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Published: June 21st 2016
This was toward the end of the hike in Valle de Cocora- there are several vistas that give views of the palms.
The flight from Cartagena to Pereira was only 35$ with the discount airline VivaColombia. After an easy one-hour flight (I snuck through the gate even though my bag was an inch too long; follow their requirements or else there are fees, like RyanAir, etc.) we took a taxi to the bus station and just made the 9:30 AM bus to Salento, a tourist center surrounded by picture-perfect fincas, coffee farms, and the fabulous Valle de Cocora, which boasts the tallest palm trees in the world and is on the edge of Los Nevados National Park and contains trails that lead into the paramo.
Finca La Serrana- Eco Hostel
The reviews of this place on Hostelworld are hyperbolic (a slice of heaven, the most beautiful place in the world), but they're pretty difficult to argue with. If I were about to retire right now, this would be a tempting location. It's a 20 minute walk to town, but the meals are tasty, the views are wonderful, and it attracts my kind of traveler.
Day Trip to Valle de Cocora
How to handle it:
- Buy a packed lunch from Brunch, run by a guy from Portland with an
Could it be any more picturesque?
obsession with peanut butter.
- Jeeps depart every hour, on the half hour, for the entrance to the valley. No price gouging yet- 3,600 ($1.25) per person for the half hour trip. Stand on the back for the best views. The return is just as simple.
- Do the loop, which is maybe 13k, but there's little need to pay 5,000 per person to enter the sanctuary to see their hummingbird farm and all. It would be good to give money to the valley, but not for a bunch of tourist traps and hummingbird farms that ruin the ecosystem.
- Temperatures vary... It's best to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but have a long-sleeved shirt and raincoat handy. You walk through a warm valley, a muggy but shady jungle, and a breezy higher altitude.
Other activities include horseback riding (which destroys the trails, as always), guided overnight hikes, coffee tours, and mountain biking, all of which seemed pretty top notch.
This place has been on my radar for years and I wasn't disappointed- I'd spend a week here and explore other towns and the paramo if I had time.
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