NOTE: Oct 2016: The park is unfortunately completely closed (for an indefinite time).
Here you can download the El Cocuy-How to get there-Map (click on this link and scroll to the bottom of this page; here you will find a pdf link with the map!!)
This stunning mountain range is located in the East cordillera of the Colombian Andes. Shaped by snowed & rocky peaks (21) with hanging glaciers & surrounded by crystal blue lakes, the PNN of Cocuy & Güican extends over 306.000Ha & is filled with biodiversity. One of the highest peaks is Ritacuba Blanco (5.330m/17.500ft) & certainly the largest glacier in Colombia. The most visited one is Pan de Azúcar (5100m/16700ft) along with its rocky friend the Púlpito del Diablo, an imposing sandstone tower with 80m/260ft walls. If you want to live a profound experience, then you can’t skip visiting Laguna Grande, a big lake surrounded by a 180° view of snow peaks & glaciers.
WHAT TO DO?
Activities like nature hikes, camping, rock & ice-climbing, cycling & cave exploration. The allowed trek areas in the park are Valle de Lagunillas - Púlpito del Diablo y Pan de Azúcar, Hacienda la Esperanza - Laguna Grande, Cabañas Kanwara - Ritak Uwa Blanco, a big area to have an adventure from 3 to 7D. The Eastern part is closed in order to preserve the native ecosystems.
WHAT TO SEE?
Mineral hot springs of Güicán, lakes, snow-capped peaks & glaciers, rain & cloud forest, páramo vegetation & unique fauna. Enjoy the lovely, little & typical green-white colored town of El Cocuy.
Entrance = Colombians/Nationals + residents 26pp, foreigners 52pp, students + kids 12.5pp. Pay once & you can enter the park for several D. Accident/Rescue insurance =7/D. ! Save money by showing your international mountaineering card.
HIRE A GUIDE: Jaime Tinoco, a highly experienced mountaineer & rock climber (speaks uk), who organizes guided expeditions with all-incl services for solo or group travelers. Ask for tours from 3 to 7 D. Contact him in advance so he can help you with every detail needed for this wonderful experience. Buy an expedition in Cocuy mountains & get 25% off a rock climbing D tour @Suesca. Cel: 311-730 09 37, email@example.com.
Take warm clothes, hat, quick drying clothes, sunglasses, raincoat, gloves, sunscreen, chapstick, good hiking shoes. Drink plenty of fluids; skip alcohol & cigarettes. Be careful when you take a picture close to the beautiful typical Frailejón plants because it is usually kind of swampy around where they grow - you might suddenly be in water up to your knees. Give yourself at least 3D min. to enjoy this dream! Horses are no longer allowed in the park.
Take bags to bring back rubbish, and please, do NOT let any toilet paper linger, take it back or burn it !!!!
Best time to visit is Dec-Jan and June-August with more sun, less rain. In Oct 2015 our researcher had rain, at least once per day.
Guides rent out camping or mountaineering material in both villages Guican and Cocuy. Do check quality before heading out.
! Contact the tour operators on this website and/or offline guidebook to organize your trip!
From Bogota B (@Salitre) = 10-12hrs, 45-50pp. @Town El Cocuy (@6:30am) or Güican (@5am) to PNN 1) milk truck = 15pp or 2) jeep = 80-100/tr. Car Bucaramanga-Capitanejo = 11hrs, 50-70pp. Capitanejo-El Cocuy = 3hrs, 15-25pp. Tunja-El Cocuy = 9-10hrs, 35-45pp. Güican-Cocuy B = 30min. When you come from San Gil, there are 2 roads you can take: Soatá or Capitanejo. Check the national police website in advance to see which road is recommended for travelling. www.policia.gov.co
TIP: From Bucaramanga there is unfortunately no longer a direct bus, the road brings you to Malaga (lots of road works and mostly unpaved), a buseta to Capitanejo + by this time you 'll need an overnight stay, the next morning another buseta at around 9 will bring you to a village close to Guican, where you should be able to find a a private car to Guican (discuss price before leaving). Direct busses from Capi(tanejo) to El Cocuy or Guican are no longer available in the morning, only at around 3pm, which is a downset for getting things organised the same day.
In conclusion, getting on the bus from Bogota or Tunja would be the best option unless you find yourself on the above itinerary.