In Colombia's natural parks, you begin to truly understand the meaning of biodiversity. Seeing so many life forms is overwhelming.

Steinar Saeter

Norwegian

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Puracé Natural Park: land of volcanoes

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Volcán Puracé /Pic. http://www.flickr.com/photos/86338173@N00/335418429/sizes/l/.

Puracé /Pic. 86338173@N00

In the department of Cauca, just half an hour away by land from Popayán, the capital city, the steep canyons of the Puracé National Natural Park, covered by dense vegetation, are home to a small population of Andean condors. The high altitude makes for cold weather. Visitors are seduced by volcanoes, hot springs, unusual flora and fauna, and a friendly Indian population.

This is the area of the Serranía de los Coconucos Volcano complex with the following volcanoes: Puracé, Piocollo, Quriquinga, Calambas, Paletera, Quintín, Los Charcas, Manchagara, Pan de Azúcar and Pucará. Only Puracé and Sotará are active. Threatened vegetable species, such as the Colombian pine tree, oaks, and wax palms grow in the area.

Characteristics

The place where the wind whistles the melancholy tune of the Andes.

The volcanic character of Puracé is reflected in numerous sulphur hot springs.

Thirty lakes, ideal for resting are relaxing, are part of the park. The Puracé Park is considered the hydrographic star of Colombia. The Magdalena, Cauca and Caquetá Rivers have their origin in this Andean belt, which was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1979 by UNESCO.

Access

The Puracé National Natural Park is located 44 kilometers from the city of Popayán (department of Cauca). Popayán is only 45 minutes by air from Bogotá. From Popayán it is necessary to travel by land to a site by the name of El Crucero. After that, it is only one kilometer to the park.

Communities

The park’s area of influence serves as a reservation for the Coconuco ethnic group. In the Pilimbalá sector, the community offers comfortable lodgings and typical food.

Flora

It depends totally on four biomes: rainforest, páramo, superpáramo and snow. The following trees standout: manzano, candela, and higuerón, besides numerous vines. An estimated 200 species of orchids grow in the park.

Fauna

The park protects mammals that are threatened because of the reduction of their habitats, among them, the spectacled bear and the rabbit deer (Pudu mephistophiles). The area has over 150 species of birds, among them the Andean condor.

Activities

  • Trail hiking
  • Trekkings
  • Hot springs
  • Photography
  • Observation of fauna and flora
  • Cultural contact
  • Attractions
  • The Puracé Volcano, four hours away from the visitor center.
  • San Rafael Lake.
  • Bedón Waterfall.
  • San Juan hot springs.
  • Los Guácharos Cave.
  • San Nicolas Waterfall.
  • The Pilimbalá community.
  • City: Popayán (religious and colonial heritage).

Access to the park

Consult your travel agent or visit http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/

Contact

Proexport Colombia
Calle 28A Nº 13A-15 Piso 36
E-mail: info@colombia.travel

Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Fondo de Promoción Turistica Proexport Colombia

Other Proexport websities