To get to the trailhead, start at Popayan. Take a bus to Cruz Mina (on the road to La Plata). Walk 2.5 kms (1.6 miles) south along the road to Pilimbala. There are a few nice home stays here where you can get a room and good hot meals.
Starting the climb from Pilimbala in the cool morning air.
From Pilimbala, you have two choices to begin the hike. One is a more scenic trail, and the other one is a steep road that goes past the hot springs. I recommed going up the trail, and down the road with a soak in the hot springs at the end of the hike.
Follow the well marked trail south and up the mountain's slopes. the trail joins up with the road 1/3 the way up the mountain. There are several telecommuncation towers at 4060 meters (13,320 feet). This is where the road ends, and there is a trail only for the remainder of the climb. Follow the steep trail to the crater rim and enjoy the views if the weather is clear! There isn't any permanent snow, but the peak is snow capped for part of the year. Consider taking an alternate route down along the road and passing the hot springs. Enjoy the soak after a long day of hiking!
See the Pan de Azucar Route Description to continue on to that peak.
Starting the trek to Nevado Purace, Colombia.
Technical gear is not needed for the climb. Expect cold, wet, and maybe snowy conditions at any time. Purace is usually done as a day hike.