“Are we going to ‘an appointment?’” giggled the children in the back seat as we patiently followed the Friday caravan of cars heading east out of the city. Clearly excited by the idea of inflating an Animal Kingdom of giraffes, dolphins and orcas in the swimming pool of one of Anapoima’s many private clubs, the traffic eased as we passed the Madrid tollbooth and we made our way to the outermost edge of the green Sabana de Bogotá.
With its ideal climate, Anapoima is an easy escape for those tired of the Bogotá chills. And if someone once said that “the journey is as important as the destination,” or that “half the fun was just getting there” then I was as anxious as the children to tackle the 80 kilometers that separate the capital with this resort town.
Known for having ‘the best climate in the country’ as a large sign announces at the town’s entrance, the trip to Anapoima takes two hours and offers the visitor some breathtaking views of the eastern cordillera upon which Bogotá is located, as well as the rolling foothills of the Magdalena River valley. It’s an easy and safe drive, but with more than its fair share of curves descending from 2,800 meters asl at the highest point of the road in Mondoñedo (km 101) until one arrives at 1,200 meters in the valley of Anapoima, and the gateway to many small towns that cater to the weekend exodus of Bogotanos in search of a pool, hammocks and Gin tonics.
In the heart of what is known locally as tierra caliente – hot country – due to the climate and lush vegetation, Anapoima resembles a small municipal park. Just minutes from the town centre, the nearby hills are home to the weekend cottages and country clubs. The town’s yellow and white church is the centerpiece of the community and worth visiting when the sun begins to set and a fresh breeze sets in. There is a pedestrian walkway lined with acacia trees and several eateries where one can grab a cold beer and watch village life unfold. Look for Los Borgonios and La Mejor Esquina as typical food restaurants when passing through Anapoima.
The population of 16,500 swells on weekends thanks to the tourists and people passing through on the main Bogotá to Girardot road. It has several decent restaurants nestled along the main roads such as the Argentinean steak house, El Quincho.
The charm of Anapoima is its location and climate. It is a picturesque place to visit for those who enjoy a walk at sunset after lounging by a pool with friends. It has several great trails for biking with spectacular views of the eastern cordillera. It is a safe and friendly community, as tourism is their main income.
When visiting Anapoima, try to stay in one of the country clubs, which have bungalows for guests and club members. The best of these members only clubs are Club Campestre with its two large outdoor pools and nine-hole golf course, Club Chicala, a popular place for weddings and conferences and the exclusive, closed residential community made up of private weekend homes: Mesa de Yeguas.
If you spend enough time in Colombia you’ll probably get to know someone who is a member of one of these clubs, and don’t be shy – ask them to sign you in. But, if you don’t feel part of a club culture, there are plenty of guesthouses in Anapoima catering to budget travelers, and most have small pools and gardens where you can meet other travelers. There is also the option of renting a farm house with friends through one of this country’s most reputable and trusted rental agencies: www.casastropicales.com.
With an unwavering climate of highs near 30 degrees in the day, and a fresh low in the 20s at night, Anapoima is also home to a great variety of birds. So bring binoculars, sun cream and flip flops and gear down for a totally relaxing weekend near Bogotá.