Americas, Colombia

Up on Monserrate

No Comments 18 January 2011

Up on Monserrate

During his 2003 journey to Colombia, the Monkey scaled the heights of one of Bogotá‘s resident mountains—Monserrate—to get a panoramic view of the city. Bring your binoculars!

Parque de Periodistas, Bogotá, Colombia
Before his ascent of Monserrate (the deceptively small-looking peak in the background), the Monkey took a rest in the Parque de Periodistas, or the Journalist’s Park. While they may have their own park, Colombia’s journalists get little respect in the society. Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with an average of four killed per year over the last decade. In the wartime atmosphere, the killers have almost total impunity.

View of Bogotá from Monserrate peak, Colombia
Bogotá is hemmed in by mountains and occupies a plateau at 2620 meters in altitude. At 3030 meters, Monserrate is one of the tallest peaks in Bogotá and a favorite recreation spot for Bogotanos. Accessible by cable cars and funicular rail from its base, the steep peak of Monserrate is developed as a park, with trails, restaurants, gardens, shops, and a church. Oh, and it has really good views over Bogotá‘s sprawl. With its population growth driven by the migration of job seekers from rural areas as well as refugees from the war, Bogotá is continuously expanding. The day the Monkey climbed Monserrate, he couldn’t see the end of Bogotá.

Church atop Monserrate, Bogotá, Colombia
The Monkey rests below the votive church atop Bogotá‘s Cerro de Monserrate. Many Bogotanos ascend the Cerro to say a prayer in this church, which is believed to work the occasional miracle.

View of Bogotá from Monserrate, Colombia
The Monkey gets a different vantage point over the expanse of Bogotá from atop Monserrate. Behind him you can make out a number of the center city’s high-rise towers.

Cactus in Colombia
On the Monkey’s last day in Colombia, one of his Colombian friends drove him out of Bogotá by crossing the mountain range that includes Monserrate. Only thirty minutes from Bogotá, El Mico found this serene landscape and decided to pose for a photo by a high altitude cactus.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1235 times since the 2010 website relaunch.



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45,013,672 (2008)

Land area:

1,038,700 sq. km.


Bogotá (pop: 1,945,448; 2005)


In 2006, Colombia ranked 69th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 39th in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $2,981.74. Public debt accounts for 52.8 percent of total GDP, while 49.2 percent of Colombians are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):


Monkey's name:

El Mico, El Mono (El Me-koh, El Moh-noh)

Fun fact:

Colombia’s Avianca, founded in 1919, was the second commercial airline in history (the U.S. Benoist Airlines, which serviced Florida, was the first). Colombia’s early foray into air travel had much to do with the country’s wildly varied topography and the resultant impracticality of establishing reliable road, rail, and river transport links.

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