Nevado del Tolima 5221 M by the Quindio River Valley

COL-20a / 6-day trip / Grade: F

Nevado del Tolima 5221 m by the Quindio River Valley

The snowcapped Tolima volcano (5221 m) is situated in Los Nevados National Park on the central Andes range, in the traditional coffee area of Colombia. This beautiful conic volcano stands out from a wide volcanic plateau, and is one of the three major summits in the park. The ascent is one of the most varied and beautiful in the country, with the trek starting in the lovely Cocora valley (2425 m) and going all the way up to icy summit (5221 m). During the hike, it is possible to experience the different thermic floors, temperatures, flora and fauna. The trek is challenging due to the long distances, but it is worth every step of the way. The itinerary is designed aiming to archived a much better acclimatization, a progressive ascent, resulting in higher chances to reach the summit. In addition to the climb, the coffee culture of the area enriches the experience and can be enjoyed at the beginning and end of the program. This is a trip not to be missed!

Day 1 Bogotá – Salento (1919 m)
Day 2 Trekking: “La Argentina” farm (3483 m)
Day 3 Trekking: “La Primavera” farm (3769 m)
Day 4 Trekking: Tolima’s high camp (4345 m)
Day 5 Climb: Tolima Volcano (5221 m)
Day 6 Salento – Bogotá
Day 1

Bogotá – Salento (1919 m)
Pick-up at hotel and transfer to domestic terminal for a flight (1 h) to the city of Armenia. Upon arrival, there will be a transport ready to take the group to the lovely town of Salento, a typical coffee town with the “paisa” colonial architecture style and a layback atmosphere.
Depending on the flight schedule time, there is an option to include a coffee tour in the afternoon.
Meet with the mountain guide in the evening for briefing about the next day activities.
Night in hotel.

Day 2

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 3

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 4

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 5

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 6

Salento – Bogotá
After breakfast, descent back to the Cocora Valley through the beautiful landscapes and rainforest, descending by the “main” trail, making a circular ascent. From Cocora Valley, the jeeps will drive the group to Salento and after a short break a transfer to Armenia (30 min) for an evening flight back to Bogotá.
Descent: 1344 m / Distance: 15,1 Km / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

COL-20a – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


  • Local English speaking mountain guide
  • Local assistant mountain guide from 4 people
  • Local assistant mountain guide for the summit day Ratio: 1:3
  • Private transfers in and out in Bogotá
  • Private transportation during the mountain program
  • National Park entrance fee and park’s insurance
  • Coffee tour in Salento
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in the town of Salento
  • 4 nights in shared double tents at campsites
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 pax per tent
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Mules for group/personal campsite equipment, food and pax personal gear (Packing and weight allowance information will be sent)
  • Included meals specified in the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic or international flights
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrival/departures
  • Personal climbing and camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

SALENTO: Hotel Salento Real or similar


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



Los Nevados National Park:

Tags: Climbing, Colombia, Tolima, Cocora, F, F grade