Hiking Cocora Valley
Getting to Cocora
Beginning at Salento’s main square, you will locate flamboyantly colored ancient school Jeeps panning for passengers. These jeeps run at a schedule of one every hour all for the price of 3,600 pesos. Visitors can establish private trips by grouping with tourists not wanting to wait for other individuals for the sum of 31 pesos which is a decent price.
The journeys on these jeeps to Cocora usually last about twenty-five minutes. Various little shops can be seen right from the car parks, with horse riding opportunities available all within the sway of glorious palm trees.
A little ways from the road appears a fork; one road (the left) continues straight on and the right leads to the gated road which drops in elevation. Either road can be hiked.
Hiking Cocora Valley – the Full Loop
Visiting Acaime (also known as the hummingbird house) via the full loop which is a little over 7 miles is possible. The hike usually takes about five to six hours depending on a lot of variables like how fast you intend to go, the weather conditions of the day and if you intend to sightsee as well
The full loop with a stop at Acaime lasts about under 8 miles and usually takes around 5 to 6 hours overall depending on weather conditions, speed, and how many times you pause to experience the scenery.
It is recommended that the complete Full Loop is hiked in a counterclockwise direction, instead of clockwise.
This little change enables you to get to the apex of the hike just before the close of day, instead of the beginning. In doing so you are able to view the soaring wax palms. And a little tidbit: hiking to the right allows you to avoid paying a 3 peso fee incurred if hiking on the left.
You can also avoid incurring the 3.000 peso fee if you pick the left hike road. A disadvantage hiking this course from the right is encountering 800 meters of steep climb. If the complete full loop is being taken on, it’s important to ensure you have enough time, particularly if a stay at the hummingbird house is intended. The last scheduled jeep leaves to town at six thirty prompt. In other words, if you intend to start the hike around noon, it is recommended that the hummingbird house stop is skipped and the total loop be done.
Taking the Left Hiking Road
For those wishing to hike but are time conscious or prefer to view wax palms and are not at all interested in the hummingbird house, hiking on the left is a great option.
Heading past a couple tiendas, hikers along the road can arrive after a short period at El Bosque de las Palmas, a turn off that indeed resembles a detour.
Continuing to hike beside the road will lead to a river intersection where a couple broken down bridges abound. This isn’t the correct path and precious time could be lost. The right route would be turning into Bosque de Las Palmas for a little fee of 3.000 pesos per person.
Located here is the access to the core loop which points to a lookout, where the full loop and the hummingbird are visible. If you intend to hike along this way, it is something you would want to do for about 1 hour or so, take in the scenery and pictures and double back.
Once you come back, you are quickly thrust into the center of wax palms. You can hike on the hillside all the way to the summit for pictures.
Hiking Cocora Valley Using the Right Road
Deciding to hike the right road will make you go downhill, with sights like a farm of trouts on your way. You are able to see a few wax palms on the horizon and on the sides of the hills, but this road doesn’t have them along its banks. The trails follow the river bathe and lead to a thick forest that restricts views of any kind.
With a cool atmosphere, one of the highlights are the many footbridges that trapeze across the river. Going this way is the fastest route leading to the hummingbird house. It can be avoided if time is of the essence, just head over to Acaime to finish the total loop.
The full is approximately thirty minutes longer when the starting point is the hummingbird house, and the journey back includes going up a hill with a steep incline.
Cocora Valley The Humming Bird House at Acaime
Located about 2 hours from the start of the hike, the Hummingbird House is an interesting stop to make. This detour is a decent one, approximately 2 kilometers along either a stream or with uphill climbs. This amazing private reserve costs about 5.000 per person which also comes with a complimentary drink such as chocolate or coffee with cheese. This is a great attraction, where if weather permits is a must see!!
Cocora Valley Conditions
In the event of significant rain the day before or the morning your proposed hike is supposed to commence, it is recommended the hike be delayed if it is feasible. This is because trail conditions can be wet, muddy and very slippery which only serves to significantly slow down the momentum and reduce the pleasure derived from the trail. That is why if you are able to wait, its best to. – Click here to view the current weather in the Cocora Valley / Salento
In times like this, where you can’t wait it out, it is best to hike to the left, heading over to the Cocora Valley which has a trail that isn’t quite so impaired by the rain, thanks to signs placed at intervals to ensure you do not get lost.
What to Pack Along
When hiking it is recommended to pack a picnic, regardless of the route chosen to hike. For those hiking the full loop, having food with you is highly recommended. For those hiking to the wax palms and other sort hikes, it still is an experience to have a light snack amongst the palms.
The weather is a bit capricious sometimes, clouds emerging from the mountains to drench you one moment and then scorching hot thanks to the tropical sun the next.
It’s recommended to get a plastic poncho whilst in town, if no other gear is had, to protect you from the elements. Ensure you have enough water; on average at least 2 liters for each person, taking into account the route you intend to take.
Explore Cocora Valley
The Cocora Valley is definitely an unbelievable place worth exploring. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Colombia