The high-altitude Parque Nacional Natural Puracé, 58km east of Popayán, encompasses 860 square kilometres of volcanoes, snowcapped mountains, sulphurous springs, waterfalls, canyons, trout-stuffed lagoons and grasslands. The park’s literal high point is Volcán Puracé (4700m), which last blew its top in 1956. It’s a lung-straining four-hour climb to the steaming crater where, on a clear day, there are sensational views of Cadena Volcánica de Los Coconucos – a chain of forty volcanoes. There are also less strenuous trails, including an orchid walk, and thermal baths. Enquire at the visitor centre near the park entrance if you want to hire a guide. The weather is best for climbing the volcano in December to January; it is worst in June to August.