Home > South America > Colombia > Eastern Colombia > Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Colombia

Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy

This national park is officially called Parque Nacional Natural de Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, Chita y Güicán, but most people just call it Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy.

Its 306,000 hectares are located in Boyacá, Arauca and Casanare Departments. On this western side of the range, the park boundary is etched at the 4000-meter (13,120-foot) line. The Sierra Nevada has 21 peaks, several over 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). Ritacu'wa (Ritacuba) Blanco is the highest, at 5,330 meters (17,483 feet). This region is delicate páramo and has been heavily impacted by farming populations. The park service is working with these communities in restoration of the eco-system and in the development of sustainable alternatives, like eco-tourism. This area abounds with opportunities for trekking and climbing enthusiasts, and for those who just want a feel of the snow. The snowline is, at closest, only a three-hour hike away. This part of the park is divided into three general access points: Las Lagunillas or Alto de la Cueva; La Capilla or La Esperanza; and Rutaku'was (Ritacubas).

At the east side of Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) El Cocuy plunges to its lowest point, 600 meters (1,968 feet) in the Colombian llanos. Climbing the sheer rock here is only for experts. Because of the remoteness of the region and its dense vegetation it has been less impacted by the human hand. The northern sector of PNN El Cocuy is part of indigenous U'wa territory. This is the best preserved, in large part due to the U'wa's respect of Mother Earth. However, their culture and lands are endangered due to the presence of possible petroleum fields.

Fauna species found in PNN El Cocuy include the spectacled bear, puma, chinchilla rabbit, mountain tapir, white-tailed deer and dozens of bird species, amongst them the Andean condor and the águila real. Flora is equally diverse, owing to the many eco-systems embraced by the park: frailejón, cardoon cactus, the encillo and sietecueros trees, numerous varieties of mosses and lichens, and cojines (Plantago rigido).

The Park contains the largest expanse of glacier fields in northern South America but they are quickly receding due to global warming. Scientists estimate that at the present rate of melting, the snow pack will disappear in 15 to 20 years. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy is the birthplace of rivers flowing both to the Río Magdalena and the Orinoco.

For more information on PNN El Cocuy, visit:

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

28 Jul 2011

VIVA Colombia

Things to do in Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy

Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

121181If mountaineering and appreciating rare, natural beauty is your cup of tea, then you better start planning now to climb Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. Pico Iyer listed the mountain range with 18 snow ...
Cocuy , Colombia

Aguas Termales

123121After all the trekking in Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy, your muscles may need a bit of relaxation. Near Güicán are Aguas Termales which will just the trick for you—and help warm you help ...
Spa/Hot Springs
Guican , Colombia

The Camino Deshecho and Petrographs

123122An alternative route down to the hot springs is what the locals call the Camino Deshecho, or the Unmade Road. And that is precisely what this trail is: An old stone road, dating from who knows when, ...
Guican , Colombia

Monumento a la Dignidad de la Raza U’wa

123123On the road out of Güicán is a monument facing north towards the indigenous nation it honors. This is Monumento a la Dignidad de la Raza U’wa (Monument to the Dignity of the U’wa Race), created ...
Guican , Colombia

Peñol de los Muertos

123124And it occurred that men with faces of greedOverthrew and erased our villagesImposing their way of life by force.Liberty is a gift that is born with life,It justifies its existence.Without it, Mother ...
Guican , Colombia

Paragliding in El Cocuy

123126To the west of El Cocuy village a dark cliff looms out of the greened landscape. This peak is call Maohama. It is the spot easiest to access in PNN El Cocuy for practicing parapentismo, or ...
Paragliding and Hangliding
Cocuy , Colombia

Mountain Climbing

123162One of the biggest draws to PNN El Cocuy is the mountain climbing. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy is considered to be one of the most beautiful ranges in the country and the lack of tourists makes for ...


123165Another prime activity in PNN El Cocuy is trekking across its plains. A series old trails traverse the wind-swept landscaped rimed with snow-covered mountains. The solitude makes it a wondrous ...

Las Lagunillas

123168An easy one-day hike road trip is to Las Laguillas. The “camino” is well defined along the Río Lagunillas, a small stream flowing around copses of “frailejón” and across the plain, ...

Cueva de Cuchumba

123169Not too far from Hacienda La Esperanza, along the Quebrada El Cóncavo, is Cueva de Cuchumba. This cave with a waterfall within was once an important ceremonial center for the U\'wa. It was here they ...


Don\'t forget to pack your rod and reel when coming to Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy. You can whip loose your fly and take a hand at the trout swimming in the icy depths of Laguna Grande de ...
Other Activity
View Colombia Map

Antarctica | Central America and Mexico | South America |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password