NEVADO DEL TOLIMA
In this post we will tell you about our experience in the Nevado del Tolima. We won´t be providing exact directions on how to get to this place, because due to the nature of the route it would be somewhat difficult to explain it through a post. What we are looking for, is that you are aware of the demands of this route so that you can better prepare yourself when completing it.
The information you will find in this post is:
- How to get to the Nevado del Tolima
- Path to the Nevado del Tolima
- Lodgings near the Nevado del Tolima with telephone numbers
We would like to ask you to please take all the public health measures when you arrive at the lodgings. The hosts at the farms where you would be staying will make you feel like family and we would like to protect them.
The price to go with an agency to summit the Nevado del Tolima is around $ 1,100,000 COP per person, departing from Salento, more information here.
FUN FACTS ABOUT NEVADO DEL TOLIMA
The Nevado del Tolima or also known as Dulima is the highest point of the central mountain range of the Andes at 5,215 meters (17,109 feet) above sea level.
The name Dulima, dates back more than 400 years ago (during the Spanish conquest) when there was a priestess named Ibanasca, who was the leader of the Dulima tribe. She fiercely defended her tribe and territory after the arrival of the Spanish who had accused her of witchcraft and sentenced her to be burnt at the stake.
At the time of being burned at the stake, her tribe saw it as her being sent to the God of Fire who covered and purified her. Her spirit then transcended to be the become the Goddess of the Snow who sleeps in the depths of the Nevado del Tolima, where the wise rest.
[Source: ibanasca ]
WHAT WILL YOU FIND?
HOW TO GET TO NEVADO DEL TOLIMA?
To get to Nevado del Tolima you can get there from the following towns: Salento Quindio or by Anzoátegui Tolima. We have heard from some guides that Anzoátegui is a slightly shorter route and without as much incline.
The trail that we hiked was through Salento Quindio.
From Pereira to Salento: Buses leave every hour starting at 7:30 am (weekends) and 8:30 am (weekdays). The cost of the ticket is approximately $9,000 COP. Currently the only bus company avialable is Expreso Alcalá.
From Armenia to Salento: Buses leave every 30 minutes starting at 5:30 am with the last one leaving at 8:00 pm. The cost of the ticket is approximately $5,300 COP using Expreso Alcalá bus company.
Once in Salento you must go to the main park (known as Plaza de Bolivar) ⛪️ where you can find a jeep to take you to the Valle del Cocora (Cocora Valley). The drive takes approximately 20 minutes and the jeeps depart approximately every hour starting at 7:00 am Monday to Friday and at 6:00 am on weekends. The cost of the ticket is approximately $4,000 COP.
Once we got to the Cocora Valley, I have to confess that we were a little afraid of everything that was coming our way 😅.
PATH TO NEVADO DEL TOLIMA 🚶🏼
Recommendation: To do this route we strongly advise you get to Cocora Valley by 6:30 am
The first farms available for lodging are located 12 and 14 kilometers away from Cocora Valley, of which 8 kilometers are uphill with a 60% incline. So if you go with a lot of luggage, it is advisable to hire the cargo mule service in which they will allow you to load a maximum of 3 suitcases from the Cocora Valley to the farm you wish to stay at.
To hire this service 🐴 you need to call 2 days in advance (see below in the Lodgings Available in Nevado del Tolima section for contact information).
We started on our way at 6:30 am, as we had many suitcases we paid for the mule service 🐴. After walking for 10 minutes we came upon a national park checkpoint, in which they charged us $ 8,000 COP per person. They then gave us a ticket with which to enter the park, asked us which route we were going to do, and had us fill out a form with our information and contact numbers.
We continued on our way and with each step we took we left behind the wax palms and went further into the forest, we crossed some bridges and then we passed near the hummingbird house (Casa de los Colibris), which to date this place is closed.
ESTRELLA DE AGUA
Approximately 9 kilometers from the Cocora Valley we came across Estrella de Agua, the ascent here was a bit difficult since this path has many steep slopes.
There is no lodging or camping areas provided in Estrella de Agua and camping in its surrounding areas is prohibited. If you arrive here before 1 pm, you will be on time to continue climbing.
Recommendation: If you do not have the mountain experience, the necessary physical condition, the necessary time, and someone who knows the way, only make the route to Estrella de Agua, since from here the ascent is with a 60% incline and you would have to continue an additional 8 kilometers to find the nearest farm to say at.
Once we have left Estrella de Agua behind, a 4-kilometer ascent awaits us through a wooded landscape, and then enter to see the beauty of the moors that merge with the forest vegetation.
After leaving the forest behind we cross through the Valle de los Perdidos, through this valley it is not recommended to walk when it gets dark as it would be very easy to get lost. After 2 hours walking through this valley we will find the first farm that offers accommodation.
LODGINGS NEAR NEVADO DEL TOLIMA.
This is the farm where the most foreigners arrive, so they will have a bit of a busy time attending to the people and there won't be many talks and conversations with the owners of this farm.
The services they provide in the Finca Primavera are the following::
- Shared room 🛌: $30.000 COP per person.
- Camping 🏕:$8.000 COP per person.
- Lunch and dinner 🍛: $12.000 COP.
- Breakfast 🥟: $10.000 COP.
📞 Telephone: 3136751059 German.
Photo by: @jorge_leyton79
FINCA LA PLAYA
This farm is a little closer to the Nevado del Tolima, it is a farm where not as much foreigners arrive as in the Finca Primavera and I think that is why every time a visitor arrives they make him feel as if he were at home 🏡, this was something I really liked this place.
