Colombia’s Secrets – Ruiz Snow-Capped Mountain
Colombia’s frozen fabulous rooftop
Nevado del Ruiz is an active volcano, located in a compact cluster of volcanic mountains in Los Nevados National Park. Just 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogotá it is the most popular hiking and climbing area in Colombia. Nevado del Ruiz is not only the highest mountain in the region, but is one of the easiest to ascend, straight up the snowy west slope to the snow capped summit at 5,400 m (423 ft). At the peak, take in the stunning vista of the permanently white-tipped majestic volcanoes in Los Nevados National Park that are contrasted by the backdrop of the fertile green Andes Mountains.
As one embarks towards Kumanday (Smoking Nose), as it is also known, the first sight is of the green foothills, home to diverse fauna. Look out for such animals as the spectacled bear and tapir in their natural habitat, and if one is lucky the rare Puma or Tiger Cat transversing the terrain or the Andean Condor circling high above the park. Nevado del Ruiz’s landscape will also really transfix the observer. Ascending the trail towards the escarpment there is a stark world of moonscapes with cavernous craters and fumaroles, all created as recently as 1985 when Kumanday last erupted with devastating effect. The gradual perpetual snow lining then leads to the summit, and it is the mountain’s glacier that shrouds the peak which creates the perfect setting for an unforgettable wonder on Colombia’s frozen fabulous rooftop.