Published on January 15th, 2017 | by Charly Mancilla Monroy
Bogota Day Trip: Sopó Offers Nature, History & Dairy Treats
Visiting the city of Bogota, Colombia provides many opportunities to experience Colombian culture, cuisine, history, festivities and events, and to admire beautiful scenery. In this report I’m going to share one of my favorite activities as a local bogotano: a day trip to the nearby municipality of Sopó, Colombia.
Located about an hour from Bogota, Sopó is a place where tranquility reigns, with abundant colonial architecture, lovely churches and picturesque natural beauty; it’s a perfect combination of town and country. Sopó is known for its uniquely Colombian desserts (its the birthplace of one of the nation’s largest dairies), as well as its creative arts and crafts and the friendliness of its people.
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Getting to Sopo is easy: you can take the Transmilenio bus from the centrally located Museo Nacional (National Museum) station, on the D81 route to the Transmilenio Carrera 47 stop, and from there take the B10 route to Portal Norte, where you take a local bus to Sopo. The Tranmilenio costs 2,000 Colombian pesos and the B10 route costs 4,400 pesos.
Top Things To See and Do in Sopó, Colombia
Parque Puente de Sopó (Sopo Bridge Park)
This is a favorite destination for visitors who want to spend a romantic afternoon as a couple, or quality time with the entire family, since their are natural areas for kids to enjoy, as well as nature walks and places to picnic. The destination’s easy accessibility from Bogota make it a good choice for anyone looking for a natural retreat.
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Santuario del Señor de la Piedra (Lord of the Rock Sanctuary)
On December 3, 1753, a washerwoman named Rosa Nieto discovered a stone, apparently stamped with an image of the Lord, lying in the water. Nieto took the rock home, and that night noticed that the stone still shone like it had in the water. The following day she took it to the parish priest. In 1953, the current church was built, under the direction of an architect named Alfredo Rodriguez, to venerate the miraculous stone, which is now set in a silver cross that sits on the main altar. In the years that followed, the sanctuary has become one of the most important pilgrimage sites in central Colombia, with hundreds of people showing up every Sunday from Bogota and nearby towns.
Iglesia Divino Salvador de Sopó (Divine Savior of Sopó Church)
This parish church, founded by Dominicans in about 1612, is famed for its somewhat mysterious collection of oil paintings called Los Argángeles de Sopó (Archangels of Sopó). No one knows the name of the artist of this series of 12 works, or how it got here. In a church inventory dated 1673, the Arcángeles were not yet in the church; estimates suggest they were created sometime between 1675 and 1700.
Today, this historic church is known for its elegant architecture; the clock on its facade was donated in 1912 by then-president Marco Fidel Suárez. The church was renovated in 1984, and during the restoration work, tests found that the paintings contained materials from the 17th century, possibly imported from Europe. But the true source of the beautiful artwork remains a mystery.
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Parque Ecológico Pionono (Pionono Ecological Park)
This park, named for some reason after a popular pastry, offers a beautiful vista from the highest elevation in Sopó, with elevations that range from 2,800 meters (9,186 feet) to a peak called Eagle Hill that rises 3,250 meters (10,663 feet). This large forest reserve is home to wildlife including rabbits, skunks, armadillos and birds like blackbirds and reinitas. The park’s average temperature of just under 54 degrees drops to around 32 degrees at night, and the scenery is enriched by low mountain forest growth, with dense vegetation, and the main goal of the park is to preserve the region’s natural setting and encourage ecotourism and sustainable tourism. The admission charge is 2,750 Colombian pesos, which includes access to nature trails. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and bring water.
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La Cabaña Alpina (Alpina Cabin)
Travelers with a sweet tooth take note: This cute shop, which belongs to the Colombian multinational dairy company Alpina (which was founded in Sopó in 1945) is a necessary stop for anyone who has a weakness for sugary treats. A wealth of desserts, as well as fresh cheeses and fruit sauces, are among the finds here. Depending on your taste, you might want to sample arequipe, a traditional Colombian dessert also known as dulce de leche, made with heated sweetened milk. Also popular is the arroz de leche (a sweetened rice treat), fruit cheesecake, chocolate flan and tres leches, a delicious cake that’s soaked in milk. Those calories might give you energy to explore even more of the beautiful town of Sopó.