Hiking Cocora Valley In Columbia

Hiking_Cocora_Valley_In_Columbia

Traveling to Salento will allow you to experience the Cocora Valley hike in all its beauty. This beautiful trek is filled with cartoon-like trees that only make the landscapes even better. Hiking Cocora Valley, you will surely notice a lot of Wax Palm trees, which are also Colombia’s national trees (these are also the highest palm trees in the world).

The Valle de Cocora is definitely for you if you’re looking for a beautiful day hiking around Salento. Also, many travelers say that this hike is something you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Colombia.

Getting There

The first thing you need to do is catch a ride to the town of Salent. Usually, people go to the Valle de Cocora by vehicle since the journey takes about 30 minutes. Try doing the same since you will have to walk a lot to get there, and you will probably be a bit tired to start hiking afterward. Instead, look for a shared willy at the Salento’s main square. These are shared jeeps that can take you to the Valle de Cocora.

Traditionally, these willys will be located at La Posado de la Plaza. They take off 6 times per day: 06:10 A.M., 07:30 A.M., 09:30 A.M., 11:30 A.M., 02:00 P.M., and 04:00 P.M. Usually, the vehicles will be back in Salento in about an hour.

If you miss the scheduled time just make your way to the plaza anyway. More than often, there will be a lot of people that also missed the schedule but want to visit the Valle the Cocora. The willy drivers often make exceptions and will organize groups even outside the scheduled time, which is great since you will be hiking Cocora Valley even if it happens you’re a bit late.

There’s enough room for 7  people to fit in the willy comfortably. However, drivers will sometimes take even 11 people on the ride, but 4 of them will have to stand on the back bumper and hold on to something. It can be a quite fun, but dangerous experience.

Cocora Valley Hike Counterclockwise

Cocora_Valley_Hike_Counterclockwise

Many people recommend going this way during the Cocora Valley hike, even though this is the most difficult route. In normal conditions, it will take you about 5 hours to complete the hike this way with lots of sightseeing and photographing (without visiting Estrella de Agua or Acaime).

The highest point you will be during this route is 9,383 ft. Since you will be starting from Salento, which is at 6,217 ft, you will experience a 3,166 ft. change in elevation.

Why Counterclockwise?

  • The pressure is harder on your knees when you’re hiking downhill.
  • Hiking straight up to Finca La Montaña will get you more exercise.
  • You will have the perfect lighting for your views if you start hiking at about 10:00 A.M. Getting to the valley filled with Wax Palms will take you about 5 hours, so you will be there at about 03:00 P.M.

Directions

  1. You should see a blue gate where you get dropped off. Go straight through it. Once you pass the gate you should see a wooden sign that says “Bienvenidos…”. There’s no chance you can miss it.
  2. Walk past the sign and start descending the hill.
  3. After about 35 minutes you should start seeing some other wooden signs. Try to find one that says “Fundacion Herencia Vero” and stay to the right of it.
  4. The road is, however, pretty simple. It will be really hard for you to take the wrong path. Still, if it happens, it will be obvious very quickly and you should just go back to the main path.
  5. Hiking Cocora Valley will require you to cross some suspension bridges. There are about 5-6 of them.
  6. After a bit more hiking you should notice another wooden sign at a T-junction. The sign says “Acaime La Casa de Los Colibris” and it has an arrow that points to the right path. If you take this way, you will be going to hummingbirds, and you can always come back to the same T-junction.
  7. If you, however, don’t want to do it, just turn left and continue up the hill.
  8. You will have to hike up for about another hour. You can grab a snack before you start hiking up.
  9. Once you’re at the Finca La Montaña you will start enjoying the views. Stopping here to eat some food and rehydrate is a tradition. If you have a tent you can spend some more time here.
  10. When you’re ready, start hiking down from the Finca towards the Wax Palm Trees. This downhill hike will take you about an hour, so make sure your boots fit you properly.
  11. When you reach the palm trees you will be close to completing the loop. Stick to the left-hand side and you should soon be exactly where you started.

Clockwise Route

Seeing the Wax Palms will cost you money if you choose to hike in this direction, about $1. However, this is the route you’ll want to take if you’re looking for an easier hike. Going clockwise will allow you to go down the steep mountain you have to climb if you go counterclockwise.

You will still be up to the Finca after visiting the Wax Palms. However, even though it is an incline, it is more gradual than it is if you take the counterclockwise route.

Once you’re at that T-junction with the arrow and the wooden sign, instead of going left, you should take the right-hand turn. To complete the full circle, you will have to go through all the things listed above for the counterclockwise route, just in reverse. Go to Acaime if you want to visit the hummingbirds.

More people are hiking counterclockwise, but people are taking both routes, so you will be fine.

FAQ

Q: How long is the Cocora Valley hike?

A: 

The full loop will take you about 5-6 hours. The whole hike is almost 8 miles long (including the hummingbird house). The time it takes you to complete the full loop will differ depending on your pace, trail conditions, and how often you make stops.

Q: How do you get to Cocora Valley?

A: 

You will notice a lot of Willy jeeps in the town of Salento. Grab a seat if there’s a free spot and the local driver will take you to the Cocora Valley which is about 7 miles away from the town. These jeeps are located at the main square during the weekdays.

Globo Surf Overview

Visiting Cocora Valley will be an enjoyable experience for you. The hike itself is not that hard, you have just one steep stage that you do in about an hour. Still, it is worth reaching the top and enjoying the beautiful scenery. It is probably better to take the counterclockwise route, but both are fine if you prefer hiking downhill.

You can hire a guide if you’re not sure what path to take, but it is not necessary. The hike is very straightforward, just follow the signs and you should be fine!

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

Source

  1. Visit the Cocora Valley, Colombia. travel
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!