An Unforgettable Trek in Colombia's Supernatural Paramo del Sol

Get Out of This World

This post is part of Everything to Know Before Visiting Medellin, a collection of no-B.S., unique guides to an unforgettable stay in Colombia.

Even if you're coming to Colombia for the warm sun, the cold, sometimes freezing, sun of the Colombia paramo is worth packing a jacket for. Indeed, the sun at the Paramo del Sol may have been the most drop-your-jaw-and-forget-to-take-pictures-while-reconsidering-your-place-in-this-world sun we’ve seen.

And it wasn't just the sun that blew us away on our two-day trek in the Paramo del Sol. There was also the hummingbird beehive, the fairy-tale-worthy moss jungle, the orchids, the views of seemingly all of Colombia, and the high-on-mushrooms-like scenery of the paramo plains. We can't recommend trekking in the Paramo more highly.

If you're interested, here's everything you should know.

Get to Know the Colombian Paramo

Paramo (see Wikipedia) are tropical alpine ecosystems unique to the northern Ande region. They are biological hotspots and the fastest evolving places on earth (see NYT article).

For an inspiring overview of the paramo and Colombia’s other amazing ecosystems, we recommend you watch the Planet Earth-like documentary, Colombia: Wild Magic (watch trailer). It's available on Netflix in many countries.

Frailejon with paramo and clouds in background
The paramo are a unique ecological area.

Quick Facts about the Trek

  • Duration: Minimum 7 hours from the base to the top, Alto Campanas. 11 hours or more if you take the less-direct route up and stop along the way, which we recommend.
  • Difficulty: Medium-difficult. While our group moaned and groaned about sore legs the day after the trek, we made it up and down with minimal complaint.
  • Distance: 14 kilometers on the direct route. We walked the less direct route and made many swamp-avoiding detours that brought our total distance covered to 42 kilometers (a marathon!) over two days—19 km the first day and 23 km the second.
  • Elevation: 1,700 m net gain from 2,380 m above sea level at the base to 4,080 m at the top of Alto Campanas.

Paramo del Sol Trek Itinerary

Use this itinerary to get a general idea of the timings for the Paramo del Sol trek and to make sure you don’t miss any highlights.

The timings will obviously depend on your fitness level. Amongst people fit enough to consider doing the trek, our speed was roughly average. Our group of seven—our friends Jorge (owner of Las Cometas Hostel in Jerico), Jess, Oskar (who took all of the best photos in this post), our two guides, Kim, and I—walked at a steady pace, and took two-to-five minute breaks every hour or so. We’re not mountain goats, but we’re not hippos either.

Sunrise, freilejones, and clouds
No matter how long it takes, it's worth it once you get to the paramo.

Day 1:

04:10: It begins

Up well before daylight, we showered and had a quick breakfast that Sandra and Laura from Villa Laura (see: Where to Stay in Urrao) had gotten out of bed to prepare for us.

We took a taxi to Urrao’s main square (15,000 COP) and met our guide Toño and his friend Chano. Chano was tagging along to help out free-of-charge. The fact that someone would offer to help guide for free in exchange for the privilege of joining says a lot about how amazing the Paramo del Sol Trek it is.

From the main square, we jumped on the daily 5:20 a.m. chiva—a colorful community bus costing 5,000 COP per person—for the 40-minute ride to the Paramo del Sol trailhead, 2,380 meters above sea level (MASL).

06:10 (Hour 0): Starting off on the wrong foot shoes

Dawn broke to reveal an overcast, drizzly day. Our guides had on big rubber boots and waterproof bags. We had running shoes with holes in the soles and garbage bags.

We were concerned. But there was no turning back.

Seeing our poorly protected feet, a couple other hikers who left at the same time as us gave us what proved to be sound advice: Your feet are going to get soaked, so don’t bother trying to keep them dry. Give up, let your shoes get soaked, and get to the top faster so you can dry out and warm up your feet sooner.

8:12 (2 hours in): A warm up to the ranger's station

The first couple of hours of hiking was a good warm up—a gradual uphill mostly through open pasture. We excitedly and nervously approached the mountain that loomed ahead of us.

After an hour-and-a-half, a waterfall with a building below it came into sight. That was to be our first stop, the ranger’s station at the Dusky Starfrontlet Bird Reserve (Official PageTripAdvisor), 5.2 km and 570 meters above where we started.

