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Riding the buses » Adventure travel, Colombia, Memorable moments, Travel itinerary » Hiking Valle de Cocoro, Colombia in rubber boots

Hiking Valle de Cocoro, Colombia in rubber boots

The Valle de Cocoro (Cocoro Valley) and the nearby town of Salento are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. The valley is part of Los Nevados National Natural Park. Stephanie Jack travelled there with two friends, staying in a hacienda that is run by American students who went for a visit and stayed indefinitely.

One of the highlights of the trip was hiking in the famous Valle de Cocoro (Cocoro Valley). We got a jeep taxi from the plaza in Salento that dropped us off at the end of the trail. Then we walked back so we did it from back to front.

The first part of the trail is through grassland so the hiking is easy.

The views in the valley are spectacular.

  “Hi cow, we’re just passing through.”

In the valley there are these special tall skinny wax palm trees, the tallest palm tree in the world. It grows 50m (160 feet) or more. The trunk is covered in wax. It’s the national tree of Colombia.

The trail can change quickly and seem more suitable for cows than people.

It rains here almost every day so it is very muddy in places. We were glad we were wearing rubber boots, otherwise we would have lost our shoes. One of my friends tried to avoid the mud by holding onto the fence but she got zapped.

You’re in this valley and then you go over a creek and suddenly you’re in a tropical forest.

It was getting really foggy and we could just see the outline of the trees. It was kind of eerie. Then it started to rain—pouring rain.

The valley is protected to maintain its natural environment and preserve the wax palms. Bird watching is a popular activity.

It took us 5 hours to do the trail and by the time we finally made it back the fog almost hid the final sign. It’s also called a cloud forest.

Standard Salento fare is fried trout, fried plantain, and tomato salsa. I guess the plantain and salsa are supposed to be vegetables. The trout is fresh though.

We could walk to downtown Salento from where we stayed. The town is very colourful. We also rented horses and visited a coffee plantation where a 75 year-old man picks the coffee by hand.

There are lots of crafts and artisan shops in Salento. It is isolated but very beautiful and a good place to relax.

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This interview has been condensed and edited.

Photo credits Stephanie Jack

© Riding the buses 2013

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