If you find yourself in Pasto, Colombia, you must make time to visit Laguna de la Cocha. Laguna de la Cocha is a serene lagoon situated just 40 minutes outside of Pasto, Colombia, in a colorful fishing village. Visiting the lagoon is a perfect relaxing day trip from Pasto. Just walking around the little village, you’ll feel worlds away from Colombia. The wooden homes and bright blue, red, and green restaurants surrounded by flowers and water provide a tranquil experience to visitors.
We arrived at the Laguna without any particular plans, but once we saw boat tours, we decided to inquire about the price and take a boat to a little island in the middle of the lagoon. There are different packages you can purchase based on what kind of boat trip you want, but we decided to go for one of the cheapest ones which included the boat ride and time to explore the island. We paid $17,000 pesos each (about ~$6 USD).
Legend says that the island, Isla la Corota, used to be a woman who was converted into an island and sanctuary due to jealousy. Today, the island has a hiking trail that circles the island, weaving around the jungle-like trees and plants. There is also a small sanctuary and places to sit and enjoy the views of the surrounding lagoon. Entrance to the hike costs $2,500 pesos (about 90 cents).
After hiking around the island, we took our boat back to the village and decided to have lunch. Nearly all restaurants in the village serve the same food at around the same price. Our boat driver led us to his family’s restaurant and he showed us the upstairs balcony where we could sit and enjoy the view of the town while eating our fresh trout lunches.
After lunch, we walked through the town and found a soccer tournament. But it wasn’t just any soccer tournament…it was a bunch of men over the age of 40. It was quite entertaining, and all in good spirits! We also got to soak in the sun as the clouds dispersed, making for a perfect, warm afternoon of watching older guys play soccer.
Before leaving, we checked out a little dessert shack and bought some strawberries and cream. It was the perfect way to top off our relaxing day at Laguna de la Cocha.
How to arrive:
If you’re staying in Pasto, take a small bus (colectivo) from the city to Laguna de la Cocha. The bus we took was located in front of a church, as recommended by our hostel. It seemed pretty informal (i.e. – get on the bus and go), so your best bet would probably be to ask your hotel/hostel where to catch a bus to the laguna. The bus costs $4,000 pesos/person and lasts 40 minutes.
Total cost: ~$8,000 pesos (for buses roundtrip) + ~$35,000 pesos (optional purchases)
– Taxi from hostel to the church: $2,500 pesos each
– Bus from Pasto to Laguna & Laguna to Pasto: $8,000 pesos total/person
– Trout lunch: $12,000 pesos/person
– Boat trip to the island: $17,000 pesos/person
– Entrance to the park on the island: $2,500 pesos/person
– Strawberries & Cream dessert: $2,500 pesos