Aug 29

Top 5 Hikes in Colombia – From Mountains to Jungles and Beyond

the lost city trekking colombia

 

Check out ‘The Top 10 Treks in Colombia: from Andes to Amazon’ 

My feet were soaked. My bag weighed heavy on my back. I was tired. More tired than I think I’ve ever been. But alongside the exhaustion and dehydration was a sense of unmistakeable contentment. I had arrived at the Kravice waterfalls.

My buddy having just arrived at Kravice, Bosnia
My buddy having just arrived at Kravice, Bosnia

This was in Bosnia about 5 years ago. My friend and I had naively believed we could walk to distance from the local town to these waterfalls, assuming the locals’ warnings were just friendly assumptions that, as foreigners, we’d just want the easiest way there. It turned out that what we thought was just a walk was a hike of monumental proportions, and we’d only prepared ourselves with a 2 litre bottle of beer and a loaf of bread. Nonetheless, it’s an experience we still talk about now, and one that gave us an immense feeling of satisfaction.

That walk was my first long-walking experience. It was only afterwards that I realised what I did wasn’t simply a walk, but had a special name.

Lucky for me living in Colombia gives me ample opportunity to indulge in walking to places that are more difficult than normal walking. It’s a country of vastly varied landscapes and, therefore, offers something for everyone: from mountainous terrain to jungles to areas that offer incredible wildlife-watching opportunities.

I’m told these long, sometimes difficult walks are otherwise known as hikes. Hikes in Colombia are altogether pretty epic, and if you get a chance you should get your boots on, pack more than just beer and bread, and hike across some of this country’s incredible terrain.

Here are the Colombia Travel Blog‘s top 5 in Colombia.

Ciudad Perdida

The Lost City
The Lost City

The Lost City Trek, or Ciudad Perdida, culminates in the ruins of an ancient indigenous site that dates back further than Macchu Piccu. Moreover, this is a trek that demands something of those who participate. It’s a true adventurer’s hike, and one of the most rewarding in the continent.

Los Nevados

Los Nevados
Los Nevados

Los Nevados are some of the most spectacular mountain regions in the country. Particularly impressive is the snow-capped Nevado del Ruiz, which dominates the landscape. Some of the most stunning views in the country are hidden away in this national park.

Sierra Nevada del Cocuy

Snow-capped peaks in El Cocuy
Snow-capped peaks in El Cocuy

More mountains, this time just 8 hours from Bogotá. This region boasts several snowcapped mountains and dozens of beautiful galacial lakes. Hikes can vary from a relatively easy level to advanced, so it’s best to plan carefully which you’d prefer. Again, this area offers some truely incredible views.

Puracé National Park

Purace National Park
Purace National Park, image courtesy of CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture

The lesser-known Puracé National Park is located in the southern regions of Colombia, and is one of the best places to find unique wildlife, as well as some stunning vistas. Along with the volcanos and thermal pools, you might just wander across a bear, a tapir or a cougar. And not the Desperate Housewives kind of cougar.

Cocora Valley

Cocora Valley, Colombia
Cocora Valley, Colombia

If the tough, cold-climate, shoe-soaking hikes above don’t tickle your fancy don’t worry. Cocora Valley is one of Colombia’s most unique landscapes and, what’s more, it’s a very simple trek to manage. Oh, and they do some pretty sweet trout at the base.

Got any more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

Paul

14 thoughts on “Top 5 Hikes in Colombia – From Mountains to Jungles and Beyond

  1. Blake on

    Hi Paul,

    I´m going to be in Colombia in July and would love to do some peakbagging. Any advice on finding a guide?

    Reply

      Chris on

      Hi Blake,

      I don’t really know about peakbagging in Colombia to be honest – I’d recommend contacting a few agencies in Colombia and seeing what they can offer.

      Reply

      Tristen Bonacci on

      Andes Ecotours, Bogota! Best guide in the country. Hands down. (I am an expat living here and have traveled a lot.) I’ve done four tours with Andres! Spanish and English tours available.

      Reply
  2. Nuria on

    Hi Paul,

    I want to spend 2-3 weeks in Colombia and focus on hiking. What is the best time of the year to go hiking, weather-wise?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Emily on

    Hi Paul!

    Im curious, how long did this take you to reach all of these places and how did you get to and from each? Was this a trek of some kind? Looks amazing

    Thanks!

    Reply

      Chris on

      Hi Emily,

      All of these destinations are accessible from Bogota (and several other major Colombian cities), and can be trekked in a variety of different ways.

      The Lost City Trek is a 5 day trip, organized in Santa Marta or Taganga, of medium difficulty (we’ll have a more detailed post on this next week for more info) and needs to be done with a tour group; El Cocuy can be visited through a variety of day hikes, or a full 5 day circuit trek, also with a guide (you’ll need to get to El Cocuy which takes about 10 hours from Bogota); Los Nevados hasn’t got as many accessible treks, but there are a number of day trips available from Manizales; Purace, although a little more unknown, has a number of hikes available to hot springs and waterfalls, and is best visited from Pasto; Cocora Valley is visited from Salento and can be hiked easily and enjoyably in one day, with no need for a guide.

      Hope this helps, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any more questions.

      Chris

      Reply
  4. Amy on

    Hi Paul, thanks for these suggestions, they look amazing! I’m heading to Colombia in the next couple of weeks for the Baranquilla carnival then plan to get on the trails. I wondered if you’d heard of people doing the lost city without going on the tours? Me and my boyfriend are experienced, but all my googling seems to suggest it’s tour only? Any other suggestions you have are greatly appreciated 🙂

    Reply

      JL on

      Hi Amy, we strongly sugest you not to trek the Lost City by yourself , the trail is not easy and you really need a guide that knows the area well. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. diana on

    hi paul nice blog! can you help me fill this survey as you already been in colombia please 😉
    thank you so much
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dFBqMFp2cVhDWDNfb0YxX2ZSbUhHT1E6MQ

    Reply

      Paul on

      On it right now, Diana. And Jessica, thanks. It’s not so hard to take good pictures when the landscape is that amazing, I guess!

      Reply
  6. Jessica on

    Wow.. wonderful snaps you have taken.

    Reply

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