Los Nevados: South-North Trail

COL-34 / 8-day trip / Grade: T2-T3

Trekking: Los Nevados National Park from South to North
Climb-optional: Paramillo del Quindio (4745 m)


Los Nevados National Park located in the central Andes range and in the traditional coffee area of Colombia, is one of the high mountain parks in the country. Our South-North trail program covers the central section of the park, which is one of the most beautiful. The trail elapses four states: Tolima, Quindío, Risaralda and Caldas, over high mountain passes and with the option to climb/hike a very nice summit called Paramillo del Quindío (4745 m), the highest summit in that state, located right in the middle of the National Park. The Paramillo has one of the best 360º panoramic views, overlooking the three major snow capped volcanoes: Nevado del Ruiz (5321 m), Nevado del Tolima (5221 m) and Nevado del Santa Isabel (4965 m). On top of all this, the hikes are of extraordinary beauty, as many of them passes through different thermic floors, where it is possible to appreciate the biodiversity that characterizes the country. The hikes are not that difficult, but the area is known for the long distances to be cover during the daily itineraries.

Day 1 Bogotá – Salento (1919 m)
Day 2 Trekking: “La Argentina” farm (3483 m)
Day 3 Trekking: “La Primavera” farm (3769 m) and “El Encanto Lake” (4026 m)
Day 4 Climb: Paramillo del Quindío (4745 m)
Day 5 Trekking: “El Otun” campsite (4054 m)
Day 6 Trekking: “Corinto” farm (3652 m) – Coffee farm
Day 7 Coffee farm: Coffee tour
Day 8 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) and “El Encanto Lake” (4026 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. Lunch will be held at the farm.

On the afternoon the group will do a relaxing hike to “El Encanto” Lake (the Enchanted lake), located west from the farms. The trail follows the Tolima’s valley for about 1,5 hour and then heads up to the lake for another 30 min. The lake is located in a small valley with a great view to the Nevado del Tolima and Paramillo del Quindío summits. Most of the hike will be done through a relative flat páramo ecosystem. The return to the farm will be done by the same trail.
Ascent to La Linea pass: 536 m / Descent to Finca La Primavera: 250 m / Highest Altitude: 4019 m / Distance to La Primavera farm: 5,8 Km / Activity duration to La Primavera: 4-5 h
Ascent to El Encanto Lake: 257 m / Descent back to La Primavera farm: 257 m / Highest Altitude: 4026 m / Distance to El Encanto Lake: 5,25 Km round trip / Activity duration to El Encanto Lake: 3-4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 4

Climb: Paramillo del Quindío (4745 m)
Today is the longest and most demanding day of the program, due to the long terrain to the cover and the ascent to the Paramillo del Quindío.
The day starts really early ascending to “La Linea” mountain pass (4019 m), the border between the Tolima and Quindío states, from where a trail that follows the southern flank of the Quebrada Cardenas’ valley leads up the “Los Humedales de Quindío” wetlands (4193 m). The “humedales are located at the base of the extinct volcano known as Paramillo del Quindío, the highest summit in the Quindío state. It is in these wetlands that the Rio Quindío is born, and much of the water provided to the lower regions comes from here.
The goal is to ascent to the Paramillo and the climb begins following a series of colorful moraines and arêtes until the final ridge of “El Caballete”, which leads to the main summit (4745 m). The view from the top is just incredible, as it is possible to see most of the national park’s area and, if the weather allows it, there is a perfect view to the neighboring volcanoes of: Nevado Santa Isabel (4965 m), Nevado del Ruiz (5321 m) and Nevado del Tolima (5221 m). The descent is quite fast down to the base.
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 “humedales” and after lunch, the group will take a trail on the northern side of the valley, down to a col and then back up to a second pass called “La Angustia” (4193 m), the border between the states of Quindío and Risaralda. From this point a valley drops, by the El Agrado river basin, to the “Berlin” farm (3848 m).
Night in tents.
To the Humedales area: Ascent: 424 m / descend: 345 m / Highest Altitude: 4193 m / Distance: 16,4 Km / Activity duration: 7-8 h
To the summit of Paramillo del Quindío: Ascent: 976 / Descent: 897 m / Distance: 19,4 Km / Highest Altitude: 4745 m / Activity duration: 9-10 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 5

