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Best Hiking Trails in Colombia

Overview

One of South America’s most beautiful countries, there are many places to hike in Colombia, particularly in the Andes and along the Caribbean coast.  As with many of its neighbours, there is a lot of high altitude hiking here. Some of the main hiking areas include: Los Nevados National Park where there are trails in Corcora Valley and from towns such as Manizales, Jardin and Salento; around Bogota; El Cocuy National Park; Tayrona National Park; Purace National Park; around Medellin; in the beautiful coastal range Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; and much more. The best months to hike in Colombia varies – read below for more information on where and when to go hiking in Colombia. 

Capital: Bogotá

When To Hike in Colombia?

December – March; June – August: Drier time period, but this varies according to region
March – May; September – November: Varies according to region, but in these months, could be ok to hike
May – November: In some parts, these months could be too rainy

Climate: There doesn’t seem to be one simple period of time to visit the mountainous regions; even within the Andes, there are variations, due to altitude. In general, Jan – Mar seems to be the best time, but depending on the place, that could be give or take a month.  Temps are usually steady (and hot) throughout the year.  More rainfall on the eastern and western sides of the mountains, compared to the valleys.  It seems the Central and Western Andes rainier than Eastern.

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: There are lots of trails but all hiking should be undertaken with a guide.  

Transportation required: Car; public transit near cities (ie. Bogota)

Where to stay in Colombia for hiking:

  • Manizales, Jardin, Salento – Los Nevados National Park
  • Bogota
  • Villa de Leyva
  • Minca, Santa Marta – Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Most popular hikes in Colombia

The four main mountain hiking areas are the three Andes chains (divided into Cordillera Occidental (west), the Cordillera Oriental (east) and Cordillera Central, and the Caribbean coastal region (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta). Highest Mountain: Pico Cristóbal Colón (5775 m) in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Filter out hiking places of Colombia by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Around Medellin

  • Dec – Feb
  • Cerro Tres Cruces
  • La Paloma Lookout Trail
  • Pan de Azucar

Providencia Island

  • Jan – Apr
  • Mountainous interior
  • El Pico Natural Regional Park (El Pico is highest point at 360m)

Around Cali

  • Dec – Mar; Jul – Aug
  • Parque Nacional Natural Las Hermosas
  • Farallones de Cali
  • Parque Nacional Natural Munchique

Southern Colombia

  • Dec – Mar; Jul – Aug
  • Parque Nacional Natural Nevado del Huila
  • Parque Nacional Natural Cordillera de Los Pichachos
  • Parque Nacional Natural Cueva de los Guachoros
  • Parque Nacional Natural Purace – volcano hike and other trails

Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug
  • Stunning area, well known 
  • Manizales, Jardín, Salento are just some of the towns/cities that make good bases
  • Valle de Cocora – popular as well

Parque Nacional Natural Cordillera de Los Picachos

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug

Around Bogotá

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug
  • Monserrate peak (right in the city), 3150 m – 1500 step hike up
  • Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza – five trails, popular with Bogotans
  • Parque Nacional Natural Chicaque – 20 km of trails

Around Villa de Leyva

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug
  • Pretty town from where you can do hikes
  • Paso de Angel – vertigo inducing mountain path

Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug
  • Can be difficult to access; lots of restrictions but very popular 
  • Güican-El Cocuy Circuit Trek – week long alpine trek

Parque Nacional Natural Catatumbo Barí

  • Dec – Feb; June – Aug

Serrania del Perija

  • Dec – Mar
  • Extension of Cordillera Oriental
  • No info on hiking here

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

  • Dec – Mar
  • The world’s highest coastal mountain range; due to its heights and large area, lots of different weather systems
  • Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona 
  • Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta 
  • Pico Cristóbal Colón, highest peak
  • Ciudad Perdida – very popular multi-day trek to ruins
  • Towns of Minca and Santa Marta good bases

Long Distance Trails of Colombia

  • Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) Trek – 45 km trek, one of the most popular in the country
  • Güican-El Cocuy Circuit Trek

Colombia's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Colombia Hiking Books:

  • Trekking and Climbing in the Andes, Globetrotter Adventure Guide, by Val Pitkethly, Kate Harper, Victor Saunders, 2002, New Holland Publications – https://amzn.to/3TEy8ng
  • VIVA Colombia Adventure Guide, by Lorrain Caputo, 2012, Viva Publishing Network – https://amzn.to/4af8n2f
  • Moon Cartagena and Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, by Ocean Malandra, 2020, Avalon Publishing – https://amzn.to/4akQ63M
  • Colombia, 3rd Edition: Bradt Travel Guide, by Sarah Woods, Richard McColl, 2015, Bradt Travel Guides – https://amzn.to/49XRKZ0
  • Lonely Planet Colombia, by Lonely Planet, Alex Egerton, Jade Bremner, 2021, Lonely Planet Global Limited – https://amzn.to/43lRMYa

 

Colombia Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Colombia:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from guidebooks, trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Ciudad Perdida
  • Cocora Valley
  • Monserrate peak
  • Paso de Angel
  • Guican-El Cocuy Circuit
  • Nevado del Tolima
  • Nevado Santa Isabel
  • Purace volcano

Easy Hiking Trails in Colombia:

  • La Chorrera Waterfall
  • Caño Cristales trails

 

Colombia Hiking Websites:

 

Colombia Weather Website: 

  • Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environment Studies – IDEAM 

 

Colombia Official Tourism Website:

 

Colombia Hiking Apps:

 

Colombia Hiking Maps:

What Else To Do

  • Coffee 
  • Caños Cristales – rivers of five colours

Other Important Points

  • New government in 2022 brings hope that there will be political stability in Colombia