Cocora Valley: Home of the world’s tallest palm trees
July 2, 2016
Cocora valley is a protected area in Quindío, near Salento.
First at all, if you get there early, you’ll have more opportunities to have the valley for yourself. You will have also plenty of time to choose more than one of the different medium-level trails. These go up the hill in the cloud forest. Well, my personal experience was a little bit different, and you’ll find our why :-p .Like in all my journey around South America, I have been here with my beautiful girlfriend Romina.
We didn’t take one of the first jeep in the morning from Salento, and we arrived little bit late to the valley (it was maybe 10:30). Anyway we had plenty of time to discover the main parts of the valley and we decided to take the shortest trail.
Shortest trail?! Easy hike?!? Ohhh nope, we got lost for almost 1 hour because we took a trail that went all the way up to the mountain. OMG, it was really hard and after 45 minutes of trekking we found a young man that helped us to find the right direction, fortunately.
Besides marvelling at these giant palm trees, there’s also some nice hiking around Cocora Valley. One path leads to Acaime nature reserve, and it follows a stream through the jungle and features a series of unstable Indiana Jones-esque footbridges cross the river. We named the Acaime Nature Reserve, well Acaime is essentially a hummingbird sanctuary and a strategically placed coffee-shop. It costs COP 8.000 for an entry ticket, and a hot beverage plus fresh cheese is included. It is absolutely worthwhile to come in, also only for a hot chocolate, a tea, or a coffee. Undoubtedly a perfect place for some chit chat with other travellers, all happy to sit down after trekking around the valley. There are some hummingbird feeders right by the sitting area, so you can watch various varieties of hummingbirds flit around while you sip. Nice and funny experience that took us about 4 hours for the whole and “shortest” loop. Anyway if you don’t get lost like us you can make it easily in 2 hours.
What about the Ceroxylon Quindiuense?!?! This palm species can grow to a height of 45 m, or rarely, even as high as 60 m. It is the tallest recorded monocot in the world. Cocora valley is home of this Palm tree. We were impressed when we arrived in this area during our great and funny hiking. It baffled us that a palm tree would grow so much in high. What could it possibly be the evolutionary benefit? Perhaps these trees used to be surrounded by forest, as there’s no reason for them to be competing for light today.
Great place and amazing experience! Walking through Cocora valley and being surrounded by all the mountains along with this huge palm trees and the green grass. Well, it just reminded me of Jurassic Park. What do you think?!? Is it not a must-do in Colombia?!?!
How to get there, best time and cost
Cocora valley is a protected area known for its surreal, striking landscape pegged with the slender, towering Colombian national symbol, the wax palm. The main hub to get here is the small town of Salento. There are a bunch of jeeps in the plaza in the morning, and they leave when full, it is exactly the same to get back to Salento from the valley.
The price (one-way) per person was COP 3,400 at the time of our visit. Cocora valley is temperate year round, for this reason you can hike this beautiful valley always. No fees, no permits required, nothing, just go and walk into the valley!
Here how to discover South America in 2 minutes! Me and my wife in our best 120 shots of 6 months of travel… Enjoy
- If you want to do the longer of Cocora Valley hikes, expect to spent 5/6 hours to complete the loop. You definitely have to pack some food and lots of water.
- Don’t miss the Acaime Sancturay, It takes an extra 5km to make your way up to the Hummingbird Forest. It is worth it.
- Wear a good pair of shoes, you can find some muddy areas, over slippery rocks and through river crossing.
- My last tip: Don’t get stuck with the thing that ruins your day, life is too short to be wasted in your crap. Smile and be positive because there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy, one of those is travelling.
Author of this post: Davide
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Great artocle- thanks for sharing!
Thanks Lars, keep following us for more travel information! 😀
Cocoa Valley is amazing! I want to go here!
Well, if you are in Colombia is pretty easy to get there! Just follow all the instructions I wrote in the post…u will enjoy there, 🙂
This post is trully an inspiration to me. The pictures are beyond beautiful. Thanks for this!!!
Thank you so much for your comment and keep following us around the world….:-D
This is one of the most unique-looking places I’ve ever seen! Who would’ve thought something like this even exists! Nature never fails to take things to the next level. Beautiful shots & descrip
Thanks Andri and let us know if you have been in a place like this and tell us your experience!
Sharing is caring….enjoy
It sounds fascinating!
Great place and lovely experience!! 😀