life on pine

hiking the valle de cocora: salento, colombia

Kate ParrishComment

this place is like nothing i've ever seen

for a quick adventure after relaxing at hacienda bambusa, we found ourselves on a bus to salento, a tiny town that is part of the los nevados national park. it is the principal location of the national tree,  the quindío wax palm –– and when we saw photos of the palm forest i knew it was not to be missed. the town itself is pretty tiny and filled with small hostels/restaurants to support the heavy tourism that rolls through for adventure like the valle de cocora hike. we stayed at the coffee tree boutique hostel and had our own little private room that was pretty perfect for us. it was walking distance to the town square and had a cozy communal feel to it. 

interested in doing this hike? here are a few things to know:

  1. catch a shared jeep (or a "willy" as they call them) to the valle de cocora from the main square in salento.
  2. the cost is 4,000 COP ($1.50 USD) / person. the jeeps leave six times per day: 6:10am, 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. they then return to salento an hour later.
  3. bring a lunch! the hike takes most of the day 
  4. we stopped and ate our sandwiches at the acaime hummingbird sanctuary where they also serve coffee/hot chocolate * stopping here adds about an hour to the hike, but it's fun to see if you have time
  5. bring a rain jacket –– the weather changes quickly when you get to higher elevations 
  6. do the counterclockwise loop, it is a great work out and ends at the palm forest which is the perfect reward. your hostel/hotel can give you more details on the different ways to do the trail (or you can check out this blog –– they have a lot of great information about the trail)

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