THE LOS NEVADOS TREK, SALENTO, COLOMBIA

The Los Nevados Trek will take you through a variety of landscapes up to the Colombian highlands of the Andes.

Parque Nacional Los Nevados is located in the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes. There are variety of treks and entrance points within the Los Nevados National Park. 

The standard Los Nevados Trek from the Cocora Valley to Finca Primavera / Finca La Playa is a three day / two night trek in the Los Nevados National Park.

There are more treks and routes to do once you reach the top, some only accessible with a tent, but the minimum recommended time frame is 3 days / 2 nights.

***NOTE*** check out the comments section at the bottom of the post after your have finished reading the article as some friendly people have provided a bit more information about the trek 🙂

 

Fibrous leaves of a vascular plant species on the Los Nevados Trek, Parque Nacional Los Nevados.

 

This article will show how you can hike from the Cocora Valley up to Finca Primavera and Finca La Playa without a guide. We did not explore much further, but if you do, it is recommended that you take a tent and food supplies. 

Local Colombian riding horse and carrying supplies with pack mules over the Andean Highlands - Los Nevados Trek

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU WALK THE LOS NEVADOS TREK

The Los Nevados Trek to Finca Primavera is a relatively demanding trek due to the elevation gain of 1500m and maximum altitude of 4000m.

 

Farm animals on the high altitude finca on the Los Nevados Trek, Colombia.

 

THE ROUTE

The following list and maps show approximate distances from Valle De Cocora and the altitude (m) at each destination:

  • Cocora Valley - 0km - 2300m
  • Estrella De Agua - 8km - 3250m
  • Finca Primavera - 14.5km - 3800m 
  • Finca La Playa - 16km - 3700m 
  • Termanles Canon - 30km - 3900m 
  • Finca Mesetas - 35km - 3600m 
  • Juntas - 50km - 2000m
Los Nevados Trek Route and elevation map - Parque Nacional Los Nevados, Colombia
Trekkers arrive at Finca Primavera during sunset on the Los Nevados Trek, Colombia.

From the Cocora Valley you will pass through Acaeme – Estrella De Agua – Finca Primavera and Finca La Playa. From here it is possible to continue for day hikes and more overnight hikes.

It is possible to hike from the Cocora Valley up to Finca Primavera in one day, or if you like you can sleep at Acaeme for a night to break up the trek.

There are signs to mark the way as well as trail maps to show you how far you have to go.

It is recommend to stay at Finca Primavera of Finca La Playa for two nights. That will give you time to explore the surroundings on your free day and plenty of time to get back on the next.

Golden sunset light on theAndean Mountain Peaks on the Los Nevados Trek - Parque Nacional Los Nevados

WHAT TO BRING ON THE LOS NEVADOS TREK

It is possible to stay at the fincas and they have all the supplies you will need such as a bed and freshly cooked meals to purchase.

If you plan on walking and spending any nights further than Finca Primavera or Finca Playa then bring a tent and food supplies. 

Bring:

  • Good walking shoes
  • Snacks
  • Poncho / rain jacket
  • Thermals
  • Flashlight
  • Money
  • A Trekking Buddy

TREKKING BUDDIES

It is highly recommended that you trek with others. I recommend a Swede and an American. The Swede will give you Snuz to celebrate milestones such as reaching the top of a hill and the American will over use superlatives and make everything seem better than it is.

Fast moving clouds pass over the mountains on the Los Nevados Trek, Colombia - Parque Nacional Los Nevados.

HOW TO DO THE LOS NEVADOS TREK WITHOUT A GUIDE

To start, the choice to either take a guide or not is up to you. If you choose not to, it is highly recommended that you do not trek alone as the weather can change quickly, meaning you can get lost and disorientated. 

The Los Nevados Trek can be accessed from the Cocora Valle. More information on getting to the Cocora Valley can be found in this article.

Continuing from the junction at the end of the Cocora Valley the path leads up to the high mountain plains with the sleeping destinations for the day being with Finca Primavera or Finca Playa. If you have a tent there are smaller campsites in the high plains.

