Los Nevados National Park (or Parque
Nacional Los Nevados in Spanish), provides some of Colombia's finest
trekking scenery. The National Park is extremely high, with various
snow covered peaks. It can get very cold, and you'll need to allow time
to acclimatize if you plan on spending the night.
Manizales is the nearest town to Los Nevados
National Park, and from here you can arrange a full days tour into the
Park. Generally, you depart in 4WD early in the morning and return late
in the afternoon - you'll go right up to the refuge and snow line, have
a bit of time for some trekking, and return to Manizales via some
nearby hot springs (a spa hotel - either Termales del Ruiz or Termales de Otono). Various tour
operators in Manizales offer such day tours. Trekking enthusiasts might
consider arranging an overnight package - packages of up to 4 or even 6
nights trekking and camping can be arranged in Manizales.
There is just one hotel inside of the park
itself, called El Cisne, a lovely, very
comfortable lodge operated by Aviatur (camping is also offered there).
Another campsite/refugio just outside of the Park itself, but still in
a lovely setting is Refugio Arenales. In addition, there are also the
spa hotels attached to the hot springs mentioned previously.
The best months to visit Park Los Nevados
are October and November and from March to May - it's drier and less
cloudy during these months, so the views are more spectacular.
While Manizales is almost always the staging
point for a visit to Los Nevados, it is also possible to access (by
foot) the Park from the South. There's routes into the path from
Ibague, Parque Ucumari and also Valle de Cocora - these are long but
very scenic trekking routes involving overnighting in simple refugios.
Guides can be arranged locally.
See the section on trekking in Colombia
for other ideas, or see the video
of Los Nevados.