Overview El Cocuy National Park

If you are up for spectacular hiking or climbing during your visit in Colombia, El Cocuy National Park (or Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy) is the place to go.

Laguna de la Plaza under snow, El Cocuy National Park

Recently (August 2016), the park has been closed to tourists without warning. Check carefully with your guide, elected accommodation or by calling El Cocuy Park office to see if the park is open and wich sectors you can visit. http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/portal/es/ecoturismo/region-andina/parque-nacional-natural-cocuy/

The park is located 500 Kms North East of Bogota in the Cordillera Oriental in the department of Boyacá. It is 25 kms long, 4kms large and has 25 peaks covered in snow, whereof 15 are over 5000m.

Large parts of the park have been closed in 2013 but it remains a highlight of Colombia for any hikers of climbers visiting the country. The high altitude, large amounts of rain and its location next to the equator make El Cocuy a magical and truly unique place on earth mixing snowy peaks, glaciers and valleys of thousands of frailejones (the endemic cactus found in the Colombian Paramos).

Map Overview of El Cocuy National Park

There are several entrances and hiking sectors in the park.

Güicán Sector: located in the north of the main mountain range, it offers amazing trekking oportunities especially the trek to the Laguna Grande de los Verdes as well as the climb to the highest peak in the park, the Ritacuba Blanco (Ita U'wa Blanco) at 5,330m. The sector also includes the best accommodation option in the park, Cabañas Kanwara, which offers private mountain huts (with a fireplace in each one) and amazing food served at 4,000m of altitude. On your way there, you should as well spend a night or two in the town of Güicán de la Sierra, where you do some acclimatization hikes, rest in the local thermal waters or learn about the U'wa community.

El Cóncavo Sector: in the middle of the park between the sectors of Güicán and El Pan de Azúcar, you can access the area via Güicán de la Sierra or El Cocuy through La Capilla. Less visited, it includes the magnificent Valle de los Frailejones as well as the Cuchumba waterfall. From there, you can climb El Cóncavo peak (5,200m), which is a bit easier than Ritacuba blanco or the Pan de Azúcar.

El Pan de Azúcar Sector: situated south of the mountain range, it is a popular route with access to the Valle de Lagunillas and the famous climb to El Pulpito del Diablo and the Pan de Azúcar (5,100m). It is also the entry point to the Laguna de la Plaza, the most beautiful place in the park with its lagoon overlooked by a diamand shaped mountain (El Diamante). Unfortunately the laguna has been closed to visitors since 2013.

The 6 day trek, La Vuelta, used to be very popular but it has also been closed in 2013.

 

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