The group hiking along the green pasture.
Walking through the pasture towards the ranger's station was a warm up for things to come.

8:45: Hummingbird heaven

The hummingbird reserve was the first experience to blew us away.

It was a hummingbird beehive!

There were hundreds of them of all sizes, colors, and beak style fighting over the feeders in front of the lodge. And they weren’t shy. Some even landed on my hat, confusing its bright red color with that of the feeders.

We spent half an hour oohing and ahhing and fruitlessly trying to capture a photo of one on my head.

Important: Unless you want to pay an obscene $50 USD reserve fee, make sure to be in and out of the hummingbird reserve before the ranger gets there at 9 a.m.

A couple of hummingbirds up close
Take a beehive, replace the bees with hummingbirds, and you'd have an idea what the hummingbird reserve is like. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram)

10:40 (4.5 hours in): The land of fairy tales

The following section through the woods was the steepest part of the climb.

To keep our minds off the slog, our guide Toño pointed out an abundant variety of orchids and passed around edible and medicinal plants he found along the way—stuff like stinging nettle, wild blackberry, and a mint called poleo. There are so many orchids in this part of the forest that Toño told us one of his friends, a 24-year-old biologist, had discovered four new species himself.

We took a quick break in a clearing with a view of another waterfall and, ten minutes later, entered a land of fairy tales—a forest so overgrown with mossy limbs, vines, and plants that we could hardly tell which way was up.

This made two incredible experiences already, and we hadn’t even made it to the paramo yet.

Hiking trail through the moss forest
Unlike Middle Earth, this is a real-life scene in the real world. It's unbelievable, nonetheless. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram)
Chris amongst the overgrown forest below the Paramo del Sol in Colombia
With so many vines and branches, all covered in Moss, Chris is unsure which was is up.

11:30 (5.5 hours in): Incom-paramo-able scenery

Fifteen minutes from the Lord of the Rings-like land of moss, we emerged into another fairy-tale-like scene: the Paramo del Sol.

We’d seen the videos and photos, but it was only when we saw it with our own eyes that we understood what all the fuss was about. The rolling tundra landscape was covered in fields of yellow-flowered plants called frailejones (see Wikipedia). It was a surreal cross between France’s sunflower fields (the plants are actually related) and Arizona's cactus fields (except this damp area was the opposite of a desert).

We enjoyed a snack and brewed some coffee on a raised platform before continuing on.

Kim in yellow jacket among yellow frailejones
Kim trying to blend in amongst the frialejones of the Paramo del Sol. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)
Close-up of frailejon flower
Up close, the frailejon flower looks a lot like the head of a smiling llama.

13:20 (7 hours in): Gasping (but not for air)

Our energy was renewed by the hot coffee and the novelty of walking amongst the fields of frailejones. And so what if the weather was wet cloudy and we couldn’t see the valleys below. It added to the atmosphere.

Speaking of atmosphere, it was around this point, as we continued to climb up to a 3,650-meter high crest called El Alto del Burro, that we started to notice the thin air. Fortunately, none of us suffered any ill effects from the altitude. We were probably too busy gasping at the incredible scenery to worry about gasping for air.

Frailejones in foreground and cloudy Alto del Burro in background
El Alto del Burro in the background. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram)

13:52: A final challenge

From the top of Alto del Burro, a plateau with lagunas opened up below, backed by a crest of even higher hills. It was down on that plateau that we decided to camp.

Getting down there was the ultimate swampy challenge. At some points, the path sunk into swamps and ponds large enough to support a flock of ducks. Every step was a potential shoe-swallowing disaster. Even the thigh-high tufts of mossy long grass weren’t safe. When we stepped on them they sunk down into the mud like giant marshmallows.

Including all our breaks, it took us 7 hours and 42 minutes to hike from the base to our campsite.

Close up of flower with the group hiking in background
In addition to the yellow flowers of the frailejones were the bright turquoise flowers of a cactus that our guide said is the favorite food of the spectacled bears that inhabit the area.

14:24: Setting up

Remarkably, the campsite our guides led us to was completely dry. We could sit on the ground without our butts getting wet and it was flat and perfect for tents.

We gorged on our fiambres (see: Food) while Toño and Chano vanished then reappeared with armfuls of tarps and some cooking gas. They'd dug them up from a secret stash the Paramo del Sol guides use to avoid having to haul the same things up and down.

