The Cocuy National Park has been on my list of places to visit since I came to Colombia and finally the day had come! With my friend Hernan and other friends and families we started the “mountain adventure”. At 4:30 in the morning we hit the road from Bogota as a 10 hours ride awaited us to the village of “El Cocuy”. We passed breathtaking landscapes along the road with the Chicamocha Canyon, evergreen mountains and as getting closer to our final destination we could always get a better look at the impressing mountain chains and snow peaks of the Cocuy National Park – especially from the telescope which an old señor installed in the middle of the road! He is so passionate about it and shows you the top of the snowcapped mountains and tells you its names by showing you the map of the national park!
Finally we arrived in the little village of “El Cocuy” at around 4pm where we stayed at the very nice hotel Posada Muñoz right at the market place. On the market place you can find a map/relief of the whole Cocuy National Park which covers in total 3.060 square kilometers and consists of 22 snow peaks including Ritakuwa Blanco (5.330m) or Pan de Azucar (5.120m). So definitely we would only see a very tiny part during our trip! After a small snack for dinner we went to bed early as the alarm would wake us up at 5am the next morning in order to start our mountain adventure.
After a delicious breakfast in the hotel we walked to the office of the national parks where they gave us some more information about the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy – about its nature, its indigenous inhabitants as well as restrictions and advises! Then we were ready to go on the 4×4 vehicles which took us on a 1,5hours ride to the entrance of the Cocuy National Park. Here we met our guides and walked about an hour to the cabins “Cabañas Sisuma” where we spend the night! On the way we already passed beautiful Páramo landscapes with the frailejones plants which are typical for the Andes region and impressing mountain scenery! In the cabins we were served a delicious lunch after we checked in to our rooms!
In order to get used to the altitude we went for another walk along “Las Lagunillas”. During this 2 hour hike we passed 3 different lagoons, páramo landscapes as well as beautiful mountain ranges. After this great experience, a typical tasty dinner awaited us at the cabin Sisuma. Then we had a small talk with our guides where we discussed the itinerary of the following day! The plan was to get up very earlier, have some breakfast and start walking at 4am! I was already a little afraid if I would survive this freezing night but seeing the people that were going to camp outside I thought it shouldn’t be too terrible. It definitely helped that I had brought my sleeping bag and I tucked myself in with some more blankets!
In the middle of the night the alarm went off and it was time to complete our aim for this trip to walk to the snow border at “pulpito del diablo”. Full of energy we started walking in complete darkness but soon it got light and we could see more of the surroundings and actually which distance we had already walked! The big challenge was to climb up a steep stony path which is called “paso de cornejo”. We all made it up and on the other side of the mountain a breathtaking view awaited us and we were able to see our aim – the “Pulpito del diablo”! It actually seemed very near and a walk without any big obstacles but actually we kept on walking a little bit up and down for another 1,5 hours! It definitely seemed we would never get there even though we saw it just in front of us!
Once we got there all my Colombian friends jumped into the snow like little kids as it was the first time they saw or touched snow! It was very funny and surprising to see how much they loved it – some even cried because of happiness! Even though I told them that this actually is not “nice” snow as it was pretty icy & grey! Well, we took a nice break there, ate some bocadillos and other snacks and just enjoyed the beautiful landscapes and watched some of the people climb the snowy top of the “pulpito”!
Then we started to walk the whole way back again to the cabins! On some places I was wondering if we actually walked up all of this! Once we arrived at the cabin we were served a delicious lunch and had some time to rest in the surroundings of the cabin! Then we walked back to “Los Herreras” where the jeeps awaited us to bring us back to the village! As we were all pretty tired from the trekking we went to bed very early to start our long trip of 10 hours by car back to Bogotá! This trekking in the Cocuy National Park was definitely an amazing experience and I am sure I will be back as there is much more to discover!