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Volcanoes to Visit in Colombia


Colombia volcanoes visit
Colombia has more than 25 volcanoes throughout the country that excite national and foreign tourists. Credit: BETA2004/CC BY-SA 4.0

From mountaineering to thermal pools and ecological trails, Colombia’s volcanoes offer an unforgettable array of experiences for those seeking to immerse themselves in nature. Start planning your vacation now and consider including one of these six natural wonders in your itinerary.

In the country, geological formations known as volcanoes have silently witnessed the evolution of the world over millions of years. Beyond their usefulness in shaping the terrain and enriching soil nutrients for stronger, more fertile crops, these volcanoes are now cherished by adventurers and nature lovers engaging in activities like hiking and mountaineering.

Which Colombian volcanoes can you visit?

Tourist activities such as summit ascents, journeys to lagoons, visiting viewpoints, walks through forest reserves, and ascents to volcano craters are possible in several Colombian volcanoes accessible to anyone. However, many are preferred by mountaineers for extreme sports.

Before embarking on these adventures, it’s crucial to consider whether these volcanoes are active, require special permits for entry, or have restricted or challenging access zones, among other safety warnings and guidelines.

For this reason, it’s strongly recommended to plan visits through authorized tour operators with the necessary experience and knowledge of your chosen destination.

Galeras volcano

Situated in the Galeras Flora and Fauna Sanctuary in Nariño, the Galeras Volcano rises to 4,276 meters above sea level, attracting adventurers from across the country. With hiking trails and the famous Vuelta al Volcan offering panoramic views, this destination is perfect for nature enthusiasts. Its accessibility from Pasto facilitates easy planning for your visit.

Purace volcao

In the Cauca Department, the Purace Volcano stands tall at 4,646 meters. While its ascent might pose a challenge due to volcanic activity, the surrounding areas are equally impressive. The Purace National Natural Park not only hosts the volcano but also features thermal pools, the Valley of Statues, and the birthplace of significant rivers. Popayan, 55 km away, serves as the gateway to this marvel.

Nevado del Huila

As the highest volcano in Colombia, the Nevado del Huila reaches a towering 5,750 meters. Although currently closed to tourism due to volcanic activity, its trails lead to lagoons and viewpoints in the vicinity. With access points from Neiva, Cali, and Popayan, this colossus captivates those exploring the region.

Nevado de Santa Isabel

Located on the border of Caldas, Risaralda, and Tolima, the Nevado de Santa Isabel soars to 4,965 meters. This dormant volcano is perfect for those seeking a gentler ascent. Just an hour’s walk from Santa Isabel, the Otun Lagoon is a must-visit in this magnificent Los Nevados Natural Park.

Nevado del Ruiz

Also in the Nevados Natural Park, the Nevado del Ruiz, famous for its 1985 eruption, now attracts winter sports enthusiasts. Beyond its historical significance, the park is home to endangered and endemic Colombian species. Proximity to Manizales facilitates a visit to this iconic colossus.

Active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes

Colombia hosts not only active volcanoes with the potential for eruption but also dormant ones, showing signs of activity without recent eruptions, and extinct ones, exhibiting no indications of reactivation.

Continuous eruption status “does not always imply persistent daily activity but indicates at least intermittent eruptive events without a hiatus of 3 months or more,” according to the program.

One such volcano, the Nevado del Ruiz, currently maintains an orange activity level (probable eruption in terms of days or weeks), as reported by the Colombian Geological Service (SGC), given its current instability.

Visitors are strongly advised to coordinate their trips through authorized tour operators, ensuring the expertise and knowledge required to guarantee their safety.

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