Los Llanos: Colombia’s Exciting Frontier
Several lakes and rivers cross this vast plain east of the Andes, creating a spectacular mix of landscapes, flora and fauna – including pink dolphins. "Los Llanos" is also known for its sprawling ranches, where you can stay overnight and revel in sunrises and sunsets dripping with vivid colour. Plus, this region is famous for its fascinating cowboy and cowgirl culture. Los Llanos is definitely the most appealing destination for curious travellers wanting to explore new sceneries and environments in Colombia.
Top Places to Visit in Los Llanos
La Macarena National Park – Home to Caño Cristales, the river of seven colours, this sprawling park also features rapids, interesting jagged rocks and walking trails. The best time to visit is between the wet and dry seasons – from July to November – when moss and algae blooms create the vibrant hues.
Villavicencio – This is the biggest city in the Eastern Plain Region and the gateway to Los Llanos. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to drive between Bogota and Villavicencio. The temperature is drastically warmer and many Bogotanos head to Villavicencio for weekend getaways.
Tuparro National Park – Recognised by UNESCO as a national monument, Tuparro National Park sits near the Venezuelan border. The park is dotted with rivers, rapids and spectacular rock formations, but it does not see a lot of tourism yet.
Traditional Ranch – Learn about the Colombian cowboy and cowgirl way of life by staying in a traditional ranch, or hato, during a trip to Los Llanos. Visitors can even take part in nightly barbecues and listen to the popular regional music called Joropo.
Top Things to Do in Los Llanos
Wildlife Safari – Los Llanos is home to so many interesting creatures to spot. Go on a Los Llanos safari and look for monkeys, anteaters, tortoises, caimans and exotic birds. Chigüiros, also known as capybaras, are the largest rodents in the world and also can be spotted in this area.
Horseback Riding – Explore Los Llanos on horseback to cover more ground and to cross rivers without getting wet. Learn how to ride from locals, many of whom have been riding horses since they were children.
Enjoy the Sunset – Los Llanos is known for having marvellous sunrises and sunsets. With streaks of orange, yellow and pink hues, visitors will start and end their days with awe-inspiring beauty.
Boat Trips – Meander through rivers and see a new side of this area of Colombia from a boat. Boat trips let people spot unique flora and fauna while enjoying the gentle breeze as the boat glides on majestic rivers.
Los Llanos Travel Information
Los Llanos area has a variety of festivals, such as: The Corrido Llanero Festival held in Puerto Carreño in February, the Llanera's Song Festival held in Villavicencio in March, the Joropo International Contest held in Villavicencio in June, the World Cole Encounter, held in Villavicencio in October and the Cimarron de Oro Festival held in December.
Cuisine in Los Llanos is based on a variety of meats such as skewered lamb, pork, the world’s largest rodent called Chigüiro and small caiman bred for food. These meat-based dishes are usually served with cassava, plantains and rice.
The climate in Los Llanos is hot and dry. The average temperature ranges between 25°C and 28°C, or 77°F to 82°F. The warmest month is April, while the coolest is January. The wettest month is June.
If travellers don’t have a lot of time in Colombia, it’s best to fly into Alcaraván Airport in Yopal from Bogota. To visit Caño Cristales, it’s best to fly into La Macarena from Bogota. If visitors only want to stay in Villavicencio, ground transport takes about 3 to 4 hours from Bogota.
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