Along the way there are various rest stops, the most significant being 'Estrella De Agua', which can also be used as a place to camp if you wish to spread the hike over more days.

The path is well marked and there aren’t any opportunities to wander off the path until you get to the highplains. Even on the highplains the paths are well defined. The only chances of getting lost or disorientated are in poor visibility conditions when the clouds or fog pass by.

Girl walking on a trail in the Andean Highlands on the Los Nevados Trek, Colombia - Los Nevados National Park

WHERE TO SLEEP ON THE LOS NEVADOS TREK

If you don’t have a tent, there are two sleeping options when you reach to top, Finca Primavera or Finca Playa, numbers below. It is recommend that you call and book a day or two in advance to make sure you are not stranded when you arrive. If you have a tent you can camp in any of the designated campsites.

 

Finca Playa - An option of where you can stay on the Los Nevados Trek from Valle de Cocora, Colombia.

 

It is also possible to stay at Acaime to break up the length of the trek. 

 

Contact:

  • +57 312 211 7677
  • +57 310 832 7879

Cost 

  • Bed: 15,000CLP
  • Meal: 18,000 – 20,000CLP

Contact:

  • +57 321 284 7975

Cost 

  • Bed: 15,000CLP
  • Meal: 18,000 – 20,000CLP

Cost 

  • Bed: 25,000CLP
  • Dinner & Breakfast: 15,000CLP (total)

- See more at: https://www.mumwearefine.com/mumwearefine/blog-post-035-los-nevados.html#sthash.yuTq5jTP.dpuf

Looking to travel somewhere else in Colombia?

If you found this article interesting, perhaps you would like to know more about other travel destinations in Colombia?

Check out the travel guides below.

COCUY
COCUY
COCUY
Glaciers and Snow-Capped Mountains in Colombia
RINCON DEL MAR
RINCON DEL MAR
RINCON DEL MAR
The gateway to the San Bernardo Islands
JURADO
JURADO
JURADO
The last town on the Pacific Coast before Panama
TAYRONA
TAYRONA
TAYRONA
Hiking on the northern coast of Colombia
PUNTA GALLINAS
PUNTA GALLINAS
PUNTA GALLINAS
The most northern point of Colombia
LOS NEVADOS
LOS NEVADOS
LOS NEVADOS
Cloud forests and water generating ecosystems
TINTIPÁN
TINTIPÁN
TINTIPÁN
A paradise island with crystal clear waters
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
Where the orange desert meets the turquoise sea
CABO DE VELA
CABO DE VELA
CABO DE VELA
A small fishing town with excellent kite surfing
VALLE DEL COCORA
VALLE DEL COCORA
VALLE DEL COCORA
The largest palm trees in the world
JARDIN
JARDIN
JARDIN
A place to unwind, drink coffee and visit a waterfall
FILANDIA
FILANDIA
FILANDIA
The hidden gem in the Coffee Region
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
The second biggest Carnival in South America
EL VALLE
EL VALLE
EL VALLE
Where the rainforest meets the sea

  1. Alan Reply

    This is a great blog and the design is an eyecatcher – I really appreciate the time you invested for putting all this information together. Thank you.

    1. Thanks! I really appreciate the comment. The fact that it helped you in the slightest makes it worthwhile putting the information together.

