Travel Guide Girardot - Enjoy The Magdalena River Valley

Close to Bogotá you can enjoy the warm climate of the villages in the Magdalena River Valley. Situated within an incredible green valley, these places are ideal for recreational activities while the sun warms your face. Many residents from Bogotá make weekly trips to their fincas near Melgar, Girardot and Ibague. It is approximately 28°C (82ºF) and far enough from the capital to enjoy peace and the natural beauty that encompasses much of this valley. Join the Bogotanos and trade the hectic of Bogotá for a weekend by the pool at one of the beautiful hotels in Melgar, Girardot or Ibague.

How to get there

Car – there are two access roads from Bogotá. One is the road Silvania - Melgar - Girardot – Ibagué and the other is the road La Mesa - Tocaima - Girardot – Ibagué.

Bus - go to the Portal del Sur Transmilenio Station, one block from there you will find Bogotá’s south bus station (Terminal satélite de Transporte del sur). From here buses depart to Melgar, Girardot and Ibagué. Depending on the destination, it takes about 3, 4 or 5 hours to get there.

Things to do

Skydiving - go skydiving from Santiago Vila Airport in Girardot. Jumping out of a DC3 from 3000 meters (9842 ft) with 28ºC (82ºF). For more information:

Boat tour - take a boat tour and ride along the Magdalena river. Ask around on the bridge of Girardot for captains that will take you on a fun ride on the river.

Food and drink

Tamal tolimense – tamales can be found around the country, but many consider the tamales from Tolima to be the best. It is a corn-and-yellow pea-based paste with pork, chicken, potatoes, carrots, rice and egg wrapped in a banana leaf.

On the way

The towns in the Magdalena River Valley are located at an average altitude of 300 meters (984 ft). You will feel that the temperature increases as soon as you descend from the 2600 meters (8530 ft) of the capital. The scenery along the way is absolutely stunning. You will travel on one of the best roads in Colombia, since it connects the capital with the coffee region, Cali and the port of Buenaventura.

Many good restaurants can be found on the way with typical Colombian food, desserts and snacks.

La Vaca que Rie – stop on the road Bogotá - Melgar at ‘sweet station’ La Vaca que Rie for amazing cheeses and desserts prepared every day according to traditional methods. Don’t forget to bring with you their delicious arequipe.

El alto de la Vara - on the road Bogotá - Melgar this restaurant is a great place to enjoy a good steak and delicious chorizos.

El alto de la Arepa - a good choice on the road Bogotá - Melgar for an Arepa with cheese.

El Rancho de Jairo - in this restaurant with food from the paisa region, on the road Bogotá - La Mesa, you can enjoy one of the best chicharrones in Colombia.