Rising 3,152 metres (10,341 ft) above sea level, Monserrate dominates the skyline to the east of Bogota and when my friend Judi suggested we head to the top to see the views of the city, I leapt at the chance!
You can choose to walk (I was somewhat thankful we didn’t have time to do this!) or take either a funicular or telefrico (cable car) for around $6 USD per person return.
The Funicular was built between 1926 & 1928, officially opening in 1929. It was modernised in 2003 and each cabin now has glass tops (as well as windows to the side and front) which allow beautiful panoramic views as you make your way up the tracks.
The Telefrico was built between 1953 and 1955. Each car has capacity for around 15-20 people and you can enjoy impressive views of both Monserrate itself, and the city as you make the ascent to the top.
I dont know if it was because we were tired, but we found the queuing system at the “Taquilla” a little complicated and were unsure as to what we were actually queuing for. In hindsight it seems that the queue for the funicular is at the front of the road as you look at the Taquilla, and the Telefrico is off to the side at the right.
Monserrate has been used for religious celebrations since the 1620s, and in 1656, a crucifix and statue of Jesus Christ were placed at the summit inside a small chapel. AS such Monserrate is very popular with visiting pilgrims and so, unless you are on a pilgrimage yourselves, I would suggest avoiding it on religious and public holidays as the crowds are far more numerous then.
In addition to the church, there are also 2 restaurants “Casa San Isidro” and “Casa Santa Clara” at the summit, the first offering fine French cuisine, the latter, traditional Colombian cuisine, however we preferred to stop at the small snack shop to buy Empanadas and Arepas (The empanadas were great, the arepas, less so) for a dollar or two.
Due to its popularity, I would recommend visiting Moserrate earlier in the day to avoid the queues, however don’t be put off if there is a queue when you arrive. it moves relatively quickly and the views at the top really are quite spectacular!
Timings (according to Wikipedia, at the time of writing)
Monday to Friday: 7:00 to 11:45 am
Saturday: 7:00 to 4:00 pm
Sunday: 5:30 to 5:00 pm
Holidays: 6:30 to 11:45 am
Teleférico de Monserrate cable car
Monday-Saturday: 12 pm to 12:00 am
Sundays: 9:00 to 5:00 pm