Nevado del Tolima
Nevado del Tolima, also known locally as Dulima, is one of the tallest mountains volcanoes of Colombia at 5,215m. Situated in the department of Tolima, it is part of Natural Park Los Nevados which has two other volcanoes: the Nevado de Santa Isabel and the Nevado del Ruíz.
Nevado del Tolima is the perfect place if you like mountaineering, hiking and nature. It is a relatively easy climb to the top but the main attraction is the overall hike so you don't need to be an avid mountain climber to go there.
There are several routes to the top but the two main ones are:
The Salento Route - easier but longer than the Ibague route (4 to 5 days), the Salento route has a lot of advantages. The climbing is slow enough for you to get acclimatized and you necessarily walk through the Valle del Cocora so it’s two birds with one stone.
The Ibagué Route - more direct (only 3 days climbing up and down) the Ibagué route is physically harder. The slope is steeper and no mules can help you carrying your bag. However, from Bogotá, it is a lot closer meaning you can easily summit on a 3-day week-end.
There are several reasons why you should seek the services of a guide:
- The path is relatively easy to follow on a nice but when the weather changes it si a completly different matter;
- The top part of the Nevado has a glacier with several crevasses so unless you have lots of mountaineering experience you definitly need help to get to the top;
- It feels good to help the local economy and contribute to the tourism in this part of Colombia
As a high volcano, there are several ecosystems depending on which height you are. The most emblematic is the Páramo ecosystem with the famous Frailejones. Thousands of them live on the volcano flank and help regulate the humidity of the ecosystem. You will also find the Bosque de Niebla ecosystem, a medium-altitude forest constantly covered by fog and crossed by numerous rivers.
Some eagles can be observed above the high vertical cliffs, the only wild animal you will probably see.
If you are lucky enough to have good weather, on top of Tolima you will be rewarded with the view of the Parque de los Nevados and its volcanoes as well as the city of Armenia!
...=> Nevado del Tolima Travel Guide Part 2: Getting There, Agencies and Contacts, Useful Links