Hike Valle De Cocora in Colombia

Valle De Cocora, Salento, Colombia

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    9.3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1000 Feet

Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic

Hike among the tallest palm trees in the world - soaring over 60 meters!

How to get there: From the nearby town of Salento, 4WDs leave from the main square whenever there are enough people to fill it. Note, if you want to stand on the bumper of a jeep for the ride, be towards the end of the line so you can snag one of those spots. The ride is approximately 20 minutes. I would recommend getting there early, around 10am, because weather is unpredictable, especially in the afternoon. 

The trail: The jeep drop-off is in a small dirt parking lot beside a few souvenir shops. You can also buy food or drinks here. Continue along the same dirt road the jeep was on and you will come to a fork. For those who don't want to hike, but still want to stand among the palms, continue on the dirt path for around 1 km and you will reach a clearing with palms dotted all around. You can roam around in the clearing and take as many photos as you like, then return the way you came.

For those wanting to do the long hike, follow the trail to the right with the sign saying Los Nevados Parque Nacional. This hike takes you through a neighboring valley overlooking a trout farm and a large grazing field. After a couple kilometers of the trail being downhill or flat, the trail begins to incline into a cloud forest. The trail switchbacks through lush greenery for about an hour, until you reach a T. If you turn right you will reach a hummingbird sanctuary. For a small fee of 6,000 pesos ($2.5) you can watch the hummingbirds and a warm beverage is included. There are also a few other birds to observe while sitting at the picnic table and relaxing before the second half of the trek.

Return back the way you came (~20 minutes) and this time continue to the left of the T. This trail leads to the actual wax palm forest. Immediately you are greeted with 60m high wax palms soaring on either side of the trail. There are numerous lookouts to see the vast valley speckled with palms as well. In my opinion, the views from above make the long trail worth it. The trail continues for another hour downhill, weaving in and out of clusters of palms. 

Overall the hike took about 6 hours, with only the last 2 hours among the palms. This iconic tree is a a symbol of Colombia and should not be missed if in the Salento region!

Pack List

  • Layers-pants, long sleeve shirts, fleece, waterproof jacket, socks, beanie, scarf
  • Backpack
  • Snacks
  • hiking shoes
  • camera
  • water bottle
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Such an incredible hike. I have never seen so many shades of green in one place! The fog that envelops the mountains in Salento is mystifying! The entire town of Salento is colorful and artisan, the hiking is to die for (nothing difficult. Hiking boots or running shoes would be fine, even chacos would get you by because it's often muddy), and there are cool excursions here such as coffee tours, paragliding, mountain biking, horseback riding, etc. Add Salento to your list wen visiting Colombia -- you won't regret it!!

8 months ago
8 months ago

Zee Lilani

Learning how to live a fuller, yet simpler life

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