Nevado del Tolima 5221 M by the Otun River Valley

COL-20b / 8-day trip

Tolima Climbs 5221 m

In our 8 days itinerary is one of the best program to not only climb the Tolima volcano, but also to enjoy and discover less visited areas of Los Nevados National Park. For this purpose, we have included a longer trek that in the 6 days version, visiting some of the most scenic valleys like: the Otun river, La Amargura and la Quebrada Cardenas. The hiking starts just above 2100 meters, through a exuberant tropical vegetation and changes into the rough highland, as it gains altitude. Then the route goes over a series of seldom visited valleys and mountain passes, in a North to South direction, until reaching the Tolima volcano above 5221 meters. After the climb, the descend is done by the Quebrada Cardenas valley, down to the Cocora valley, and onto the traditional coffee town of Salento.
To finish this adventure, a whole day in Salento with a nice coffee tour and plenty of time to enjoy the slow pace of rural Colombia.
Definitely a trip worth to considered!

Day 1 Bogotá – Pereira – Trek: “La Pastora” (2460 m)
Day 2 Trekking: “Berlin” farm (3848 m)
Day 3 Trekking: “La Primavera/La Playa” farm (3769 m)
Day 4 Trekking: Tolima’s high camp (4345 m)
Day 5 Climb: Tolima Volcano (5221 m)
Day 6 Trekking: Salento (1919 m) by the Cardenas valley
Day 7 Salento coffee tour
Day 8 Armenia/Pereira – Bogotá
Day 1

Bogotá – Pereira – Trek: “La Pastora” (2460 m)
Pick-up at hotel and transfer to domestic terminal for a flight (1 h) to the city of Pereira, located at the heart of the Coffee area. Upon arrival, there will be a transport ready to take the group to the beginning of the trail, before heading into the mountains, there will be a short stop in city to buy some snacks and any last minute things, that people might need. Then the drive takes about 2 hours by the margins of the Otun River, passing the rural areas of “La Florida” and “La Suiza”, until the head of trail known as “El Cedral” (2105 m). From this point, the group will follow a very nice trail with a moderate ascent rate for 2.5 – 3 h to “La Pastora” refuge, located in the cloud rain forrest, the place to spend the night.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 355 m / Highest altitude: 2460 m / Distance: 5,9 Km / Activity duration: 2,5-3 h
Included meals: Picnic, Dinner

Day 2

Trekking: “Berlin” farm (3848 m)
Departure from “La Pastora”, taking the same trail as the day before, but by a steeper terrain. It will take about 2,5 h to reach a very well-know farm called “El Jordan”, located at an idyllic place between volcanic hills covered with dense vegetation and decorated with waterfalls of crystal clear water. From here, the vegetation starts to change into paramo and the forrest starts to open up. The last section is quite steep, following a long traversing trail until the ridge of the El Agrado valley, which will lead to the next farm “Berlin”. This is one of the most beautiful places in the park, in a seldom visited area.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 1388 m / Highest altitude: 3848 m / Distance: 10,9 Km / Activity duration: 4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 3

Trekking: “Primavera/La Playa” farm (3769 m)
Today’s hike begins ascending “El Agrado” River valley up following an old trail which goes over “La Amargura” pass (4220 m), the border between the states of Risaralda and Quindío. For the energy hikers, there is the option to do a longer hike, climbing up to Pico Chispas (4378 m) and then re-take the trail. After the “La Amargura” pass a quite steep descent will lead down into the Quebrada Cardenas valley, where the Quindio river flows towards the cócora valley. After the river crossing (3804 m), following a muddy trail up 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 to La Angustia: 372 & ascent to La Linea: 215 / Descend to Quindio river: 416 m & descend to La Primavera/La Playa: 250 m/ Highest Altitude: 4220 m / Distance: 12 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 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

Trekking: Salento (1919 m) by the Cardenas valley
Last day in the mountains! Leaving after breakfast back up to “La Linea” mountain pass (4019 m) and descending to the Quindio river (3804 m), after crossing a short ascent to the abandoned “Buenos Aires” farm. After about an hours, the “La Argentina” farm will come into view. 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.
Ascent: 250 m / Descent: 1594 m / Highest Altitude: 4019 m / Distance 16,5 Km / Activity duration: 6-8 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

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 8

Armenia – Bogotá
After breakfast transfer out to Armenia’s airport (30 min) and flight (1 h) to Bogotá. Upon arrival transfer to hotel.
End of services.
Included meals: Breakfast

COL-20b – 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
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in the town of Salento
  • 6 nights in shared double tents at campsites
  • Quality mountain tents – 2 pax per tent
  • Group common campsite equipment
  • Mules for group 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


Refugio La Pastora (no website) or similar
Finca Berlin (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