The Corcora Valley, in the Los Nevados National Park, is a must during a holiday in Colombia, particularly if you're in the Zona Cafetera - there is no excuse for missing it out! Be prepared for a surprise - this region is recognised for its extraordinary and unique Andean landscape.
Palm trees, the image evoked when we think of idyllic beaches, must be doing something right for them to feature on so many postcards! At 300km west of Bogota, palm trees dominate the green mountain ranges, attracting hordes of visitors to the Cocora Valley. It's here you'll find palmas de cera or wax palms, the tallest palm trees in the world that grow to a lofty 60m in a landscape that could come straight out of a film set. This species is under threat and, therefore, protected. It differs from other palms by its height and resistance as well as longevity; the wax palm can live for up 120years! It's a national symbol in Colombia and you'll be greeted by hundreds as soon as you enter the valley...they grow like mushrooms here!
The Cocora Valley is one of the region's must-sees. Any visiting photography, nature and hiking fan will find themselves in seventh heaven. Make sure you don't strain your neck!
The great thing about the Corcora Valley is you can explore its incredible landscape in very little time and with a minimum of effort. It's ideal for family walks and visitors looking for a change of scenery combined with some peace and quiet, will find exactly what they seek.
There are lots of trails you can follow, but I recommend the walk to Finca La Montana via Acaime. The first part of the walk is a superb stretch in the heart of the valley that's easy on the legs. The second part is through dense forest until you reach Acaime, also called the 'home of colibris'. And you'll see why - they love stopping for drinks of sugary water put out by the owners. It makes for a wonderful welcome and, even if the method of attracting them is a bit controversial, there's no better way of getting up close to colibris! Once you're back on the trail, head up the dirt track on the right to reach Finca La Montana. The view is amazing and, slightly higher up still, you'll find another, wider trail. Begin with the the most beautiful part of the Corcora Valley, famous for its plethora of tall palm trees. Don't be afraid to head off the trail to catch breathtaking views of the palms that line the valley!
It takes about 30 minutes by jeep from Salento to reach the valley and then a 4 to 5 hour walk to do a full tour. However, it's better to take a full day for this visit, so you can go at your own pace and have the time to take plenty of photos. Whatever time of year you go, you'll be stunned by the beauty of the region, which can also be explored on horseback.