October 2016;

This is just an email to pass on our thoughts to everyone about the 4 days with spent with Rodrigo on our trek to PNN Los Nevados. The 3 of us chose to go with Rodrigo over all the other guides I found in my extensive research because he was the one who was most organised and this inspired a lot of confidence in us. He answered our (multiple!) emails promptly (even letting us know if he was out of comms for a few days), provided an alternative itinerary (originally we wanted to do El Cocuy) and sorted us out for the accommodation in Salento when they didn’t answer my email.

On spending 4 days with Rodrigo I can definitely say he knows his stuff and the Colombian mountains. We felt very safe with him. Right from the beginning he ensured we had adequate kit for the job (bringing spare stuff just in case) and even when one of us developed altitude sickness he made a plan to keep her safe whilst he led the other 2 to the summit of Tolima, which was worth every single peso. It was a challenging 4 days but all the while we felt relaxed, we took our time to enjoy the views and never felt rushed.

Also, the camp fire meals he made us was better than the food we cook for ourselves at home!

We would definitely recommend Rodrigo to anyone looking for a guide to explore Colombia with.

Thanks again Rodrigo (and Jose). Hopefully see you again soon in Colombia.

Bianca, Sarah, Hannah


Hola Rodrigo,

I'm going to write this email in English just to save some time here in the hostel.
I just wanted to let you know that everything went great with the trek. Rafa was a fantastic guide. He was the most professional guide that I've had in a long time now.
The 8 hour trek to Laguna de la Plaza on the first day was a bit too much for me as I wasn't used to the altitude yet, so we stopped at the campsite after the first pass. But we caught up by Day 3.
Thank you for organizing everything. I had an excellent time in the park.



Favorite guides!!!

It was sad leaving both of you that night - its strange to get close to new people in a week and then leave for good!!!
We really had some great days that will be in our memories forever - thanks to you!
Hope both of you are fine and "back in bizness" on the mountains.
Line (from Denmark)


My time in El Cocuy with Rodrigo was well spent.  He is very personable and sensitive, and has a great imagination.   But he is also a toughened mountain person, with much experience and a serious understanding of how to proceed.  He also speaks English very well.  I would trust him with any level of hiking, climbing, etc.
We explored in the highlands, and not only was he knowledgable of the area we were in - I had a sense that this was his terrain, and we could have gone on for quite a while exploring further areas, and he would have still been the master.  I look forward to my next adventure with him.
Harold Kollmeier
Venice, Florida


Thank you for all your support and expertise. Without it such a short trip to a remote area would not have been possible! I wish you a great time in your beautiful country!

Hasta luego Mahendra


Hello Rodrigo We want to thank you once more for the unforgettable days in The Mountains. Just arrived happy in Bogota After 2 Nights at luis Lodge. Just amazing how Beautiful The appartmement and how friendly He and His wife are. Will send you pics from Home and wanted to ask you if you could send me the Picture you took within The Next days. Wish you all The Best.

Martina and Sven Von meinem iPhone gesendet


Rodrigo is a very calm relaxed character but always on top of his game. He and his people were very considerate, kind and accommodating and certainly at home in the high mountains of Colombia. This trek will be one of those that we will remember forever and this is in no small part to Rodrigo’s contribution to making it most enjoyable.

Leigh and John McAdam


hola rodrigo, queremos decirle que el trek fue una experiencia increible..los sitios de acampando fue lo mas espectaculares que hemos visto..! muchas gracias por todo. tambien, julio fue un guia muy fantastico..el es muy amable y divertido y nos enseno mucho y nos ayudo con todo que necesitamos. nos sentimos muy seguras y comodas con el. en el futuro, vamos a recomendar su agencia a nuestros amigos viajeros :D (y don gilberto nos gusta mucho tambien!) no tiene el correo electronico de julio? queremos mandarle unos fotos del trek.. gracias!