Rightfully not trusting our ability to set up a surefire waterproof camp, Toño and Chano set everything up for us. This in itself justified the 200,000 COP fee Toño charged for the two days.

Tents in the flats below Alto del Burro
Despite being surrounded by swamp, our campsite was remarkably dry.

18:40: Exploring, resting, warming-up, and eating

Toño took a Kim, Oskar, and Ion a quick tour of a small waterfall and a big boulder near our campsite while Jorge and Jess warmed up in their tent. We then all rested up a bit before cooking up a bare-bones pasta dinner.

Chris doing handstand on a boulder in the Colombian paramo
Playing around on the big rock near our campsite. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram)
Kim crouched by a waterfall in the Paramo del Sol
The only waterfall in Colombia Chris was too chicken to jump into.

19:00 The Moonrise

Just as the day was coming to an end, an extraordinary thing happened:

The sky started to clear up.

On the eastern horizon, over Alto el Burro, the huge front of angry grey clouds was being pushed aside by clear blue sky. It was the opposite of an end-of-the-world storm scene from a movie like The Day After Tomorrow.

Then we saw what looked like a fire blazing on the hill. At least we thought it was a fire. Chris even asked Toño what was going on.

Then we wondered if it was the sun. It was neither. It was the moon!

Who knows if it was because at our altitude we were closer to the stars or what, but without exaggeration, it was the biggest, brightest full moon we’d ever seen. Until then we didn’t know moon-rises were a thing.

Full moon over the paramo
This image is proof that we aren't exaggerating in everything we wrote about the amazing moonrise. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)
Chris, Jess, and Jorge looking at moonrise
Chris first though the moon rising over the horizon was a campfire.

19:40: Getting cold and getting in bed

As the moon rose over the horizon and shrunk into the stars, the cold hit our weak, tropical Colombia acclimated bodies hard. Since Toño and Chano were unable to keep a fire going, we all hurried into our tents to warm up and rest up for even more hiking the next day.

Huddled around campfire with moon behind us
The campfire, and our time outside at night, didn't last long in the humid paramo. We were in bed by 7:40 p.m. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)

Day 2:

4:45: Is this worth it?

After a second-straight 4 a.m. alarm, we fought our bodies’ self-preservation instincts, crawled out of our sleeping bags, put on every layer of clothes we could, and slipped on our freezing, soaking shoes.

Our destination was Alto Campanas, the highest point in Antioquia.

We all wondered if all this pain would be worth it.

(Spoiler: It was.)

6:00: Misery to majesty

The first thirty minutes of our hike was pure misery.

Despite the full moon, we couldn't see a thing on the path, making it impossible to dodge the swamps. Soaked and muddy with the temperature hovering just above freezing, our feet become numb, and so did our brains as we stumbled forward blindly.

But then came the light.

As we crested the hill above our campsite, the sun started to peek out from the horizon to the east. At the same time, the full moon hovered on the western horizon behind us and the skies above us and cloud-covered valleys of Antioquia below lit up with color.

We stopped shivering with cold and shuddered with delight at the unprecedented beauty all around us.

Sun rising over Antioquia viewed from the Paramo del Sol
The sunrise makes the 4 a.m wake-up and freezing cold and wet hike worthwhile. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)

7:30: The top of Antioquia

The rest of the climb up to Alto Campanas was along mostly dry mountain ridges. We'd see a peak ahead, ask Toño if that was our destination and he'd say it's the next one. Then it was the next one. Then the next.

The fourth peak was, finally, Alto Campanas.

ridge up to Alto Campana with clouds below
The ridges up to Alto Campana were mostly dry. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)

7:50: Alto Campanas

At 4,080 meters above sea level, Alto Campanas is the highest point in Antioquia.

From the top, we could see the craggy peaks of the Farallones, the Choco jungle that leads to the Pacific Ocean, the plains of the Paramo del Sol, and the city of Urrao.

There are a couple campsites at Alto Campanas, but we were glad we'd decided to camp down below. While the views from these campsites were undoubtedly more impressive than from ours, the ground was muddy and we doubted we would've been able to tolerate the extra cold of being 500 meters higher.

Tent and view down to Urrao and the valley below
A view down to Urrao from the litteral top of Antioquia, Alto Campanas, 4080 m. above sea level.

