Los Nevados National Park – Hiking in Colombia’s Andes mountains

Los Nevados Nationalpark

If you are in the mood for a multi-day hike, you should not miss the “Los Nevados” National Park in Colombia’s central collidere. A hike in the national park can be ideally combined with a visit to the Cocora Valley, for example, as a highlight of the last stage. Our hike lasted 3 days and we would describe it as medium strenuous. The national park is dotted with numerous mountains and volcanoes such as the Nevado del Ruiz (5,321 m), the Nevado del Tolima (5,276 m), Nevado de Santa Isabel (4,950 m), the Paramillos of Cisne (4,636 m), Santa Rosa (4,600 m) and Quindío (4,760 m) as well as Cerro Bravo and Cerro Machín. Since the hike takes place above 4,000 m, sufficient acclimatization is mandatory.

Everything important at a glance

Length: ~ 50 km
Duration: 3 days
Difficulty level: medium
Cost per person: +/- 130 € incl. guide (if you are min. 2 persons)

General information about our hike

Our hike in “Los Nevados” National Park was super varied and exciting from many points of view. We hiked through fields, rainforest, mountains and last but not least through the picturesque Cocora Valley as a crowning conclusion. We have reported about the Cocora Valley itself in our separate article about it. The big advantage of the multi-day hike is that the national park behind the Cocora Valley is much less touristy. Overnight is in small farms / fincas in dorm beds. There you can get warm meals for a reasonable price. There are various hiking trails that lead up to some of the mountains as well as past them. So there is something for everyone. We decided to leave the route open and agreed with the guide that we would do it depending on our fitness level.

How much does it cost to hike in Los Nevados National Park?

For 3 days we paid 450,000 COP (+/- 90 €) for our guide as a couple , plus the entrance fee, insurance, accommodation and meals. Calculations are based on 2 people for a 3-day hike. Prices per person.

Guide 45 €
Insurance15 €
Entrance fee Los Nevados2 €
2 x acommodation20 €
4 x meals and snacks+/- 20 €
Viewpoints Cocora Valley+/- 4 €
Transport Willy-Jeep from and to Salento+/- 4 €
Tip f. Guide10 €

Day 1: Salento – Cocora – Finca Argentina

We get up at 5:00 in the morning, get ready and go to the “Plaza de Bolivar” in Salento. Here we meet our guide and drive with the usual colorful “Willy-Jeeps” to the starting point of the hike. Arrived in Cocora we start the hike. First we walk through fields until we reach the rainforest after some time. Here we cross some streams and take the one or other altitude meter.

Landschaft im Los Nevados

Towards afternoon we arrive at our destination for today, the Finca Argentina. Here we let the evening end comfortably and eat something for dinner. Unfortunately, Julian has caught something and has caught food poisoning (from dinner before).

Day 2: Finca Argentina – Finca La Playa

Unfortunately, Julian was not really better the next day, so we decided against the ascent of the Paramillo de Quindio. Since turning around was also not an alternative, we decided for a path that brings us closer to the beautiful landscape of the “Los Nevados” National Park without being too strenuous. First we walk a bit downhill before we pass the “Finca Buenos Aires”, which is easily recognizable because of the mighty tree that rises up next to it. We continue walking and now and then the first characteristic Espeletia appear.

Espeletia im Los Nevados
Our first Espeletia in Los Nevados Nationalpark

Endless space, no other tourists, just to our taste. Towards afternoon we arrive at Finca La Playa and enjoy a delicious dinner. There is “Pollo à la Plancha”, fried chicken with side dishes. From Finca la Playa we have a great view of the mountains behind us.

Finca la Playa los Nevados
Finca la Playa

Day 3: Finca la Playa – Cocora Valley – Cocora – Salento

Strengthened with scrambled eggs and rice Julian was finally well again. We hike off and can’t get out of the amazement. As far as the eye can see nothing but the beautiful Espeletia. After walking for some time through the Espeletia we start the descent.

