A Detailed 2022 Guide To The Cocora Valley Hike In Colombia

A must-do walk through what seems to be a magical setting is the Cocora Valley hike, or Valle de Cocora in Spanish.

One of the biggest attractions of Salento is the climb through the Cocora Valley; for us, it was the main attraction. oh wow, did it arrive!

What Is Renowned About The Valley Of Cocora (Valle De Cocora))?

The tallest palm trees in the world, known as Quindo wax palms, may be found in the Cocora Valley. They can reach heights of 200 feet and are quite tall and slender.

The Colombian flag’s national emblem is the wax palm.

If you trek the Cocora Valley route anticlockwise, you will find most of these wax palms are found in the Palmas Bosque area (the Palm Grove), which is near the trail’s beginning (late information about the way to trek).

But if you take the complete Cocora Valley circle route, There are many benefits outside only Palm Grove.! There will be a river trek.

Hike through a thick, verdant rainforest, go hummingbird watching habitat, over a few rickety bridges, and take in some stunning scenery and mountain peaks.

National Park Los Nevados includes both the valley and the path. The Cocora Valley circle route has a few distinct exits where you can really turn and travel further into the park.

Intriguingly, Colombia’s entire coffee region is included as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

How Can I Travel From Salento To The Cocora Valley?

The majority of visitors to the Cocora Valley use an old willy jeep from Salient, a willy jeep, though you can also take a taxi or drive yourself if you lease a car.

The largest centre in Salento, Plaza de Bolivar, is where you may purchase willy jeep tickets on the day of the trip. You can check the times in advance thanks to the schedule that is posted on the ticket booth.

The willys are supposed to every 30 minutes, however they actually only wait until the following jeep is packed, whether that happens in five or thirty minutes.

Throughout the year, the schedule varies a little bit, but at the time of our visit, The earliest and latest departures were at 6:30 am and 5:30 pm respectively (about 6:30 p.m., the last pickup from the valley).

The Encanto And Cocora Valley

Did you know that the Cocora Valley serves as the backdrop for Disney’s Encanto?

The writers reportedly travelled over Colombia looking for ideas for the movie, and when they stopped in Cocora, they apparently knew it was THE place since it seemed so wonderful. I have to admit that I concur that it definitely had a storybook vibe to it.

The Cost Of A Hike Through The Cocora Valley

Although hiking in the Valley is not expensive, there are a few locations where you will need to carry cash because of “entry” fees.

About 15 minutes after beginning the Cocora Valley route, you must pay To enter the Bosque de Palmas, you must pay 10,000 COP (2 USD)., and you must pay 5,000 COP (1 USD) to leave the trail at its conclusion.

It will cost you 15,000 COP to go inside the Hummingbird House at the summit of the mountain (3.50 USD).

The prices for Cocora’s admission and departure fees were all listed on signs at the small shacks where you made your payment and are valid as of July 2022.

How Long Is The Hike Via Cocora Valley?

We used the Altria’s app to map our trip, and the app indicated that we covered roughly 8 miles (12 km) of distance and gained about 2500 feet (762 meters) of elevation.

The We completed the hike in around 7 hours, including 4 hours, 41 minutes of hiking in the Cocora Valley and slightly over 2 hours of breaks.

We spent some time at the two authorized overlooks in the Palm Grove, made another lengthy stop at an unofficial but lovely lookout there, and also took a good break at the hummingbird house.

Which Way Should I Hike Through Cocora Valley?

The Cocora Valley hike can be completed in a number of ways. You can trek to the overlooks of the Palm Grove and then return, or you can do the entire loop both ways.

Every choice has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some particular factors to take into account for each route:

Clockwise Hiking In Cocora Valley

Advantages: If you hike anticlockwise, you’ll reach Palm Grove near the start of your journey (after about 20-30 minutes). Even though the wax palms may be seen along much of the walk, the Palm Grove is where the most famous pictures are taken.

You’ll see the Palm Grove while you’re clean and fresh, it will be quieter, and you’ll get to see the nicest areas on your journey right away if you start early in the day and hike anticlockwise.

Given that the steep stretch of the trail is descended during the second half of the trek, it is easier in certain ways (iInstead of ascending the most difficult slope).

Cons: Due to the muddy conditions, you must descend the steep stretch, This is more comfortable for the legs but challenging. I did, in fact, trip and fall once.

This would be worse the more recent rainfall there has been. It seemed incredibly challenging when we spoke to people who had completed it a few days earlier than us, nearer to when it had poured most recently.

