Tourism as a source of income
Choachí is a municipality of Colombia located 39 km from the country’s capital. It has developed tourism by valuing its natural, cultural and gastronomic wealth. Choachí is currently undertaking a transitional economic process, to diversify the traditional agriculture-based economy by including tourism services as one of the village’s sources of income.
The community have decided to reduce the expansion of agriculture and integrate tourism thematic routes. These routes diversify the economic income and allow the protection of water sources. During their stay, visitors to Choachí are provided with information on average daily water consumption rates and guidance on how it can be conserved.
The municipality has succeeded in protecting and preserving more than 400 hectares of natural spaces by acquiring land for reforestation and environmental protection. Additionally, farmers and their families who live in the Chingaza National Natural Park have signed 25 voluntary agreements with the Colombian National Parks Office, with the aim of implementing joint conservation and sustainable production actions on their farms.
The tourism development of Choachí has focused on linking the rural population through community tourism. Farmer families in the region conduct discovery tours of the conservation areas, the cave art, and the urban center where the recovery of the physical infrastructure and muralism that combines farming and ancestral culture with modernity has been promoted.
The Chorrera, a waterfall of 590 meters and the highest in Colombia, is one of the major natural attractions of Choachí. The presence of mosses and frailejones (small palm trees with stubby trunks and flowers), wild rabbits, white-tailed deer, and spectacled bears demonstrate the immense natural richness of this area.
Yearly Barter Festival
Choachí has celebrated the “Yearly Barter Festival” for 10 years, where farmers and people from the city exchange natural products from both plant and animal sources and other types of items such as books, appliances, or technological devices.
The festival has replaced the modern payment system with the traditional means of bartering. This initiative enables both children and adults to receive training in the construction of businesses based on the exchange and fulfilment of commitments.
The “Choachí Pintoresco” programme has painted different murals alluding to the history, traditions and culture of several generations. This programme is complemented by the initiative “Villages who fall in love with art and color” where muralism and the improvement of facades have rescued the Chiguana identity.
Recycling for food
The municipality of Choachí has developed an alliance with Bancalimentos, a private company that exchanges plastics, cardboard and other recyclable items, for food. The initiative has already exchanged ten tons of recycling material for more than four tons of food.