Puracé National Park

Volcano Puracé ColombiaNot far from Popayan is the spectacular Parque Nacional Puracé, one of Colombia’s most off-the-beaten-track parks that boasts several volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, lakes, a plethora of flora and fauna and hot natural springs.

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ATTRACTIONS, SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES
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Puracé Volcano is one of the main reasons to visit the park, but a hike to its summit is demanding. The climb is made difficult by ash, unpredictable weather and mines (although if you stick to the beaten track, you will avoid those). If you do decide to make the effort, however, the views are breathtaking and make the arduous hike more than worth it. Expect the whole journey to take the best part of two days.

This volcano is just one of 6 in the area, hence the name ‘The Land of Volcanoes’ that the country’s tourism board has given the park. There are also several lakes which are great for relaxation, although thanks to the cold climate of the area not many people will be overly tempted to have a dip.

Waterfall in the PNN PuracéThe park is also home to the sources of 4 of Colombia’s main rivers: the Magdalena, the Cauca, Caquetá and Patía. These rivers make for spectacular views when you’re high up, and also allow many species to flourish in the park. Indeed, another of Puracé’s attractions is its huge selection of wildlife, including the Andean condor, spectacled bear and mountain tapir.

If you don’t fancy hiking up the volcano, you can also explore the many waterfalls in the area, and nearby are colourful, sulphurous pools that, although are inadvisable for swimming, make for a nice walk.

=> Inside the park live the Coconuco group, a small indigenous population that are well equipped for tourists, offering lodgings and typical food.

Termales de San Juan
Nearby there is a natural hot spring to enjoy called Termales de San Juan. You can take a bus, although they’re unreliable, or attempt to hitch a ride for a negotiable price (usually around $3,000).

...=> Puracé National Park Travel Guide Part 2: Accommodation, Hotels, Restaurants, Getting There

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