9:40: Back to camp and packing up

Since we had to make it all the way back to Medellin that evening, we hustled back down to our campsite. It took just under two hours to return from Alto Campanas to our campsite, where we quickly packed up our gear and started back towards the real world.

14:21: A speedy descent

To make it down as fast as possible, we took a much less scenic but much more direct route down (see Alternate Routes below).

Other than taking short bathroom and snack breaks every hour or so, we plowed ahead.

We made it down from our camp to the base in only four hours, half the time it took us to get up.

View of Urrao valley from path down from Paramo del Sol
We didn't stop much for photos—or for anything at all—as we hurried down in half the time we came up. (Photo by Oskar Dunker, @renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram.)
Chris hiking amongst the forest
The hike back down was steep, so we kept our heads down the whole time.

Alternate Itineraries

While we did the Paramo del Sol trek in two days, camping near Alto del Burro, you can consider these alternate itineraries as well:

Alternate 2-Day Itinerary

Instead of stopping at the plateau below Alto del Burro like we did, you could continue on to Alto Campanas and camp there. Two guys who started at the same time as us did so. They went at the same pace we did and arrived at 16:15, ten hours after starting the hike.

The upsides of camping at Alto Campanas is you’ll have more time to enjoy your second day and, if the weather is clear, have an amazing valley and sunset views.

The downsides are you have to carry your stuff an extra 7 km from Alto del Burro to Alto Campanas, the campsite is higher (so colder) and wetter, and the sunrise views to the east aren’t as good.

Some were happy with our choice to camp where we did, while others thought we should have continued on. Decide for yourself once you get to the first camp.

3-Day Itinerary

If we were to go to the Paramo del Sol again, we’d stay for an extra day. It’s more relaxed and lets you explore the Colombian paramo more fully.

On the second day, you can do a 16km extended loop to Alto Campanas and back, passing by some waterfalls and canyons. Then, on the third day, you can avoid the misery of a freezing wet-footed early morning hike and have a more relaxed hike back down to civilization.

Plus, with an extra day, you increase your chances of having a clear sunrise, moonrise, and sunset.

Alternate Routes

There are three different routes from the base to the Paramo del Sol. We recommend you follow the itinerary we did, taking the Hummingbird Route up and the Direct Route down, but you might choose otherwise depending on how much time you have.

Hummingbird Route

This route past the hummingbird reserve and the moss forest is the western (left) path marked out here on Wikiloc. In terms of steepness and distance, it falls in between the other two routes.

Be sure to make it past the ranger station before 9 a.m. or else be prepared to pay the 50 USD reserve entrance fee (or a much more reasonable 20,000 COP for Colombians). [APR 2019 UPDATE: According to Diana in the comments, the fee is now a much more reasonable COP50,000.]

Direct Route:

This is the route to take if you’re in a rush to get up to the Paramo del Sol or back down. "Camino 14," as our guide said it’s called, is the route mules have been taking ever since potato farmers lived in the paramo over a hundred years ago.

We walked—ok stumbled—down it and were glad we didn’t come up it. It’s steep. And it’s not particularly beautiful, especially since we had to keep our heads down, focused on the loose rocks on the path to avoid breaking our ankles. We could have passed right under a family of spectacled bears without even knowing.

Camino 14 isn't all bad though. At times the path is so eroded you walk in a dramatic three-meter high moss-covered gulley.

If you download Wikiloc and pay 2.99 USD for the three-month subscription, you can use this map to guide you on GPS.

Chris hiking down a gully.
The direct route isn't as scenic as the others, but does have impressive gullies like this, which have been eroded away by centuries worth of donkeys and hikers.

Slow but Steady Route

This third option is called Camino 15. We didn’t take it and couldn’t find anyone who’d recorded the route on WIkiloc, but according to our guide, it’s the slowest, most relaxed way to get up to the Paramo del Sur.

You might consider this route if you’re doing a three-day trek since you’ll have more time to get up and down.

What to Pack for the Colombian Paramo

If you’re worried about having the right gear for a Paramo del Sol trek, you’re right.

We were definitely worried. We came to Colombia to chill in tropical weather, not freeze in the alpine cold. But even though we didn't have ideal camping gear, we survived.

Chris packed everything from his minimalist packing list minus the electronics, shorts, and sleeveless shirts, and adding in a warm hat. Aside from those clothes, here’s what else you should consider packing.

