How to get to the Valle de Cocora? How much does it cost? And which route to take?
Don’t worry, we got you covered!
One of the top things to do in Salento is hiking the Cocora Valley – this short guide should answer all your questions.
4th of February, 2018 4°38'17.7"N 75°29'20.4"W
Hummingbirds, wax palms and dense vegetation
Valle de Cocora, not far from Salento, in the coffee region in Colombia is the perfect spot to marvel at 60 meter high wax palms, the national tree and symbol of Colombia.
The Quindío wax palm finds perfect conditions in the Cocora valley due to the humid climate created by the combination of temperature, altitude and the Andes which are blocking the clouds. Daily rainfall is giving life to this cloud forest.
While most travelers on their journey through Colombia will know the famous postcard pictures of the high palm trees, Salento and the Cocora Valley are still places which are not crowded by tourists giving this whole experience a much more relaxed and laid-back feeling.
The diverse flora and fauna with colourful hummingbirds and plants, a winding path through the valley with spectacular views and the changing patterns of blue sky together with dense humid clouds make a magical combination, giving this place a special atmosphere.
HOW TO GET THERE
To go there, simply jump on one of the 4×4 leaving from the main square in Salento or try to hitchhike the small road going down to the starting point of the hike. For those coming by car, there is plenty of parking space available.
The 4×4 leave from the main square at: 6:10am, 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm.
For your return there is a Jeep leaving every hour with the last one at 6pm. The ride costs $4,000 one-way/per-person and takes about 20-30 minutes.
For the hike itself you can chose in-between two options, either you can take the short path straight to the famous palm trees or you can opt for the longer hike along a river with several crossings and a hummingbird farm which will allow you to spend some more time exploring the valley before ending up at the open fields covered by high wax palms. Taking the longer path you can walk a loop which should take you around 5 hours.
We highly recommend to take the long path which will give you the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and magic of this place. However, in case you have few time the short way won’t disappoint you and can be done in about an hour or two.
There is also the option to explore the valley by horse-riding. You will find several guides offering the tour on the back of a horse at the starting point of the hike.
On our hike we were lucky and met someone who gave us this map, which was super helpful to have an overview of where to find what and how long it takes us to reach each point. The friendly stranger was doing the loop the exact other way round then we did, however we would recommend to start the hike in direction of “la truchera”, which has the benefit to end the hike with the highlight of the wax palms.
We recommend going early, since it tends to be blue sky in the morning and more cloudy in the afternoon. Also make sure to bring sun-screen, the sun is very strong at this altitude!
The hike is very easy and can be perfectly done with kids. There are many good spots which invite for a picnic, bringing some snacks and a picnic blanket might be a good idea.
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