This day trip is available from Popayán.
The Puracé National Park is located on the border of the departments of Huila and Cauca and is normally best visited from Popayán. On a cloudless day it is possible to see the snow-capped peaks of Pan de Azúcar and Nevado Puracé from Popayán itself.
The national park covers a total area of 870km² and boasts a spectacular variety of flora and fauna. An absolute must-see destination for nature lovers.
Puracé was designated a national park in 1968 and its Andean forests and páramo landscapes form part of a larger volcanic system called Los Coconucos.
Geography, flora and fauna
The name Puracé comes from Quechua and means Fire Mountain. The name pays homage to Nevado Puracé, the park’s stratovolcano that enjoys a central location within the park.
The volcano assures that the park is quite literally a hot-bed of geothermal activity. Thermal springs and pools emerge from the volcanic rock throughout the park. This defines the park’s landscape and makes for some spectacular scenery, with bubbling pools, dark green mosses, sulphur vapours and large volcanic rocks.
Puracé also boasts an enviable avifauna and is a perfect birdwatching destination. Be on the lookout for Black-and-chestnut eagles (Spizaetus Isidori), Noble snipes (Gallinago Nobilis), Buff-winged starfrontlets (Coeligena Lutetiea), Rufous-vented whitetips (Urosticte ruficrissa) and many more. Contact us for a more complete list.
The park is also the home to Andean condors reintroduced to the area by the breeding programme at San Diego Zoo in California.
Our day trip leaves Popayán at 7.30am and takes us to our first port of call, the village of Puracé. Around the village we go to popular condor lookouts to try to spot some of the 25 breeding pairs that live in the area.
Onwards we continue through pristine páramo landscapes where we have the chance to see Laguna de San Rafael in the distance.
For many the highlight of this trip is the visit to Las Termales de San Juan, a myriad of colours, bubbling hot springs, sulphur clouds and mind-blowing Andean flora.
On the way back we visit the Bedón waterfall before having lunch in Puracé village. We return to Popayán late in the afternoon.
The ideal group size is 2 to 8 persons but of course larger groups can be accommodated on request. Ask us about longer stays and professional birding guides if your objective is birdwatching in the park.
- A fantastic day excursion to the incredible landscapes, bubbling geothermal pools and sulphur clouds of the park
- The perfect destination for photographers of all abilities, the park offers some phenomenal compositions and landscapes that simply cannot be found anywhere else in the world