Rural tourism has seen a boom over the last couple of years. It has become indispensable to be aware of the continued damage we inflict upon the flora and fauna. Having this stated, it is necessary to acknowledge that trekking has become a sport with many followers. But, trekking, began as a craving for long distance walking. Today it is a popular tourism option.
It is obvious, walking is one of the most simple, comfortable, and beneficial exercises there is. Consequently, for all of those who enjoy walking, one of the best options is trekking. In simpler words: trekking combines sport with nature. And, as to be expected, there are a lot of places in the world where you could have tourism and trekking at the same time.
Paths for the choosing
There is an infinity of paths, promenades, and routes to explore and visit. In Spain, they are more than enough places to enjoy this activity. Amongst some of the best trekking routes are: Ruta del Cares (entre León y Asturias), El Valle de Ordesa (Huesca) o la Laguna Negra (Soria), amongst others.
The Ruta del Cares, as is the case for a few other routes, there is no drinkable water, meaning that you should always carry enough water with you.
One of the biggest characteristics of the path between León and Asturias is that the paths are always accompanied by small rock tunnels.
After crossing the tunnels, the idea is to reach Caín, a place where the magnificence of the mountains speaks for itself.
El Valle de Ordesa, in Huesca, is one of the oldest places in Spain and without a doubt one of the most popular sites. Since 1997 it is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
When on this path it is possible to go to the medieval town of Arsia, through Torla, and by the Valle de Bujaruelo.
All though all trekking routes are different and alike at the same time, the Black Lagoon (Laguna Negra) route es impressive. The noise of the water falling against the grey rock wall, makes its visitors look up in order to truly appreciate it.
It is so magical that the poet Álvaro Machado used it in his work La Tierra de Alvargonzález.
This lagoon has always been surrounded by legends and tales of dark and fascination. It is 2.000 meters high and in the middle of impressive granite walls, surrounded by mountain scenery plagued with an oak wood forest, pine trees, and extensive flora and fauna diversity.
The other options
However, for the hikers that are always looking for a long journey, there are hundreds of other options. Some good examples are Rumania (Valaquia, Transilvania), northern countries (in Sweden, Kungsleden (the King’s Trail), or Hordaland in Norway), to name a few.
And, as it is expected, the Latinamerican continent has a few gems of its own for those who want to walk amidst mountains. Some of them are: Brasil (Itupava, Serra Geral) and Costa Rica (Cerro Dantas, Coronado, Bosque de Prusia).
Nevertheless, there are always people who are influenced by the headlines: the assurance that it is an unsafe continent, where drug lords are in every corner; the press, the news, and many people only say negative things, but this is not true.
The Colombian routes
Although there are some problems in Colombia, truth be told, there are many ways to enjoy yourself. Colombia has changed over the past years and safety has increased. In the big cities it has become a modern country and rural and charming in every town, but above all, safer.
Going back to the walking amidst mountains subject, two of the most spectacular routes in Colombia are the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
The Sierra Nevada de El Cocuy is a place where a gargantuan natural richness exists set for hiking in rock or snow. Moreover, in the rocky formations that frame the Sierra Nevada, it is possible to experience paths of different difficulty.
In the boundaries of Boyacá, Casanare y Arauca nature placed these colossal masterpieces with more than 20 high peaks covered in snow and wild vegetation in the Plains, the Andean forest, and the high plateau.
The Sierra is one of Colombia’s biggest natural reserves and an outstanding landscape. It is important to note that, hiking the high peaks requires between 1 to 3 days and experience according to the glaciers and ice slopes.
The Cocuy National Park is a strategic ecosystem and it is possible to find the highest peak of the East Andes Mountains, the Ritacuba Blanco peak (5.330 metros). In the northern part, it is possible to spend the night in the Kanwara cabins.
The Ritacuba Blanco peak is 5.333 meters high and as such the highest point of the Sierra and the easiest to climb. In the central part, there are a few important peaks but they are visited less frequently, some of them are Picacho (4.990m), the northern and southern San Pablines (5.180m), and El Castillo (5.120m), the farthest and most difficult peak.
In the southern, at 4.510 meters high, there is the Big Lagoon (Laguna Grande), considered as the most beautiful lagoon in South America and surrounding it the Concavito peak of 5100 meters, the Cóncavo peak with 5200 meters, and the Pan de Azúcar with 5.250 meters in a half-moon formation.
Changing to the other Sierra, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the weather as it is to be expected in Colombia is completely different. Let us start with the fact that the Sierra is the heart of the Earth and is the birthplace of the Tayrona people, the most singular and monumental indigenous civilization in Colombia. Moreover, almost 30,000 indigenous people of the indigenous ethnic groups Kogui, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and Wiwa (Arsarios) live there.
Additionally, it is the world’s highest coastal range and two of Colombias’ mountains, the Colón and Bolívar peaks. Within this mountainous massif, it is possible to see the Archeological Teyuna Park “Ciudad Pedída”, the Colombian Anthropology and History Institute is in charge of it.
The Sierra was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979. Due to its geographical and climatic characteristics, people have the opportunity of seeing the tropical rain forest, the páramo, and the naval zone.
It is no secret that multinational corporations fight to obtain every piece of untampered earth (virgin). It can be cliché, but it is worth asking yourself: how are we supposed to have more and more contact with nature when it’s fading in front of us?
In the case of the Cocuy National Park, it is categorized as a Strategic Ecosystem whose main function is to maintain basic ecological equilibrium and of natural heritage.
In addition, it is an ecosystem of extreme edaphological, geological and geomorphological fragility. In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a series of continued recovery, investigation, and conservation activities are being held.
What’s it all about
In order to see the world through trekking, you do not need a lot of things. Maybe, the most important of them all is a good pair of shoes. But it seems as if the love for the mountains, for the many adventures they hold could easily come to an end.
All the people, at one time or another, need to get away from the large cities and the frenetic rhythm of their life. As such, trekking and rural tourism, are the perfect formula to enjoy nature.
Ecotourism is about traveling to unexplored places in a responsible manner, helping the preservation of the ecosystem and the communities that you find along the way. Another way of putting it is: when traveling to these enchanted places, where every traveler has the opportunity of changing the manner in which they travel, relate to others,s and experience the world; it is possible to increase tolerance towards other cultures and the responsibility we have towards the environment.