Cerro de Monserrate | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Cerro de Monserrate

Bogota, Colombia

Sarah Roller

23 Mar 2021
Image Credit: gabys38 / Shutterstock

About Cerro de Monserrate

Cerro de Monserrate is a 10,000 ft high mountain which rises from central Bogota, Colombia. A popular tourist and pilgrim destination, scaling the mountain provides excellent views across the city.

History of Cerro de Monserrate

Muisca people have lived on the Bogota savannah, and Cerro de Monserrate proved an important marker in the solar calendar as on the Summer Solstice, the sun rises from exactly behind Monserrate. When the Spanish arrived they razed Muisca buildings, replacing them with colonial building.

In the early 17th century, they began to climb Monserrate and perform religious ceremonies atop the hill: it quickly became a site associated with pilgrimage and devotion.

In 1650, permission was granted to building a hermitage atop the mountain, and a statue of the crucifixion was also commissioned. The Christ figure and cross ended up being displayed separately – the Christ gained the name El Señor Caído as a result.

By the 19th century, the site had become extremely popular, with dozens of pilgrims arriving each year to pay their respects and petition the statue for miracles.

Cerro de Monserrate today

The shrine to El Señor Caído  remains a place of devotion for pilgrims atop the mountain (apparently miracles have been attributed to it), and the church complex is of interest to visitors. There are also restaurants, cafes and toilet facilities atop the mountain, as well as plenty of vistas for photos.

The view from the top remains unparalleled, and sunset or sunrise is a great time to go. The pollution in and around Bogota can obscure your view so it’s worth checking the air quality on the day you go and choosing a sunny day.

There are three ways of climbing the mountain today: via cable car, furnicular or foot, but be warned, the altitude makes the 2.5km climb tougher than it should be, so give yourself plenty of time. The mountain is particularly busy on Sundays as pilgrims make the ascent to reach the church on top. There have been reports of robberies on the trail, so it’s worth watching your belongings.

Getting to Cerro de Monserrate

There are three ways of climbing the mountain today: via cable car, furnicular or foot, but be warned, the altitude makes the 2.5km climb tougher than it should be, so give yourself plenty of time. The mountain is particularly busy on Sundays as pilgrims make the ascent to reach the church on top. There have been reports of robberies on the trail, so it’s worth watching your belongings.

The start of the trail is easily walkable from La Candelaria and is a slightly longer walk from the nearest TransMilenio stops, Calle 19 and Avenida Jiminez. The entrance to the trail and the furnicular/cable car are all clearly signed. There are plenty of taxis in the area.

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