How to get to Valle de Cocora and what to expect.
Valle de Cocora or known as Cocora Valley is one of Colombia's most beautiful places to visit. You will not be disappointed with the hike nor the surrounding towns. I will tell you how to get to Cocora Valley and a few tips to help make your trip easier.
Getting to Valle de Cocora by plane.
You cannot fly to Cocora Valley or the town of Salento, Colombia. You will need to fly into either Pereira or Armenia, Colombia. Once you get to one of those airports, you will take a bus to Salento, Colombia. (maybe 1-2 Hours) I recommend flying to Pereira vs taking a bus from Bogota or Medellin. It's a 30 minute flight from Medellin.
Where to stay?
Finding accommodation is easy in either Salento or the surrounding area of Cocora Valley. I stayed in a hostel called "La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel". The hostel is snuggled on a beautiful landscape and is only a 10 minute walk into town. However, if you want to stay in Salento, there are plenty of choices. A quick walk around town or a simple search on hostelworld.com will yield you all the results you need.
Getting to Cocora Valley from Salento, Colombia.
In Salento you will find the center of town is a big square. Here is where you will depart to Cocora Valley. You will need to be at the square at 7am to catch the trucks that take people to the Valley. Be aware that these trucks often get packed to the brim. The truck I took could fit 9 comfortably..we fit 18.....yeah it was packed. From what I remember the truck ride to Cocora Valley costs about 6,000 CP ($2 USD).
Most trucks leave Valle de Cocora around 2-4pm to head back to Salento. If you hike at a normal pace, you will get back around 2pm.
What to expect from hiking Cocora Valley.
I didn't know what to expect when hiking Cocora. I only knew about the massive palm trees. To my surprise, the palm trees is only a small part of the hike! The guides recommend starting off the hike by taking the trail to the right of the main road. This means you will see the palm trees last. I highly recommend this. At the end of the hike you are so tired that the down hill hike surrounded by the world's largest palm trees makes it a nice ending.
Wear proper boots/shoes. A majority of the hike is through the jungle. You will cross sketchy bridges, step in massive puddles, slip in mud, and climb up rocks.
Skip the Butterfly house during the hike. It adds on another 30 minutes to your hike and really isn't impressive.
The town of Salento, Colombia
Salento is a wonderful town! I recommend spending a day exploring and seeing what it has to offer. Trust me, 1 day is all you need. The town of Salento has a population of 7,000+ and has an "urban" zone of about a quarter mile radius. However, the town is a great place to spend a Saturday or Sunday. The town center closes off the roads and opens up to food trucks, music, and plenty of yummy treats.