Tropical Snow Peaks & Lost City

COL-16 / 16-day trip / Grade: F, T2

Climb: Nevado del Tolima (5221 m)
Trek: Lost City

Tropical Snow Peaks & Lost City 1

The Tropical Snow Peaks and Lost City program combines active and cultural experiences, on an itinerary that provides a good picture of Colombia’s cultural and natural diversity.

The program goes from the metropolitan atmosphere of Bogotá, to the remote snowcapped volcanoes of the central Andes, and down to the tropical rain forest and archeological ruins of the lost City, ending on the beautiful beaches of the Colombian Caribbean coast.

Trip’s highlights:

– 5-day climb of the snowcapped Tolima volcano (5221 m), situated in Los Nevados National Park on the central Andes range. In addition to the climb, the coffee culture enriches the experience and can be enjoyed in the town of Salento, right in the heart of Colombia’s traditional coffee area.

– 4-day trek to La Ciudad Perdida of the Tayronas, known as “The Lost City”, one of the best restored and preserved archeological sites in the country. It is located in the Buritaca valley in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest costal range in the world.

– Tayrona National Park and Caribbean beach lodge. To end this amazing program, there will be a visit to the famous Tayrona park with a easy gentle walk to enjoy some of Colombia’s best beaches.

Day 1 Arrival in Bogotá (2660 m)
Day 2 Bogotá’s City Tour – Salento (1919 m)
Day 3 Trekking: “La Argentina” farm (3483 m)
Day 4 Trekking: “La Primavera” farm (3769 m)
Day 5 Trekking: Tolima’s high camp (4345 m)
Day 6 Climb: Tolima Volcano (5221 m)
Day 7 Trekking: Salento (1919 m)
Day 8 Salento (1919 m) – Coffee tour
Day 9 Armenia – Santa Marta
Day 10 Pick-up – Trekking: “Donde Adan” lodge (480 m)
Day 11 Trekking: “El Paraiso” lodge (800 m)
Day 12 Trekking: Lost City (1320 m)
Day 13 Trekking: El Mamey (150 m) – End of trek
Day 14 Beach lodge
Day 15 Tayrona National Park – Bogotá
Day 16 Departure
Day 1

Arrival in Bogotá
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Bogotá’s City Tour – Salento (1919 m)
After breakfast, there will be a transfer to Bogotá’s downtown for half-day private city tour to the historic part of city. The first visit is a cable car trip to the Monserrat Sanctuary, an iconic church located at an altitude of 3152 m, overlooking the city. Then the tour will continue by foot to see the charming colonial area known as La Candelaria and the world famous gold museum.
On the afternoon, transfer to the domestic terminal for a flight (1 h) to the city of Armenia and from there 45 min. road trip to the lovely town of Salento. There will be a briefing upon arrival, about the coming days in the mountain.
Duration 4 hours.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Trekking: “La Argentina” farm (3483 m)
Early departure by jeep to the Cocora Valley (30 min), an spectacular valley located at 2425 meters adorn with Colombia’s national tree: The Wax Palm. After enjoying the place, the staff will prepare the luggage to be taken by pack animals. The ascent follows an off-the-beaten track trail through primary mountain rainforest. The trail goes up the by “Quebrada Cardenas”, following the river with the same name, which slowly gains altitude. Few meters above the tree line, a mountain farm called “La Argentina” is located, a beautiful spot between the vanishing forest and the high altitude grassland known as “Paramo”. This small farm will be the shelter for the night. The place is very rustic and humble, but with a lot of charm and local atmosphere. The hike is a perfect first acclimation day for the coming days.
Night in tents.
Ascent: 1058 m / Highest Altitude: 3483 m / Distance 10,7 Km / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Trekking: “La Primavera” farm (3769 m)
After a good local breakfast and rest, we will continue our ascent by the northern margin of “Quebrada Cardenas”, passing an abandon farm called Buenos Aires and from there descending to a river crossing, following an ascending trail to the mountain pass known as “La Linea” (4019 m), which divides the states of Quindío and Tolima, and an excellent view point towards “Paramillo del Quindio” (4745 m), the highest summit of Quindío state, and the Nevado del Tolima in the neighboring valley. From the pass, there is an easy descend toward the “La Primavera/La Playa” farm another humble place, where it will be served the hot local drink “agua de panela” (hot drink with raw sugar) or coffee.
Night in tents.
Ascent: 536 m / Descent: 250 m / Highest Altitude: 4019 m / Distance: 5,8 Km / Activity duration: 4-5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 5

