Stay: Refugio La Roca
This idyllic hostel is only improved if you happen to be a rock climber.
If you’re looking for fantastic rock climbing in a world-class location, look no further. Perched on the edge of Mesa de Los Santos, in Santader, Colombia Refugio la Roca offers rustic accommodations, as well as convenient access to the best sport climbing in Colombia.
Most of the accommodations are small, rustic cabins that sit on the edge of the canyon. These aren’t five star hotel rooms by any means, but what they lack in amenities they make up in charm. With enough room for a fairly comfortable mattress and a closet, you won’t complain to waking up to sunrise over the mountains as you look out your window. The owners are also working on a new dorm for additional beds in addition to the cabins.
The food is fantastic, if a bit on the expensive side for Colombia. Enjoy a giant bowl of fruit, yogurt and granola for breakfast, or a wide variety of tasty dishes for dinner (I recommend the fish), all prepared lovingly by the Refugio staff. While this isn’t the cheapest place to to stay (for Colombia) the additional cost is a factor of the remoteness. If you're the budget type, there's also a community kitchen available for guests to use.
What to do
Climb, climb climb. The closest crags are a short 10min walk from your bed, and there are several more areas within 30min, totaling hundreds of aesthetic sport routes. The downside? This area is not geared towards beginners. With only a few routes lower than 5.10, less experienced climbers may only find a day or afternoons worth of climbing here. The good news is that they’re continuing to bolt new routes and adding less advanced climbs is a priority.
If you’re not a climber, not to worry. La Roca is still a great place to unwind for a bit. There’s a glass walled yoga room with expansive views on the property, and the hike from the Refugio to nearby Los Santos on the historic Camino Real is an enjoyable one.
You can find more information online at refugiolarocacolombia.com
We stayed in the cabin Mirador and Guane, and would recommend Guane (slightly more comfortable and 20,000 COP more)
You can rent all climbing gear and/or a guide (80,000 COP/day) from the hostel, although it can get a bit expensive if you're here for a while. Guidebooks with maps of the area and all the routes are available at the hostel, and can also be found here.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.