Absolutely Mandatory

  • Food – See Food section below
  • Cooking stove – If you hire a guide, they will be able to provide one, but confirm with them in advance nevertheless.
  • Tent – The guide can provide a tent if you don’t have one. Ask in advance.
  • Sleeping bag – Our guides were unable to provide these.
  • Sleeping mat – We forgot about sleeping mats and paid the consequences with a freezing cold sleep.
  • Waterproof covers for gear – If you don’t have proper waterproof covers for your packs, garbage bags will do the trick. Bring extras just in case.

Makes the Trek Much Better

  • Waterproof boots – Your feet and ill-equipped running shoes will thank you.
  • Crocs sandals – We were all jealous when we met a guy at Alto Campanas wearing a cozy pair of dry socks in Crocs sandals.
  • A warm hat – Also known as a toque in Canadian. You'll want this at night and in the early morning when temperatures hover around freezing.
  • Extra socks – …Especially if you don’t have waterproof boots. No matter how many pairs you bring, you’ll use them all.
  • Bright colors – My red hat was a beacon for hummingbirds. A few even landed on it, probably mistaking it for one of the feeders of the same color. The more you look like a flower, the more you attract hummingbirds.
Close-up of a fiambre
Fiambres are like bandeja Paisas wrapped in a banana leaf. They're super hearty hike fuel


Make your hike easier by not packing more food than you need, but bring some luxuries if you’d like. The hike up to the Paramo del Sol isn't so hard you need to ration down to the last grain of rice or anything.

For example, we brought a 250 ml. juice box of rum up and mightily appreciated taking fiery swallows at night when it was too wet to get our campfire going.

Here’s the food we brought:

  • 1st day lunch: Fiambres from El Punto de Sabor in Urrao’s town square (see: Map and Urrao Info below). Though our guide said these were like tamales, they're better described as bandeja Paisas wrapped in a banana leaf. They had rice, potato, chicharron, ground beef, a big chorizo. They were so big Chris suspected the name “fiambre” was derived from a mash-up of “finita la hambre.”
  • Dinner: Dried pasta with a salsa made from powdered pasta sauce and powdered milk and some chopped up garlic.
  • Drinks: Rum, Water.
  • Breakfast: Granola and granola bars.
Toño filling his bottle with natural water.
Follow our guide Toño's lead and drink the water straight from the source.

Don’t worry about water. Streams with fresh, clean water are abundant. We, and the others we met en route, all drank from it and we promise we're not writing this from a toilet seat.


How to Find a Guide?

Send a Whatsapp to Toño. His number is +57 310 330 2304. As Liz mentions in the comments, he's excellent.

Phillip did the hike in 2021 and left a comment recommending his guide, Brayan, too. His WhatsApp number +57 313 582 5484.

Do You Need a Guide?

We first thought 200,000 COP was overpriced for a guide, but it turned out to be an excellent investment.

Without Toño and Chano we wouldn’t have known the best routes and where the best water sources are, had access to the secret stash of gear and tarps on the paramo, learned interesting facts about the flora and fauna, and had the number of a taxi to pick us up after the hike.

But if you're an experienced hiker, have all the gear, and can find whichever route you want to follow on Maps.Me or elsewhere, and rather sacrifice on local knowledge to save money, you could get away without a guide.

How to Get to Urrao and the Paramo del Sol

Medellin to Urrao

Buses to Urrao leave from Medellin’s south terminal, take five hours, and cost about 30,000 pesos. Three different bus companies cover the route.

Important: Beware that the last bus from Urrao to Medellin leaves at 4 p.m.

If you come by car, it can take four hours instead of five to get between Medellin and Urrao, but you’ll probably take longer because you’ll want to stop along the way to properly absorb sights such as Cerro Tusa, the world’s tallest natural pyramid (which you can hike) and the death-defyingly steep coffee farms around Betulia.

Medellin to Jardin Bus Ride Views Cerro Tusa
You'll undoubtedly want to stop along the way to take photos of Cerro Tusa.

Urrao to the Paramo del Sol Trailhead

The trailhead for the Paramo del Sol is about 40 minutes from town at what’s called la Terminal de Chuscal. You have three options to get there:

  • Chiva: The public bus/cargo-vehicle/colorful-crate-on-wheels leaves daily at 5:15 a.m. and returns to town at 3:30 p.m.
  • Taxi: From town it costs 50,000 to 60,000 COP
  • Your own car: There is a small parking lot at the trailhead. It’s unguarded, but the owners of the four cars that were parked there when we went by didn’t seem to mind.

