Los Nevados Traverse
In this adventure you traverse Los Nevados from north to south, hiking 41 kilometers (25.5 miles) and crossing three departments. You'll trek through all of the park's different environments and enjoy spectacular sights every step of the way. You'll climb Nevado de Santa Isabel and get views of the other two snowy peaks, El Ruiz and El Tolima. You'll cross icy streams, take breaks at mountain lakes and pass waterfalls tumbling down from sheer rock cliffs. Exotic plants and birds such as the colchon de agua (water cushion) and mountain toucan will welcome you to their home during the day and at night you'll be the guest of Colombian families in their farmhouses. This trek will let you experience the beauty and diversity of Los Nevados National Natural Park to the fullest.ItineraryDay 1: Travel through the Coffee RegionStop At:
Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, Eje Cafetero, Manizales Colombia
Your adventure starts at the Pereira airport where you meet your guide. Together you drive on scenic mountain roads through the Coffee Region, passing small towns, coffee plantations and farmlands. After an enjoyable drive through the countryside you arrive in Potosi, a farming area just outside Los Nevados National Park. Your hosts for the night are Don Humberto and his family who run Campoalegre, a farm inn at 3930 meters (12,894 feet) above sea level. There you get your first taste of hand-made arepas, farm-fresh cheese and Colombian highlands hospitality.
After dinner your guide gives you a briefing for the big day ahead and you go to bed early for tomorrow's alpine start.
Duration: 6 hours
Accommodation included: Overnight in Campoalegre farmhouse in Potosi Day 2: Climbing Santa Isabel VolcanoStop At:
Nevado Santa Isabel, Pereira Colombia
The day begins with breakfast at 2:30AM. You drive an hour inside Los Nevados National Park to the Nevado de Santa Isabel trailhead at 4000 meters (13,123 feet). The trail ascends immediately and you hike by headlamp light through a highland forest of dwarfed trees, mossy plants and small lagoons. As dawn breaks so does the dense vegetation and you get open views of rock cliffs and mountainsides. Patches of snow appear as you go higher, accentuating the barren but beautiful landscape with white. A collection of glacial lakes sit just below the Santa Isabel glacier and soon after passing them you break out the helmets, harnesses, rope and crampons. The final push up the glacier which starts at 4700 meters (15,420 feet) is the most exciting and most difficult part of the ascent. Your stamina, determination and the weather determine how high you go. The high point is at 4,950 meters (16,240 feet), just a few meters below the true summit which is guarded by a sheer rock wall. If you make it that far you've ascended 950 meters (3117 feet) in 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles). Congratulations, you've climbed one of the three famous Nevados. Now you need to get back down.
8 to 9 hours after starting you arrive back at the trailhead. Hot food and well deserved rest await you at Campoalegre.
Duration: 9 hours
Accommodation included: Overnight in Campoalegre farmhouse in PotosiDay 3: Otun Lake and the ParamoStop At:
Lake Otun, Via al Parque Nacional Los Nevados, Pereira Colombia
Today you start making your way south across Los Nevados National Park. You trek from Campoalegre and follow a wide mountainside trail with sweeping views of meadows and hills full of wild flowers. From the trail you see El Ruiz, the infamous and highly active volcano that killed 25,000 people when it erupted in 1985. After an hour or so you reach Laguna de Otun, a lake fed by the Santa Isabel glacier that you hiked yesterday. The lake sits at 3900 meters (12,795 feet) above sea level and is the source of the Otun River that supplies drinking water to the city of Pereira where you started this adventure. After enjoying the view of the lake and the waterfalls that feed it you leave the wide mountainside trail and follow a narrow path that takes you through a garden of exotic succulent plants. This is the beginning of your trek through the páramo. Your hike takes you across streams, along a mountain ridge, and down a valley. At one point you go through a natural tunnel created by the interlaced branches of gnarled siete cueros (seven skins) trees.
The toughest part of the day's hike comes near the end as you ascend a steep gully up a mountain before going down to the valley of Berlin where you spend the night at the farmhouse of your host family. The Berlin farm, at 3840 meters (12,598 feet), is picture perfect with its surrounding cliffs, stream, boulder-dotted fields and grazing farm animals. With another 13 kilometers (8 miles) under your belt you spend the evening gathered around a firewood stove relaxing and chatting with your hosts Diego and Maria.
Duration: 1 hour
Accommodation included: Overnight in Berlin farmhouseDay 4: Tolima Volcano and the Cloud ForestStop At:
Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, Eje Cafetero, Manizales Colombia
Today starts with a challenging ascent to the border of the Risaralda and Quindio departments. At 4300 meters (14,108 feet) this is the highest point of your trek outside of Nevado de Santa Isabel and from here you can see Nevado del Tolima. The rest of the day is a gradual descent and you leave the páramo to enter the cloud forest. At higher altitude the forest is less dense and the mountainside trail that you follow still affords open views of dark green valleys and rocky cliffs. In early afternoon you arrive at the Argentina farm at 3540 meters (11,614 feet). After lunch you hike to a waterfall. At this lower elevation the cloud forest is as rich as a rainforest and countless exotic birds and flowers bombard your senses with color and sound. After another 10 kilometer (6 mile) day you spend the night back at the Argentina farmhouse where you rack your brain trying to solve Don Javier's highly frustrating puzzle.
Duration: 7 hours
Accommodation included: Overnight in Argentina farmhouseDay 5: The Wax Palm Forest and Cocora ValleyStop At:
Valle del Cocora, Salento Colombia
As you descend to the lowest part of the cloud forest the tallest trees emerge. The wax palms shoot 60 meters (200 feet) straight into air and loom over the surrounding fog and dense foliage. Orchids and bromeliads are also prevalent in this part of the forest. Your hike takes you across streams and over log bridges. As you near the end of your trek you enter the famous Cocora Valley where farmers have cleared the forest but left the wax palms standing, creating a dramatic landscape of tall trees standing in sharp contrast to grassy hills.
Your trek ends at a restaurant in Cocora Valley at 2300 meters (7546 feet) where you reward yourself with a well-deserved lunch (the specialty is rainbow trout and patacon). Today's 10 kilometers (6 miles) brings your total to 41 kilometers (25.5 miles). You've had the complete Los Nevados experience and can go home with a full camera and a full heart.
After lunch you visit the quaint town of Salento before driving to the Pereira airport.
Duration: 5 hours
No accommodation included on this day.
"Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability"
"Not wheelchair accessible"
"Near public transportation"
"Not recommended for travelers with back problems"
"Not recommended for pregnant travelers"
"No heart problems or other serious medical conditions"
"Travelers should have a strong physical fitness level"
"This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund"
"This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate"
Hora de Inicio:
Duración: 5 Days
Lugar de comienzo:
Traveler pickup is offeredAirports
Cancelaciones y devoluciones:
- Matecana Airport, Pereira Colombia
All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.