      All the best! 🙂

  2. Fanni Reply

    First of all, great blog! Very informative, it helped a lot to do the trek alone.
    Some points I’d like to add.. When going up to Primavera in one day, you should bring food for lunch, as they don’t always have food at Estrella de Agua (when we walked up they only sold agua panela, the day we went down she offered us lunch – seems to be random).
    We slept at Primavera for two nights. Somehow they didn’t seem happy about people being there who didn’t belong to a guided group. First the owner hesitated to give us a bed in a room with people belonging to a group, although half the room was free. They also make groups eat first and individuals eat last at every meal (there’s only limited room for about 6-8 people in the kitchen). Although I can see the point in that, it seemed kind of unfriendly to me that they neither tell you when you can eat, nor call you when the groups are done, so that you have to sneak around the kitchen to see when there’s room and ask for food about five times to finally have her agree with you eating while you have the impression of getting on her nerves asking for food. Also I don’t quite understand why they can’t organize all the individuals into one group and have them eat together at the end or add them to small groups (sometimes there were only three people eating, but she wouldn’t have individuals eat until all the groups were done). Anyway, the point is that we bought some food from the woman at Finca La Playa on our second day, and she seemed a lot nicer and less complicated. So if you arrive at Primavera, from there it’s a twenty-minute walk to La Playa, only downhill, and we think it would have been worth to choose that place to sleep.
    If you’re looking for a one-day hike on your second day, you can go to Laguna el Encanto, you just have to follow the signs leading to Termales and will see it on your right at some point. We then also went to a small hill next to the Laguna (El Calvito). You can easily go there and back to Primavera or La Playa in one day. If you have mapsme, you can see the trail there as well.
    Anyway, it’s really worth doing the whole hike! 🙂

    1. Fanni! Thanks so much for your additional information! I agree with you 100%. Finca La Playa is much more accommodating for people looking to do this trek solo.

      When we arrived at Finca Primavera before sunset to find there were no more beds, it took a bit of questioning to learn that La Playa was another option.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the hike, and really appreciate your comments. Thanks 🙂

  3. Morgane Reply

    Great website, thanks for the info! Do you have any additional tips of getting to the National Park itself and where it is possible to rent gear? Thanks!

    1. Hi Morgane. Thanks for your comments. Sorry if I am replying late, but I don’t have any further information regarding renting gear. For that I would usually ask around in Salento.

      Hope you found what you were looking for and I really appreciate the comments.

      Peace.

  4. Thanks Cindy.

  5. Kai Larsen Reply

    Hey Anton,

    Great site. I’m wondering if you have any information about entering the national park and connecting to Laguna de Otún. Is this possible given the current situation within the park? I have read that some entrances may be closed but it very hard to find out information.

    I am also wondering about the possibility of mountain biking up to La Primavera and beyond to Otún. I’m guessing this would entail a lot of carrying the bike but would you say this is at all feasible? I know that from Otún onward there are passable trails.

    Cheers!
    Kai

    1. David Rolfe Reply

      Kai Larson – Interested in Mountain biking. Two routes are do-able (I think)…Going from Manizales (ask around for the route), or from Pereira through La Florida, then La Suiza, El Cedral, then La Pastora (a refugio). Going through La FLorida, you can bike quite close with a few places to walk. It’d be much easier from La FLorida (we have a small place in La Florida, so know it well).

    2. David Rolfe Reply

      You can also follow this site…contact the blogger…
      https://theridesouth.com/2014/07/07/parque-nacional-de-los-nevados-an-adventure-too-far/

      1. Thanks for adding to the information David! I just read theridesouth article. Sounds pretty insane to ride your bike over, but very very impressive!

    3. Hi Kai Larson, I agree with what David Rolfe has said below and the link for the bike route is very comprehensive and adventurous. I hope you found some good information!

  6. […] back to salento. If you would like a detailed map for the trail all the way to Ibague I recommend this website. The trail down was absolutely soping wet and was more like skiing than hiking. The river […]

  7. Marloes Reply

    Hey Anton, we are planning our trek in Los Nevados right now.. and your article is very helpful. One note: when I look at Maps.me or search in Google the name of the Finca 20 min from Finca Primavera is Finca Aquilino (and Finca la Playa is close to Salento village).

    1. Thanks Marloes, appreciate the info. I will make the change. I am glad you found it useful. How did the trek go? Let me know if there is anything else I should add to this post that may help others. Cheers.

  8. Henk Reply

    Hey anton!

