Camping is one of the oldest and cheapest ways to get away from the daily chores and explore nature. For thousands of years, people have always enjoyed spending time outdoors and exploring what nature has to offer. Other people, especially families, go camping just to break the boredom of staying indoors and have fun in the wilderness.

If pitching a tent somewhere in the forest or park is one of your planned things-to-do this year, then you want to pick the best camping destination for maximum experience. Colombia is one of the most spectacular places for camping. From stunning lakes to beautiful natural parks available for camping, there’s no shortage of great camping spots in Colombia. In this article, we have put together 5 top camping spots to pick from:

Tayrona Natural National Park

This is a 150-square kilometer park that offers visitors a stunning combination of nature, adventure, history, and indigenous culture. In this natural park, you’ll have an opportunity of relaxing in more than 14 spectacular beaches, among them Arrecifes and Cañaveral. From any of the beaches, you’ll be able to see the majestic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and enjoy relaxed walks to Teyuna ancestral sites such as Pueblito.

Tayrona Park has several authorized campgrounds where you can pitch your tent or sleep in the park’s hammocks referred to as “chinchorros.” You can also hire a tent for $15,000 pesos a day if you forget to bring your own (which most visitors do.)

Tatacoa Desert

Would you like camping in the desert? If so, then you can camp in the Tatacoa desert. This is the second largest desert in Colombia, and located in the department of Huila. Spanning over 330 square kilometers of a lunar landscape, the weather fluctuates between extreme hot during the day and cold at night so pack a sleeping bag and sweater.

Tatacoa is famous for its unobstructed sky that matches with the green cactuses growing all over the place. If you like star gazing there’s even an observatory which locals are more than keen to show tourists and run by astronomer Guillermo García. The cosmic spectacular begins at 7pm with explanations in English and Spanish. Most farmers will let you camp on their land for a fee that can range between $10,000 and $20,000 pesos. There’s more formal accommodation in Villavieja, gateway to the desert.

Tota Lake

Located in the department of Boyacá, Tota Lake is always often referred to as a lagoon given the fact that there are no other lakes of this size in the vicinity. Mirroring deep blue skies, this place is known for a very white sandy beach and turquoise waters. Beautiful wheat crop plantations also surround the lake. You’ll find numerous camping spots in pine groves or facing Playa Blanca. From the most important town in the valley Sogamoso head to Aquitania and there’ll be no shortage of trout, beer and sunset walks among the wild onion fields. Tota can be reached in five hours from Bogotá and there is very frequent bus service from the capital to Sogamoso.

Chingaza National Natural Park

Located to Bogotá’s East, this national park is another cool spot to camp. The park has stunning landscapes characterized by the presence of lagoons and frailejón plants. The park also has four internal circuits with strategic viewpoints to see the beautiful scenery and experience what nature has to offer. If you’re a fan of hiking, then Chingaza National Park is perfect for you to prove your skills. You can even visit with your
family and hike together while exploring nature in its rawest form. If you’re looking for a campground with modern facilities, then this park is where you need to visit. It has a camping area with electricity, hot water, and parking. Check the National Park’s web- site for entry fees and specific camping locations. parquesnacionales.gov.co

Matarredonda, Cundinamarca

Our last camping spot in our list is Matarredonda ecological park in Choachí, Cundinamarca. Just 30 minutes from Bogotá on the old Villavicencio road, here, you’ll be amazed at how the landscape changes to become part of the tourist attraction. If you live in the city, then this park will give you a chance to breathe fresh country air and get to explore the famous high altitude wetland – páramo. This is an ecosystem consisting of flora and fauna, 3,000 meters above sea level. Matarredonda park is a popular spot for hikers, especially during the day, but you can enjoy the calmness and peace it offers at night. You can pitch your tent near the lakes, and rise early in the morning to hike through the mountains.

These are the best spots to camp in Colombia. Choose any one of them, and you’ll surely not be disappointed. Remember to bring your camping and emergency gear whenever you’re going camping. Also, ensure you do your research to know the best times to visit a particular campground so that you can have the best experience.

Tim Fox is a writer at Outdoor With J, a blog where he shares his love for the outdoors with the world. If you would like to read more of Tim’s adventures: www.outdoorwithj.com