Trekking: “El Otun” campsite (3933 m)
Departure from “Berlin” farm after breakfast and ascend to Berlin’s pass (3964 m), one of the best viewpoint on the trek looking down to “El Bosque” crater. This crater valley is just idyllic with its small farms and color patches all over the place. From the pass, there is steep descent to Quebrada Blanca, the lowest point of the day (3606 m). The terrain starts to ascend once again, by the “Cuenca del Rio Otun” or “Eden” valley, following a series of ridges and small valleys up to “El Mosco” lake and from there to the “Otun” lake, the biggest lake in Los Nevados National. The campsite is at the shores of the lake and there will be good time to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at this lovely spot.
Night in tents.
Ascent to Berlin’s pass: 116 m / Descend to Quebrada Blanca: 358 m / Ascent to Otun lake: 327 m / Highest altitude: 3933 m / Distance: 9,5 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 6

Trekking: “Corinto” farm (3652 m) – Coffee Farm
Today’s itinerary can be done by one of the two trails that depart from the Otun Lake’s camping place. The guide will decide which trail to take according to the physical and weather conditions.

1. By the Western lake’s trail:
Morning hike back to the lake’s drain and then walk on a trail/dirt road that follows the Western margin of the lake up to the “La Asomadera” mountain pass (4139 m), the border between the states of Caldas and Risaralda and the best place to see the Otun lake, from this point another trail descend by a scenic gorge passing by a few local farms and pasture fields, losing altitude until reaching “Corinto” farm. There will be a transport waiting to take the group down (3 h) to a coffee farm in the Manizales area.
Night at coffee farm.
Ascent: 206 m / Descend: 478 m / Highest altitude: 4139 m / Distance: 13.5 Km / Activity duration: 5-6 h

2. By the Eastern lake’s trail:
This trail follows the Eastern shore of the lake and ascents towards higher Asomadera ridge, passing through well-preserved native vegetation gardens and scenic waterfalls. Once on the ridge, the trail descends by a series of small lakes down to the lower Asonadera pass, joining the Western trail, as described above, descending to “Corinto” farm. There will be a transport waiting to take the group down (3 h) to a coffee farm in the Manizales area.
This trail is more demanding than the other one, in time and physical effort, not in distance.
Night at coffee farm.
Ascent: 304 m / Descend: 585 m / Highest altitude: 4237 m / Distance: 13.2 Km / Activity duration: 6-7 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 7

Coffee farm: Coffee tour
Relaxing morning at the beautiful Hacienda Venecia, an authentic coffee farm with exclusive coffee production. The farmhouses now restored to a hostel and a hotel, featuring charming paisa architecture. The Venecia Coffee farm has won several prizes for its excellent coffee and for this day, it is included a coffee tour to see how the coffee is produced and processed, as well as how to make really good Espresso!
Night at coffee farm.
Activity duration: 3-4 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Picnic, Dinner

Day 8

Bogotá (2660 m)
Pick up at the coffee farm and transfer out to Manizales’ airport (45 min.). Upon arrival in Bogotá, transfer to hotel – End of services.
Included meals: Breakfast

COL-34-LT – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


  • Local English speaking AWT mountain guide fro day 1 to 6
  • Local assistant mountain guide from 4 people from day 2 to 6
  • 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
  • 2 nights in shared double rooms in coffee hacienda in Manizales
  • 4 nights in shared tents at campsites
  • Coffee tour in Manizales
  • 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 and international flights
  • Personal camping equipment
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

SALENTO: Hotel Salento Real or similar


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

MANIZALES: Hacienda Venecia – Coffee Lodge or similar



Los Nevados:

Tags: Colombia, Los Nevados, Cocora, T2, T3