Los Nevados & Cocora valley

Los Nevados is a national park in a high altitude volcanic area and has an area of 583km2. The volcano Nevado del Ruiz is the most prominent one. We didn’t go in to the NP as it is very expensive and you are only allowed to access a small part of it and only with a guide. So we drove around it, from San Isidro to Murillo. We camped close by and also had a very good view of the volcano. We broke two personal records doing this; we drove and camped above 4.000 masl for the very first time! Everything went well, no sign of high altitude sickness and no car troubles either. It was very cold at night, the grass was actually crispy with frost. Our heating officially can’t function any more above 4.000masl and we were camping at 4.084 masl, but after making some extra noises it worked anyway. It was very rainy and foggy most of the time but sometimes it cleared up beautifully. Because of the volcanic activity the water is actually warm here and there. I conveniently used it to do some laundry 😉 It is also used for thermal bathing by hotels etc. in the area.

The Cocora valley is also part of Los Nevados national park but it is situated at the South side, near the town Salento. Here you can find the Quindio wax palm which is the national tree of Colombia and it is endangered. Most of the wax palms are situated on private property and can be visited without a guide for a small entrance fee. It is a really popular tourist destination. However there is more to see than the wax palms as there is also a rainforest with lots of waterfalls and rivers. We did a 12km circular hike which we really enjoyed. We saw some beautiful hummingbirds and managed to get one on camera really well. There were several suspension bridges to cross and Binkie walked across his first suspension bridge! We didn’t think he would because of the noise of the river below and he was a bit scared, but he did it anyway!

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