    Thank you so much for the information on your blog. It was very helpful and we had a great 3 day track! Extra information for people who want to do it without a guide: Before we did the track we asked at brunch diner for some information and a map and they told us its illegal to do it on your own and if a ranger would find you, he would send you back. We met the ranger and it wasnt a problem at all, so do not let them scare you. The paths were also very clear indeed! But veeery muddy!
    We stayed at aquilino for two nights (primavera was full), but we got bedbugs there unfortunately.

    Thanks anton and a nice track to others!

    1. Thanks Henk! I appreciate your input and I’m sure a lot of other do as well. I will put a comment at the top of the post so people know to read here. Sorry to hear about the bed bugs.

  9. David Rolfe Reply

    Anton: Thank you so much for the information. I plan on hiking from Salento (Cocora) all the way to Manizalez and greatly appreciate the time you put into this blog. I hope I can return the favor some day.

    How long did it take you the first day? 14.5 km plus a 1500m climb to Primavera could be a lot for one day. I know you said one could camp before then, but still curious how long it took. I’ll be bringing a tent and food.

    1. Hi David! Thanks for taking the time to read it and sorry for the late reply. Have you gone on your hike from Salento to Manizalez? I would love to read about it!

      In answer to your question, we left at around 9-10am from Acaeme and got up to Primavera at 5-5:30pm. Just before sunset.

      We did it at a steady pace and stopped plenty to rest.

  10. Thanks for putting together this info. Great post. I like the Trekking Buddies section. Too funny.

    1. Thanks Trinity! Appreciate it, hope you found the information helpful.

  11. David Rolfe Reply

    Another great hiking map can be found at http://www.nevados.org. You can find a much more detailed, topographical map of the National Park there.

    One other thing to mention: Just recently (a week or two ago), a guide died on the mountain. He was guiding two tourist up Mount Tolima, he died and the tourists were completely lost for 4 or 6 days (my Spanish isn’t that good). Be prepared!!! Dense fog/cloud cover can easily disorient even the well traveled.

    It’s also possible that they will close the trails for a while, if they haven’t already.

    1. Thanks again for the information David!

      That is sad news about the guide. They probably will close the trails for while and reassess being able to do it without a guide.

      If you find out any news, please keep me posted.

  12. Jérôme Reply

    Hi we are just planning our trek to Los nevados right now.

    Thx for all these informations.

    So do you think we should call aquilino first ?

    Do you now where we can find a map ?

    The weather in August is ok to find our path ?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Jérôme, Yes do try and call the fincas first to make sure there is a bed.

      As for a map, your best bet would be to ask around in the town of Salento itself. I can’t speak for the weather in August either sorry, not too sure. Best to ask the locals.

      Hope it all goes well. Be Safe!

    2. Ulli Reply

      Hey jerome!
      We just arrived to Salento and wanted to do the same. Any new info about the Parque? Could you do the trip, or were there any problems because of the recent events? I would appreciate your answer!

      Greetings

      Ulli

  13. Anna Reply

    Ulli, have you done the trek? How was it? We are planning to do it in a few days. Any advice?
    Cheers
    Anna

    1. Hi Anna, sorry I missed this comment. I see in another comment that you did the hike and it sounded like a success. well done!

  14. Anna Reply

    We just cam back from a 3 day hike without a guide and I’d like to share our experience.

    First of all big thanks for all the info on this blog, we wouldn’t be able to do our hike without it!

    Two main barriers to hiking independently are lack of maps and lack of information. You can come across old maps in the tourist agancies but they don’t print them any more, we even tried the Geographical Institute in Bogota, they don’t have anything. Maps.me seems to be the only option and works pretty well on major trails.
    When you try to ask people in Manizales or Salento about hiking without the guide, they just say it’s impossible (although to my best knowledge there is no law that you need a guide) and they refuse to give you any information. Best bet is to go to the agency pretending you want to go for an organised trek and get all the info about the routes We were almost feeling like criminals sneeking out of Salento on the way to Cocora with our backpacks without a guide! But once you are in the mountains it’s absolutely fine, both locals and guides guiding the groups are very helpful.
    Re booking fincas, they never answer the phone (although they got out text message!), I wouldn’t worry about booking in advance outside main tourist season.

