First time trekker: a debut hiker in Colombian Andes.

by on 11th February, 2016

First time trekker in Colombia

A first time hiker took on a brand new trek in Los Nevados mountains of Colombia, all part of Andean Trails’ determination to explore new routes.


Elena Sanchez, aka Hiking Elena, had never before attempted a multi-day trek.

Here, Hiking Elena gives an honest account of her 3-day adventure among the paramo and cloud forests of this beautiful national park, near Salento, the coffee capital of Colombia.


Day 1: Cocora to Finca Argentina

Statistics: 6 hours, 10km walked, from 2,400m to 3,400m, total ascent 1,300m.

The route: Undulating and steep, traverse the Quebrada Cardenas to a family house run by the irrepressible Gloria and her fantastic kitchen and food.

Walk high in the cloud forest. Humming birds, toucans, tannigers and more spotted en route, as well as obvious changes in vegetation as the high paramo approaches.

Hiking Elena said: “I am knackered, destroyed. I was moody and tomorrow we’ll see if I can move my legs. We did see a lovely toucan. I guess I’ll do it.

“I’m seeing it as a challenge.”


Day 2: Finca Argentina to Finca Primavera

Statistics: 5 hours, 8km walked, from 3,400m up and over 3,800m down to 3,600m, total ascent 800m.

The route: Undulating and steep again, cross the valley and then over a pass to reach the next Finca.


Wax palms in Cocora valley Colombia

Wax palms in Cocora valley, Colombia


Encounter paramo – full of frailejones – a unique eco-system as well as views to many mountains and valleys, including Cerro de Chispas mountain.

Hiking Elena said: “I woke up and I was full of energy. I slept well. I honestly thought today was going to be worse than it was.

“But I started going and it was fine.

“I was so happy to meet the lovely family and students at Finca Argentina that it filled me with good energy. I had such a lovely evening there.

“Today there was such a beautiful landscape, it made it worth it.

“Also, I knew how far we had to walk, and how long it was going to take us, and that was really important for me, psychologically.”


Day 3: Finca Primavera to Cocora

Statistics: 7 hours, 17km walked, from 3,600m to 2,400m, total ascent 300m, total descent 1,500m

The route: The morning views from the finca to the ice-capped Nevado del Tolima volcano were stunning.

A windy and cloudy ridge walk at 3,800m to start the day, then it’s a long and steep downhill back to the starting point of Cocora.


Cerro Morrogachoa, Los Nevados, Salento, Colombia


Pass through paramo vegetation into cloud forest, passing an abandoned indigenous house and some old tombs as well.

Hiking Elena said: “I thought today was going to be easy! I didn’t mind going up at the start, but it was so cold I got a bit grumpy.

“The views were impressive from the ridge, but I kept thinking: ‘What am I doing here?’

“We saw a lot of changes, and humming birds, which was lovely, but I was very tired at some points and my legs were not responding and I was too tired to enjoy what I was doing.

“But it was great in another sense as I was very happy to get to the hotel, knowing I’d seen wonderful things and that I’d done the trek!

“The landscape was great and finding people who live in these remote places, and live so happily in these lovely areas, that was the most beautiful part for me.

“And for that alone, it was worth it.”


Note: Andean Trails will be adding several new trips to our Colombia portfolio when Tom is back from his explorations.

Contact us for more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us
Get in touch