Tip: Write down the number of the taxis before setting off on your Paramo del Sol trek so that you can call one in advance to pick you up at the bottom of the hill.

Urrao Info

Where to Stay in Urrao

For Unparalleled Hospitality:

If you’re coming in your own car, Villa Laura ( | Tripadvisor | Official Site) is a can’t miss choice. Sandra, the owner, takes hospitality to levels as high as the Paramo del Sol itself.

To give you a couple examples, she made us breakfast at 4 a.m. before we set off on our hike and offered us hot tea, an empty room, and towels to clean up and warm up after our trek even though we weren’t staying there.

Villa Laura's rooms are tidy, in great shape, and affordable (about 60,000 COP per person per night).

Hotel room in Villa Laura outside of Urrao, Colombia
On top of amazing hospitality, Villa Laura offers comfortable, warm beds you'll be dreaming of when camping in the cold, hard paramo.

For Convenient Location:

If you come by bus, you’re better off staying in town. We would’ve stayed at Hotel Colonial Urrao ( | Google Reviews) because it has great reviews and an ideal location right on Urrao's main square, where the chivas and taxis leave for the trailhead.

Help us help you: Wherever you stay in Urrao, if you book on after clicking our links to the site, you'll be thanking us for this guide by rewarding us with a small percent of the booking at no extra cost to you.

Where to Eat in Urrao

Healthy Pre-Hike Food

Eco Tienda Urrao (Facebook Page | Google Reviews) uses local ingredients to prepare both vegetarian and meat-based meals. Service was slow but friendly. Even us meat-eaters preferred the veggie burger to the meat one.

Close-up of burger, veggies, and fries
Veggie burger platter from Eco Tienda in Urrao.

Hearty Hike Food

As we mentioned in the Food section above, the fiambres from El Punto del Sabor (see Map) are enormous, hearty, portable, and cheap energy packs perfect for the hike up.

Sweet Cheese

Urrao’s famous artisanal treat is called queso dulce. Maybe it’s called queso because there’s milk in it, but it’s not cheese. It’s fudge. You can buy bricks of it all over town. We got some from the house right beside Villa Laura for 1,000 COP a brick, a third the price it was in town. It went well with tea.

Horses in front of a bar in Urrao
A horse-ride-through bar in Urrao, an old-school Antioquian city that's worth exploring.



For your reference, here’s a summary of some of the expenses you can expect on a Paramo del Sol trek:

  • 200,000 COP total for a guide (2 days), including all the gear he can help you get (Dec 2019 Update: A reader in the comments says they paid 300k for 3 days and got a stay and dinner with with Toño's mom the night before included.)
  • 60,000 COP per person per night at Villa Laura
  • 10,000 COP fiambres from Punto del Sabor
  • 30,000 COP bus from Medellin to Urrao
  • 5,000 COP chiva from Urrao to the Paramo del Sol trailhead
  • 50,000 COP taxi from Urrao to the Paramo del Sol trailhead
  • 11,000 COP dinner of a veggie burger with fries and salad from Eco Tienda restaurant in Urrao

Can Anything Top the Colombian Paramo?

In a literal sense, there's not much that can top the Colombian Paramo. The Paramo del Sol is the highest point in Antioquia after all.

But there are lots of adventures that come close—including hikes to waterfalls, pyramids, and prisons. And most are easily doable as day trips from Medellin. See our extensive list of hike guides here.

Disclosure: Whenever possible, we use links that earn us a cut if you pay for stuff we recommend. It costs you nothing, so we'd be crazy not to. Read our affiliate policy.

38 thoughts on “An Unforgettable Trek in Colombia's Supernatural Paramo del Sol”

    • And thanks to your photos, because without them everyone who reads this would think I'm overexaggerating about how out-of-this-world the paramo is. Can't argue with those photos though.

  1. Ahahaha I agree, nobody can't argue. It looks fu***ng amazing mate!! I've never heard about Paramo del Sol. You found, once again, a great place to explore ;). I HAVE to get there!

    Do you know if you can rent rubber boots in Villa Laura or Urrao? And where did you book the tour? At Villa Laura?

    • Yeah, Tom, if you've got the chance, don't miss out.

