Puracé National Natural Park

AUTHOR: Katherine Palacio

The Puracé National Natural Park is one of the most virgin and unexplored places in our country’s geography.

It is located a few kilometers from Popayán, in the department of Cauca, it is a jewel of nature that uniquely embodies the beauty of the Central Cordillera of Colombia, product of the mixture of fauna, flora and culture.

Puracé National Park

In just one day in the Puracé National Natural Park it is possible to observe the largest flying bird on the planet, waters that spring from the mountains in free fall and páramos that contrast with the colorful and bubbling thermal, originated by the volcanic activity of the place.

Thermal baths of San Juan in Puracé

Our trip to the Puracé National Natural Park starts from the Puente del Humilladero in Popayán, where we must take a collective that costs around $10,000 COP. Although the road is a little long, we will be surprised with a measure that brings us closer to the mountains and begin to contemplate the landscape that looks out the windows of the bus.

Signboard sacred place make silence and image of the condor

When you arrive, you have to take the driver to leave us at the San Juan hot springs, where we will start an exciting and peaceful 15-kilometer hike, which will take us back to the entrance of the park, where we will appreciate more of the majestic volcanic chain of Coconuco and the emblematic Puracé, a series of places that allow us as a souvenir, colors, shapes and textures.

Woman with her back contemplated the Puracé park
San Juan hot springs
San Juan hot springs

Our first stop, the San Juan hot springs, evokes a prehistoric world of huge cracked rocks, the presence of volcanic lava in the past, and effervescent waters of between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius filled with sulfur, which flood a floor of red mosses , green and yellow, adorning the work that complete, in the background, miles of frailejones and the silhouette of the mountains.

Danta lagoon
Danta lagoon

Then, we came across the Danta lagoon, also known as the tapir or tapir that drank from its waters. It is a pure and crystalline well, which the inhabitants of the place decided to turn into a “source of desires” to get tourists to throw their coins.

The utensils used by the locals to recover the coins, end up modifying the texture of the water and the texture that remain around it, they were never seen again. This anecdote has to see how important it is to appreciate nature without actually altering it.

Guide in search of the condor of the Andes

On the way to the sighting of the condor, our last stop is in the Laguna de San Rafael, which is reached by taking a detour 5 kilometers from the Bedón waterfall. Unfortunately many things during the day and the ranger’s recommendations were not followed, they stayed behind in the mud.

Cascada Bendón
Bendón waterfall

Returning to the path, we can contemplate the Valley of the Frailejones in all its splendor, confirming the passage, why this area is considered the first hydrographic star of Colombia, which gives life to four of the largest rivers in Colombia (Magdalena, Cauca, Caquetá and Patía).

Woman with her back contemplated the Puracé park

When you arrive, do not ask for more: “Condors not visible every day”. It was worth every minute of waiting because for our fortune, two of them appeared.

Condors on rocks

The natives were called the “messengers of the sun” and they had a reason, because if they are human beings, they were descending slowly among the thick clouds to alight a few meters from us, on a large stone in which the Indians had put an “offering” to feed them.

Condor of the Andes

To close, it only remains to say that if you are going to find a place to meet yourself, connect with nature or have a leisurely walk, in just one day, travel to the Purace National Natural Park, be without doubt, the best idea You can have a Sunday.


Cauca: Gorgona island

Huila: Tatacoa desert and San Agustín

Nariño: Telpis lagoon and Las Lajas Sanctuary

Putumayo: End of the World Waterfall

Quindio: Cocora Valley, Pijao and Buenavista

Valle del Cauca: La Barra and Bahía Málaga

Katherine Palacio

Katherine Palacio

Diseñadora Industrial apasionada por descubrir lugares únicos junto a mis cámaras. Desde niña, el deseo de estar cerca a la naturaleza me ha cautivado profundamente y por eso mis primeras aventuras en el grupo de Scouts me hicieron entender que mi mayor deseo era explorar.

Instagram: @katpacker

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