The Lazy Hikers Guide to Valle de Cocora

Salento, Colombia

Lush and beautiful Valle de Cocora
View of Valle de Cocora
View of Valle de Cocora

We were warned that the loop trail to Valle de Cocora is long, muddy, steep, and slippery. ‘It’s 5 hours long. Wear sturdy boots and be prepared to get muddy.’

The loop that everyone, from the jeep drivers to the hostel people recommend, looks like this: Trailhead – Acamai – La Montaña – back to trailhead.

After finishing the hike, Jack and I couldn’t help but think: the best part of the trail was definitely towards the end. Way towards the end. You know, the part where our camera battery ran out? AAAaaargh!

Anyway, it’s unfortunate that there seems to be an implication that unless you have 5 hour to spare, you won’t be able to see the palm trees at all. A couple of people at the hostel didn’t feel like they would be up to such a tough hike and were quite bummed at the fact that they might not be able to see the trees.

But see, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Acamai, a collection of huts with a population of resident hummingbirds, was nice, but unless:

– You really like hummingbirds and have never seen one before in your life
– You like a strong cardio workout (the stretch between Acamai and La Montaña was quite something)
– You’re feeling adventurous and in the mood to do multiple river crossings, some on very slippery logs
– You think your shoes are too clean and will improve with some mud stains

we’d recommend NOT doing the loop.

Instead, go towards La Montaña directly from the trailhead. 5 minutes on the nice, gravely, AND dry path you’ll see the famed wax palm trees that you came to Valle de Cocora for.

Keep going uphill until you see a bench (30 – 40 minute hike), then turn around back the way you’ve just come.

Be prepared to be continuously stunned by the beautiful sceneries.

Take tons of pictures.

Enjoy the admiring glances of the people back at the hostel at your still clean shoes.

One of the many river crossings in Valle de Cocora towards Acamai
The things you'll be missing out by not doing the loop: one of the many river crossings in Valle de Cocora towards Acamai

Valle del Cocora

– The jeep leaves the main plaza in Salento and costs 3000 COP ($1.75) per person.
– If you do decide to go to Acamai, for 3000 – 4000 COP they sell drinks served with a hunk of cheese.
– Horses are available to do the loop, but we were warned that due to the nature of the trail some horses have fallen on the trail and injured the hikers along.
– On the jeep ride back to/from, get a place in the back, stand up during the ride and feel the breeze on your face, enjoy the scenery, and laugh like little kids. Super FUN!

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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14 Replies to “The Lazy Hikers Guide to Valle de Cocora”

  1. i really hope the public from Hermes tote Birkin Norfolk provides a Hermes tote fully clean hide Hermes store to this local authority or council afterward this year, we should start afresh, it is now a joke. really the not so cheeky one,

    1. Thanks, Leigh – you know, I'm with you. I'm not a big fan of mud either, especially if it's the kind you'd find on a horse trail that has been mixed in with cow/horse poop. Yuck!

  2. Haha! I think you wrote this post for me 🙂 I am a very lazy hiker 🙂 This is the perfect example that you can get to the good points in many places even if you're not into marathon hikes: trams, jeeps, cable cars, …

  3. Looks so beautiful! But I have to say, anything that says 'you might get muddy' puts me off a bit – even after all the challenging travel I've done, I still reallyreallyreally hate getting muddy. Stones that you might roll your ankle on? Slippery ice? No problem! Mud…no thanks 😀

  4. Thanks for the tips! I think I'll get to Salento by tomorrow morning! Where are you guys by the way?
    I love reading your posts but I feel like I'm cheating a bit or you've ruined the surprise for me for having gone to these places first! Haha

  5. We did the full loop too and enjoyed it despite the mud, rain and scary log crossings, but I completely agree that if you aren't into hiking the best bit is at the end. It looks like you had beautiful weather – unfortunately we had cloud and rain so didn't get such great photos.

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