Serranía de las Quinchas
We are a group of small villages in Serrania de las Quinchas working together to strengthen our communities and protect the exceptional forests that surround us through sustainable tourism. The forests here are some of the last remaining in the mid-Magdalena River Valley and are protected by the Serrania de Las Quinchas Regional Natural Park.
Since Colombia’s historic peace agreement in 2016, we are now able to welcome tourists to explore and enjoy the wonders of Serrania de las Quinchas. For decades this area was a no-go area, due to armed conflict. First was the ‘Green War’, a regional conflict between local power groups over emeralds found in the region. Then after the Green War ended in 1990, the area became a stronghold of paramilitary groups in Colombia’s national conflict, who moved into the area and violently displaced local people from their land. The paramilitary groups held control in the area during the late 1990’s until 2006 and during this time large areas of our forests were cleared for cattle and coca production (the plant used to make cocaine), which were used by them for financial gain.
Now we have peace, our communities are united and working together to build a sustainable future in harmony with each other and nature. Part of the plans are through the development of sustainable agriculture, like avocado and cocoa that can be done in harmony with the forest. The other crucial part of our plan is ecotourism where both people and nature benefit from tourism. As well as the chance to experience the exceptional nature around us, we also want to share with our guests our way of life. To give them a chance to share in our culture, enjoy a new environment and experience another way of living.
In 2020 we received training from expert biologists including top scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew well as specialists in hospitality and tourism to complement our own cultural and social knowledge of the area to ensure we offer the best possible experience to each of our guests.
Where are we?
The Serrania de las Quinchas is an 860 km2 area of tropical Rainforest and tropical high montane cloud forest in the foothills of the western flank of Colombia’s Eastern Andes in the mid Magdalena River Valley. The forested mountains of Las Quinchas range in altitude from 200 meters (660ft) to 1,700 m (5,600 ft) which has created an area of exceptional biodiversity due to the range of habitats found here.
By road from Bogota
Without stopping it takes around 5 hours driving from Bogota, however there are plenty of interesting places to stop along the way. From Bogota you head north towards the famous Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira ( located in Cundinamarca Department, 49 kilometres (30 mi) north of Bogota, on national highway 45A. From here you continue on the 45A towards the small town of Chiquinquira (home to the largest cathedral in Colombia) for another 100 km (62mi) From here you continue on to Otanche, another 89 km on a road that drops down to San Pablo de Borbur. On this part of the journey you will see the extension of the western mountains of Boyaca and pass the peaks of Tena and Fura (famous for emeralds and in the Muzo indigenous groups creation myth formed from the bodies and the tears of Fura and Tena, the forest woman and man respectively), it is in this area that you can visit an emerald mine if you wish.
If you organise in advance someone from the community will then come and meet you in Otanche, where your program with us will begin! **