Take the funicular or the cable car 1640 ft up to the top of Monserrate Hill to see the 17th Century Catholic church on the top. The church is lovely, with beautiful stained glass and a black Madonna.
The funicular runs in the morning, every 15 minutes. (Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.) It is on rails, and less scary than the teleferico (cable car) that runs up the hill in the afternoon. Either one is an $8 round trip.
Cerro de Monserrate is the main symbol of Bogotá. This peak of 3.160m is a famous religious site though many come for its spectacular view. On the top of the mountain is a church with a statue of the Señor Caído (Fallen Christ) visited by hundreds of pilgrims every day. There are also restaurants, cafés, handicraft and food stalls, and the park.
After visiting the church we had a good hot canelazo at one of the stalls and had a look at some handicrafts. Then we took a path that leads around the summit, admiring natural surrounding with many trees, flowers, birds singing and the best panoramic view of the city. It was beginning of December so the whole area was nicely decorated. And when the night fell it looks especially beautiful. There were thousands of lights glittering, giving festive atmosphere to the site.
The cable car (teleférico) to Monserrate has been in service since 1955. It leaves from the foot of the mountain every 15 minutes and each cabin can take up to 40 passengers, but at weekends it can anyway be long queues. It goes from 2692m to 3152m and it doesn’t take many minutes. I paid 13 400 pesos (July 2008) for a return ticket. It is more expensive at night and cheaper on Sundays. Time tables change often so ask at your hotel for updated information.
The funicular has been used longer than the cable car and you can see one of the old trains standing next to the rail way. The funicular was not open the day I went to Monserrate, as it is usually only operating on Sundays and Public Holidays.
A third way to reach Monserrate is by foot. The walk takes about 1 hour 15 minutes, but you should only do it on Sundays and Public Holidays when many other people are doing the same walk. On other days there is a risk to be robbed.
I walked to the cable car station. Just follow Avenida Jiménez towards the east and you will see where to go. The station is only 10 - 15 minutes away from Parque de los Periodistas.
The walk up to Monterrate peak may be for pilgrims but it was also high on my list of things to do in Bogota not only to catch a glimpse of the sprawling metropolis (not to mention the Catholic fervor) but also to get in a bit of high altitude training in preparation of our upcoming trek in El Cocuy National Park. I worried that it would not come to be due to knife-point muggings that mar the otherwise straight forward hike. Little did I know that this would be the least of my worries as on arrival I was told by no other than Platypus guru German Escobar that the hike was closed due to landslides that left the trail not passable. Sure, we could have taken the cable car up for the bird's eye view but that wasn't the point and besides paying $7-10 for the privilege went against my better judgement and budget conscience mentality. I would see better views from much higher altitudes later but for the time being Monterrate was one reason to perhaps one day return to Bogota. Yes, the lure of a 60 minute 1500 step hike to over 3000 meters is strong.
Of course, you can see the white chapel atop the peak from just about anywhere in the city and though its famed statue of the Fallen Christ dates to the 1650s the original housing was destroyed by an earthquake in 1917.
If you look from any point of the city you'll see Monserrate, a peak of 3.160m from where you have a fantastic view all over Bogotá. The easiest way to get there is by cable car (teleferico). It was inaugurated in 1955. Each of the two cabins can take 40 passengers and they have big side windows offering a great view of the mountain and the city. The trip takes five minutes. They leave from the cable car station (Mon-Sat 12:00 am - 12:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm) only a short walk from La Candelaria where I was staying. I met my local friend Iván in Platypus hostel and we did the trip together.
The return ticket was 14.000 COP (December 2009). It is more expensive in the evening and cheaper on Sunday when it is a popular local pilgrimage to the church on the summit.
You can also walk the whole way up to the mountain which takes about an hour. But be aware that it is a very step walk with the high altitude. It is not very safe way to go during the week, but it is fine on Sunday when many people visit. The third option to get to Monserrate is by funicular. It operates on Sunday and public holidays and on weekdays only in the morning.
Monserrate is 3,190 m above sea level.
You have three options of getting yourself to the top of Mount Monserrate. You can climb although this is not recommended for tourists as lots of banditos hide waiting to rob you some of them at gun point. Colombia is a very poor country and only people that can’t afford the to take the cable or funicular ride take this route. Although some guy pointed out to me that he walked up and was neither poor or robbed. The second option is a cable car that carries about 100 people and its goes through a 750 foot long tunnel excavated out of the side of the mountain that takes about 10 minutes.. That ride takes about 3 minutes. The funicular is a great way to take in the sights if your a knee photographer, the views are wonderful. The cost although l can’t remember is not very much as the peso is worthless against the American dollar. When you reach the top you have spectacular views of Bogotá. There is a statue in a glass case ( The Lord of Monserrate) which hundreds of cripples flock to and kiss and then retreat to the church to pray. You can either take a picnic with you or buy food and souvenirs from the many hawkers and stalls on top of the mountain. Great opportunity for photographs. It really is a beautiful place to visit if only for the views over Bogota City.
