An introduction to the paramos and the plains with The Nature Conservancy
By Alejandro Pinto
DAY 1. A morning in the paramo
The Paramo is a unique ecosystem, provide countless environmental including water! They possess the greatest botanical biodiversity of all high-altitude ecosystems: 60% of their plant species are endemic. Their formation is a slow and steady process that has taken hundreds of thousands of years. Although the Colombian páramo is considered tropical because it is situated near the equator, but the climate an weather conditions are far from hot and easy, It is rather cool due to its high altitude of 3,000 masl.
They are a vital water source and a carbon sink that combats climate change, up there, many streams, rivers, lagoons and water reservoirs are feeded with clear fresh water, these in turn supply water to major cities like Bogotá (a 10 million metropolis) The páramo also have a remarkable ability to store water through its vegetation and unique geological and ecological features. It also acts as a carbon sink, accumulating carbon through organic matter in the soil.
These points demonstrate how the páramos play an important role as a vital source of water and an ally in combating climate change and we were able to watch all of this in first person during our visit.
DAY 2 and 3. The eastern Plains
Our visit to the easter plains was really grateful, there, we had enough time for culture, traditions, cuisine, wildlife and many more!
First, we visited Hato el Boral, a 1800 hectares ranch with a mix management: Cattle ranching and conservation. They have been working very hard in the way to have more sustainable cattle ranching while preserve the gallery or riparian forest. In the ranch we had some time for birding, watch some wildlife but also our first taste of the traditions with the traditional fishing session and the horseback riding through the ranch.
Traditional fishing techniques session
Horseback riding in the Ranch, Hato el Boral
Our second morning it was a immersive experience in the llaneros (cowboys) culture, we were able to watch and discover first hand their lifestyle at al level. We visited El Llanerazo, a small farmhouse in the middle of the plains, were the owners, Mr Seco, his wife and daughter introduce our selves to every aspect of the llaneros lifes, starting with the horseback riding, how to manage a farmhouse, their crops, their tools all handmade using their local resources and more!
Mr. Seco helping his horse to swim across the Pauto river
Mr Seco and his horse “bom bom bun”
Spotting wildlife! Jabirus and Red-howlers Monkeys
Our dinners were also loaded with culture, traditions and a lot of fun, we were part of a llanero party! In one of the iconics restaurants “La Patrona” the local group is trying to preserve all their traditions, the performance a representation of their typical parties and we were part of it.
Dancing llaneros music