Tolima & Quindio’s Summits

COL-20c / 8-day trip / Grade: F

Trek: Los Nevados National Park from North to South
Climb: Paramillo del Quindio (4745 m) – Nevado del Tolima (5221 m)

Tolima & Quindio's Summits
OVERVIEW

Los Nevados National Park, located in the central Andes range and in the traditional coffee area of Colombia, is one of the highest mountain parks in the country. The protected area covers an area 583 km2 and four states: Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio and Tolima. There are three major snow capped volcanoes: Nevado del Ruiz (5321 m), Nevado del Tolima (5221 m) and Nevado del Santa Isabel (4965 m) and two minor craters: Paramillo del Quindio (4745 m) and El Cisne (4750 m), plus many high altitude lakes, being the biggest one: El Otun lake. The treks and climbs are of extraordinary beauty, as many of them pass through the different thermic floors, where it is possible to appreciate the biodiversity that characterizes the country. The ascents are not technically difficult, but the area is known for the long distances to be covered during the daily hikes.

This 8-day program offers one of the most complete itineraries: Trekking from the north to the south, which covers the most beautiful high mountain part of the park and climbing two summits a long the way. It is a challenging program, but an unforgettable experience in the heart of Colombia!


Day 1 Bogotá – Pereira – “El Bosque” farm (3550 m)
Day 2 Trekking: “El Otun” campsite (3933 m)
Day 3 Trekking: “Berlin” farm (3848 m)
Day 4 Climb: Paramillo del Quíndio (4745 m)
Day 5 Trekking: Tolima’s high camp (4345 m)
Day 6 Climb: Nevado del Tolima (5221 m)
Day 7 Trekking: Salento (1919 m)
Day 8 Salento (1919 m) – Bogotá
ITINERARY
Day 1

Pereira – “El Bosque” farm (3550 m)
Pick-up at hotel and transfer to domestic terminal for a flight (1 h) to the city of Pereira. Upon arrival, there will be a transport ready to take the group to the highlands. The trip will take between 3-4 hours, depending on the road conditions and where lunch will be held. The road trip is an experience in itself, first by asphalted road and then by dirt road, that swing through mountainsides cover with colorful crops and small farms. The group will stay at one of these local farms called “El Bosque” (3550 m). Rest of the day to rest and acclimatize.
Night in tent.
Included meals: Picnic, Dinner

Day 2

Trekking: “El Otun” campsite (3933 m)
Early morning hike to the Asomadera’s lower ridge (4139 m), the border between the states of Caldas and Risaralda, ascending by a scenic gorge passing by a few local farms and pasture fields, gaining altitude until reaching the ridge. From this point, descend towards to the Otun Lake, taking the trail known as the “enchanted forest”, through a very well preserved forest of Failejones (endemic plants from the Northern Andes). The hike goes down until the lake’s drain, from where a nice almost flat trail leads to the El Otun camping area, located by the National Park’s hut. The place is situated on the southern shore of the lake and has an amazing view to the lake.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 589 m / Descend: 206 m / Highest altitude: 4139 m / Distance: 13,5 Km / Activity duration: 6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 3

Trekking: “Berlin” farm (3848 m)
Departure from the Otun campsite, tracing back to the lake’s drain. From this point the trail heads downwards passing “El Mosco” lake and descending by a wide valley called “Cuenca del Rio Otun” to Quebrada Blanca, the lowest point on the day (3606 m). From the “Quebrada” starts a gentle ascent by one of the most colorful and beautiful crater valleys on the trek. The climb will head up to the Berlin’s pass (3964 m) and then descend to the day´s goal: the Berlin mountain farm (3848 m) located at the bottom of a deep valley.
Night in tent.
Descend to Quebrada Blanca: 327 m / Ascent to Berlin’s pass: 358 m / Descend to Berlin farm: 116 m / Highest altitude: 3964 m / Distance: 9,5 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Climb: Paramillo del Quíndio (4745 m)
Today is the first climb of the program and, therefore, a very early start is necessary. The hike begins ascending “El Agrado” River valley up to the mountain pass called “La Angustia” (4193 m), the border between the states of Risaralda and Quindío. A gentle descend to the Quebrada Cardenas’ valley and a short re ascent, on the northern flank of the valley, to the beautiful “humedales” wetland area (4193 m). It is in these wetlands that the Rio Quindío is born, and much of the water provided to the lower regions comes from here. After a good break for lunch, the team will climb the extinct Volcano of El Paramillo del Quindío, the highest summit in the Quindío state. The ascent is quite demanding due to the steepness of the terrain and the altitude. Most of the trail is over slippery scree that goes in an almost direct line up to the ridge called “El Caballete”, from where the climb follows a very spectacular red colored sand ridge up the main summit (4745 m). El Paramillo has one of the best views in the park, as it is located almost in at the center of the park with a 360º panoramic view. On clear days it is possible to see all three main summits: to the north Nevado Santa Isabel (4965 m) and Nevado del Ruiz (5321 m) and to the south Nevado del Tolima (5221 m). The descent is done by the same trail.
Note: if some people are tired or do not wish to climb this summit, it is possible for them to take a rest at the base while the others ascend the volcano, and then be reunited on the descent.
Once back at the wetlands, the team will hike downwards on the southern flank of the Cardenas’ valley until the mountain pass of “La Linea” (4019 m), which divides the departments of Quindío and Tolima. From this natural border a progressive descend to either La Primavera or La Playa farms in the Tolima’s valley (3769 m).
Night in tent.
To the Humedales area: Ascent: 345 / descend: 424 m / Highest Altitude: 4193 m / Distance: 16,4 Km / Activity duration: 7-8 h
To the summit of Paramillo del Quindío: Ascent: 897 / Descend: 976 m / Highest Altitude: 4745 m / Distance: 19,4 Km / Activity duration: 9-10 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, first a short ascend and then 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: 123 m / Descent: 1467 m / Distance: 15,1 Km / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 8

Salento (1919 m) – Bogotá
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.
There will be an evening flight to Bogota and transfer to hotel.
End of services
Included meals: Breakfast

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

INCLUDED

  • Local English-speaking mountain guide
  • Local assistant mountain guide from 4 people
  • Local assistant mountain guides for summit day on Tolima Ratio: 1:3
  • Private transfers in and out in Bogotá
  • Private transportation throughout the entire program
  • National Park entrance fee and park’s insurance
  • 1 night in shared double rooms in hotel in Salento
  • 6 nights in shared tents at campsites
  • Coffee tour in Salento
  • 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

NOT INCLUDED

  • Domestic and international flights
  • Personal camping and climbing equipment
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list
HOTEL LIST

SALENTO: Hotel Salento Real or similar

PARQUE NACIONAL LOS NEVADOS:

Finca El Bosque (no website) or similar
Otun Camping (no website) or similar
Finca Berlin (no website) or similar
Finca La Primavera/La Playa (no website) or similar

MAP

Overview:


Trek & climb:

GALLERY

Tags: Climbing, Colombia, Trekking, Tolima, Santa Isabel, Los Nevados, paramillo del quindio, F grade, Otun