Sun 22nd Apr
This morning I wake early, I find it impossible to sleep in in a dorm. It doesn’t matter today thou as I want an early start for today’s hike through the Cocora Valley. Named after a Quimbayan princess, who’s father was local chief Acaime. It forms part of the larger Los Nevados National Park.
Breakfast is included in the price here and it isn’t bad. You can help urself to toast, fruit and cereals….and there’s even English breakfast rea – bonus!
Over breakfast I get chatting to a group of 3 solo travellers and we hit it off quite well. So much so that we decide to do the hike together.
The 4 of us – me, Dan from London, Ieva, from Lithuania and Nolan from Holland set off for the main square to catch a jeep to the Cócora Valley. It costs 4,000 per person (each way). Out jeep is full so we have the exciting ride of standing on the back
and for 20 odd minutes we laugh almost the whole way there. These are going to be a great bunch to spend the day with.
We arrive at a ranch type place where there are loads of horses if u don’t want to walk. We head out and follow the crowd – be careful doing this as the crowd tend to do the short trail only and not the long anti-clockwise version we wanted to do. Showing a picture of our map and an explanation of the route we want to take – as in the 7 bridges first, we are pointed in the right direction and walk back to the start point we need. For note, if this is the route u want to take…walk up like everyone else is (left out if the field) but look for this blue gate
on the right just up from some eateries and artisan shops. This is your start point.
You pay 3,000 here to access the farmland and off we set.
The walk is beautiful with the palms in the distance in the mountainside and fog setting around the tops of the mountains.
Then we come to the first swing bridge to cross and obviously pose for a picture
I had been told by several people that this hike was a killer, was really steep but all the way up none of us found it that tough.
The scariest bit at times was some of the rickety bridges we had to cross
Or in some cases just a log across the river!
This all made for an enjoyable, fun and laughter filled hike.
After about 2 hours you reach a sign that says Acaime. It costs 5,000 to go here but is do worth it. Not only do u get a drink but u also get to see the amazing hummingbirds.
U can also buy food here and use the toilet.
We all opted to try the local delicacy of hot chocolate and cheese.
I’d read about this but was yet to try it. Im glad I gave it a go but for me, I didn’t really get it. It was much better with the cookies Ieva gave me dipped in it!
We head back down the path to a crossroads. This is where a lot of confusion lies on how to continue on the path. Do not take this path here – unless u want to wander for another few hours. This takes u to the Los Nevados national park. Instead, u need to retrace your steps, go back over the log bridge and head back the way u came for another 10 mins or so. There are a few signs here (nothing to do with the route thou) but it is here you turn right (if coming back down that is).
After saying I thought the path was easy, it is here it gets much steeper – but still isn’t the hardest hike I’ve done and is only for about 30-50 mins.
The incline stops when u reach Finca la Montaña – a few houses in a beautiful setting with loads of pretty flowers around them.
We take a breather here and are told we have about 2 hours left of this 12km hike.
From here it’s more downhill and the route takes us through some beautiful forestry.
The weather isn’t the best for what we’ve come to see with some heavy fog setting in but the sight that behinds is when we reach the mirador point is still spectacular.
The beautiful Quindío Wax palm trees in all the glory. The national symbol and tree of Colombia.
These are the worlds largest palm trees and can grow up to 60m tall and here is one of the only places where u can see these towering beauties in their natural habitat.
After sitting at this mirador and lusting at the view for about 20 mins, taking a multitude of photos
we move on to complete the rest of this hike plus it’s getting cold! The end of the walk brings us out by the palms where if you only do the short one brings you too. Again, the view of these amazing trees is stunning and we can’t resist a few more snaps to go with the hundreds we already have!
Trek over and it took about the 5-6 hours everybody said, we jump in a jeep but with weary tired feet, we get a seat this time.
We get chatting to 2 people from Belgium in the truck and we all go for a well deserved beer and a look around the craft shops before heading back to our hostel.
We make plans to hook up later but with time ticking, Dan having fallen asleep and the girls not ready, bring already beat I decide to grab some dinner – Somevi do a fantastic pizza for only 15,000.
Suitably full, it’s time for bed!