      Since we didn't know rubber boots were such a necessity until it was too late, we didn't rent them and don't know exactly who to ask. But as you suspected in your question, I bet Sandra can sort you out…. as long as your feet are Colombian-sized (size 10 or smaller). Size 12 and above might be a bit of an issue, since nobody sells shoes that size around the country. Laura can also hook you up with a guide—she was the one who connected us with our guides, Toño and Chano.

      Hope you manage to sort out the trip and have an even better time than us. If you do, keep us posted on how it went.

  2. Thanks so much for writing this fanstastic guide. Questions: how far in advance did you organise your guides, and would it be possible to book without staying at Laura’s? I’m thinking about going in a few days, but googling hasn’t yielded much more.

    • Hey Marielle. Our guides were booked pretty last-minute. We only met with Toño to make arrangements the evening before our hike and Chano was an unexpected (but pleasant) surprise. Even if you don't stay with Laura, there's no doubt she can put you in touch with him or another guide if need be. We're not exaggerating in saying how hospitable she is. I don't think she speaks English though, so if you don't speak Spanish you'll need to find someone to call her on your behalf.

      If you could, please let us know what you end up sorting out so we can help future Paramo-ers out with your added insight.

  3. Hi, loved the write up so much we are thinking about going this weekend! (Its Nov 27 right now). But as its rainy season we are worried about it being super rainy, and were thinking it might be better to hold off until dry season say January? What's yr take on likelihood of endless miserable rain? Ideally we would have a clear summit morning..

    Thanks in advance!

    • Dang, sorry we couldn't get back to you sooner Justin (we were lost somewhere on our "Hectic Route" in South Africa). In any case, I don't know the weather there well enough to know what to tell you other than suggest possibly asking Laura from Villa Laura. The trek definitely wouldn't be too pleasant if it's raining all the time.

  4. Hi guys great trip report and great blog overall. We're nearing the start of a 7mo sabbatical trip and headed down and planning to do the trek. Any chance you have the contact info for the Tono?

    Also, we're debating whether we try to drag our camping gear around with us or rent. We plan to do a fair amount of trekking while in SA but the idea of packing tent, stove, bag, pad) for 10-12 days of camping seems not smart. Any advice?

    • Hey Brandon – Sorry, we don't have Tono's contact, but Laura from Villa Laura would be able to give it to you. Jorge from Las Cometas Hostel, who did the trek with us, should have it too (you may want to spend some time in Jerico and hang out with him there anyways).
      As for whether to bring gear or not… we're not too helpful there, sorry, cuz this was the only real trek we did. Oh, I know: Ask our friend Oskar. He did way more trekking than us and brought his own gear. Ask him if he felt it was worth it, or if he would've been better off renting. You can find him at renounce_the_cubicle on Instagram and message him there.

  5. Hey. Thank you for this great guideline. I will be in Medellin in March and now I´m thinking about organizing this Trek. Do you know how I can contact your guides or how I could find a serioud guide online? I would like to plan things in advance but I´m not sure how to find a guide.
    Greetings from Germany

  6. Hello there,

    I have read your article with great interested and I want to do a similiar type of tour in the Paranamo.
    I have trouble finding a guide. Could you please give me the contact of your guide please? Or maybe you can recommend me an agency that offers these tours.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    All best

    • Hello Michael. It just so happens that I found Toño's Facebook yesterday. (Actually he found me.) I shared it in response to the previous comment here and also linked to it in the post.

  7. I reached out to Toño today about this trek, and the fee has been increased to 300.000 COP per person (!!!) for a trek of two nights and three days. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be very affordable anymore.

    • Hmmm… sounds like Toño's taking advantage of the PR this post is giving him. He's far from the only guide in town. I suggest reaching out to Laura of Villa Laura, or your host wherever you'll stay in Urrao, to ask if they know any other guides. There's no way prices should have jumped so much in just one year.

    • Thanks Diana! I really appreciate it, and so too will readers who will benefit from the correct info… and from a more reasonable park entrance fee! 50USD was crazy. COP50k makes sense.

  8. Hi, I am reading this and sounds very interesting! Link to to the guide Tono (antonio restrepo) is broken, could you help me get in touch with him please?
    Tks for sharing all your experience!

    • Hi Simone. Yeah, it looks like Toño took down his FB profile. Since I don't have his phone number your best bet is then to reach out to Laura from Villa Laura and ask her for his contact or that of another guide.