Wanderun durch Espeletia

We walk steadily down and slowly approach the “wooded” area again. After a while we pass the “casa de los colibris”, but decide against a visit and continue hiking, because the entrance fee of 15,000 COP is too expensive for us. At an intersection we walk straight on to take the path through the “Cocora Valley”. Now follows the most strenuous part of the day, it goes quite steeply uphill until we arrive at the Finca la Montana. We refresh ourselves with a cold coke and enjoy the great view. There are colorful flowers and hummingbirds buzzing around us for free (there was even a nest with baby collibri). The next part of the trail resembles a road and is very easy to pass. After some time we spot the first wax palms and are delighted. Some viewpoints follow before we arrive back at the starting point and take the “Willy-Jeep” back to Salento. We have also written a separate article about the Cocora Valley and gathered more information here.

Packing list for your trek in Los Nevados National Park

Of course, our packing list does not claim to be complete. In Los Nevados National Park, it can sometimes be very muddy, which is why you should consider renting rubber boots (depending on the weather). After contacting our guide in advance, we packed as follows.

  • Warm jacket
  • Hiking pants
  • Short hiking pants
  • Hiking socks & 1 warm pair for the night
  • Zip hoody
  • Hat
  • Multifunctional headscarf
  • Dry-fit-sport-shirts
  • Rain jacket
  • Hiking boots or rubber boots (way can get incredibly muddy)
  • Underwear
  • Snacks
  • Backpack wi thraincover
  • Offline-map-app (z.B. maps.me oder mappy.cz)
  • Headlamp or torch
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Filter bottle (Lifestraw)

Hiking clothes for rent

Those who have mainly packed their summer clothes and have no warm clothes with them can fortunately borrow them locally in Salento, depending on availability of course. We have borrowed rubber boots and gloves on site.

Trekking in “Los Nevados” National Park on your own or with a guide?

Normally, I would say that it is well doable on your own. Depends of course on the experience, condition and the way you want to go. We have decided this time for a guide, because Naomi was still a broken ankle to cure. Because of this, we just felt safer with a trained guide at our side. We preferred to find a guide on the spot and not to book through an agency. This has 2 big advantages: It is much cheaper for us and the guide earns more from it, because he gets the whole amount.

Guide recommendation Los Nevados

After asking around several times and exchanging information with other travelers, we found a guide. He speaks only Spanish and takes for a 3-day tour just under 100 €. It does not matter if you are 1 or 4 people, the price remains the same. It should be said that he acts as a guide, so food, accommodation, transportation, etc. are not included in the price. Insurance is also mandatory. He takes his job very seriously and is a very laid back guy. If you are interested in hiking in the national park, feel free to contact him. Please say hello from Naomi & Julian :-). His number is +57 310 6231597

Acclimatization for Los Nevados National Park

A sufficient acclimatization for the “Los Nevados” National Park is absolutely necessary, since it goes up to min. 4,000 m to almost 5,000 m, depending on the route and plans. We spent a few days in Salento beforehand. The first hostel, Finca Argentina, is located at barely 3,500 m.a.s.l..

Accommodation in Los Nevados National Park

In Los Nevados National Park there are some places to stay, such as Finca Argentina, Finca Buenos Aires and Finca la Playa. These are mostly farms or hostels that earn some extra money with tourism. For a reasonable amount of money you can get an overnight stay and dinner or breakfast. Comfort should not be expected here, of course, everyone gets a bed and blankets, you spend the night in a large room with the other hikers. There are no hot showers.

Dorm in Finca la Argentina

Arrival and departure Los Nevados

The journey to your hike is relatively simple. Salento is the best place to start. If you want, you can also drive to Cocora the day before and spend the night there. From Salento you can take a “Willy-Jeep” to Cocora-Valley early in the morning and start your hike from there.

Willy Jeep

Catering at Los Nevados

The only places (after Cocora Valley) where you can buy food and snacks are the hostels we mentioned above. Hot meals, breakfast and tea are also available for reasonable money.


Besides the well-known wax palm in the Cocora Valley, no plant characterizes the landscape as much as the Espeletia. The Espeletia is found in Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia. It grows in the montane tropical areas above a certain altitude. The Espeletia grows unbranched, is very hairy and counts as a semi-shrub. At the same time, the beautiful little plants grow just 1 cm per year.

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  • Louise

    December 27, 2023 at 13:28

    Thanks for this great post, it's super helpful. Do you have any contact details that you can share for your guide?

    • Julian
      to Louise

      December 28, 2023 at 17:25

      Hi Louise, thanks for your comment. I updated the text including his number, hope it still works. Cheers, Naomi & Julian

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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