The Nevados of Colombia are dying
How to get there Snowy Santa Isabel

Colombia is a country with a unique geography that allows several ecosystems to coexist, including those of High Mountain (Nevados) and Páramos. However, the Snowfall in Colombia has been dying for some decades.


According to Mathias Vuille, professor of the University at Albany: “los Nevados o glaciares del trópico en Colombia podrían desaparecer a causa del cambio climático que genera un incremento en la temperatura”. La temperatura en los últimos 50 años ha aumentado 0.7 grados centígrados.

In the Andes Mountains is home to a 99% of tropical glaciers, which means that the highest peaks are covered by ice and snow.

In Colombia, the best known Snowfalls are: the Snowy of Santa Isabel, the Snowy of Ruiz, the Snowy of Tolima, the Snowy of Huila, the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The páramo ecosystems that exist in the snow-capped mountains such as the Nevados, are responsible for supplying the rivers of water, and guaranteeing the survival of the surrounding populations and their agricultural productions.

Although in Colombia the Nevados do not represent an important water resource, the páramos ecosystems are. Therefore, the impact of global warming does represent a problem for the country.

According to Ideam, in about 20 years Colombia will not have snowy peaks, for that reason, they should not only be a tourist icon, but important elements for the regulation of water sources in the country.

Professor Gonzalo Duque of the National University of Caldas, explains that the only risk is not in the glacier, but in the loss of foggy forests because these are the ones that provide water to the population.

“Los bosques de nieblas se van a convertir en tierras cálidas y con esto va a ir llegando la ganadería”, advirtió Duque.

Livestock, another threat to the Snowy

Livestock has generated a negative impact on these ecosystems, the expansion of these areas leads to deforestation and invasion of native forests. The species that inhabit these ecosystems are displaced putting them in danger.

In Colombia, the Spectacled Bear is threatened because their presence does not seem to please farmers and they are being killed because they consider them dangerous, but it was humans who invaded their habitat.

Farmers and large-scale farmers must be considered invaders, because for the development of their activities they destroy the endemic vegetation of each region and destroy the ecosystem.

There is no snow left in the Snowy Mountains

Of about 390 square kilometers of snow that had been specified existed in Colombia, today there are only 36 square kilometers.

  • The Nevado del Ruiz is the one that has lost the most snow; the Nevado del Tolima is the one that conserves less ice; and the Snowy of Santa Isabel is the one that melts faster.
    About 20 years ago, ascending to these peaks was not only a fantastic and accessible excursion for everyone, now long walks are required, not less than an hour, to have the possibility to interact with the snow.

    Snowy Santa Isabel

    The Snowy Santa Isabel is the fastest melting, nowadays it is one of the few that allows tourists to interact with the snow.

    Its glacier, which stretched for 27 square kilometers in 1850, today has been reduced by 90%, leaving only 2.59 square kilometers of snowy area.
    For this reason you cannot miss the experience of knowing him and ColombiaTours.Travel brings you closer to its summit To know more, click here.

    Nevado del Ruiz

    In the past, Nevado del Ruiz hosted a skiing championship. Now there is only one memory left in the pages of old newspapers.

    ColombiaTours.Travel It has an experience that brings you closer to the Snowy, on a trip to an emblematic place of the Los Nevados National Natural Park, the Otún LagoonAccording to Ideam, the Nevado del Ruiz has less than 10 square kilometers of glacier (it had 47 square kilometers in 1850) and about 20 years of life as snow.

    From the Nevado del Ruiz glaciers, the rivers that supply water to 37 municipalities of the Coffee Axis and Tolima are supplied, and are essential for the production of more than 50% of Colombian coffee, rice, sorghum and cotton. 

    snowy Tolima

    The Nevado del Tolima is the one with less snow. Of the 8 square kilometers of original snow-covered area, today there are only 0.8 square kilometers left, accumulated at its top located at 5,250 meters above sea level and which also has a very steep geographical shape that facilitates the snow sliding towards 4,850 meters.

    The loss of ice affects the basins of several rivers such as Totare, Combeima and Coello, the most important water network in Tolima and on which the agricultural, industrial and domestic activities of Ibagué, Cajamarca, Espinal and Flanders, among many others, depend municipalities of the department of Tolima.

    The Sierra Nevada del Cocoy

    The name of Sierra Nevada no longer corresponds to its current condition, the Cocuy already only has 17 square kilometers of snow. Before 1850 it had 148 square kilometers of snow on its top.

    Although it was considered a tourist site, today the passage of visitors is restricted to preserve the little that remains of its ecosystem.

    Other losses

    Volcán Puracé (Cauca y Huila), desapareció como nevado en 1940.2.

  • Volcán Galeras (Nariño), desapareció como nevado en 1948.3.
  • Volcán Sotará (Cauca y Huila), desapareció como nevado en 1948.4.
  • Volcán Chiles (Nariño), desapareció como nevado en 1950.5.
  • Volcán Pan de Azúcar (Cauca y Huila), desapareció como nevado en 1960.6.
  • Volcán del Quindío (Risaralda-Tolima y Quindío), desapareció como nevado en 1960.7.
  • Volcán del Cisne (Caldas y Tolima), desapareció como nevado en 1960.8. Volcán Cumbal (Nariño), desapareció como nevado en 1985.

    “Los Nevados en Colombia solo serán historia, te queda poco tiempo para conocerlos”

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