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Colombiafrank’s Puerto Carreno Colombia Travel Guide

Puerto Asis

Updated on 02/26/2024

Dear readers
My name is Frank and I run a tour operator in Bogota, specializing in custom-made and Colombia luxury travel.

At the end of this guide you will find a list of many other helpful travel guides for Colombia.

Why visit Puerto Carreño?

Puerto Carreño is on the border with Venezuela, on the banks of the Orinoco River. It is an ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers as it offers a wide variety of landscapes, fauna and flora. You can enjoy activities such as pink dolphin watching, sport fishing and hiking.

You can also learn about the culture and gastronomy of the indigenous peoples who live here. Puerto Carreño is a place worth visiting for its beauty and tranquility. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful and authentic places in Colombia.

Facts about Puerto Carreño

Puerto Carreño is a city in the Vichada department of eastern Colombia, near the Venezuelan border. The city has about 20,000 inhabitants and is located at an altitude of 51 meters above sea level. The city was incorporated on August 5, 1922 and is the capital of Vichada.

Puerto Carreño has a tropical savannah climate with average temperatures between 26° C and 29° C all year round. The city has a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April.

The largest and most representative industries in Puerto Carreño are agriculture, fishing and mining. Livestock farming is an important agricultural activity in the area, and the town serves as a trading center for the surrounding region. Gold mining is also an important industry in the region, with several mines located in and around the town. Small businesses and services also contribute to the local economy.

Tourist activities and places of interest in Puerto Carreño

These are the top things to see and do in this border town with Venezuela. Here are some ways you can enjoy your stay:

Cerro de la Bandera

This is the most famous hill of Puerto Carreño, from where you can enjoy the confluence of the Meta and Bita rivers with the majestic Orinoco, as well as views of Bita hill, the Punta de Laja stones and the city center.

Cerro de la Bandera is an example of the Guiana massif in Colombia and is a popular vantage point for residents and visitors alike. Previously this mountain was known by the name of El Picacho, but in 1913 General Buenaventura Bustos, Commissioner of Vichada, raised the Colombian flag on its summit to reaffirm the country’s sovereignty, leading to it being called “El Cerro de la Bandera ” (the mountain of the flag). In the past, the Cerro de la Bandera served as an observation point to monitor the access of river boats. It is located in Barrio la Plazuela, 15 minutes from the center of Puerto Carreño.

Cerro del Bita

The Cerro del Bita, also called the Botanical Garden, is a Precambrian rocky promontory belonging to the Guiana Massif that has stood the test of time thanks to the hardness of its material. This place is a tourist attraction from which one can see the confluence of the Bita River and the Orinoco.

In 1998 the Bita Hills were declared a Botanical Garden by the Puerto Carreño City Council, due to the importance of the exotic and micro-exotic plant species preserved there, as well as the diversity of vegetation representative of the Puerto Carreño region, which includes native trees such as the Botototo, the Aceite, the Yellow Flower and the Horquetero Orinoqueño. In addition, this place bears witness to the cosmogonic history of fauna. The Cerro del Bita is located in the Virgilio Barco neighborhood, 20 minutes from the center of Puerto Carreño.

The harbor

Built in 1970 by engineer Camilo Cortés Román, the Malecón was renovated and transformed into a public space in 1999 by architect Rogelio Salmona. These works allowed the Avenida del Orinoco and the Malecón to be merged into a single thoroughfare. The construction of the Malecón was a response to the natural use of the rubber tappers who docked in the “La Madona” shop, where they were served by her and her assistant Indio Venancio, who offered them the best services of the time. These facts were recorded in the book “La Vorágine” by José Eustasio Rivera. Today it is Colombia’s main port on the Orinoco and Colombia’s fourth exit to the world across the Orinoco.

Observing Commerson’s Dolphins

About 5 minutes by boat from the port, in the easternmost corner of Colombia, is the confluence of the Meta and Orinoco rivers, known as “El Mar de Agua Dulce” (The Sea of Fresh Water). In this fish-rich place you can see the toninas, a species of river dolphin endemic to the Orinoco and the Amazon, well known to the locals. In addition, from here one can see the Apure, Bolivar and Amazonas departments of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the mountain range of the Guyanese Shield.

Church of Our Lady of Carmen

It is the main Catholic church in Puerto Carreño. The Montfortian Fathers began building the church in 1946 with the support of the Dutch Church and the contribution of the local community. Despite its modern design, the original structure and materials have been preserved. Ten years ago, the church was elevated to the rank of cathedral as it is the seat of the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Carreño.

El Tuparro National Natural Park

It is located in the municipality of Cumaribo, but can be accessed for ecotourism from the municipality of Puerto Carreño. Declared a national park in 1980 and a national monument in 1982, it covers 548,000 hectares.