Trekking: Tolima’s high camp (4345 m)
Today’s aim is to reach the Nevado del Tolima’s high camp. The team will have a easy going morning, getting all the gear ready for the climb. The group will leave before midday, hiking by the Tolima’s valley, which present a gentle ascent and a very pleasant hike, with a enjoyable landscapes and view to both the volcanoes and the valleys below. The last section of the hike, follows a bit steep mountain side up to a ridge known as “El Calvito” and from there a short walk until the campsite called “Arenales”, which lies over a yellow sandy moraine. This camp can be quite windy and exposed, but with a very nice view. After setting up the camp, the guide will do a briefing about next day’s climb and help getting everything ready. There will be horses to carry equipment, food, water, etc. up to the campsite.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 576 m / Highest Altitude: 4345 m / Distance: 8,4 Km / Activity duration: 4-5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 6

Climb: Nevado del Tolima (5221 m)
Very early departure from the high camp, climbing up by a series of moraines of different steepness and few scrambling passages, before reaching the glacier at 4750 m. Here the group will prepare for the glacier crossing, starting on a very easy slope passing a couple of icy steep before the final plateau, where the main crater is, and then reaching the summit. Nevado del Tolima is an active volcano and the third highest summit in the central cordillera. The climb is not technical, but physical demanding, not only because of the ascent but also due to the distance to be cover. The descent follows the same trail down to the camp. After a good break and packing down the camp, the team will head down to the Primavera/Playa farm.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 876 m / Descend: 1452 m / Highest Altitude: 5221 m / Distance to the summit: 2,8 Km & from the summit back to the farm: 11,2 Km / Activity duration: 8-10 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Trekking: Salento (1919 m)
Last day in the mountains, descent through beautiful landscapes and rainforest, making a semi-circular ascent ending the trail at the famous Cocora Valley, an spectacular valley located at 2425 meters adorn with Colombia’s national tree: The Wax Palm. Once in the Cocora Valley, the group will be picked up and transferred to the lovely town of Salento, by the traditional Willies jeeps (25 min.) that are a symbol of the coffee area´s coffee culture. Upon arrival in Salento, the group will be taken to a hotel located in the colonial part of the town. There will be good time to enjoy the town and drink some of Colombia’s best coffee!
Night in hotel.
Descent: 1058 m / Highest Altitude: 3483 m / Distance 10,7 Km / Activity duration: 4-5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Salento (1919 m) – Coffee tour
After a well-deserved rest and an easygoing morning, the group will have a coffee tour in one of the traditional coffee farms of the area. The coffee tour shows the entire coffee production from the seed to the final product. It also includes a very pedagogic coffee tasting to learn about the different types and qualities of the local coffee. Lunch will be at one of Salento’s typical restaurants and then there will be some free time to enjoy this lay back town and the wide offer of handy-crafts and local products.
For the active traveller, there are plenty of extra tours options like “La Kasa” botanical tour guided by experts in the fauna and flora, horse back riding itineraries, mountain biking routes, between so many others.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Armenia – Santa Marta
Transfer to Armenia’s airport (45 min.) and domestic flight (3 h) to Santa Marta via Bogota. Upon arrival in Santa Marta, transfer (45 min.) to a centrally located hotel and, depending on the arrival time, there will be a 2-3 hours walking city tour in this historical city, actually the first established in Colombia by the Spanish.
On the evening, briefing and preparations for the coming trek to the Lost City.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Lost City – Trekking: “Donde Adan” lodge (480 m)
Morning pick up at hotel and transfer, in 4WD cars, driving northeastwards along the Caribbean coast. After 1-1.5 hours, leave the paved road and here the adventure begins! After about a 1-hour drive on a dirt road, through a beautiful landscape, the village of “El Mamey” (150 m) also called “Machete Pelado” appears. Lunch will be served upon arrival and then the hike to “Ciudad Perdida” starts. This day’s hike is exposed to the sun or the rain, therefore it is important to have a good amount of water and suncream!. Tropical fruit will be offered along the trek. The group will take the river trail, which is a more pleasent walk than the main road. This trail follows “Quebrada del Alto Mamey” river valley for about 1 hour and then ascends steeply (1,5 h) to “El Mirador” pass (640 m) that has a great view down to the Mamey town and the Buritaca River. From this point, a constant descent (1,5 h) to the “Quebrada Honduras” river, where the “Donde Adan”’s lodge is located. It is possible to take a swim in a beautiful natural river pool at the lodge. Dinner will be served in this rustic lodge.
Night in hammocks.
Ascent: 490 m / Descend: 160 m / Highest altitude: 640 m / Distance: 8,9 Km / Activity duration: 4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 11

