The day begins around 04:15 AM, depending on pick up location, with an estimated trip of 54 kms (34 miles) and 3 hours from Villamaría, Caldas at 2,000 meters above sea level (6,562 feet) in a SUV, to were we will begin our trek: Hacienda Potosí, at 3,950 masl (12,959 feet).
Here, we’ll eat a traditional mountain breakfast, refreshments will be given, the first day’s journey is explained and the trek begins.
This first day is expected to cover a total of 19 kms (12 miles), the initial part has a slight incline, as it is only ascended by a road with restricted passage and mostly pedestrian (presence of national park vehicles is possible), until we reach 4,100 masl (13,451 feet) to a place known as the “asomadera” or lookout, a natural viewpoint of the Laguna del Otún or Otún Lake, a Ramsar Wetland.
We descend bordering the “mosquito” wetland towards the forest path at 3,600 masl (11,811 feet), in an estimated 4 hours, to resume our ascent to the height of the 4,000 masl (13,123 feet), to finally reach the our accommodation for the first night: Finca Berlin. A páramo peasant house, located at 3,770 masl (12,369 feet). This is a shared accommodation, as it is a refuge. There is food service available and energy supplied by solar panels to recharge phones or any other devices you may have.
The day begins with breakfast at 05:30 AM, starting our trek at 06:00 AM. We should start early because, just like the day before, the route has an estimated length of 19 kms (12 miles) and 9 hours of total walking, approximately.
The goals is to arrive early enough to have good weather conditions at the Marshlands of Quindío at 4,400 masl (14,436 feet). The marshlands are located in the inactive crater of the Paramillo volcano of Quindío, and birthplace of the Cárdenas ravine, a tributary of the Quindio river, one of the most important in the department of the same name.
Crossing the marshes, we’ll continue to the next lodging, Farm Argentina, located at about 3,400 masl (11,155 feet). Like at Berlin, the accommodation here is also shared as it is a refuge. There is electricity available and the first hot shower of the trek.
We are only 10 kms (6.2 miles) from the Cocora Valley, breakfast will be served at 07:30 AM, and we’ll start our descent trek at 08:00 AM.
On this last leg of our trek, the High Andean and Andean forests ecosystems, cradle and habitat of the national tree of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm will be enjoyed, arriving at the Cocora valley, located at 2,200 masl (7,218 feet), after about 4 hours of trekking.
Jeep Willy transport to Salento, located 17 kms (11 miles) from the Cocora Valley. This is public transport and we’ll depart according to the availability of vehicles or quotas per vehicle present at our arrival.
We can arrange accommodations for you in Salento, or you can do so on your own. We recommend staying at least a night here to relax and recuperate.
This trek is not recommended for people suffering from heart disease, hyper or hypotension, pregnant women, people recovering from surgery, or people with psychological or psychiatric issues. It is also important to know that Altitude Sickness can occur at anytime and the trek may have to be cut short to ensure your safety and bring you down from the mountain.