Option 1 (Moderate)
This tour starts with the ascent of the canyon of Quindio river that runs down from the highlands of the Nevados National Park. This is one of the best preserved cloud forests in Colombia with ancient paths crossing the central mountain range. It is a perfect place for bird watching. The area is well known for its important varieties of Quindio wax palm – the national tree, which grows at the highest altitudes in the world. In the forest one can observe various hummingbird species, orchids and bromeliads. In the region you can taste the famous trout in different forms and also visit typical colorful coffee ranches built using traditional architectural designs.
From Armenia we will depart to the small colonial village of Salento. We will have a short tour around the village and for lunch we will have the region’s famous trout. Accommodation in hotel.
After an early breakfast we will drive to Cocora Valley where we will start our hike towards Estrella de Agua (approx 6 hours) – our camping site. In the past Estrella de Agua used to be a country house which was later burnt down. Nowadays this place is used as a hiking destination point and camping site.
Today we will return to Cocora Valley via a different route in order to get to know more of the forest and the region. From Cocora a car will take us back to Salento where we will be able to rest after the hike. Accommodation in hotel.
Today we will visit a coffee ranch called La Ceja. This ranch is a great place for bird watching and has excellent scenery. Later on we will go back to Armenia.
Option 2 (Easy/Moderate)
From Manizales we will depart to el Cisne, which is a base camp (visitors’ center) for the ascent of the mountain Santa Isabel. In the afternoon we will be doing a short acclimatization hike around Cisne. Accommodation in multiple rooms with breakfast included.
Early in the morning we will walk to a place called la Conejera and from there we will start our ascent of the glacier of the mountain Santa Isabel (4.965m) – one of the snowy mountain peaks in the central mountain range of Colombia. The ascent to the glacier is relatively easy and does not require much experience. Lunch on the glacier. In the afternoon we will return to our cabins in Cisne. Accommodation in multiple rooms with breakfast included.
After breakfast we will go to hot springs called Otoño, situated around half an hour from Manizales. This is an excellent place to relax our bodies after the hike. Lunch in hot springs. In the afternoon we will be returning to Manizales.
Option 3 (Moderate/Demanding)
Snow Capped Mountain Ruiz
Nevado Ruiz (a snow-capped mountain) is the highest active volcano in the Nevados National Park. The peak reaches over 5,300 meters and has the largest ice mass of the whole volcanic complex which gives its name to the natural park. The extensive sandy areas formed by fumarolic activity make the scenery desolate and beautiful. In the area of páramo one can observe frailejones, mountain lakes and sources of thermal springs.
From Manizales we will depart towards the crater of Cerro Bravo (Bravo Mountain). The crater is located in so called Alto de Letras which is the highest point on Manizales Mariquita road (3.400m). From Alro de Letras we will start our ascent to the peak of Cerro Bravo. Cerro Bravo is a sample of the great power of nature in the form of impressive stone walls; the peak offers a magnificent view towards the Nevado Ruiz. In the afternoon we will drive to our campsite called Chalet Arenales.
Ascent to the glacier of Ruiz. We will have lunch on the edge of the glacier. Descent to the base camp the same day.
Today a car will take us to Cisne which is another extinct volcano of the park in the crater of which you can see one the most beautiful lagoons in the central Andes. The lagoon is called Laguna Verde. This is one of the most beautiful corners of the Parque de los Nevados. Accommodation in Cisne visitors’ center, breakfast included.
Our return to Manizales is the day of rest in which we will enjoy the thermal springs called Otoño. In the afternoon we will return to Manizales.