The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy in Colombia is a hikers dream. It comprises a total area of 306,000 hectares (756,000+ acres) and is located near the border of Venezuela shared by the departments of Boyaca, Casanare and Arauca. This remote corner of Colombia stretches for more than 18 miles and boasts 23 snow covered peaks surrounded by waterfalls, glacial lakes and streams, highland vegetation, moors, rocky outscapes and valleys as well as native fauna that includes such animals as the spectacled bear, tapirs, eagles, Andean Condors and deer. Colombia has 56 national parks in all, but the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy stands out as one of the most rugged and pristine destinations in the entire country, attracting more and more visitors each year as the word gets out about this premier travel destination.
There are many similarities to other great national parks including Yellowstone and Glacier National Park
The desolate territory of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy is made up of a neotropical ecosystem known as a páramo. Most páramo is found in the upper parts of the northern Andes, roughly between 11° north and 4.5° south latitude. In fact, more than 57% of all páramo exists in Colombia with the largest in the world known as Sumapaz existing just outside of Bogota. The highest peak is known as Ritacuba Blanco. It is 17,487 feet and is located in the eastern section of the park. Other mountain peaks in the park include Ritacuba Negro, Puntiagudo, Sirara, Cóncavo, San Pablines Norte, San Pablines Sur, Pan de Azúcar, Concavito, El Púlpito del Diablo, El Castillo, Picos sin nombre, Picacho, Diamante, Toti and Portales. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy has the largest glacier coverage in Colombia and contains the largest snow-mass in South America north of Ecuador. This snow-mass makes up approximately 3% of the 756,000 acres.
How to get to the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy in Colombia
From Bogota, you will need to travel north on the Autopista Norte (North Highway) until you reach the town of Duitama located in the department of Boyacá 240 kilometers away. From there you will continue to travel north toward the towns of Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Cerinza, Belén, Susacón, and Soatá.