In Colombia's natural parks, you begin to truly understand the meaning of biodiversity. Seeing so many life forms is overwhelming.
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Otun Quimbaya /Pic. jhoyos
Among the billowing slopes covered by patches of fog, wax palms rise majestically. Located in the department of Risaralda, the Otún Quimbaya Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is the ideal place to watch, aside from the palms, a great variety of bird species, butterflies and small mammals, plus an array of orchids and bromeliads.
Palmas de cera: regalo de la tierra para el cielo azul de Risaralda.
On account of its scenic beauty, the sanctuary is an important tourist destination. Its rivers, cascades, the typical Antioquenian colonization-style architecture, and the friendliness of the people attract travelers from all over the world, from those who seek rest and relaxation to those in search of daring adventures.
The 489-hectare sanctuary was created in 1996 as a forest hydric reserve for providing water to the aquaducts of nearby towns, including several capitals in the Café Triangle.
By air, the trip from Bogotá to Pereira takes 40 minutes. The trip continues by car or chiva (the typical open-sided bus now used for tourism) to the La Suiza township (45 minutes), the administrative center of the sanctuary as well as comfortable coffee haciendas are found close by.
Their ancestral inhabitants were the Quimbaya metal smiths. The present inhabitants contribute to the strengthening of conservation and maintenance activities.
The characteristic families of the Andean rainforest are present in Otún. Among the the most representative species are the ceiba, the black cedar, and the Colombian pine tree. There are large, heavy trees with branches towering above ten meters.
The howler monkeys are an interesting attraction in the area, with their shrieks resounding at sunrise and sundown. Spectacled bears, páramo tapirs, deer, and large quantities of birds in dazzling colors also live in the sanctuary.
Consult your travel agent or visit http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/