CATEGORY: Adventure / Trekking
DURATION: 4 days
NAME OF THE ROUTE: Circuit of the Tropical Andes
This trek allows you to truly experience the fascinating biodiversity of the Colombian tropical Andes. Starting from the Cocora Valley with its iconic wax palms, we enter the high Andean forest between lianas and mosses, ferns and epiphytes. As you ascend, you will enter the páramo ecosystem, locally dubbed as water factories, with the water here flowing down for the million of inhabitants below in the valleys’ cities and towns. Ascending to more than 4,300 meters this inhospitable ecosystem begins to be more dispersed and we begin to see a new arid landscape that shows us the scars of an old glacier the the moraines. Finally, the ascent up to 5000 meters will find one of the ecosystems most threatened by climate warming the Nevado del Tolima volcano, also known as the Sleeping Lion. During this 4-day tour you will ascend to the top of Paramillo del Quindío at 4,750 meters, observe the Quindío swamps and reach the edge of the Nevado del Tolima at 5,000 meters, a diverse adventure that will take you within touching point of your physical and mental limits.
LEVEL 4. DEMANDING
Recommended for those with good physical condition and strength, who wish to have an challenging experience. It is preferable to have some experience in mountaineering. Hikes from 6 to 8 hours a day, with distances of 15-19 kilometers (≈9-12 miles). The terrain is hilly, with steep slopes, irregular roads with mud and some sections without shade (direct sunlight). The elevation change of up to 2,500 meters (≈8,000 ft), with an maximum altitude of 5,000 meters (≈16,000 ft). These routes often involve carrying your own luggage.
DAY PRIOR TO THE TREK: We ask all clients to please come to the Paramo Trek office in Salento (before 4pm) where we take you through a pre-departure briefing. We double-check you are adequately equipped (hiking shoes, clothes for the cold, waterproofs etc.) as well as complete any outstanding payments. We do have some equipment available for rent, however, this is on a first come first served basis.
DAY 1: We all meet at the Paramo Trek office at 6am where you are introduced to your guide/s before heading to our breakfast stop. Once full from our hearty breakfast, we all jump into a traditional Colombian ‘Willis’ jeep to our start of the trek at the Cocora Valley. We start walking at an altitude of 2,390 meters towards the forest, where you can see the iconic wax palms. We start our ascent in the High Andean Forest (commonly known as ‘Cloud Forest’) bordering the San José River. Our cooked lunch spot is at a traditional farm at an altitude of 3,170meters. After lunch we continue our ascent through the sub-páramo ecosystem until we reach the páramo, full with unique flora and wildlife, until we reach an altitude of 3,800meters. We then spend the final part of the first day descending to our accomodation for the night, the Finca La Primavera 3,700meters. Here the wood-burning oven not only warms us up but is the key ingredient for the traditional dinner cooked by the local family. Weather permitting, this last section provides unparalleled views of Nevados del Tolima glaciar.
Day 2: Our second day starts immediately amongst the frailejones of the Páramo, with the spectacular panoramic views of Nevado del Tolima and its surrounding landscape. We make an ascent to the Wetlands of the Paramillo del Quindío at 4.200 meters, the source of the Cárdenas River. From this point we setup our own base camp before starting our ascent to the extinct volcano crater. This can take approximately two hours due to the care needed on the steeper sections (sometimes as much as 45 degrees!) to reach our goal, the summit at 4,750 meters. Depending on the weather conditions, the summit offers panoramic views of Santa Isabel and Ruiz Nevados, two glacial peaks in the North of the National Park, plus the Otún Lagoon. We then make our return to the Finca La Primavera, normally arriving as the sun starts to set (5:30 pm).
Day 3: Following a delicious breakfast, we depart towards the majestic Nevado Del Tolima glacier. Our aim today is to get as close to the glacier as possible (depending on weather conditions and group strength), but also to enjoy the staggering natural beauty of the valley. A gentle start to the day is quickly forgotten when we start our ascent towards the base camp of the Nevado del Tolima. From here we have a slight scramble up a rocky and scree-laden steep slopes- for those strong enough, we reach the dizzy height of 5,000 meters, the border of the glacier.
We take our picnic lunch, prepared by your guides, at the perfect picnic spot on the beach of the Laguna del Encanto- a large body of water boasting beautiful views of many of the National Park’s peaks. We then hike along a different path heading back towards the Finca La Primavera, and a well deserved rest.
DAY 4: Following a delicious traditional breakfast prepared by our hosts, we start our day heading uphill towards our maximum altitude of 4,000 meters. After an in-depth discussion about the importance and problems facing the Colombian paramos by your guide, the group start their descent. This route gives us the opportunity to see the stunning ‘Paramillo del Quindio’ mountain and surrounding area of breathtaking, natural beauty. We mark the halfway stage of our day by enjoying a hot soup when passing ‘La Argentina’ farm, before completing the circuit back towards the Cocora Valley. After taking our private transport back to Salento, we finish our adventure by celebrating at dinner (included in the package price) at one of the finest restaurants in Salento.
2.390m (7.841 pies/ft.)
(B →C → D): : 7km mas este dia Km
A: Valle del Cócora
B: Finca La argentina
C: Pantanos del Paramillo del Quindío
D: Finca la primavera
E: Borde de glaciar del Tolima
Paramo Trek works according to the Colombian Law 300 that reserves the right to consider compelling reasons and circumstances for non-participation in the reserved and/or contracted activity and the respective reimbursement.
Once the booked activity/service has started, there is no reimbursement of the paid amount.
For cancellation of the booking prior to the agreed start date and time, without cause, will incur a 50% charge of the total value of the booked activity.
In case of a failure to use the service for extreme causes (death, hospitalization, accident duly certified), we will reimburse 80% of the paid amount.
Paramo Trek, due to the very nature of the tours we offer, have to be flexible and constantly evaluating all aspects of safety for our clients. Some of the places we visit are difficult to access with a lack of urban amenities, as well as subject to unpredictable and variable environmental conditions. We therefore consider these experiences to be for the adventurous, with our clients prepared to adapt and to be positive in the face of unexpected change.
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Value For Money
Let us support you to live this great adventure in Colombia! Contact us now and request all the information to make it a unique experience, made to your needs.
Cellphones: +57 311 745 3761 – +57 310 382 40 26
E-mail: [email protected]
Carrera 5 numero 9 – 33 / Salento – Quindio- Colombia