Last week, I wrote about Salento and visiting a coffee farm and today I will tell you about the other day we spent in Cocora Valley. I´d say, hiking in the Cocora Valley National Park is a MUST DO activity when you are in the region! A stunning natural park created by green valleys and palm forest full of thin and tall wax palms touching the clouds which became national tree and emblem of Colombia. These wax palms can reach up to 60 meters of height and are considered as the highest palm trees in the world.
Cocora Valley National Park is located only about 20 minutes ride from Salento. Willy jeep from the main square of Salento will take you there. Once you arrive at the entrance, you can do either a full 5-6 hours´ hike in the forest including the visit of Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary or you can just hike through the valley before hiking up to the chilly cloud forest and to reach some stunning viewpoints.
Our initial plan was to make the full circuit. But we did not manage. We already arrived around lunchtime, then we took quite long enjoying the first viewpoints, where the thin tall wax palms were getting lost in the clouds, picnicking and taking pictures. We then continued hiking up the cloud forest until a crossroad from which we still had it for 45 minutes one way to reach the Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary, we received first raindrops and also, we would not make it back before the closing time, so we decided to go back down the valley in our own tempo while still enjoying the stunning views and taking some more pictures that would be great in our bathroom one day… 😀
Based on our experience, I would recommend two things. First, arrive early in the morning so that you have the full day if you decide to do the full 5-6 h hike. And then I suggest you go there on a non-rainy day with a low chance of rain as when the terrain gets muddy, it’s not so easy to enjoy the walk there. If you can’t choose the day based on weather conditions, do take wellies and raincoat (we did not escape the rain and you wouldn’t like to see our shoes)! 😀