Güicán is the starting point for the six- to seven-day circuit. On day one, you hike for five hours or so to the cabañas; it’s possible to continue on the same day to the top of Ritacuba Blanco (5hr), but better to stay for a night to acclimatize and then hike up early in the morning of day two. From Ritacuba Blanco it’s then a couple of hours’ walk to the Río Cardenillo creek and a two-hour ascent to the Boquerón del Carmen pass (4300m), from which you descend to the Laguna Grande de los Verdes (4100m), where you camp.

On day three it takes around seven hours to hike between Laguna Grande de los Verdes and Laguna del Avellanal – a spectacular climb up to the Boquerón de los Frailles pass (4200m), then past a couple of lakes and up again to the Boquerón de la Sierra pass (4650m). The descent brings you down to the lake, where you camp for the night either on the shore or in a cave nearby. From here it takes around seven hours on day four to reach Laguna del Pañuelo. You pass through the Valle de los Cojines, and past several waterfalls before climbing to the Laguna del Rincón (4350m), from where it’s another hour’s ascent to the Boquerón del Castillo pass (4530m), offering spectacular views of the valley below. If the pass is foggy, wait until the fog clears before descending to the Laguna del Pañuelo. Day five’s section to Laguna de la Plaza is around six or seven hours’ hike, made more difficult by the lack of trail, so having a guide is imperative. There are no major descents or ascents; you keep roughly level until you reach Laguna Hoja Larga in around five hours, with your destination – the splendid Laguna de la Plaza – roughly an hour later. On day six you follow the trail from here up to the Boquerón de Cusiri (4410m), the last pass you’ll have climb, then descend for an hour to the chain of attractive small lakes – lagunillas – where you’ll find the park’s busiest campsite. You can either camp here or press on to the Alto de la Cueva – a straightforward four-hour walk to the main road. If hiking as part of a tour, then you may have pre-arranged transport waiting; otherwise, it’s another four hours’ walk to El Cocuy.

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