This beautiful natural region located to the east of the Andes is crossed by many rivers and lakes turning this vast plain into a spectacular mix of landscapes, flora and fauna (including pink dolphins). "Los Llanos" is also recognized by its extensive hatos and ranches where you can stay overnight and enjoy the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets you have ever seen. It is definitely the most appealing destination for curious travellers wanting to explore new sceneries and environments.
Hot and dry. Average temperature within 25°C and 28°C.
"Llaneros" is the name given to people from this region. They are the Colombian cowboys as cattle and some minor agriculture activities are their main economic activities. Llaneros are skilled horsemen, experts at rounding up and corralling cattle on the hatos as well as on the open range. They wear a distinctive starched hat, appear impervious to heat or cold, and often go barefoot. They love eating mamona (tender beef) and listening and dancing their traditional music "Joropo".
Its traditions and culture:
Llaneros love to display their skills in "coleo" competitions, where cowboys try to rope cows by grabbing their tails and dragging them to the ground. Their traditions and culture are revealed in the legends and stories found in the lyrics of their Joropo songs. These are emotional songs accompanied by the strum of a four-stringed guitar called a "cuatro", maracas and the harp.
Its traditional Food:
Their cuisine is based on a variety of meats, all of them usually served with cassava, plantains and rice, such as:
- Ternera (lamb) a la llanera or mamona, which is cooked on iron rods surrounding a bonfire in the open air.
- Pork and chiguiro (a large rodent the size of a pig with mild meat and skin)
- Babilla (a small cayman bred for food).
What to do:
A trip to this region is ideal for:
Hiking, horseback riding and boat trips on the rivers and lakes.
Stay overnight in one of the hatos of ranches, learn about their lifestyle and enjoy the stunning sunsets and sunrises.
Where to go:
You definitely cannot miss a visit to:
- La Macarena National Park the home of Caño Cristales the river of the seven colours thanks to the mosses and algae bloom between the wet and dry seasons from June to November.
- Tuparro National Park which is a National Monument and a Biosfer Reserve declared by UNESCO.
- Villavicencio, the main city in the region and the gateway to Los Llanos.
When to go:
Any time of the year is good to visit this region, but if you want to participate in one the traditional festivals and learn more about their traditions and culture, these are some good examples:
- February: The Corrido Llanero festival, held in Puerto Carreño, Vichada.
- March: The Llanera's song Festival, held in Villavicencio, Meta.
- June: The Joropo International Contest held in Villavicencio, Meta.
- October: The World Cole Encounter, held in Villavicencio, Meta.
- December: The Cimarron de Oro Festival, held in Yopal, Casanare. This is the international "contrapunteo" contest. Contrapunteo is an improvised verse duel accompanied by the strum of a four-stringed guitar "cuatro", maracas and the harp.
If you want to visit Caño Cristales the right time to go is from June to November when the mosses and algae bloom and give the beautiful colours to the river.