Taking The Cocora Valley Hike In The Opposite Direction

Positives: As you climb the muddy area, it is easier to avoid slipping and falling. Additionally, you are saving the best for last by hiking through the wax palms to the palm grove, which will be a fantastic reward at the end of your hike.

Cons: The biggest drawback of travelling anticlockwise is that you’ll likely encounter much more traffic when you get to the viewpoints for Palm Grove.

Furthermore, you’ll have to complete the entire hike before you get to the renowned and breathtaking vistas you’ve been wanting to witness.

But even though the primary perspectives aren’t visible as you make your way around the first leg of the anticlockwise circuit, you will encounter a lot of wax palms.

You’ll also have to climb up the tougher part of the trail. It’s not really steep, but there are some larger rocks you’ll need to step up to, so it might not be such a big deal.

Take A Short Hike To The Palm Grove., Then Turn Around And Leave.

You can simply just trek to Palm Grove if you don’t feel like going on a long hike or if the weather is particularly awful. It’s acceptable to focus only on the highlights before wrapping things up. (In this instance, starting on the clockwise circle.)

Additionally, the entire circle takes several hours and calls for reasonable physical fitness. It’s generally preferable to just take the shorter hike if time, dexterity, or fitness are issues.

You might also think about skipping the entire loop if it has been really rainy recently because the mud gets incredibly bad. However, the climb to the viewpoints alone should be manageable in the majority of weather scenarios.

How We Act

We chose to go in a clockwise direction and are quite delighted we did. I really wanted to experience the Palm Grove perspectives away from the crowds, so we drove one of the first Willy jeeps around in a clockwise direction and spent some time and got some fantastic shots with just the two of us in the palms.

However, you are the expert on your priorities, so pick the path that best suits them!

What What A Hike In Cocora Valley Is Like, In Pictures

You’ll be dropped off in an unpaved parking lot by the willy jeeps. You will decide whether to go in a clockwise or anticlockwise route right away. While you can travel either direction, we’ll cover the clockwise route because we did it.

For another 10-15 minutes, keep going up the road until you get to a hut with “A small set of stairs is close to a sign that reads “Bosque de Palmas Sendero.”. 

After turning right and ascending the steps, you will pay the admission charge (10,000 COP per person) (10,000 COP per person). Here is the entrance to the Bosque de Palmas (the Palm Grove).

You’ll start to notice the palm trees around you in this area. We started our hike here at 7:30 in the morning, so it was still early and not very crowded.

Rolling green slopes and occasionally blossoming vegetation surrounding us. We could see the long, slender wax palms ahead of us, looming over us.

Those Miradors

You must travel for another 15 minutes or so and make a fair ascent to reach Mirador #1, the first designated viewpoint point. For the best views of the valley from the lookout, descend the stairs.

#2 Mirador

You reach Mirador #2 after another ten minutes. This one was my favourite since the hill dropped off abruptly from the vantage point and there were several palm trees grouped together on that crest.

The “classic” vistas of the Cocora Valley can be seen from this vantage point. This location is frequently reflected on mementos.

There isn’t a barrier at either of these miradors, so you can leave the trail and get closer to the palm trees.

Following The Palm Grove

After Mirador 2, the scenery changes from grasslands and palm trees to more jungle forest as you exit the Palm Grove area (though occasionally you can still make out some palm trees in the jungle).

As you hike higher and further into the mountains and the forest of the Cocora Valley, the panorama changes dramatically, which is extremely cool.

About 15 to 20 minutes past the second viewpoint point and before the trail’s highest point, there is a small snack bar.

Many clouds were moving in throughout our hike, shrouding the palm trees in a hazy mist. The hands truly resembled something from a fantastical realm as a result of this!

If you climb in a counterclockwise manner, you must pay the 10,000 COP admission charge to Palm Grove at this snack shop.

You’ll come across a section of thick pine trees about the midway point of the trail; it actually made me think of Colorado a lot

Following this area of forest, you’ll pass a fence and a few structures. This is typically regarded as the halfway point, because it was at this time that the path underwent a significant alteration.

The path was clear, stable, and reasonably wide up to this point, and although there was an inclination, it was extremely simple to climb.

The Declining Stretch

From the halfway mark, the trail descended in a nearly “deep” manner. The path was deeply eroded into the hillside, and as a result, the trail grew incredibly damp.

There were numerous places where the trail was practically a stream. The There are enough pebbles, so you can walk across without getting wet, but it made walking down… interesting.

There are spots that were simply plain muddy in between these areas that resemble streams. really murky. It was difficult to walk through and down because it was so slick.

There were also several larger rocks in this section, which made the steps down more difficult. We were actually having a terrific time despite how difficult the trek down was. The entire experience seemed like a huge adventure!

