Framed by snow-capped volcanic mountains, the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados at an altitude of 2,600 to 5,325 meters is a real gem. This is where the Central Cordillera is the highest.
In the national park, hikers will find a variety of landscapes – from humid cloud forest and moors to the snow-covered peaks of the Andes, almost all of them four or five thousand meter peaks. In this lonely area there are many lagoons that were formed long ago from the pits of the ice glaciers. Among the most beautiful are the Green Lagoon („Laguna Verde“), „Otún“ and „La Leona“. In addition, well over 30 rivers rise in the park, whose water is not only the lifeline for millions of people in the cities. More than half of Colombia’s coffee, rice and cotton plantations are also fed from here.
With a height of 5,325 meters, the volcano „Nevado del Ruiz“ takes first place among the highest mountains in the nature reserve. It erupted in the mid-1980s and buried the town of Armero. More than 20,000 people died. Now he seems to have fallen back into his slumber, but nobody trusts peace. That’s why the volcano is also called „Sleeping Lion of Manizales“. On organized tours you can hike along the „Nevado del Ruiz“. In order to hike to its main crater, „Arenas“, one must obtain a permit from the park authorities in Manizales at least one week in advance.
Tip: If you want to experience „Los Nevados“ in snow, you should visit the park in October, November or between March and May. The other months, on the other hand, are good for hiking due to the drier weather and often offer great views.