Time has a way of getting lost at this place.
Sunset from the crag at La Mojarra in Colombia.
Time has a way of getting lost at this place. Waking up to beautiful sunrises over the canyon while eating freshly baked artisan rolls filled with warm dark chocolate. And then go climb your brains out on the hundreds of bolted routes just minutes from your cabin, tent or overland rig. It’s pretty spectacular.
The climate during the day is dry and hot with intermittent rain showers and it’s cool and crisp at night. Rocas de La Mojarra, located just south of Bucaramanga in Santander Colombia, is part of the famous Chicamocha Canyon. The climbing crag, or park, is a natural reserve and is maintained by a local climbing foundation. It’s not like most other crags in the world. You have to pay to enter, about $3USD per day, and you have to do a safety check before you are allowed to enter. For some, we saw, this was an annoyance and frustrating, but for us it was just part of climbing here. So think of it as an outdoor climbing gym. The rock is sandstone and overlooks a beautiful valley. More details about the foundation can be found at www.rocasdelamojarra.com.
Colin on the via ferrata to check out the tomb caves.
Mornings are pretty awful for climbing because you are in direct sun, but once the clock strikes noon the conditions are great. We encountered a couple of days with afternoon showers that lasted about 5-10 minutes, but after about 30 minutes the rock was dry enough continue climbing. If you’re lucky to have an overcast day you can climb all day. Beware of the wasps! They are mean little buggers and Lucia felt the wrath on a couple of occasions. And the snakes; there is a saying that goes something like black, yellow, red... Bring a headlamp for the walk back to La Roca as its really easy to forget the time and before you know it the sun is setting and its time to head back.
The grading is a little off and many of the starts are like big boulder problems, but there is something for every level of climber. La Roca has a printed guide and you can always take photos of the guide they have in their office. And if you need a rest day, there are multitudes of hikes to explore cool caves, communities and vistas as well as the village of Los Santos is a close 15 minute bus ride away (~$2US).
View of the canyon from La Mojarra, Colombia
The rock color gradient at La Mojarra.
Good times with Ricardo at Refugio La Roca, La Mojarra Colombia.
Tomb caves near La Mojarra in Colombia.
We camped in our rig at Refugio La Roca during our two week stay. The parking area is not perfectly level, but much better than reported on by other overlanders. A couple rocks and leveling was easy. The cold showers are wicked cold and best taken after the long hike up from the crag. The restaurant offers food all day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with Colombian and craft beers. The food is much better than expected and caters to both vegan and non vegan diets. We loved the chocolate filled rolls first thing in the morning. The first bite just oozes with chocolate. They also make baguettes and other baked goods to fuel your day. We usually would get a baguette each day for making sandwiches at the crag. This was an unexpected delight to have fresh baked bread every day. The free coffee in the mornings leaves much to be desired so we usually brewed our own each day. There is a really good roaster on the way up to La Roca called Las Delixias. If you want to grab some bomber beans for your stay we recommend the beans from Huila and Santander. You can find the cafe here.
Night view from our camp spot at Refugio La Roca.
Fresh baked bread everyday at Refugio La Roca.
Chilling out at the restaurant at Refugio La Roca.
At La Roca, you can camp in your rig, tent camp, sleep in a dorm or private hostel type room or rent cabins that are literally built over the canyon. It really is a beautiful space. You can enjoy the view as well as incredible sunrises and sunsets from the various observation decks around the property and from the elevated yoga space. If you are cooking on your own, there is a house just up the road that sells fresh eggs, sausage, veggies and fruits daily. La Roca also has a bouldering wall and a small outdoor gym near the hostel shared kitchen. They have some climbing gear to buy and everything you would need is available for rent. We enjoyed getting to know the owner, Ricardo, and hearing about the history of this place. As for climbing, it is such a rad spot to be. Good food, good climbing, relaxed atmosphere, great weather and amazing views. We will definitely be back!