Fortunately, the path was never blocked by overgrown vegetation, it was always clear, and it was obvious where to walk.

The nature around us felt especially untamed and harsh on this descending section. Around us, there was dense brush covered in a wide range of unusual, tropical flora.

You actually start trekking right beside the Quindio river as you continue to descend, which is very pleasant. There are many boulders in this river, which made for some enjoyable cascading scenes.

The way the greenery framed it made it look extremely lovely. I like being by the river despite the fact that the trail was becoming rather muddy..

Acaime (The Hummingbird House) (The Hummingbird House) 

There is a turnoff to ascend to the Hummingbird home, or Acaime as it is known in Spanish, when the trail leads you to the river. The detour is around one kilometer (0.6 miles) long.

The ascent to the House is moderately difficult (500 feet of elevation are gained in that 0.6 miles.). The signage does all mention “Acaime,” so keep an eye out for that while you search for the turnoff.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will cross the river before reaching the Hummingbird house. The trail looks to cross the river when you first reach it and continue forward afterward. But you immediately realise it’s a dead end on the other side.

In fact, the path curves back (return on the bank’s opposite side from where you crossed it after heading up the stream). The true crossing will be open if you go upstream just a little bit more. Although a little perplexing, the trail does back on the same side of on!

You can Unwind In A Shelter With A Number Of Benches And Tables At The Hummingbird House.

You must pay an entrance fee of 15,000 COP to enter. Some ladies will provide free Coffee, cocoa, or sugar cane water are all acceptable. along with admission to the refuge.

Of course, the name “hummingbird home” is not a coincidence. The hummingbirds are drawn to the two tiny birdhouses next to a bowl of sweet water inside of them. There are always a number of birds flying over the two houses because they enjoy the water. Watching them consume alcohol, move about, then return for more is kind of entertaining.

Although we spoke to a few folks who actually enjoyed the Hummingbird House, we didn’t think it was worthwhile to stop.

It took longer and took more work than I had anticipated to climb up to the house, which was rather steep and muddy. Even though it was cool to observe the birds, the experience was a little lackluster because all there was was a bowl of water in the woods.

Although I’m not a big fan of birds, Matthew seemed to enjoy it a little more than I did. I wouldn’t do it again.

Resuming The Trail

After passing the Hummingbird House and rejoining the main route, the trail begins to cross the river using a number of flimsy bridges. One-person suspension bridges like these were a lot of fun.

This was one of my favourite portions of the trip in Cocora Valley, even though I know some folks thought these to be frightful!

Beware of the somewhat concealed Cascada Bosque de Niebla within the Quindío River. Despite (or perhaps because of!) the undergrowth partially obscuring it.

The waterfall was stunning. There is no way to go closer to the waterfall; you will simply pass it as you hike. You finally leave the cloud forest a conqueror! The trail does go on for another one to two kilometers, so you’re not quite finished yet.

With the road winding through green pasture land and few wax palms dotting the landscape, this stretch resembles the beginning of the Cocora Valley hike.

Cows are occasionally visible in their pastures, sometimes close up against the fence. You pay an additional 5,000 COP to leave Cocora Valley and proceed to the parking lot around 15 minutes into the hike.

Congratulations! The hike through Cocora Valley is finished!

Returning To The City

You can catch a willy back into town when you’re finished at the exact location where you were left off. Be aware that by the afternoon, a rather big line might develop as people are finishing the trek and they return to town faster than the jeeps can convey them..

Again, in spite of the listed times on the ticket booth in Salento (which state that willys depart from the Cocora Valley every half-hour), the jeeps arrive and depart according to the crowd’s ebb and flow.

You can use the restroom (for 1000 COP) at the stores by the parking lot.

Riding A Horse In The Cocora Valley

One particularly enjoyable and well-liked way to explore Possibly the Cocora Valley or Salento is by horseback. If you don’t desire to climb but still desire to view the wax palms and the sights, this is an excellent choice.

Even if you want to hike the Cocora Valley separately, it can still be a suitable alternative for you because the horseback biking route is considerably distinct from the sidewalk.

You will journey to the Wax Palm Grove, travel through a farm, cross a river, and ride on horse pathways up to mountaintop vistas during this horseback trip.

Information On The Cocora Valley Hike In Practical Terms

When Is The Best Time To Hike The Cocora Valley?

Salento experiences two dry seasons: one from December to February and the second halfway between June and September. The paths will be drier and simpler to follow during these making them the best times of year to hike the Cocora Valley.