Photo by: @catabuitragog
The services provided at Finca la Playa are as follows:
- Shared room 🛌: $23.000 COP per person.
- Camping 🏕: $12.000 COP per person.
- Lunch and dinner 🍛: $14.000 COP.
- Breakfast 🥟: $12.000 COP.
Muleteer service 🐴 maximum 3 backpacks:
- Cocora to the Finca la Playa: $120,000 COP.
- Finca la Playa to Arenales: $80,000 COP.
The cell phone signal can be a bit bad in this area so they can send him a message specifying the day you are going and the services you need, he will call you back when he can, all the peasants in this area only speak spanish.
We leave you the contacts of these farms, in order to help all these farmers who through tourism have found an additional source of income
If you think we missed a farm, you can send us the information to publish it.
We have only asked each of these farms the good treatment of each traveler on our page, so you can tell them that you saw the information on the Andes routes page and maybe they will serve you a little more coffee when you arrive 😄 .
Once we arrived at the farm where we stayed, they welcomed us with hot coffee ☕️, this made us forget how cold we had to walk almost 2 hours in the rain and without gloves since we had sent them in the big bag with the mule :( .
After that delicious coffee, I took the opportunity to change my boots which, although waterproof, were all wet. I was a little scared since they were the ones I was wearing to the summit, so I asked the owner of the farm for the favor to dry them at the side of the stove.
The next day we went camping in Arenales, fortunately my boots were a bit drier so I saved them to go up to the summit and used other sneakers that I was wearing to go up to Arenales.
From the farm La Playa to Arenales there are approximately 7 kilometers, we will go from an altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level to 4,500 meters above sea level, you can imagine the hills that you have to climb 😅.
When we got to Arenales we set up our tents, the cold that was in this place was too much 🥶, this place did not have nearby water sources, for our fortune we had packed a few liters of water from the farm where we stayed and with this we could cook.
After eating something, we went to sleep at 8 pm since the next day we would begin the ascent to the Nevado del Tolima 🗻.
TRAIL TO THE SUMMIT OF NEVADO DEL TOLIMA
We want to clarify something, some farms could offer you the guide service to the Nevado del Tolima, our recommendation is that they look for someone who has the appropriate experience and training.
Ways to summit in the Nevado del Tolima:
Our recommendation to reach the Nevado del Tolima summit is that you go with someone who has the experience and adequate training, as you will see later in the post, some sections are very dangerous to climb without having the proper equipment.
Leaving directly from the farm that we are staying at at 12 am, each one will have to bring the mountain equipment: helmet, ice ax, crampons, harness.
Camping at the base of the Nevado del Tolima (Arenales) which is at 4,500 meters above sea level 🥶, if you choose this option you have to take into account that you must have: tent and sleeping that resists low temperatures You must also bear in mind that there are no rivers nearby so you must bring water for cooking. To reach the summit of the Nevado del Tolima from sand we had to go through different sections, I will explain them here:
Sand section We get up a little earlier to make breakfast, and start putting on our equipment, harness, helmet and headlight, we wait a little for the rain to calm down and then start the ascent.
First we went up the sand, each time we climbed higher we began to see frost, when we reached a sector called the Helipuerto we took the opportunity to get a little water from a small stream.
Photo by: @ssc_roll
At this point my front light began to fail :(, since it was not battery-powered so it discharged very quickly due to the cold, I had to go in the middle of the group so that they would light my way, for my fortune for the next section you could see a little more without the front light.
Then we went up some rocks, which were slippery due to the rain so the guide tied the rope to the plates that were glued to the rock and then we stuck to the rope using the carabiner and harness, this helped us a lot as the rocks were a bit slippery.
Photo by: @dulima_tourtravel
When climbing these rocks, one of our colleagues carried the ice ax hanging on the side of the briefcase and the hiking pole in one hand, and when trying to climb a section the ice ax hit the rock and as he was carrying the hiking pole in One hand could not hold on to the rock well and it almost went straight down the hill, fortunately a friend who was coming behind caught her by the legs 😰, this happened in a section that we were no longer secured to the rock.
Recommendation: Before climbing these rocks make sure that on the sides of the bag you do not have things that could make it difficult for you to climb these rocks such as hiking poles or ice axes, and make sure your hands are free to hold on well.
Snow Section After having passed this section of rocks, we continue with the section of snow, here we put on our crampons and we all hold on to the rope to begin the ascent, this is one of the most difficult sections in terms of physical demand, so it is good time to eat a snack and carry another in your pants pockets to eat on the ascent.
Photo by: @piri487
After walking for about 40 minutes through the snow our friend's crampon was damaged 😰, as he could, they fixed it and we continued on, after all these inconveniences we managed to climb to the summit.
Photo by: @jorge_leyton79
- Bring a pair of waterproof tennis shoes just for the summit, waterproof gloves, headlight, goggles and sunscreen.
- Check your mountain equipment well; Crampons, ice ax, helmet and harness Once we reached the summit.
Once we reached the summit, we returned to the camp at 10 am, we packed all our luggage, and we left at 12 pm again for the beach farm where we would spend the night.
The next day we began our descent to the Cocora Valley. As we were a little tired from the trip, we decided to pay to lower our luggage on the mules and I think this was a very good idea since it had rained a lot in the last days and the road was with a lot of swamp and it was very easy to slip.
Finally we recommend: That you do all these journeys with a guide, because if while there you ask the peasants for directions they will make you see that the road is very easy to get there, they say it because they have lived in that place all their lives 🗻, but to We who are only taught to see cars and buildings is more complicated to be guided only by those indications.
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