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Cocora Valley, Colombia

Cocora Valley in Colombia definitely warranted it’s own post. Only about a 20 minute drive from Salento, the Cocora Valley is located in the Cordillera of the Andean mountains an is home to the famous wax Palm trees. It rest between 1800 and 2400 meters in elevation an offers amazing views as you trek through the Valle de Cocora.

We took the 7.30am “Willy” jeep from the Salento town square (around $2) to arrive early enough to miss some of the crowds and avoid some of the inevitable heat & humidity. There are a couple different options when doing this trek and after some of my previous hiking experiences I decided that this time, I was gonna be super prepared! I researched everything I could about this 12 km (7.7 miles) and found that you can take the loop from left to right or from right to left. My research told me that the trail from left to right albeit still difficult was significantly less so.

I was prepared with water, my inhaler and of course my camera. (Side note about being even extra prepared: take snacks and a rain jacket) The hike starts at about 2,000 meters and climbs up about 1,000 meters from there so I knew already the altitude would be a struggle for me so I was gonna take it slow. The lesser difficult of the two routes starts by going through the Bosque del Palmas and It is magnificent! They stand at around 45-60 meters (150-200 feet) tall. I felt like I had just stepped into a Dr. Seuss book! It was hard to continue the trail upwards as I could’ve easily spent most of my time among my new tall friends.

The trail continues up and up offering a few spots to stop and see the views of the valley below. These were perfect opportunities for me to take a breather and calm my overactive heart. I just want to make a side note here for the people who really truly struggle with the altitude. This trail is not easy and it really was challenging for me mentally and emotionally because despite the fact that we were among some of the very first to arrive I walked up that mountain and watched as person after person after person walked passed me striding up the mountain breathing all normal like normal people do. There were points when I had to hold back the tears because I felt so discouraged and frustrated. This trail really made me reflect on my own path and my own timing, in a way I never have before. So if you struggle with the altitude like I do, remember that just the fact that you are doing it is a huge deal. Just the fact that you are trying is monumental and none of it is a race.

As the trail continues you essentially reach what is the top at Finca la Montaña before you start to descend and let me just tell you that descent is steeeeeep! I cannot tell you how happy I was that I was going down and not coming up the side of that mountain. It is muddy and slippery and steep all the way down basically and honestly I don’t know if I would’ve continued if I was going up that way instead of down.

At one point it is a bit difficult to see which way you are supposed to go to leave because there aren’t really any signs, However, there are signs that are not as noticeable for Casa de Colibri, The House of Hummingbirds. Casa de Colibri is an extra small hiking trail that is about 4.8 km (3 miles) leading up to a house or rest stop where you can use the bathrooms, get a refreshment and relax while watching the dozens of Hummingbirds flutter around.

To enter Casa de Colibri it does cost about 10,000 pesos (about $3) but it includes free use to the bathroom and a refreshment. I highly recommend getting the Aguapanela. It is a hot sweet drink that is normally served with a bit of salty or bitter cheese. PUT THE CHEESE IN THE DRINK! lol I learned this a bit later thinking the cheese was not very good on its own but once you put it in the drink, the balance is amazing and it is delicious!

After we had realized climbing all the way to Casa de Colibri was in fact not the way out, we walked back down to find out where we had gone wrong and turns out you are supposed to keep following the river down and that is how you find your way out. It was still a walk to the main road and by the end of it I was thoroughly exhausted!

I also want to make a note at the end here to point out this place is a protected park and flying drones here is illegal. It disturbs the wildlife. So don’t be that asshole who decides the rules don’t apply to you. Remember these places deserve our respect and it is on us to be responsible tourists and travelers.

Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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Coco Betty Travels About Me

Hi Friends!

My full name is Courtney Elizabeth and growing up some of my nicknames were Coco & Betty, thus the name Coco Betty. Feel free to call me Coco, I still answer to it. I empower women to love themselves through travel, one trip at a time.

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