In the fall and spring, Salento’s rainy season, be prepared for significantly muddier trail conditions.

But if you come during the wet season, I still recommend going on the climb! Simply come put together with a poncho anda pair of excellent hiking boots.

Additionally, keep in mind that rain can still fall often throughout the entire year in the Cocora Valley because it is tucked away in the Andes Mountains, high up, even if you are hiking during the dry season.

Several Other Weather Factors To Take Into Account

Like all of Colombia, the Cocora Valley’s mountains frequently receive cloud visits. Even if there are no active weather systems, they will continue to grow throughout the day due to the high humidity. in the region.

Because of its unpredictable nature, if the angles of view are obvious as you begin, I would move clockwise. Just after we arrived, clouds began to come in and block the vistas, but because we had left immediately, we were able to take in the clear views.

Depending on what the clouds are doing, you might want to check the weather to decide whether it would be preferable to start or finish at the palms.

If you wish to complete the entire loop, you can go enjoy it even if there are clouds at the start; you could discover that they clear up by the time you get to the conclusion.

As was already noted, it hadn’t rained for several days prior to our trip, thus the second half of the track was still rather muddy. The trail will be a terrible muddy mess if it has recently been very rainy.

Be ready for several inches of deep muck on your shoes in some areas. If it discourages you, you can always trek to the two miradors and then return (Starting from here, the journey would be clockwise.).

How Early Should I Arrive In Cocora Valley?

There will be less hikers in the Cocora Valley the earlier you start. When you finish the hike, though, you’ll have fewer people with you if you start at lunchtime or in the early afternoon.

Just be sure you get back in time to reach the parking lot and catch the last jeep into town; otherwise, you’ll have a very far walk.

Additionally, I would advise against going on a weekend or weekday hike major holiday because of the large crowds that can form. There will be less traffic on the route if you visit during the week.

What Should I Wear For The Hike Through Cocora Valley?

Bring the best hiking boots, sneakers, or shoes that have strong traction and grip that you have. In the absence of hiking boots,

I would pick the pair of your shoes that has the most water resistance and the best traction. No matter which way you walk or what time of year you go, the trail probably has some slick spots.

During The Hike Across Cocora Valley, My Favourite Hiking Equipment Was As Follows:

  • The Good hiking boots: I mean, I’d wear the greatest hiking boots or shoes you have. Put on a pair of sneakers that are both gripping and water resistant. if you don’t have hiking-specific footwear.
  • The Black leggings: These black leggings are my ultimate favourite because they work well for both exercising and relaxing. They suited Cocora just right.
  • The Athletic shirts: The tees and tanks you see here are my favourites for working out.
  • The Sports Bras: These bras are really comfortable and supportive. adore them
  • The Sunscreen stick: Despite the clouds, you are still close to the equator and at a respectable altitude.high elevation. Use sunscreen.
  • The Power Bank: You’ll be gone for some time while taking numerous photos. Bring a power bank for when you need to recharge your phone.
  • The Poncho: If there is a chance of rain

Species Found In The Cocora Valley

The deeper Los Nevada’s National Park’s mountains are home to a variety of fascinating wildlife.

Although the majority of these creatures are nocturnal and located further back in the forest, it is still possible to spot them while hiking in Cocora Valley. These creatures consist of:

  • The Pumas
  • The Bears
  • The Ocelots
  • The Coati
  • The Horses
  • SO MANY BIRD SPECIES (What if I told you that Colombia has the most number of bird species in the world?)
  • The Sloths
  •  The Monkeys
  • The Mountain Tapir

Is Cocora Valley A Secure Place?

The surroundings and hike are both quite safe. In general, hikers enjoy the Cocora Valley (less if you come first thing or late afternoon).

Consequently, the trail is crowded with travellers. On the path, we had no concerns about our safety and felt great.

Keep Travel Insurance In Mind

You never know what can occur, and your standard insurance usually won’t protect you abroad. So getting travel insurance is a crucial aspect of preparing for any international trip.

It’s simply better to be cautious than sorry because the costs for a medical emergency while on vacation can build up very quickly. (Covid has taught me that there are always potential outcomes.)

I prefer to get insurance via Insure My Trip since they provide a selection of policies with various coverage options. Allowing you to pick the best fit. Additionally, if you need any assistance before to, during, or following your travels, they provide excellent customer service.

Last Words On Hiking In Cocora Valley

The Cocora Valley hike is unquestionably recommended if you are in reasonable physical condition. We adored the breathtaking views and surroundings. 

The magnificent wax palms, and the challenging character of the trail. It’s really worthwhile, and I’d go back there right away!

jack lee
jack lee
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