SUMMARY

From snowy peaks to rare, endemic environments and high-altitude alpine lakes, discover Colombia’s astounding 3 days trek in “Los Nevados” National Park. This journey has several moderate hikes that raise your heartbeat, so a good level of physical fitness is required. The trek is adaptable to suit your interests with the option to challenge yourself to the heart-pumping summit Santa Isabel peak, or trek at lower elevation around an alpine lake.

Highlights

  • Trek for 3 days in Parque de Los Nevados through jagged peaks, alpine lakes in 3000 to 4500 meters of elevation
  • Take an unforgettable journey through Colombia’s “páramo” ecosystem with endemic frailejones and cojines plants
  • Walk on one of the last remaining glaciers in Colombia to see 360° summit views
  • Camp in the mountains and stay overnight at a Colombian family’s ranch
  • Bilingual trekking and naturalist guide (languages: English, French, Spanish)

BOOK THE TRIP

ITINERARY

  • Meet your guide at 12 noon in Villamaria Manizales 
  • Visit the Catedral and the park of the Monumento a Los Colonizadores sculpture in Manizales
  • Begin a 1 hour drive from Manizales to a traditional Colombian ranch located in the mountains where you stay overnight to acclimate to high-altitude
  • On Day 2, drive through stunning mountain landscapes from the ranch to the entrance of Los Nevado de Santa Isabel National Park
  • Begin your hiking for 4 hours to camp at an alpine lake surrounded by jagged mountain peaks and waterfalls
  • Wake early on Day 3 to attempt the summit of El Nevado del Santa Isabel and camp overnight
  • On Day 4, complete a new route along Lake Otun Lake to return to the park entrance
  • Return with your guides to drive to return to Medellín by 8 p.m. * depending on transport time

Welcome to Manizales, the most adventurous of the three cities that make up Colombia’s “coffee triangle”. Enjoy lunch by the Catedral de Manizales and a walk to the park of the Monumento a Los Colonizadores sculpture for a stunning view of the mountainous region.

If you fly to Manizales, enjoy an afternoon excursion to the Río Blanco Nature Reserve, located just two miles from the city. In terms of biodiversity, Colombia is second only to Brazil in the world, with nearly 2000 bird species. Walk on the trails that weave throughout the 12,187 hectares of the reserve and look for endemic plant and bird species of the central Andes cloud forests.

After your visit, begin a 1 hour drive on switchback roads that lead you to a traditional Colombian ranch located in the mountains. Enjoy home-cooked meals and a night of peaceful sleep in the mountains to acclimate to the high-altitude.

What to Bring Today:
  • Appropriate clothing: long lightweight pants and breathable shirt, sturdy walking shoes
  • Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra clothes (End of the activity)
  • Notebook and camera
  • Refillable water bottle

The next morning, drive 3 hours in a comfortable and durable 4×4 truck to the entrance of “Parque de los Nevados” National Park. Begin your guided 3 hours hike through sub-tropical tundra to the panoramic view of the alpine Lake Otun. On the way, explore the “Pàramo” ecosystem, a fascinating spectrum of endemic species, such as the iconic “Frailejones” and Cojines, that only grow above the treeline and below the snowline (between 3000 to 4500). This endemic ecosystem produces 85 percent of Colombia’s drinking water with only accounting for 1.7 percent of the country’s land. Establish base camp at a breathtaking alpine lake, enjoy quality food, and meet the local, knowledgeable park ranger. Camp overnight at a designated camp and wake early to hike to the summit of El Nevado del Santa Isabel.

What to Bring for Today:
  • Appropriate clothing: lightweight long pants and long shirt for hike, hiking boots, sun-hat, wool-hat, sunglasses, windbreaker rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra clothes (End of the activity)
  • Headlamp
  • Refillable water bottle

An early alpine start allows you to hike six hours with your guide to the snowy summit of El Nevado del Santa Isabel (4960 m.). Depending on weather, chose a lower altitude route to an alpine lake for a more moderate climb. Look out for high-altitude flyers such as endemic bearded helmetcrest hummingbird and Colombia’s National Bird: the Andean condor, which represents the country’s glory. The largest flying bird in the world, the Andean condor can fly up to three hundred kilometers in a single day. The trail changes from a soft walk to a rockier, steeper path to the summit. Once you are on the summit trail, a stupendous 360° panorama reveals the entire Magdalena valley and its coffee farms on a clear day. Here, witness one of the last remaining glaciers in Colombia. Camp overnight in tents by a lagoon.

