How to Perform the Cocora Valley hike
How to perform the Cocora Valley hike
Cocora Valley hike can be done in many ways as it is with many tourist destinations. Which one is the correct way for you to perform? That depends on your goal for the trip in the Cocora valley. When it comes to perform the Cocora Valley hike you have two options; that can either be done by walking or horseback riding. There is the short option and then there is the long hiking version.
The Cocora Valley is home to the wax palms which are the tallest palm trees in the world.
This is a guide on how to perform the Cocora Valley hike in the way you like! Not how the person at the hostel told you to do it or the crowd in the Jeeps on the way to Cocora Valley. We are all different, and we like different things. This is why you should go for the hike that serves your interest! This is why you should read this post so you are making sure that you are doing it your way!
The Cocora valley is amazing site and seeing 60 meter tall wax palms – the national symbol of Colombia surrounded in mist is a rare and unique experience that brought my soul in to euphoria. One of my highlights so far in Colombia.
Option A – Short Hike & head straight for the Palms
Capture the postcard photo you bring home for family & friends
To be honest I did not do my research very well on the subject on how to perform the Cocora Valley hike. I did not know about this option A. This was the option that I would have done, if I had done my homework. This is the short hike and the easy version, also the prettiest and the highlight of the Cocora Valley! (I ended up in hike B-the long one).
How to perform the Cocora Valley Hike: When you get of the Jeep, walk along the dirt track. Do not by any chance go right (That is option B – the long hike). Follow the marked path for around 1 km and you will start entering the Cocora Valley of palms.
Option A is perfect if you want an easy hike that can be completed around 60 min – 90 min depends on how long you want to hang around in the Cocora Valley and enjoying the world highest palm trees. I do recommend to walk 30-40 min up so you get a panorama view of the Valley. If lucky! The weather is consistently changing and there will be mist and sometimes you will not see the palms. Try to be patient and stick around for some more time and the weather will most likely change for the better.
When happy with the sites of the palms return the same way as you entered. Catch a Jeep back to Salento. If you want you can perform Option A with horse. I would not do that, it is better to walk around and take all the famous pictures in peace. Do huge the palms, it is a great feeling!
Option B – Long Hike in the Forest & Hummingbird
After 4 hours of hiking you will be rewarded with the world tallest Palm Trees
This is the option for the sporty outdoors, that love a good hike and want a small challenge. This option B takes around 5-6 hours. It will bring you through the forest with wooden bridges and give more adventures hiking tracks. I highly recommend good hiking shoes to perform this hike! After an 1,5-2 hours you will reach the hummingbird place that cost 5 000 COP for entrance and includes a glass of free soda. Beautiful experience, that even for not being a bird person can be appreciated (should be done early in the morning, then maybe you will have the place for yourself). I was there around 09:oo in the morning and alone.
Returning back from the Hummingbird place, and crossing bridge number. 6 and making right where the sign of 2 650 meter sign is. Do not start walking for the 4,5 km sign – Wrong way and no palms.
Entering the 2 650 meters sign: Then hike 30 min straight up and enjoy a great view of the mountain. Continue walking for around 60 min downhill and enter the top of Cocora Valley. After around 4 hours hiking you will finally be rewarded with seeing the world tallest Palms Trees.
If you for some reason are lacking your complete energy level for performing the hike. Option B, can be done with a horse. That takes around one hour, and will leave you with the entrance of the hummingbird (then 15 min hike to the hummingbird place). This is a great option if you want to see the forest but can not perform the hike by yourself and if you are not having hiking boots as well. I was a bit sick and I preformed this option, that was great since I also was lacking hiking shoes. I still got to see it all. Personally I would have just appreciated option A. That is what happens when you forget to do homework about things you’re doing and how many options there are.
HOW TO GET THERE: From Salento at Main Plaza to the Cocora Valley
Catch a shared Jeep from the town place. It will cost you around 3.800 COP per person – One way. It will take around 30 min to get there. Have your jacket on! In the morning it is cold with the wind coming in from every corner.
WHEN TO GET THERE: Be a morning bird this one day!
The morning view is the best and clearest. Go early! A more quieter hike with less tourists. The earlier the better. I went alone for most of the hike, which personally was great. I appreciated to be in one with the nature and not surrounded by 10 other tourists. The sounds where only from the Forest and the river. Of course if you are not so safe on where you are walking maybe its better to be in a group. Bring a map, it will be fine. If not just wait for some fellow hikers.
Bring sunscreen & water! Hiking boots. Sunglasses. Rain jacket and your camera. Enjoy your day with the worlds tallest Palms.