Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy
All The Info / What To Bring

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The big question: do I need any special gear to go hiking and enjoy the park? Absolutely not. Regardless of whether you want to do the big 6 day trek, or just do individual day hikes from the cabanas, all you really need is warm clothes and a poncho.

Clothing And Gear

One constant in the park is that at night, it's cold. On your hikes up into the park it can snow, and depending on when you go you'll get rain at the cabanas and haciendas. All you really need then to enjoy the park is warm clothing and a poncho for the rain/snow. In El Cocuy and Guican you can pick up a really cheap warm hat and warm gloves (maybe 5,000 COP for the hat and 5,000 COP for the gloves). You may or may not be able to find western style winter jackets in El Cocuy or Guican; I would recommend picking one up in a bigger city, if you don't already have one.

Tents, backpacks, crampons, cooking gear, etc are definitely not needed if you're just going to be doing day hikes from the cabanas, which is the most popular option. For the 6 day trek, the guides will provide everything you need in terms of camping gear; all you'll need is your warm clothing, rain gear, and shoes. I'd recommend hiking shoes that have Gore Tex for waterproofness if you're going to be doing the 6 day trek, but they aren't 100% necessary. If you're going to be hiking without a guide, you need to pick up a map from the park rangers in El Cocuy or Guican, and if you're going to be doing the big 6 day trek without a guide I'd recommend trying to find the nice color map.

Food and Other Stuff

Most importantly, the cabanas do provide all meals, which although generally delicious, are expensive. If you're doing day hikes from the cabanas, I'd suggest picking up snack food for the trail in El Cocuy or Guican before heading up. The small store in La Capilla does have some things, but I wouldn't completely count on it. The cabanas are basically hostels; you won't need anything different than you'd need if you were staying in a hostel in San Gil. Guides for the 6 day trek should provide all the meals, snacks, and drinks you'll need, just be sure to ask what is included before you sign up.

Finally, don't forget to bring money. Obviously there are no ATMs up in the mountains. El Cocuy and Guican both have fully functioning banks with ATMs. Stock up with more than you'll think you're going to need if you're going to be heading up to the cabanas, you don't want to run out of money and have to bum off another traveler, or worse, return to the city earlier than you planned.