Jessica y sarah


Nevado del Tolima has definitely been one of our favorite place in Colombia, if not our favorite! The central cordillera has a lot of pretty surprises to share, from beautiful landscapes to tasty discoveries prepared by the campesinos. Sharing a few meals with the locals and getting a taste of their life at 4000 meters was a great experience. Much of this successful hike should be attributed to our guide, Rodrigo. He planned everything, from food to mountain equipment, and guided us smoothly along this five-day hike. Rodrigo shared his very good knowledge of altitude hiking and specifics of hiking in Los Nevados Mountains! Rodrigo, gracias por todo ... in particular for the ascent to 4800 meters, the Spanish lessons throughout the hike and the great meals you skillfully cooked in the vestibule of your tent!

A&B Ariane et Benoit


Also, the hike was great! Had a really lovely experience. Thank you :) Katia Pase from Australia


Hey Rodrigo. Trekking was great. Everything worked out well.

Joe & Isabelle from Germany


Hola Rodrigo y Julio,

Saludito corto ya desde casa para agradecerles por una súper experiencia en el Cocuy a principios de enero. Las fotos salieron divinas! Aprovecho para mandarles un par de recuerditos. La de Rodrigo un poco oscura, pues el man resultó un toque escurridizo para las fotos! Ojalá nos volvamos a encontrar por allá. Por lo pronto les estoy haciendo bastante propaganda ;).

Un abrazo fuerte desde Miami.



On a scale of one to ten for treks it was a 10 for me. This place is so isolated that during our five-six day trek, we saw one other person. This was a local fella on a horse wearing a traditional poncho that we passed at the beginning of the trek.

My guide was Rodrigo Arias. His English is very good so it made things very comfortable since my Spanish is pretty bad. Rodrigo is a great guide, fantastic cook, and an all around great guy. This trek through the Sierra Nevada Del Cocuy has the most breathtaking scenery of any place I have been in the world. Its grandeur and remoteness are unprecedented. It is actually a National Park in Columbia called "Parque Nacional El Cocuy" but there are those that feel that the name should actually be "Parque Nacional El Guican.". This appears to stem from an age old a feud between the towns of El Cocuy and Guican, which serve as the main base camps for treks into the park. I am staying in Guican right now.
The trek is not for the faint of heart. It begins at about 13,500 feet then rises quickly to 14,000 feet. There are a couple of passes that are over 15,000 feet. You generally camp for four nights at just over 14,000 feet. The first night is an acclimatization camp and is in a nice structure, but the rest of the trek is all natural and at high elevations. You need to be physically and mentally prepared to do this journey, as it is very challenging. The diversity of the terrain is daunting. From pasture, to high elevation wetland bog, to rocky moraine, to traditional trails winding up and down impossibly beautiful passes, to walking on solid granite platforms, to a little rock climbing (minor), etc, etc. Sometimes there is no visible trail, but the route is well marked with Carnes "Stacked Rocks." The campsites are located in amazing places with alpine lakes and massive snowy summits reaching 17,000 feet into the sky. Rodrigo woke me up one morning at camp three to see the sunrise. It was mind boggling with light, all different colors, shooting beams through the valley reflecting off the snowy peaks. I was too dumfounded to get any pictures.
This was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The combination of altitude, cold weather, rain, snow and sleet, as well as the up and down terrain, and the fact that we were packing everything ourselves (e.g. - 50 to 60 pound pack) made this trek challenging but rewarding. Each day consisted of two summit pass crossings. This was hard. There were sunny days in which it seemed everything came alive, flowers, snowy summits, rivers, birds, and massive granite formations. I would recommend this trek for anyone who likes adventure and is willing to work for it. I underestimated the difficulty because all I was focused on was the beauty and grandeur of the place in the things I had read in travel guides and blogs. However, I was just lucky because I am in reasonable physical shape, or perhaps I am just plain crazy!

By the way if you don't want to carry your supplies they offer porter/horses. Another thing was how clean the route is, except for occasional horse excrement. I saw two pieces of trash along the entire route.

The Columbian people are warm, honest and colorful people. I will never forget this county and its people.

Aloha, Sam Lemmo, Hawaii, USA

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