Trekking: “El Paraiso” lodge (870 m)
This is a longest day on the program. After an early breakfast, the ascent begins right away taking a well marked trail that gently gains altitude up to “Mumake” pass (680 m). Before the pass, there is the invisible border between “Colonos” lands (Peasants not originally from the area) and the “Kogi’s” Indigenous territory. From now on, the trek will be done in an area protected and ruled by this tribe. There are also “Wiwa’s” Indians, original from another sector of the Sierra, had settled in these valleys and now are running some of the lodges. It is also noticeably the change from extensive farmland into a better-preserved and much less exploded area. From the mountain pass, there is a relative quick descent to the “Buritaca” river valley (430 m), where the only Kogi settlement on the trek is placed. This settlement is called: “Montangi” and is a perfect spot to get an glimpse into the local life style and traditions. After about 1 hour, a river crossing over a hanging bridge, leads to a second ascent (2 h) up to “Koskunguena” pass (824 m) and then back down to the “Buritaca” river (743 m) for a last crossing. The last part of the day is an almost flat area up to “El Paraiso” rustic lodge (870 m), the place for the night. This lodge is just by the shores of the “Buritaca” river, a fantastic place to relax and swim.
Night in hammocks.
To Mumake pass: Ascent: 200 m / Descend: 250 m / Highest altitude: 680 m
To Koskunguena pass: Ascent: 394 m / Descend to Buritaca River: 77 m / Ascent to “El Paraiso” Lodge: 127 m / Highest altitude: 824 m / Distance: 13.6 Km / Activity duration: 7-8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 12

Trekking: Lost City (1175 m)
Very early departure taking the trail on the right margin of the Buritaca river for about 25 min. up to a crossing, once on the other margin, the archaeological stairway begins ascending rather steeply all the way to the first terraces of the Lost City (1175 m). From here begins a journey through time, to one of the most interesting archaeological sites of Colombia’s pre-Hispanic period.
The Lost City of the Tayrona is worldwide known. Its original Indigenous name is “Teyuna” and is one of the three large citadels of vanished Tayrona civilization. Teyuna is the only city that has been discovered until now and thus partially restored. Tayrona’s cities were connected by a complex network of trails, from the Caribbean coastal area to the high mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Tayrona had a well-developed social organization and an effective system of products and goods exchange between the different settlements. Although there is no precise information of the role of Teyuna in the Tayrona culture, it is believed that it was a place for religious worship and center of political power.
During the course of 4 hours visit to the archaeological complex, the group will learn about the different types of terraces and how the city was divided into areas according to hierarchy and types of work. During the visit, it is possible to see the home of a Kogi Mamo (shaman-wise person) who lives in the same traditional way, as it is thought the inhabitants did. It is also believed that the Kogis are descendants from the Tayronas, pushed to the higher lands during the Spanish conquest.
After the visit, hike down to “El Paraiso” lodge to have some lunch and then continue (4,5 h), back on the same trail as the day before, but this time a bit further out, crossing the hanging bridge and down the Buritaca river valley, passing once again the “Montangi” Kogi settlement to “Mumake” lodge (389 m), just at the foot of the “Mumake” pass.
Night in hammocks.
To Lost City: Ascent: 305 m / Descend: 305 m / Highest altitude: 1175 m / Distance one-way: 1,9 Km / Activity duration: 5 including a 3 hours visit.
Ascent to Koskunguena pass: 77 m / Descend to “Mumake” lodge: 481 m / Highest altitude: 870 m / Distance one-way: 7,5 Km / Activity duration: 4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 13