    Our hike:
    Day 1- Cocora (2400m) to Finca Argentina (3400m). Nice gradual ascend, mainly in the forest. Almost inpossible to get lost. Bit of rain for forst 2hrs or so, then cloudy. Dinca run by a lovely woman called Floria, small and basic but nice experience.
    Day 2- Finca Aegentina to Finca Aquilino (3700). Short hike, ask locals at the Finca to explain the route. There is an option of doing longer route via the lake (as on mapsme). Bit of rain, then a nice day with sunshine in the afternoon.
    Day 3- Finca Aquilino to Cocora. Very long walk due to all the mud on the way! I’m sure it’s a nice walk in the dry season. Allow more time to do it in September. We were lucky to have some sunshine and beautiful hummingbirds on the way.

    If we had tome qw would have stay one more day in Finca Aquilino or Primavera to walk to the Laguna el Encanto or the Termals.

    1. Hi Anna, thank you very much for your update and information. This comments section is proving to be very valuable information. I really like your quick synopsis on your hike and had a very similar experience. All the best.

  15. alan Reply

    Are you permitted to build fires in the park?

    1. Hi Alan, I am unsure on this although I did see a group of locals with a small campfire. If you find out, please let me know.

  16. Pavel Gurin Reply

    Hey Anton,

    Thanks for a beautifully done and very useful site. Keep on eating them empanadas into four digits! The comments section advice is great too.

    On the off chance the right person sees this in time or knows of someone, — I am looking for a trekking buddy for Los Nevados, 2-3-4 day routes for Oct 5-9 2017, staying at the fincas, or if you got a tent to share – that works too . I’m traveling in Colombia for 6 months with my girlfriend, who is unable to join me on this trek, so I need a friend. We’ll return to Los Nevados for more hiking in mid-November.

  17. Sandra Reply

    Hey, thanks for the post – it was very helpful. Small updates – accommodations cost 20000 pesos per night now. Brekkie is 10000 and lunch and dinner 12000. I stayed at la primavera and la playa andcan confirm with others that la primavera lady is super rude! Couldn’t even make us cup of coffee…:D I did the route from the valley-estrella de agua-la playa-termales de Canon (for a day)-finds Argentina-back to valley. It was beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much for the update Sandra!

  18. Pete Reply

    Hey Anton!

    I’m currently planning a trip to Los Nevados along the same route. Thanks for posting this blog.

    Can you tell me how you got out of Juntas? Are there regular buses or shared taxis back to Salento? I was considering another route, north towards Laguna Leona and finishing in El Cedral. Do you know if there are buses or shared taxis from here (or how to find this info, perhaps in Salento)?

    I already called Fina Aquilino to book a bed but saw another mountain lodging called La Pastora near the El Cedral entry point. How did you find the numbers you posted for the other huts?

    Thanks!
    Pete

    1. Hi Pete,

      This hanks for writing and sorry it has taken a bit to get back to you. To get in and out of Salento there are regular buses. To find more information of getting to Laguna Leona nd El Cedral, it will be best to ask in Salento. Sorry, I don’t have that information.

      As for getting the numbers of the the fincas, I asked when I was up there. They are the personal numbers of the finca owners and can’t be sure if they will always have reception.

  19. lucy mccall Reply

    Hi Anton

    Great blog really useful! We’re coming from the UK, I’ve read on other sites it’s good to camp as it gives you more freedom and sleeping under the stars is amazing! Do you know if there’s anywhere to hire tents and camping gear? We’re coming from Medellin and maybe flying to Cartagena so don’t really want to carry tents.

    Thanks for any help!

    Lucy

    1. Hi Lucy, thanks for writing and I hope I have responded in time. There weren’t any camping stores in Salento when I was there. There could be now, as I was there over a year ago. There also isn’t too many in Medellín. You could get yourself a cheap one in Homecenter while you are in Medellín and then leave it in a hostel in Salento if you don’t want take it to Cartagena. Probably the best solution.

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