Ritacuba Blanco is the second highest mountain in Colombia, standing at 5,410 metres. Part of the Cordillera Oriental range, it is situated in the National Park Sierra Nevada del Cocuy y Güicán in the Colombian Andes. It’s also known by it’s indigenous name, Ritak’uwa.
To reach the summit you have to head west from the town of El Cocuy via the smaller village of Guican. Overall the hike is thought not to be strenuous and takes in beautiful surroundings similar to those of the Alps. The important factor to take into consideration before doing the climb is the weather and traversing the glacier. This crossing is the final part of the trek before you reach the peak and can be problematic. It is said the glacier is melting at such an alarming rate it’s expected to disappear before 2025.
Colombia might not be the natural first choice for climbers and trekkers but it does have some spectacular mountain scenery. The highest peak in the country is Pico Cristobal Colon (5776m), which is closer to the Caribbean coast in the state of La Guajira. However this mountain is generally inaccessible due to paramilitary activity and the locals considering it sacred. Up to about 10 years ago Ritacuba Blanco was also a no go area as it was in a FARC guerilla stronghold. Thankfully this is no longer the case and the mountain and nearby areas are safe to visit.
Of course you will need some time to relax after your ascent, and there is no better place to do this than at one of Colombia’s very pretty and tranquil coffee haciendas. Have a look at Historic Haciendas for some accommodation inspiration.
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