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Friday, October 6, 2023

Hiking Guide To Valle Del Cocora Valley

Exploring the Cocora Valley in Colombia, near the charming town of Salento, has become an essential experience for modern-day travelers in the country. This incredible trek offers a mesmerizing journey through cloud forests, lush jungles, picturesque farmlands, and the awe-inspiring sight of the world's tallest palm trees. Discover the hiking guide to the Cocora Valley.

It's a breeze to reach the trailhead and begin your hike in Salento, thanks to the numerous travelers eager to visit Cocora. Simply make your way to the main square of Salento during one of the scheduled departure times (opt for an early one if you want to fully enjoy the hike). In case you miss a jeep, don't worry! Just ask around and gather enough fellow adventurers for a 30-minute journey, and you can easily hire a jeep.

When it comes to hiking the Cocora Valley, there are multiple routes to choose from. If you're not in the best shape or short on time, take the left road at the trailhead. This path will lead you to the main valley, where you'll find the magnificent Wax Palms towering up to 60 meters in height, all within just half an hour.

Assuming you're up for a real hiking adventure and in reasonably good shape, the classic five-hour Cocora Valley route is a must-do. You have the option to take the route clockwise or counterclockwise, with the former being slightly easier due to fewer uphill sections, but starting off with the Wax Palm Valley.

Hiking Guide To Valle Del Cocora Valley

On the other hand, the counterclockwise hike is more challenging, but the reward is arriving at the stunning and surreal valley at the end of your journey. For this reason, we recommend taking the counterclockwise option.

To start the route, simply turn right down the hill at the trailhead and follow the clearly marked trail through farmland. Be sure to wear boots as it can get muddy after rain. After about 45 minutes, you'll arrive at the entrance to the forest and the hike will meander through the jungle for about an hour, crossing multiple rickety suspension bridges over the river. Keep an eye out for beautiful birds in this section.

When you reach a T-junction of muddy trails in the forest, turn right and take a side trail up the hill to a little farm called Acaime. Here, hummingbirds come to multiple feeders and you can enjoy lovely views along with a drink and snack. If you're not interested in more hiking, take the trail uphill to the left at the junction.

The hardest part of the hike is coming up, as you'll slog uphill for about an hour. Take your time and when you finally reach the end of this section, you'll arrive at a small house called Finca La MontaƱa with a great view back down the valley.

Here, you can buy water or even a beer to celebrate the end of the uphills before heading along the gently sloping downhill path to the left through pine forests. This path should take a leisurely hour and a half at most, and be sure to follow the little side trails to the left every now and again for stunning panoramas over the valley.

Ensure that you are well-prepared for your hike in the Cocora Valley by packing wisely. Don't forget to bring sturdy hiking boots, a raincoat, multiple layers of clothing to accommodate changing weather conditions, and an ample supply of water and snacks.

Consider bringing a packed lunch as well to maximize your time in the valley without having to rush back for a meal. Most importantly, savor the experience and appreciate the fact that hiking in the Cocora Valley is a must-do activity when visiting Colombia!

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