camp at this location but please ask locals first and get sure you'll leave the place clean! To go back to the main street and back to Mocoa town, you'll have to follow the same way back were you came from. At the wooden bridge where you can look down to the natural bridge you can scramble down a small trail and even carefully walk under the natural bridge to the top of the waterfall.
  • Canalendres (Waterfalls & Lakes): Some beautiful waterfalls at the east of Mocoa. There are also two small lakes: one on top and one at the bottom of the waterfalls. The place is interesting for hiking, birdwatching, to see butterflies and for swimming. How to get there: The starting point for the walk is along the road Mocoa-Villagarzon, just outside of Mocoa town, between the company "gas del Putumayo" and the bar "Zona Libre". Follow the unpaved road there for about 15 to 20 minutes, then cross the bridge over the Mocoa River and turn left directly after the bridge. The small path takes you in about 10 minutes to the first lake and waterfall.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Cheap hotels abound near the terminal.

  • Gran Hotel Los Girasoles, CRA 5 N° 9-54. Clean and convenient with 24 hour check-in & Wifi. Single room for 15,000 COP (Feb 2015), matrimonial (for 2p) with private bathroom 25,000 COP (Mar 2016).  edit
  • Hostal Danteyaco On the main road about 100m before the start of the Fin del Mundo trek. Dorms COP15,000, Camping COP10,000. COP2,000/day to use the basic kitchen (March 2016). No WiFi, very small store opposite - buy food in Mocoa before heading out here.

Once you start the trek you pass at least two places where you can stay, in the jungle. One is at the registro (where you pay the 3,000 COP fee for the trek) and the other one is the Huaca Huaca hostel, a bit further up, Janeth tho owner is very friendly and shows you the more hidden treks e.g. to el ojo de dios. She charges 15.000 COP a night. There is no electricity and for cooking you have to make a fire, but the place is beautiful.

Useful Information[edit]

There is Ok coverage by all operators in Mocoa. Around the treks to the waterfall the coverage is next to nothing. Might be able to make a call but no whatsapp. At the Fin Del Mundo waterfall itself there is good coverage. Mocoa has plenty of internet cafes and cabins for calling.

There is a lavanderia opposite the police station near the main plaza. At the time of visiting (March 2016) it was closed because of Semana Santa. If this is the case, you can call a 'servicio de lavanderia domicilios' run by Karina Monroy at 320 869 21 96 (whatsapp) or 305 784 65 17. She charges per item, but it is possible to make a deal with her (Spanish required - she charged us 8000 COP for about 3-4 kilos of laundry). Your laundry will be washed and dried within 2 to 3 hours and she comes to your hotel.

Get out[edit]

Ecuador - From Mocoa you can reach La Hormiga in about 4 hours and then take another transportation to the international bridge at the border with Ecuador. Expect to pay 30-40000 pesos for the ride to the border. You cross the bridge on foot and pay $1 for a bus or $1.50 for a collectivo to Lago Agrio. The Ecuadorian and Colombian immigration are both about 2 km inside Ecuadorian territory so make sure you stop by to get your stamps. You will have to pay the bus fare twice in this case because they won't wait for you to get the stamps. The border crossing is pretty straightforward and everyone is very friendly. (information as of Dec 2015)

Pasto - regular buses over a head spinning, scary and beautiful road. 5 hours depending on conditions and if it has been raining.

San Agustin - To get to San Agustin, you first need to take a bus to Pitalito (about 4 hours on a curvy road). This bus does not seem to leave regularly (March 2016), so you might have to wait some time for the bus to fill up. In Pitalito, there are shared taxis that leave quite often (but not regularly, you again have to wait for it to fill up), which can bring you to San Agustin (45min-1h).

Neiva - to the north.



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