  9. Hey,

    How did you find your guide for the hike and was it necessary, or can my girlfriend and I hike it on our own, like is the trail well marked?


  10. We did the 2 days trek starting from yesterday. The bus ride is horrible (155km in 6 hours). The hike up is incredibly hard, we had quite a bit of rain (can happen). The reward at the top wasn't worth the trouble, compared to other hikes we did. But we couldn't make it to the top at the laguna, cause our guide (Alfonso, a really good one!) Said it was not possible today. Could not recommend this to anyone.

    • But the tips of the website here were very very helpfull, thank you! And if anyone wants a guide, our guide Alfonso gave us his telephone number and he has WhatsApp! 3113346983

      • Hey Katrijne. I'm really sorry your experience was nothing like ours. We too had some rain plus we dealt with miserable cold (mostly due to being unprepared), but were more than compensated by some of the sites I tried to describe. Sounds like you got the short end of the stick. Once again, I'm sorry about that.
        Thanks a ton for the contact of your guide. We get the question a lot, so I'm sure plenty of readers will benefit from it.
        All the best!

    • Thank you Chris and Kim for all the useful info and tips. My wife and I just completed a three-day trek with Tono. We can absolutely recommend it. I suppose we were quite lucky with the weather as there was no rain. I would say the trek is quite challenging and I'm not sure we would have been able to make it without a guide. It would have certainly been much more difficult and possibly less fun. The price was 300k/person. But it was well worth it as it included food and accommodation at Tono's mom the night before we set out.

      • Thanks to you Martin and Denisa for your comment. We're so happy you had a great time, too. You made our morning!

        300k for 3 days, so at 100k/day it was the same as what we paid, but you got dinner and accommodation, too. $86US. What a deal!

  11. Hi Kim and Chris! Thanks for the info. My husband and I did this hike last week without a guide, so your Wikiloc map came in handy!

    I haven't seen any comments since COVID so I thought I'd write. We did your route in reverse, starting along the right side of your map up the Direct Route/Camino 14. We did this because a bunch of fellow hikers told us that the Hummingbird Route was closed because there was no bridge. However, by the top, many guides told us that the route was open, so we decided to go for it.

    We descended along the Hummingbird Route and it was great! At the very bottom, there was no bridge to cross the river so we were about to ford it. But, then the ranger came out and made a bridge for us with a few planks of wood. We tried to pay but he didn't accept it, so we passed through (after 9 AM) without paying at all.

    The one change from your Wikiloc map is that a farmer planted a new field right in the middle of the Hummingbird Route near the start of the trail. It's very well fenced off with barbed wire, so I'd recommend staying on the Direct Route/Camino 14 up until the covered wooden bridge then beelining up the hill to meet up with the Hummingbird Route.

    Thanks again, guys!

    • Hello! I am looking to do this hike in April 2021.
      Since this post was written, COVID has changed everything, especially security in the country.
      Can you comment on how you got to Urrao (I'm guessing by bus?). And if you felt making the transfer from MDE to Urrao was safe.
      Thanks a bunch!

  12. Hi! Just got back from Paramo del Sol! It was AMAZING. We did a 3 day, 2 night trip.

    One word of warning. It's extremely wet out there. Get the boots!

    If anyone is looking for a good guide, we had Brayan Flores leading us through the Paramo. He was great – knew all the routes, showed us hummingbirds & orchids, took us to a spectacular peak overlooking Urrao. He speaks basic English. Took really good to of us!

    Contact info for Brayan: WhatsApp +57 313 5825484

    We met Toño too, but he couldn't go due to a family emergency. Brayan was just as great!

    Oh, also, GET THE BOOTS!

    • Hey Phillip. Glad to hear you had just as wet and wonderful of a time as we did. And thanks so much for sharing Brayan's contact. I've added it to the Guides section of the post.

  13. Hello guys!

    I'm Liz, I just came down from the paramo del sol and it was absolutely lovely. I had two incredible starry nights, I saw the Milky Way and dozens of shooting stars, in addition to the most beautiful sunrise and sunset I have ever seen.
    I went with Toño and he made the journey an unforgettable experience. I do not know other guides, but he has a particular charm, his mystery, magic and discretion made him an excellent guide to walk the mountain.
    The paramo del sol is a place between the mountains that is as beautiful as the sea but closer to the stars.

    This is Toño's Whataspp: (+57) 310 330 2304.


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