Trekking: El Mamey (150 m) – End of trek
Last trekking day! From “Mumake” lodge (389 m), the ascent being right from the front step, leading up to “Mumake” pass (680 M) and after descending to “Quebrada Honduras” river to ascent (1,5 h) to the last pass: “EL Mirador” (640 m) and then to the final destination “El Mamey” town (150 m). Upon arrival there will be lunch and then a transfer to hotel/Beach lodge (2-2,5 h).
Night in hotel/Beach lodge.
Ascent to Mumake pass: 291 m / Descend to “Donde Adan” lodge: 200 m / Ascent to El Mirador pass: 160 m / Descend: 490 m / Highest altitude: 680 m / Distance: 14,2 Km / Activity duration: 4-5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 14

Beach lodge
Free day to enjoy the beach lodge.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15

Tayrona National Park – Bogotá
Full-day tour to the Tayrona National Park. This is one of the most famous natural parks in Colombia with some of the most beautiful beaches of the Colombian Caribbean coast, right at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world´s highest coastal mountain range. The park has a protected area of 150 km2 of land and 30 Km2 of sea, being the second most visited park in the country. Due to its privilege location, there is a huge biodiversity and also archeological ruins like “Pueblito”.
From the park’s main entrance there is a light hike by the beach line to the Arrecife’s area (1 h), an iconic place within the park. From there, another 25 min. to La Piscina beach and 20 min. more to El Cabo San Juan. There will be good time to enjoy these idilic Caribbean beaches and the nature of the place. Lunch will be held at a local place, where they prepare traditional fish. On the afternoon, transfer to Santa Marta’s airport (1,5 h) for a evening domestic flight to Bogota (1 h). Upon arrival in the capital, transfer to hotel (1 h).
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic

Day 16

Pick up at hotel and transfer out to Bogotá’s Airport (1 h) – End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

COL-16 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


  • Local English speaking AWT city guide in Bogota day 2
  • Local English speaking AWT mountain guide from day 3 to 9 from 2 to 5 PAX
  • Local English speaking AWT mountain guide during the entire program from 6 PAX on
  • Local assistant mountain guide from 4 people in Los Nevados
  • Local assistant mountain guide for the summit day Ratio: 1:3 in Los Nevados
  • Local Spanish trekking guide in the Lost City from 2 to 5 PAX
  • Lost City trek in shared international group from 2 to 5 PAX (For upgrade to private groups see the tables above)
  • Lost City trek in private group from 6 PAX on
  • Shared transportation to/from the Lost City trek from 2 to 5 PAX
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program from 6 PAX on
  • Bogotá – Half day city tour
  • Coffee tour in Salento
  • Santa Marta – Half day city tour
  • Tayrona National Park full day tour
  • National Parks entrance fees and park’s insurances
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in the City of Bogotá
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in the town of Salento
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in the City of Santa Marta
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in Beach Lodge
  • 4 nights in shared double tents at campsites in Los Nevados N.P.
  • 3 nights in hammocks in the Lost City trek
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 pax per tent in Los Nevados
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Pack animals for group/personal campsite equipment, food and pax personal gear in Los Nevados (Packing and weight allowance information will be sent)
  • Pack animals for personal gear during the Lost City trek from 6 PAX on (Packing and weight allowance information will be sent)
  • Cook in Los Nevados and the lost city trek
  • Included meals specified in the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic or international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Pack animals for luggage during the Lost City Trek for groups between 2 and 5 PAX
  • English translator for the Lost City trek for groups between 2 to 5 PAX
  • Personal climbing and camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

BOGOTÁ: Hotel Casa Real 93  or similar

SALENTO: Hotel Salento Real or similar


Finca La Argentina (no website) or similar
Finca La Primavera/La Playa (no website) or similar


Lodge: Donde Adan (no website) or similar
Lodge: Paraiso (no website) or similar
Lodge: Mumake (no website) or similar

SANTA MARTA: Hotel Boutique La Casa del Farol or similar

BEACH LODGE-BURITACA: Playa Koralia or similar



Los Nevados-Nevado del Tolima’s climb:

Lost City Trek:

Tags: Climbing, Colombia, Santa Marta, Lost City, Los Nevados, paramillo del quindio, F, T2, F grade, Nevado Tolima, Taganga