5 Day Panoramic Trek5 days / 4 nights
Distance: 62 km (30 miles)
Level of difficulty: Athletic / High
Minimum altitude: 2,400m
Maximum altitude: 4,760m
Valle de Cocora to Finca La Argentina
Alt. start: 2,400m
Alt. end: 3,500m
Lunch: El Bosque
We meet at Salento Trekking office at 8:00 am to be ready to leave by 8:30 am and hop on a Willys Jeep for the 12km drive to Valle de Cocora where our Trek starts. Valle de Cocora is a natural cloud forest and home of the Colombian national tree Palma de Cera. This giant wax palm tree, the tallest in the world growing up to 65 meters, was near extinction but regained life after the Colombian government designated it a protected area in 1985.
In Cocora, after about a kilometer of easy hiking taking in the beautiful view of the valley, we cross the Rio Quindío for the first time, enter the Bosque de Palmas forest and start hiking in the jungle. This is also the entrance into the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados created on April 30, 1974.
We will cross the Rio Quindío twice before our destination. The forest is home to 250 species of birds including hummingbird, yellow-eared parrot, Blue-crowned motmot and Andean condor to name a few. The trail heads up quickly and we climb for the next 2.8km (about 3 hours), crossing the Bosque de Niebla and passing by an indigenous cemetery.
After about an hour (2.5km) of hiking, we will take a lunch break (altitude 2,900m). After lunch, we head out for the 3.5km (2.5/3 hours) hike that takes us to our final destination Finca La Argentina. The trail will ease up a bit and cross a prairie where sometimes raccoons can be seen walking around. The last 600 meters to Finca La Argentina will get a bit steeper again and take about 30 to 45 minutes. Dinner at Finca La Argentina.
Finca La Argentina – Paramillo del Quindío – Finca La playa
Alt. start: 3,400m
Alt. end: 3,700m
Highest point: 4,200m
We head out toward Finca Bueno Aires, on a kilometer steep uphill section. After another kilometer, we reach a point where we can see the Paramillo del Quindío, one of the highest mountains in the Nevados National Park. Sitting at 4,700m, it does not have snow anymore but is as majestic as always, we go through the canyon of a ravine called El Salado from which we will be able to go to the summit of Paramillo del Quindío. We will stay there for a while and will return to Finca la Playa through the high lake La Bonita.
We continue toward Finca Bueno Aires and hike up to La Cuchilla (4,200m), which marks the “border” between the department of Quindío and Tolima. From there, it is a 2km hike to reach Finca La playa (3,680m).
Finca La Playa to Cañon hot springs
Alt. start: 3,700m
Alt. end: 4,100m
Highest point: 4,100m
The first 4km are flat as we hike across the Valley de Romerales and then up for 1,5km to the Laguna del Encanto, which lies at the foot of the Nevado del Tolima. After a short downhill we enter and cross the vibrant Valley del Placer. We can admire the Nevado del Tolima on our right and the Paramillo del Quindio on our left, as well as cows freely grazing.
After about 3km, we climb up and down 3 times, around the base of the Nevado del Tolima, crossing small sulphur rivers coming from the volcano. The trail is pretty challenging with steep and rocky section both up and down. After reaching the top of the last climb you will be able to see the hot springs.
The hot springs of Canyon appears 200 meters below (alt. 4,000m). It’s time for a swim and for lunch! We will camp there.
Cañon hot springs to Finca Indostan
Alt. start: 4,100m
Alt. end: 4,200m
Highest point: 4,200m
We leave from canyon hot spring and make a small climb of 5 minutes, then we will continue through a road that has a small slope of 3%, then we would walk through a curvy road for about an hour, then we will climb for around 45 minutes before arriving at the place that has the tallest frailejons of Colombia with a height of about 4 mt.
We will walk around the frailejons for around 7 minutes, and will be able to get an amazing viewpoint for Nevado del Tolima, Nevado de Santa Isabel and Nevado del Ruiz.
Then we will walk through the Valley of Aguila to arrive to Finca el Aguila and have lunch, then we will continue walking until arriving to Finca Indostan where we will camp.
Finca Indostan – Alto Bonito – Santa Isabel
Length: 15km + 5 km (bad weather)
Alt. start: 4,200m
Alt. end: 3,600m
Highest point: 4,300m
Breakfast: 6:30 am
After leaving Finca Indostan, we will walk through a road on the cordillera that has a roller-coaster shape.
We will walk the rest of the day through a slope, after arriving at school Alto Bonito a car will pick us up to take us to Santa Isabel city.
if there is bad weather or is raining by the time we arrive at school Alto Bonito, you will have to walk another 5 km until Bodegas las cruces, where the car would pick you up.
- Transportation from Salento to Valle de Cocora and back
- Bilingual English/Spanish guide
- All meals: 4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners and snacks
- Insurance policy
What’s Not Included
- Breakfast on the first morning
- Dinner on the last night
- Tips for the guide
- Luggage transportation (optional and additional $70,000/day)