I never would have thought that my travels through South America would include going to a theme park! But the best part about traveling is the surprises!
Parque Nacional Chicamocha (Panachi) is a theme park in Santander, Colombia built above the Chicamocha river valley and probably has the best views of any theme park I’ve ever been to.
One of its main highlights is the teleférico (elevated cable car) that takes you down into the river valley, floating above the river, and then back up to a mountainside across the river. (If you know how much I love teleféricos, you know I couldn’t pass this up!)
When you arrive on the mountain on the other side, there are restaurants with typical food from the Santander region, snacks, souvenirs, and you could even do a virtual reality session.
Another highlight is the water park literally on the side of a mountain, with an amazing view overlooking the valley, with a mountain backdrop in the distance. (If you know how much I love swimming, you know I couldn’t pass that up either!)
There were a couple of water slides, a lazy river, different pools, and a few water park areas for kids.
Panachi also has different “xtreme” experiences like a bungee-jump type experience, swings that swing you over the side of a cliff, zip-lines, etc. all paid for separately.
It was really cool to see how some Colombian families spend vacation, and to see people out having fun! (And it was also cool that there weren’t a ton of people because I went during low season!)
Like many of my experiences here in Colombia, the park has a funky schedule (closed Monday and Tuesday during low season), and the teleférico also has its own schedule. I was surprised when they had told us we’d return from the teleférico in 2 hours; I thought it was just a really long ride … until they dropped us off on the other mountain after a 30-minute ride and left us there for an hour until it fired back up again to deliver us back to the park.*
Overall, it was a fun day, and highly recommended, for anyone, but especially as a family outing!
Still, 3+ years in Latin America and I still get surprised at things done differently. Some things get lost in translation, and some things just aren’t explained well or in a context that I understand, and I forget that sometimes one has to ask a lot of questions to clarify things. But, I have learned to appreciate surprises, go with the flow, and not stress (or stress less) when things don’t go as I planned or as I expected. And that is a gift that I value more than gold!