14 August 2013

Natural Parks in Colombia: Part II

Posted in Blog

A few weeks ago we told you about a few of the amazing national parks you can visit in Colombia. Today, we are going to introduce you to some other incredible national parks in Colombia, each with something unique to offer to travellers and tourists alike.

1. Los Nevados National Natural Park

If you are looking for snow, hiking, and unique animals, Los Nevados could be the perfect national park for you to explore in Colombia. This remarkable park spans four Colombian departments--Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, and Tolima, and offers a panoramic view that will be hard to find elsewhere.

Within the park, there are four snow covered peaks: Quindío, Santa Isabel, El Cisne, El Ruiz, and Tolima, all towering close to or more than 4,800 metres above sea level1. These peaks are part of the highest sector of the Colombian Andes mountain range, and the El Ruiz peak is still classified as an active volcano.

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Los Nevados National Natural Park
Image: Paradiseintheworld.com

In the park, you can observe a variety of ecosystems, including tundra ecosystems, where you might catch a glance of animals such as the snow parakeet and páramo (tundra) hummingbird. You can also take guided hikes throughout the park, participate in fishing at Otún Lake, enjoy hot springs, and observe the Gualí Waterfall1.

If you plan to visit Los Nevados, make sure you take the necessary precautions for this type of climate and terrain!

For information about volcanic activity and entrance fees, visit the government website at: http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/PNN/portel/libreria/php/decide.php?patron=02.020208

2. National Natural Park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo

The National Natural Park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo is far from the snow and cold you'll experience in Los Nevados. The National Natural Park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo lies a short boat ride away from the historic city of Cartagena, and is the only underwater national park in Colombia. The park is composed of four islands and various coral reef ecosystems as well as bog, dry forests, rocky coasts, mangrove, and sea prairie ecosystems.

This park offers you the perfect tropical location to observe Caribbean corals, fish, and invertebrate species in their natural habitat through snorkelling, scuba diving, and other water activities. According to ProExport, "There are 197 species of mollusks, 170 of crustaceans, 132 of coelenterates, 35 equinoderm, 215 fish, and 31 birds that inhabit the park. To observe the species not living underwater, you can go on guided walks as well as independent kayaking trips.

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National Natural Park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo

If you're just looking for a beautiful spot to soak up Caribbean nature, and relax while you gaze into the Caribbean Sea, that's also an option at the National Natural park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo!

The National Natural Park of Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo is a very easy park to explore, as you can get transportation from Cartagena, Isla Barú, and even Tolú. You'll be charged an entrance fee to the park on top of your transportation fee, but it's all worth it. This tropical park should be a destination for anyone travelling along the Caribbean Coast of Colombia.

For information on prices and reservations for overnight stays, check out the government website: http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/PNN/portel/libreria/php/decide.php?patron=02.020213

3. Gorgona Natural Park

Gorgona Natural Park is located on an island off the Pacific Coast of Colombia in the department of Cauca. A very unique park, Gorgona has only been receiving "willing" visitors since 1983, and even so, due to its location, not many people actually choose to make the journey to this Galapagos-like island. Before 1983, the island served as a sort of maximum security prison—some say it was the Colombian version of Alcatraz.

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Gorgona Natural Park
Image: Colombia.travel

Not to worry, though, nowadays, anyone can visit this beautiful island. Gorgona is home to "147 bird species, over 100 insect species, [and] more than 500 species of marine fauna."It hosts the largest reef system in the Colombian Pacific and is purported to be one of the best preserved reef systems in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. In addition to the incredible reef systems, Gorgona also hosts a unique very humid tropical rain forest ecosystem where you can find endemic species such as the Blue Anole and the Red-Legged Honeycreeper. It really is the perfect destination for any nature enthusiast to explore an exclusive set of flora and fauna, still virgin to many eyes.

It is worth nothing, however, that to travel to Gorgona, you'll need to get previous permission. For more specific information about that, check out the government website:

http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.co/PNN/portel/libreria/php/decide.php?patron=02.020203

Happy travels!

The Uncover Colombia Team

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