What to Bring Today:
  • Appropriate clothing: lightweight long pants and long shirt for hike, hiking boots, sun-hat, wool-hat, sunglasses, windbreaker rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra clothes (End of the activity)
  • Headlamp
  • Refillable water bottle

The next morning, complete a new route along Lake Otun Lake to return to the park entrance. Share lunch and tea with the “guardian” family of the park, a knowledgeable and warm Colombian family who live in the park full-time. Trek three hours to the high-altitude alpine Lake Otun. Drive 6 hours back to Medellín to arrive at your hotel by 8 p.m., or opt to take a flight from Airport La Nubia in Manizales (4 ½ hours in travel time). After your retreat in the mountains, enjoy a stay in a boutique hotel, ideally located in the heart of the hip Poblado neighborhood.

What to Bring for Today:
  • Appropriate clothing: lightweight long pants and long shirt for hike, hiking boots, sun-hat, wool-hat, sunglasses, windbreaker rain jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra clothes (End of the activity)
  • Headlamp
  • Refillable water bottle

CHECKLIST

  • Expert bilingual adventure and cultural guides (languages: Spanish, French, English)
  • Colombian National Park entrance fee
  • Camping equipment (sleeping bag, tent, thermarest)
  • Water, non-alcoholic drinks, breakfast, lunch, and dinners
  • Appropriate clothing for a range of temperatures (Manizales is sunny and 70 F, but the mountains are windier and cooler)
  • A solid pair of hiking shoes, hiking pants, hiking poles (recommended)
  • Two pairs of warm fleece (top and bottom layer for nights), rain jacket, warm hat, gloves, wool socks
  • Sunglasses, sunhat, sunblock
  • Backpack (40 liters or more), personal refillable water bottle, headlamp
  • Camera, photocopy of identification
  • On your trekking expedition, camp in tents with sleeping bags and thermarests in a high-altitude mountain camp
  • Enjoy hot meals prepared by cooked by local cooks and your guide
  • Excellent vegetarian, vegan, gluten- free, and other dietary options
  • Treated water is offered to guests, please bring a refillable water bottle, or opt to purchase bottled water
  • During your city visit in Manizales, enjoy traditional Colombian restaurants
  • During your overnight stay at the mountain ranch, enjoy Colombian cuisine from the on-site chef and comfortable, Colombian lodging

PRICE & RESERVATION

Joined group of 3+
$1.150.000
COP

Solo Private
$2.700.000
COP

2 Person Private
$1.500.000
COP/each

3 Person Private
$1.300.000
COP/each

4 Person Private
$1.150.000
COP/Person

The price DOES NOT INCLUDE transport from Medellin to Manizales. We can happily arrange public or private transport, prices depend on group size.

For larger groups and groups who want to customize the trip, please contact us directly for the price.

100% deposit must be made 3 days before the trip, for last minute payment and reservation request contact Expedition Colombia. All payment must be done through our booking platform, or via a deposit in our Bancolombia bank account.

*All our prices above do not include IVA.

  1. According to the Colombia tax system, foreigners are exempted for the IVA.
  2. For Colombian residents, citizens and foreigners living in Colombia for more than 6 months, 50 % of the total IVA will be charged and the other half will be covered by the company.
  3. For companies or agencies, the total IVA will be charged. 

What they say:

About Us

Expedition Colombia is a collective of dedicated guides, conservationists and professional athletes. We are passionate about the use of adventure tourism as a tool to protect Colombia’s cultural and natural treasures.

Over years of exploration we have discovered Colombia’s unlimited potential for multi-sport experiences and have created a unique line-up of expeditions to help you discover the hidden paradises that exist here.

Contact

  • info@expeditioncolombia.com
  • Carrera 43 E # 11a-15, Barrio Manila, Medellín, Colombia
  • (+57) 314 846-4540 - Español/Français
  • (+57) 312 303-4853 - Español/English

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