From Cerro de Monserrate you will have a great view over Bogotá, and much longer if it is a clear day. The peak is 3160 metres and here you find a church, food stalls, cafes, restaurants and several souvenir stalls.
A hermitage dedicated to Santa María de la Cruz de Monserrate was founded here already in 1650. From that period dates the statue of the Fallen Christ, which is frequently visited by pilgrims. A previous chapel was destroyed in an earthquake in 1917 and after that the white church you see today was built.
The most famous peak - the Cerro de Montserrat is at 3030 m. (10,000 ft) and a favorite with Bogoteños and tourists who go there for the spectacular views. The church which has the statue of the Señor Caído Fallen Christ, is claimed to be a place of miracles. The top is accessible by climbing hundreds of stairs or by the cable car (which I decided to take instead! Much safer and quicker!). There have been isolated reports of mugging if you walk up, so tourists beware!
But at the top, the view of Bogota is definitelty unmatched and you will have a lot of good pictures. There is also very nice souvenir market with reasonable prices at the side of the church.
Honestly the church and the tacky souvenirs weren't all that impressive, but the views over the city of Bogota are really worth the trip. Just be sure you are aware of the potential fog that can obscure the fantastic views. There are some trails along the top edges of the mountain, but be cautious hiking too far away from the church at the top, as muggings have occurred.
From various vantage points, you'll be able to look over downtown and the La Candelaria (Historic Old Town) as well as over most of the rest of the city.
The best views in Bogota are found up on the Miracle Mount known as Cerro de Monserrate. You can take a cab to the lower station and then board either the teleferico or the funicular up to the top. At the top, you'll find a simple church that is a pilgrimage place for some people because of the statue of the Fallen Christ (Señor Caído) inside. You'll also find what I heard is a very good restaurant up here along with a bunch of stalls selling all kinds of souvenirs just behind the church.
As well as the chapel and restaurants, there is a 'stations of the cross' path atop Monserrate. It offers for a quiet little walk around the peak of the mountain, away from the chapel, restaurants and cable car station where all the people congregate. This could offer some some quiet contemplation/prayer time, if that's your thing, or just makes for some nice alternate views of Bogota and the surrounding area.
The chapel atop Cerro Monserrate is a replacement for the original one, which was destroyed in a 1917 earthquake. It attracts many pilgrims (particularily sundays) due to the statue of the Fallen Christ due to which many miracles are accredited. The statue itself dates back to the 1650's, long before the earthquake destroyed the original chapel.
Apart from that, the inside is rather unremarkeable and I found the chapel as a whole to be rather bland and disneylandish.
Cerro de Monserrate is one of the two mountains bordering central Bogota on the east, the other being Cerro de Guadalupe. It is easy to distinguise the two from each other, as Moserrate has a church atop it.
I went up Cerro Monserrate twice during my stay in Bogota. Atop the mountain can be found, as mentioned above, a chapel, a restaurant or two and a pathway going through the Catholic Stations of the Cross, flanked by statues depicting each station. Also from the top, on a clear day, there is a nice view over Bogota, which really puts into persective just how imense this city of 8 million really is.
To reach the top there are three options. A cable car (teleferico), funicular or on foot. Both the teleferico and funicular depart from the same place and, as far as I know, cost the same 11,000pesos ($5) return. As far as going on foot, I've been told it can be dangerous outside of sundays. Sundays many people go to the top, and the path will be full of people and hence, you won't likely be mugged. Be warned though, it would be a very steep walk, and with the altitude, a difficult one.
I was born in Monserrate, my family grow up in this mountain for generations. It used to be so many things and have been changing as the time pass by. The commun feature "the catholic temple" is a place for the veneration of The Lord of Monserrate. The actual statue was sculpted by a man in the colony times, it used to be just an Image on the top of the mountain, later an almost gotic style of temple was built, it lasted good 80 years or more as I recalled the story, later and way before I was born the basic white temple was built, and few parts of it still stand today. For our families it was a place to live more like a little town that existed aside the crowd of every day, but it was also the place where I learned to ride a horse, to light a fire, to grow potatos, and even the restaurant bussines that my father owed "Los Peregrinos"or "El Popular". The actual word Peregrino means to journey, and I suppossed that was what the people who go there do to get to the mountain, and popular because was for everybody, was situated in front of the relics store for the church, and would serve food for all kinds of people. Food for the people, for the turist, the devotes, the families who lived there, but most of all it was our home, and the place were we meet people from all over the world. Tthey will go year after year to the top of the mountain to visit "Venancio Rodriguez my father, and owner of the restaurant for 45 years". I am sure many people remember my father as a man of big smile and attentive maners because he would give you not just a big welcome but a little trivia form the place and all.
This place is a must! Just a block south from the Monserrate funicular, it shows a surprisingly modest dwelling of 'El Libertador'. The nicely maintained rustic park offers a nice and shady stroll and view of brightly colored birds.