EN
EN

Our suggested trekking circuits to prepare for your trip to Colombia

Located in the very north of South America, Colombia is a vast unspoilt country that constitutes the northernmost point of the Andes. In recent years, this land of adventure with its tumultuous history has made a name for itself as the new destination for trekkers in search of mountains and tropical surroundings.

High-altitude glaciers, snow-capped volcanoes, trekking in the wild jungle and sandy desert hikes will all be part of your next trip to Colombia.

Travel to Colombia: the treks to do

Ciudad Perdida: the Lost City trek

> Environment: jungle, mountain, river
> Difficulty: moderate
> Suggested season: December to April
> Average duration: 4 to 5 days
> Total distance: 47 km
> Total elevation gain: 1950 D+ and 2250 D-

The Lost City trek takes you to the pre-Columbian site of Ciudad Perdida, hidden in the middle of the jungle of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Trekkers come here to climb the 1,253 steps up to a fantastic panorama, overlooking the remains of this civilisation which has now disappeared. Century after century, the ancient ruins of the city have been swallowed up by the jungle. Today, only 10% of the ancient city can still be seen, but thanks to the work of the archaeologists, countless new ruins are unveiled each year. Some even compare the Lost City to the famous remains of Machu Picchu.

Despite having a bad reputation for a long time, Ciudad Perdida is now a very popular trekking circuit. This long trek, that lasts 4 to 6 days, will take you to the heart of the Colombian jungle, for a really intense physical adventure. Some physical preparation is recommended before embarking on this trek.

The ciudad perdida trek in colombia

El Cocuy: 6 days of hiking in the colombian mountains

> Environment: mountain, river, forest, lake
> Difficulty: difficult
> Suggested season: December to March - June to August
> Average duration: 6 days
> Total distance:74,5 km
> Total elevation gain: 4,378 D+

El Cocuy national park is an ideal destination for hiking for a few hours or trekking for several days to explore the Andes Cordillera.

The Ruta Vuelta is a very famous high altitude circuit that is made for a hike lasting several days at 4,000 metres above sea level, with some passes at 4,500 metres. It is therefore essential to acclimatise to make the most of this trek and explore a particularly spectacular mountain range. In particular, this is where you will find the Ritacuba Blanco (5,330 metres above sea level all the same) which is only for seasoned mountaineers. For this type of ascent, you'll need a high mountain guide who knows the local environment perfectly.

This trekking route is also a great opportunity to observe the wildlife and the iconic species of the region like the puma, the condor or the spectacled bear. The Ruta Vuelta of El Cocuy can be done unaided and without a guide, because the path is well signposted albeit difficult.

Travel to Colombia: trek in the andes at el cocuy

Los Nevados: an easy 3- to 4-day trek in Colombia

> Environment: mountain, river, forest, lake
> Difficulty: easy to moderate
> Suggested season: December to March
> Average duration: 4 days
> Total distance:70 km
> Total elevation gain: 2700 D+ and 2400 D-

Culminating at nearly 5,300 metres above sea level, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano is the centrepiece of Los Nevados national park, which includes 7 other impressive volcanic peaks. Welcome to the third most visited national park in Colombia. All set for adventure!

This fairly easy trek is perfect for taking your first steps in the Andes and preparing for the more demanding route of the El Cocuy national park. Discover a 70-kilometre route that begins in the Cocora Valley with its majestic trees before continuing higher up towards the Bosque de Niebla. You have to go through the misty forest to reach the slopes of the Tolima volcano which overlooks a panorama at 5,215 metres above sea level.

You will then reach Los Termales de Cañon, which are sulphur springs located about 4,000 metres above sea level. This provides a life-saving break before continuing towards Finca Primavera and descending towards the Cocora Valley.

Despite it not be technically difficult, this trek is done with a guide who has a perfect knowledge of the risks and the toponymy of the national park. Never embark on a high mountain adventure alone!

Travel to Colombia: trek in the andes at los nevados

Salento and the Cocora Valley: hike under the palm trees

> Environment: mountain, river, forest
> Difficulty: easy
> Suggested season: December to March
> Average duration:1 day
> Total distance: 15 km
> Total elevation gain: 760 D+ and 760 D-

The reason why most travellers come to Salento is to admire the famous Bosque de la Palmas which is located at the entrance to the national park. But the most interesting option is to go hiking on a one-day loop to explore the Cocora Valley in its entirety. This route takes a path that climbs up to the house of the Hummingbirds, before descending to the forest of palm trees.

