Among the palm trees of the Cocora Valley in Colombia

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Among the palm trees of the Cocora Valley in Colombia

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Our trip to Colombia continues by discovering the Cocora Valley and its characteristic wax palms. Here we hike to the highest point of the valley, looking for the most scenic and stunning corners of this fascinating natural reserve. In this article we tell you about this amazing place and give you some useful tips for planning your visit!

We love... the Cocora Valley!

Our trip to Colombia continues by exploring the Cocora Valley. Its distinctive skyline made of tall palm trees is very popular on social media and in travel blogs because this true natural paradise is absolutely fascinating and is a must-see for anyone visiting Colombia. Located near the Eje Cafetero, it is easily accessible from Armenia or Pereira, where flight connections to the nation’s largest cities land, and is moreover very close to Salento, where travellers usually prefer to stay. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Colombia, we recommend that you do not miss the opportunity to visit this place, perhaps combining it with a stop at one of the area’s coffee plantations or in the small village of Salento. In this article we tell you about this amazing place and give you some useful tips for planning your visit!

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Our visit

Where to stay in the Coffee Axis

To visit the Cocora Valley, we suggest staying in the Eje Cafetero, so you can easily visit both the Valley and the coffee plantations in the area and the small village of Salento. Although there are several towns in the area that offer good accommodations, our advice is to choose one of the many “Fincas” in the area, which are often equipped like proper hotels of a very good standard with all the comforts and services. For our stay we chose the Hotel Estrella Del Monte, at km 5 of Vereda La Cristalina, near Armenia. We recommend it because it is a wonderful place, totally surrounded by nature, among banana trees and coffee plantations. It also has a private pool, a restaurant and an excellent level of service with friendly and helpful staff.
However, if you are looking for something different, here you can find all the accommodations available in the area.

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Hike overview & map

It is possible to explore the Cocora Valley by walking, following well-marked trails that start from the large parking lots in the valley and reach the highest point in the area. The hike we propose is a circular route. Although it is uphill, it is a fairly easy hike, about 9 km long and taking more or less four and a half hours to walk. However, we recommend caution, because the hike approaches an altitude of 3,000 meters, and some people who are untrained or not used to the altitude may suffer from sudden dizziness caused by the altitude. Along the way you will find a couple of stalls selling cold drinks, and once you reach the highest point of the trail, you will find a mountain farm – Finca La Montaña – offering coffee and simple food cooked on site.

Cocora-valley-elevation

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For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends.
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For a safe hike, it is important to have the support of maps and GPS. That’s why we plan and track all our hiking routes using Outdooractive, a platform for tracking outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and more. By subscribing for free to the website you can browse the entire route database, copy our routes, edit them and create your own and of course share them with friends. If instead you want to know why you should sign up for a PRO or PRO+ subscription and why we have already done it, we have told you about it here along with 5 other essential apps for hiking in Switzerland.

The Cocora Valley

As an iconic place in Colombia, the Cocora Valley is located in the department of Quindio, in the heart of the Eje Cafetero. It is famous for its very tall wax palms, which in some cases reach 70 meters and are considered the national trees in Colombia, although sadly endangered. The Valley is characterized by a lush landscape and enormous biodiversity and should definitely be explored on foot, via one of the hiking trails that cross it.
Along the route you will have the opportunity to admire enchanting landscapes typical of a rainforest, but also be prepared for a rather “wet” hike. In fact, the area is often characterised by sudden rains and fog, especially in the early morning hours, which in any case make the landscape even more fascinating. Although the valley can be explored on your own, we suggest exploring this enchanting place through a guided tour. You will find plenty of them on Getyourguide.
Admission to the valley, in any case, is chargeable and costs about 10000 COP (about 2.50 CHF/ EUR).

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Our itinerary in the Cocora Valley

In general, it is possible to explore the valley through two routes, one longer and more difficult and one easier and more enjoyable. The first one, which takes between 5 and 6 hours, follows the course of a river steeply uphill to Finca La Montaña, from where it then follows the easier path into the valley. The easier trail, on the other hand, stays in the valley and takes just over an hour.
We chose to try a middle way, starting from the parking lot in the valley, reaching Finca La Montaña and from there returning downstream along the same path until we reached a secondary path almost downstream that goes through some of the wax palm forests and several viewpoints.
We suggest this because it follows a more enjoyable and safe route, as opposed to the one along the river that is wet and slippery. Not to be missed, an empanada from Finca La Montaña freshly cooked after hours of grueling uphill walking!

How to get there

See the location in Google Maps. The easiest way to reach the Coffee Axis is by plane, flying from Bogotá to Pereira or Armenia. Once at your destination, although it is possible to travel by bus from one destination to another, we suggest that you rent a car so that you are as autonomous as possible in moving around. Alternatively, join a guided tour!

See the location in Google Maps. The Coffee Axis can be reached from Bogotá by car. To find the best travel option for you, as always we suggest you use Google Maps. However, we suggest caution: Colombian roads are often subject to works and closures, even unexpected ones. This could significantly lengthen travel time. Take this into account when planning your transfer!
Booking.com
Booking.com

Tips

1

For your visit, we suggest you bring a waterproof jacket, plenty of water to drink and the inevitable mosquito repellent!

2

After your visit, for lunch or dinner we suggest a stop at the restaurant Donde Laurita Campestre, really picturesque and with excellent traditional food.

3

Are you planning a trip to Colombia? Then read all our articles on the subject and if you have any questions or need further suggestions let us know by leaving a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

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