Located on the crystalline Precambrian rocks of the Guiana Shield, the park is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species including five species of primates, beautifully feathered birds and the famous Maypures Streams. The park’s ecotourism offer is wide and includes activities such as hiking, wildlife observation, photography and video, research and environmental education. It is recommended to visit the park in both seasons to admire the different landscapes and the fish that swim up the Orinoco in high tide, as well as the golden beaches, the migratory birds and the turtles that sunbathe on the beaches in low tide enjoy.

Best time to visit Puerto Carreño

The best time to visit Puerto Carreño is between December and March, when the weather is drier and there is less risk of rain and flooding. During these months you can observe the fauna and flora of the region, e.g. B. pink dolphins, turtles, caimans and birds. Sport fishing, hiking and stargazing are also possible.

Events in Puerto Carreno

Puerto Carreño is a city that offers a variety of cultural and recreational activities throughout the year. Some of the most important events that take place in this city are:

The Chigüiro del Meta Festival

An excellent presentation of Lanera culture takes place during this festival, which showcases the best of the region’s folklore each year. The election and coronation of the queen of the festival also takes place during this festival.

The Orinoco River Festival

This April event aims to highlight the importance of the Orinoco River as a source of life and development for the city. The festival includes sports, ecological, educational and cultural activities related to the river and its biodiversity.

The International Festival of Bocachico de Oro

It is an event that brings together the sister countries of Colombia and Venezuela in a competition that showcases the best of Llanero folklore, including singing, contrapunteo, pasaje, unpublished songs and of course the award ceremony for the biggest bocachico fish. This festival also has an important commercial aspect as it promotes exchanges between Colombia and Venezuela.

The International Children’s Festival of Llanera Music “La Palometa de Oro”

It is considered the largest and most important children’s festival of Llanera music as it offers a wide variety of genres and disciplines. This event promotes fraternity through culture, because culture is considered the most valuable wealth there is, both material and immaterial. With the creation of La Palometa de Oro, this event aims to be used to show the world the richness of the Lanera culture.

The International Tournament of “Corrío Llanero”

The tournament was created in 1987 in Puerto Carreño, Vichada, based on a commission decree and was made official in 1993 by an ordinance issued by the Assembly. This folkloric festival has an international competitive character and is subject to specific rules for the modalities of male and female voices, couples, copleros and above all the Corrío Llanero, which is the main modality and spirit of the tournament.

Typical food in Puerto Carreño

If you ever visit Puerto Carreño, the capital of the department of Vichada, you cannot miss the typical food. The gastronomy of this region is based on the products of the Orinoco River and the Amazon Rainforest, such as fish, yucca, bananas and tropical fruits.

Some of the most famous dishes include the fried mojarrón, which is served with rice, salad and patacones; Casabe, a cassava flour tortilla that can be eaten alone or with cheese; sancocho de cachama, a thick soup made with white fish and vegetables; and dulce de copoazú, a dessert made from a cocoa-like fruit mixed with milk and sugar.

Accommodation in Puerto Carreno

Here are some recommendations for your stay in Puerto Carreño:

Apartments Mage

Calle 15 # 11-110

CLICK HERE FOR THE BEST RATES ON MAGE

Apartamentos Mage offers accommodation with free private parking. The accommodation offers views of the garden.

How to get to Puerto Carreño?

By plane

If you want to travel from Bogotá to Puerto Carreño, one of the quickest and most convenient options is to take the plane. There are direct flights from El Dorado Airport (BOG) that land at German Olano Airport (PCR) in Puerto Carreño in about an hour and a half. Airfares vary depending on the season and demand, but are typically around $110. Puerto Carreño Airport is only 788 meters from the city center, making it easy to get to your accommodation or destination.

The airlines that offer connections are as follows:

By car

Another option is to travel by car, but keep in mind that this is a very long journey and requires good planning. The distance between Bogotá and Puerto Carreño is about 1,200 kilometers and takes about 20 hours. You should also consider road conditions, weather and fuel. The estimated cost of traveling by car ranges from $45 to $75 depending on vehicle type and fuel consumption.

The following companies rent cars in Colombia:

  • Hertz
  • Avis
  • ABC

By bus

You can also take a bus from Villavicencio to Puerto Gaitán and then another to Puerto Carreño. The journey can take between 24 and 36 hours depending on road conditions. The easiest way to buy tickets is via Pinbus.

How to get around Puerto Carreño?

Once in Puerto Carreño, you can explore the city by taxi, motorbike taxi, or bike. You can also rent a car or motorbike to explore the area and get to know the natural and cultural attractions of the region.

Colombia Travel Guides

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Travel Guides to Colombia’s Small Towns

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia.I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia.For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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