Colombia was one of the country’s we had on our travel bucketlist for a long time. The thoughts of seeing myself walking through beautiful small and colourful villages and meeting the warm and welcoming people from Colombia, made us decide, rather now than later….
Colombia has had a bad reputation for a long time now, Criminals, Drugs Cartels, and all the story’s you have probably heard about or watched on Netflix’s Narcos.
I myself wasn’t to affraid since i think a lot has changed since then, and it has! Not a single moment have we felt unsafe in Colombia. We have visited small villages quite far from big city’s and been in Bogota an Medellin. Everywhere we went we met friendly and kind people who cant wait to show you the beauty and hospitality from their country.
They are proud
people, Proud to be Colombian!
We had a good friend from The Netherlands come over to Curacao and visit us for two weeks. So why not combine the two right?
Our guest had never visited Colombia as well, so she was all up for it! Even though we live in the Caribbean and are not that far away from Colombia, the tickets were still pretty expensive as i can remember.
We did not really make a lot of plans for what we were going to do, we just had a list with location we wanted to visit. One of these locations was Valle de Cocora, Or Cocora Valley in plain English.
This Valley is part of a National park called Los Nevados, and is in the area of a village called Salento. Walking trough Salento feels like a fairytale. Beautiful, and very colourful. Salento is also very well known as the coffee region of Colombia.
about Waxpalms right?!
Yes indeed, Waxpalms. The Palmtrees you can find in Cocora valley are one of a kind. These Palmtrees are the highest in the world. They can grow up to 45 meters in the sky!
Standing next to these really skinny but tall giants is something else, Its looks like physics is barely coping with the fact that these palm have to be soo strong in order to not bend or crack during high winds. Nothing but amazing. As far as i could find the highest palmtree alive is actually in Cocora valley.
I's 61 meters high, Crazy!
The Valley where all these giants live used to be big jungle grounds, teeming with life and plants. But with the arrival of new farmers that needed ground for farming, coffee bean grounds and live stock, the majority of jungle has been removed over the last couple of years.
The would leave a lot of the Waxpalms in place, so they could use their wax to make candles and such things. A good thing for the farmers and Colombian people but not such a good thing for the biodiversity and the Waxpalms itself. This is how Cocora valley ended up being a beautiful place with a bit of a sad future.
Since these big palms needed the jungle grounds surrounding them to survive they are slowly dying. No new palms grow here and the majority still standing is old and will eventually also die. In order to keep these giants alive they have made this area a protected natural habitat. They’re also trying to plants new tree’s but it’s not quite sure yet if that will work.
Every morning, trucks leave from the town square in Salento to drive you to the start of one the hiking trails in Cocora Valley. We chose to walk a 16km hike which would take us through the valley and up one of the hillsides to go and visit a small hummingbird sanctuary. A little bit tough hike, you can feel there is already less oxygen in the air since your well over 2000 meters heigh at this point. Well worth the sweat though!
The biodiversity in this area is beautiful, lots of different plants and birds. Since it’s still a bit of a jungle area, it is drizzling rain every so often or your are literally walking on clouds.
Hope you enjoyed! Please leave a like and a comment :)