Fun And Adventure In Los Nevados National Park, Colombia

Author: Baruna Goswami

Colombia has an abundance of national parks to visit, but there’s one, in particular, that should be on your list of new year breaks destinations: Los Nevados National Park (Parque Nacional de Los Nevados). Although not as common as the peers of Tyrone National Park, it’s a hidden treasure in the heart of Colombia. With a visit to Los Nevados, you can experience stunning scenery, mounting wax palms, hidden natural hot-springs and one of Colombia’s highest and most active volcanos ‘Nevado del Ruiz’.The park is also located in the infamous coffee region, where farm trips can be found in plenty and make for the great add-on to a day or two of hiking.

Tour Highlights

  • Hike to the top of the glaciated volcano of Nevado de Santa Isabel
  • Climb through a paramo landscape, a unique ecosystem found only in this region
  • Walk through a cloud forest, see exotic flora and fauna
  • Stay in picturesque mountain farmhouses, get the flavor of the Andean lifestyle

Tour Description

Hike through Colombia's most outstanding mountainous terrain during this 5-day, guided tour.

Enjoy the diverse, beautiful natural wonder of the region whose landscape dramatically changes from snowy mountains to lush, green forest within a small area.

Hike to the top of a glaciated volcano peak, travel past a paramo and move through a cloud forest.
Enjoy our private pickup service from Pereira's airport and travel to Potosi, a farming area just outside Los Nevados National Park. Begin hiking from the Nevado de Santa Isabel trailhead, which originates at an altitude of 4000m above sea level.
Hike to the top of the Santa Isabel Volcano. View glacier lakes along the way. Travel to Laguna de Otun, a lake formed by the Santa Isabel Glacier. Enjoy walking through the lush green landscape of a paramo, a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems famous for being home to spongy species of plants with juicy stems used to store moisture. Spot Frailejones (cactus-like plants), rabbits and Andean condors along the way.
Walk through a cloud forest whose lower parts are dominated by giant wax palm trees, the tallest palm trees in the world that stand up to 60m into the sky. Your journey will end in the Cocora Valley. Visit the quaint, colonial town of Salento, famous for its bright, sprawling mansions, and drive to the airport for your departure flight.

Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Pereira to Potosi

Your guide will meet you at Pereira's airport and drive you through Colombia's coffee region, behind large plantations and tiny towns. Your hotel is located in Potosi, a farming area just outside Los Nevados National Park. You will spend the night an inn located 3930m above sea level. Appreciate hand-made arepas and farm-fresh cheese along with the hospitality of Colombian highlands. Your guide will brief you about the detailed program after dinner.

Day 2 - Climb Santa Isabel Volcano

Have an early breakfast in the morning. Your driver will drive you through Los Nevados National Park for about an hour to reach the Nevado de Santa Isabel trailhead, which is situated 4000m above sea level. Enjoy hiking through a highland forest of dwarfed trees, mossy plants and tiny lagoons with the help of your headlamps.
Experience beautiful views of rocky cliffs and sheer mountainsides as dawn breaks. Bits of snow appear as you go higher, emphasizing the barren but pretty landscape. Move through the collection of glacial lakes nestled just below the glacial volcano of Santa Isabel.
Strap your crampons and put on your helmet soon after walking past the lakes. The final hike to the top of the glacier begins at 4,700m above sea level and is the most exciting and most difficult part of the hiking.
Arrive at the peak, situated 4,950m above sea level. Spend some time on the peak before starting your trip back down. Hot food and a well-deserved rest await you at your hotel.

Day 3 - Otun Lake

Today its time to explore the southern portion of the national park. Follow a wide, mountainside trail with comprehensive views of meadows and hills full of wildflowers. View El Ruiz, the infamous and highly active volcano that killed 25,000 people when it erupted in 1985. View Laguna de Otun, a lake formed by the volcanic glacier of Santa Isabel. The lake nestled 3900m above sea level and is the source of the Otun River, which provides drinking water to the city of Pereira.
Appreciate the view of the lake and surrounding areas before proceeding to a narrow path that travels through a paramo, a unique landscape dominated by plants with juicy steams to capture moisture from the mountain air. Walk across streams and along a mountain ridge to reach the Berlin Valley.
Enjoy a cozy night with great hospitality in a farm located 3,840m above sea level amid cliffs, streams and boulder-dotted fields.

Day 4 -Tolima Volcano & cloud forest

Begin your day with a challenging hike along the border of Risaralda and Quindi­o departments. At 4,300m, the highest point of this trail offers excellent views of Nevado del Tolima. The rest of the day is a regular descent through the paramo followed by a cloud forest.
Arrive at Argentina farm (3540m) in the afternoon. Continue hiking through a cloud forest to reach a waterfall after lunch. At a lower altitude, a cloud forest is as distinct as a rainforest and countless fascinating bird and plant species surprise your senses with rich colors and diverse sounds. Hike for another 10km before moving back to the farm where you will spend your night.

Day 5 - Explore wax palm forest and Cocora Valley

Walk through the lowest part of a cloud forest where the tallest trees are located. Wax palm trees found in the area stand 60 meters into the sky. Orchids and bromeliads can also be seen in this part of the forest.
Travel past streams and over log bridges. As you are close to the end of your hike, you enter the popular Cocora Valley where farmers have cleared forests but left the wax palms standing, creating an exciting landscape of tall trees standing in clear contrast with green hills.
Your hike ends at a restaurant in the Cocora Valley where you are entertained with a well-deserved lunch (the highlights of this area are rainbow trout and Patapon). After lunch, explore the quaint town of Salento before driving to Pereira's airport where your new year breaks will come to end.

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