A great thing about travelling in Colombia has been discovering the remote and spectacular countryside with its diversity of flora and fauna. After 2 days in Popayan I was ready to experience the Parque Natual de Purace but getting there was presenting problems. I decided to hire a professional guide who provided excellent service and the day was spent care-free enjoying the drive up through several ecosystems to the Parque where we experienced hot springs, condor sightings, waterfalls and a never ending display of impressive vegetation.
The drive takes you high up in the central cordillera of Colombia over some bumpy roads, overlooking incredible landscapes. At the top is a modest parks office where you pay your entrance and go on an orchid walk or a walk to the hot springs. In April, it can rain and it's quite cool so wear boots and take a jacket. You should also take money for lunch.
The guide, Cristian Eduardo Pipamija will also take you to for a soak in the hot springs in nearby Coconco if you like. He speaks just a little English so it will help if you have a moderate level of Spanish to coordinate services and negotiate the price as well as take advantage of his knowledge. Ask for his card at the Information centre by Parque Caldas. Next time I want him to guide us around Macizo while it is still pristine, undiscovered, precious. Please contact me for details as I could go on for pages!
If I were really selfish I would keep this all to myself. The Park is just being discovered by the outside world and it won't stay this unspoiled forever. Take advantage and go now!
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