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Set out on an exploration adventure in Valle Del Cocora! It is an astonishing natural landscape in the Colombian Andes, located between high courses of the Quindio River. Valle Del Cocora boasts of its enormous Quindio wax palms. If you are into flora and fauna, you will love this place.

Columbia’s national trees (wax palms) are the tallest in the world. They have been the main attraction in Cocora Valley over the years. However, Cocora Valley also has a wide variety of fauna species, from pumas to hummingbirds.

When I researched hiking in the Cocora Valley, I thought, “The natural wonders would be the highlight of all my trips.” And indeed they were!”

valle del cocora

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The Cocora Valley in Colombia

The valley was named after the princess of Quimbaya, which translates to “star of water.” The beautiful and high-quality gold pieces characterized the Quimbayas Indians. The location of this tribe was in the coffee axis, where you will most commonly find wax palms. Valle Cocora is a part of Los Nevados National Park, covering 58,000 hectares of the area. It is in the Central Cordillera of the Andean mountains.

Due to the Palm Sunday celebration, the government had to do something to prevent wax palm exploitation and threats against endemic species. Therefore, the Belisario Betancur government declared Cocora Valley’s wax palm a national tree and its preservation a national symbol. This article will delve into everything you need to know to pack your bags and go hiking there now.

valle de cocora

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The Quindio Wax Palm Trees and Other Flora and Fauna of Valle Del Cocora

You might wonder, “What makes these trees so special to become the main attraction of Cocora Valley?” Quindio Wax Palms are the tallest palm tree species ever recorded. While standard palm trees average a height of 9-15 meters, wax palms can reach a height of 70 meters.

Furthermore, Colombians make candles using wax from the wax palm stem. The tree has a lifespan of about 200 years and can produce around 24,000 fruits yearly, which become the animals’ source of food. Each ring on the wax palm’s stem represents a year’s growth.

In July 1949, Armando Dugand, the Colombian botanist, proposed wax palm as Colombia’s national tree. He highlighted the tree as Colombia’s true aesthetic heritage due to its wax production and extraordinary habitat nature. The typical habitat of other palm trees is around 1,800 meters above sea level. However, wax palm thrives well in a habitat 3,000 meters above sea level with low temperatures.

Other flora you can glimpse in Valle del Cocora include:

  • Wax Palm tree
  • Puya
  • Arnica
  • Frailejones
  • Encenillo
  • Pino Romero

As for fauna, expect to encounter the following:

  • Spectacled bear
  • Andean guan
  • Puma
  • Hummingbird
  • Yellow-eared parrot
  • Sloth

valle de cocora

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Location of The Valle Del Cocora

During the August holidays, I took my family for a vacation to the Valle del Cocora, and it was the best season to do so. Expect less rain and congestion, thus keeping your hiking plans intact! Valle Cocora is located on the Quindio River’s upper reaches. It is approximately 24km north-east of Armenia, the departmental capital.

Preparation for Your Trip

Before embarking on your journey to the beautiful scenery of Valle del Cocora, ensure you have the essentials. Here are what you will need:

  • Hiking shoes
  • Plenty of water
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Bud spray
  • Binoculars
  • Cash
  • Raincoat
  • Sunglasses

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Things You Can Do and Places to Visit at Valle Del Cocora

Once you have all the above ready, buckle up and enjoy the alluring exploration of the Valle Del Cocora. Here are some beautiful attractions you will enjoy in Cocora Valley.

Wax Palm Forest

Imagine a stroll through the heart of the wax palm forest. Wax palm trees stand like ancient guardians, whispering the valley’s secrets while their leaf-like structures softly rustle in the wind – a scene to behold!

Don’t think these beautiful sky-high trees are only a wondrous sight; they are Colombia’s national pride symbol. With the cloud-kissed landscapes and trail winds through rolling hills, be sure to have scenic views that will mesmerize you.

Along the way, you will explore various flora and fauna, making the stroll a photographer’s dream and an adventurers’ paradise.

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Café La Finca

Since childhood, I have always dreamt of experiencing Colombia’s coffee culture. Finally, my dream came true when I visited Valle del Cocora – the best decision I have ever made!

Is there anything quite like the fresh aroma of brewed Colombian coffee? Take advantage of the local coffee in the Cocora Valley. A visit to Café La Finca is about more than just sipping coffee. You will appreciate the beautiful journey from bean to cup.

If you are a coffee connoisseur, tasting Colombian coffee’s rich, robust flavors might be your most astounding activity in the Cocora Valley.

Hidden Waterfalls of The Valle Del Cocora

Have you been asking yourself how to escape from the world’s bustles? What about the hidden waterfalls of the Cocora Valley? Imagine the harmonious blend of the gentle waterfalls and the singing of exotic birds – pure bliss!

This astonishing attraction is the perfect view for your Instagram shot. This waterfall’s panoramic view also includes rainbow-like hues and misty air, thus adding to the exquisite experience. What can beat having a picnic with your wife surrounded by nature’s magnificence?

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Mirador Viewpoints

Don’t think visiting these elevated spots is just about having scenic vistas! The journey there is also an experience to cherish. You will trek through the verdant landscapes while listening to nature’s symphony. Watching the sunset is a sight to behold. Imagine witnessing the sky transforming into a canvas of purples, oranges, and pinks.

Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary

I hope Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is at the top of your bucket list when visiting Valle del Cocora. How can anyone not want the sight of hummingbirds darting around and sipping nectar from beautiful native flowers?

The sanctuary is a breathing, natural museum due to the diverse flora and fauna you will find there. You will have a sensory experience due to the thick air containing blooming orchids and damp earth scent. Nothing complements nature’s serenity better than the journey to this sanctuary.

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Valle Cocora Horseback Adventure

I have always craved a blend of tranquillity and adventure. I couldn’t believe I got exactly that in the Valle de Cocora – a horseback riding adventure! In the Cocora Valley, I rode my horse surrounded by towering wax palms. I could hear the wind whispering through the trees and the soft hooves clattering against the earth. It was an experience I will forever cherish.

Hiking Trail Options in Valle Del Cocora

When hiking the Valle Cocora, you have three hiking options. They depend on the direction you take and the trail you select. Here are the three hiking trail options to try.

  • Clockwise Loop

With this trail, you will hike through the wax palm tree fields. The hike’s highest point is the Finca La Montana, where you can buy drinks, soup, or light food. Embrace yourself because, from Finca, it is very steep, making it difficult for your knees.

  • Counter-Clockwise Loop

You will start hiking through the forest when you choose this hiking trail. You will go over and through rivers, passing small waterfalls. Now, get ready for the most breathtaking experience of this hike. The seven seemingly dodgy suspension bridges will take you through the woods and become increasingly steep when approaching Finca La Montana.

  • In-and-Out Trip

Choosing this trail allows you to start and end at the same spot. You will walk for 30 minutes among the wax palms until you reach the Bosque de Las Palmas. Walk slightly uphill if you want a beautiful view from a higher vantage point. After a two-hour walk, you will stop seeing the trees and return to where you came from.

valle cocora

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Conclusion

After reading the above article, you won’t ask if going to Cocora Valley is worth it. The Valle de Cocora offers mesmerizing sceneries from wax palms to the Acaime hummingbird sanctuary. If you have never visited this place, what are you waiting for? You have everything, including the Valle del Cocora location, hiking trail options, and exciting attractions. Come the next holiday, I must visit Valle del Cocora once more!

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