Monserrate Bogota Colombia: Climbing a Mountain on Your Knees

Climbing Monserrate Bogota (on your knees, more on this in a bit) is one of the most popular activities to do while visiting Colombia’s capital city. There’s three different options to get to the top: hiking, a gondola, and a train.  The train and gondola cost 7,700COP/direction. Hiking is free, even if you use your feet.

The stairs leading to the top of Monserrate Bogota.


Climbing Monserrate is a common pursuit for the local athletes. The stairs are reserved for athletes from 6am until 8am Monday through Friday. I didn’t get up that early, so I can’t testify to how busy it is, but I was told that it is even used by the professional soccer teams of Bogota for strength training. It’s a great workout, even just hiking it.  You gain 600 vertical meters from Central Bogota.

Bogota Colombia from 3200m above sea level.

The climb is tough enough by foot, but I was told that every Sunday, and during the entire week of Easter there are people climbing the mountain on their knees. You may be asking “why on earth would you ever climb 600m of stairs on your knees?” This would be a valid question. I asked the same. Apparently people believe that it’s a reasonable way to serve penance for their sins. I think it’s just plain crazy, but I guess crazy is good in god’s eyes.

The city of Bogota from Montserrate at 3200m.

The view from the top is truly spectacular. You can see the whole of this gigantic city from the top of Montserrate. There are approximately 8.5 million people in Bogota, and the city goes for as far as the eye can see. Truly something else.

The church at the top of Monserrate in Bogota.

Sunday is the busiest day for Montserrate because of the Sunday Mass in the church. It’s also the cheapest day to go, because they give a discount on Sundays so people can visit the church at a more economical price. Of course, because of this, you’ll be fighting crowds if you go on a Sunday.

After paying penance, zombie Christ will forgive your sins.

Seeing Bogota from the top of Monserrate is a “must do” while in Bogota. It has an incredible view, is a challenging, but doable hike, and is easily accessible from the city. Another option is to go at night for dinner. There are two great restaurants with views at the top to take that special someone.


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