An early start is recommended for this loop that stretches across about 15 kilometres and takes several hours to cover. However, there is actually only one challenging section on this hiking trail: the climb that leads to the finca de la Montaña. Although the effort required is quite intense, it doesn't last too long.

During this one-day trek, which can be combined with another itinerary, you will have the opportunity to cross a wide variety of landscapes. You will start in quasi-alpine settings, where only the tops of a few giant palm trees betray your true location. Continuing the ascent along the path, you will reach a "cloud forest", i.e. an ecosystem typical of high-altitude tropical forests. You will then walk right through the centre of a lush jungle, and across various suspension bridges. Beware of vertigo!

As you gain altitude, the scenery will continue to develop and unfold. Before reaching the finca de la Montaña, a round trip to the hummingbird house is highly recommended. Colombia is home to nearly 120 species of this iconic bird of the steamy tropics. Retrace your steps to the finca de la Montaña, before completing the circuit towards the bottom of the valley.

This very easy hiking route, that is for everyone, can be done without a guide and without any particular physical preparation. Don't forget to bring some water and your picnic for the lunch break.

Travel to Colombia: jungle trek to the Bosque de la Palmas

BACKPACKING BETWEEN A JUNGLE AND A VOLCANO: THE KEY SITES OF COLOMBIA

From Bogota to Carthagena de los Indios, make the most of your trip to discover the key sites of Colombia with a backpack. On the menu: visit the colonial towns and villages listed as UNESCO heritage sites, hike in the countryside and discover the culture of coffee.

Indeed, Colombia has a concentration of many of the features of South America, and it stands out because of its landscapes of tropical forests, coffee plantations and volcanoes.
What's more, you can discover the superb beaches of the Pacific and observe the local fauna in the marshes of Pijiño. You may be lucky enough to bump into the howler monkey or the iguana.

On this backpacking trip, check out the stunning towns and villages of Bogota, Villa de Leyva, Barichara and Mompox, while exploring the colonial heritage. Finally, go for a hike in the Suárez and Chicamocha Canyons or in the Tayrona nature reserve.

Travel to Colombia: tour of Bogotá

GUIDE: OUR ADVICE FOR PREPARING YOUR TREK TO COLOMBIA

Before leaving, here are some tips to prepare your trekking trip in Colombia.

THE FORMALITIES BEFORE DEPARTURE

- Passport and visa: in order to travel to Colombia, you must have a passport that is valid for more than 6 months after the date of your entry into the country. France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada do not require a visa for stays of less than 90 days.

- Return ticket or proof of exit: on arrival in Colombia, you must have a return air ticket or proof that you will be leaving the country. Contact the consulate for more information before you leave.

- Insurance: normally, your credit card insurance includes assistance and repatriation cover for your entire stay. However, you should check the terms of your contract before leaving.

- Vaccines: it is advisable to be up to date with all the mandatory vaccines and to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. The yellow fever vaccine is also strongly recommended in some regions.

SOME PRECAUTIONS ON SITE

A good physical condition is required to go on a trek in Colombia. Indeed, the distances to be covered, the altitude and the variations in climate can make the journey quite tiring.
On site, do not forget to respect certain basic rules of hygiene:
- regular hand washing;
- consumption of cooked and hot foods;
- good hydration with sealed bottled drinks or water that has been treated in a flask or with a tablet;
- good protection against the sun, heat and mosquitoes.

WHAT SHOULD YOU PUT IN YOUR BACKPACK?

Colombia is a very rugged country with plains, beaches and mountains that are more than 5,000 metres high above sea level. It is therefore necessary to tailor the contents of your backpack to the regions you wish to visit.

If you have planned to go on a trek in the mountains, don't forget to pack a sweater, down jacket, warm trousers, rain gear, good socks, a hat and gloves in your suitcase. During the day, temperatures can get hot, but at night and in the early morning, it is often very cold, especially if you are bivouacking.

If you are staying in the lowlands or below 2,000 metres in altitude, trousers, shorts or a skirt, a light sweater and rain gear are among the essential accessories to put in your bag. Don't forget your flip flops, sunglasses and sunscreen!

Destination Colombia!
and now?

Eco-actions on hiking trips

Practice responsibly

If we are to continue to explore the wonders of the world, we must help preserve it.
Each of us must be committed to responsible travel.

going further