Salento, Colombia : hiking the Cocora valley

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Here we are in Salento, our last stop in our Colombia trip.

Salento is a tiny village, nestled among green, blooming mountains in the middle of the coffee triangle, the main region producing coffee in Colombia.

We hesitated to add this last stop to our trip as we could only have one and a half day there, but I heard so many beautiful things about this region & I really wanted to visit the Cocora valley & the huge palm trees that only exist there… Plus, I thought that after Bogota & the Caribbean coast, Salento would have shown us still a different side of the country.

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

So on an early morning, we jumped on a plane from Cartagena to Pereira.

There are 2 main entrances to the coffee triangle: the towns of Pereira & Armenia. From there you can take a public bus or private transportation to your final destinations, either Salento or one of the other little villages up in the mountains.

As we were short in time, we booked private transportation through The Plantation House. The Plantation House is a coffee plantation & a bed & breakfast. Even if you’re not staying there – which we didn’t – they can organize airport pick-ups. Which is a good option as other guesthouses aren’t used to organize such transportation.

It’s also possible to visit the coffee farm at the Plantation House, which we did the day after our arrival, & we absolutely loved the visit! I’ll tell you more about this later.

We settled down at our cute hotel, Posada Casa Salento. A new, family-run posada, which was one of the nicest places we stayed in in Colombia!

Posada Casa Salento, Salento, Colombia

We made a beeline to the main square to go to Cocora valley.

How to go to Cocora Valley from Salento

To go to Cocora valley from Salento is super easy: you just have to go to the main square & take one of the jeeps waiting there. The car leaves as soon as it’s full.

The main square is also full of food stalls if you need to pick things for a picnic lunch for instance.

Fruit juices stalls in Salento main square, Colombia

A food stall in the main square of Salento, Colombia

& don’t forget to take one of those wonderful fruit juices!! Try Guanabana it’s really delicious!! Just look at Mick’s face & how happy he is at the idea of drinking such fruit juice! 😉

Fruit juices stall in Salento main square, Colombia

While waiting for the jeep to get full, we wandered the colorful main square & took a peek at calle Real, a colorful little street full of art-craft shops, which we would explore more in the evening.

Calle real, a colorful street in Salento, Colombia

We had a pleasant ride with some Colombian tourists, that talked about their country & also suggested a restaurant for us to have dinner & finally arrived at the bottom of Cocora valley.

How to go to Cocora Valley

There’s a loop you can hike by foot or you can rent a horse for the first section of the path.

Map of Cocora Valley hike

We rode a horse for the first part & it turned out to be a very wise decision! 😉

Horse-riding in Cocora Valley, Colombia

As always in Colombia, the path was much stiffer & difficult than what people tell you.

We were also surprised by a heavy rain & we were happy not to have to walk in the mud 😉

Horse-riding in Cocora Valley, Colombia

Although, we had to walk a bit in the mud to reach the first stop of the hike: Acaime, a humming-birds sanctuary.

Hiking Cocora Valley in Colombia

Hiking Cocora Valley in Colombia

There’s a small entrance fee (5.000 cop, less than 2€), & you’ll be welcomed with a bowl of hot chocolate or aguapanela (a sweet drink made from sugar cans).

Hot chocolate in Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

& you’ll enjoy a well-needed break while observing hundreds of humming-birds flying around! Just stunning!!

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

Hummingbirds at Acaime Reserve in the Cocora Valley, Colombia

The hike continues among the cloud forest…

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

to the highest point, Finca de la Montana.

Finca La Montana in Cocora Valley, Colombia

What it’s really amazing is to see the changing vegetation while going higher.

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

& we also saw the red & white mushroom I only saw before in cartoons! ;p

Red and white mushroom

From Finca de la Montana the hike descends again to the bottom of the valley.

Finca La Montana in Cocora Valley, Colombia

Finca La Montana in Cocora Valley, Colombia

The views over the valley are breathtaking!

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

You’ll pass through the famous wax palm trees, that can reach 80 meters! It’s impressive.

Wax palm trees in Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Wax palm trees in Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

^Little me among giant palm trees! ;p

A bit lower, you’ll start seeing cows among the palm trees. So weird! 😉

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Cows and wax palm trees in Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

And I confirm, to climb a palm tree is super difficult, even impossible!

Climbing a palm tree in Cocora Valley, Colombia

Climbing a palm tree in Cocora Valley, Colombia

This second portion of the hike among the wax palm trees was one of the things we enjoyed the most in Colombia!

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

Hiking the Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

We arrived at the bottom of the valley just in time to take the last jeep back to Salento – be aware the last jeep departs at 6pm!

Cocora Valley, Salento, Colombia

& to end this perfect day, we had a lovely evening in Salento! 🙂

But as always I have way too many pics, so I’ll tell you more tomorrow! 😉

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16 Comments

  1. Looks amazing! I would love to see the humming birds. One has recently frequented our feeder and I’ve become fasinated with them.

    1. Hi Lisanne, you should go, there are really some beautiful places in South America & people are so nice! In the meantime enjoy Asia!!! In which country are you traveling?

    1. ahah I don’t know why we came up with the idea of climbing palm trees, we always have weird ideas eheh ;)) You’re right it’s best to contact the Plantation House or even other places in Salento ahead as they’re don’t answer very quickly indeed!

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