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Cocora Valley in Colombia: Transportation, Trekking Itinerary

We just spent 3 wonderful days in Salento (including 1 day in the Cocora Valley). You will find on our blog the practical information for a successful trek in the Cocora Valley from Salento.

Transport Salento => Cocora Valley

Jeeps regularly leave from the main square of Salento. The best seats are next to the driver, so get in the jeep right away, instead of waiting for the other tourists to come and you end up standing in the back for 30 minutes.

Right click on the image below to save the image and zoom in. The first table contains the departure times of the Jeeps.

If there are too many people, don’t worry, they will make several jeeps leave instead of cramming 30 people in the same jeep (on the other hand, 15 people, it doesn’t bother them ahahah). The trip takes 30 minutes.

Recommended itineraries

  • Open maps.me, you will recognize the routes I show you here.
  • The day before, when you have wifi, open maps.me to download offline maps.
  • You can right click to save my maps on your computer or smartphone. The points A, B, C… indicate the order of the visit (very important because the effort will be different if you do it in the opposite direction)
  • During the trek, open maps.me regularly to make sure you are following the right path
  • You will cross some private grounds, we will sell you a ticket (between 3000COP and 5000COP/person) and put a small paper bracelet on you. Keep them until the end

Option 0: not walking at all

The palm trees are visible from the Jeep parking lot. You absolutely do not need to walk to see them.

But if you walk, you will have access to the watchtowers and it will be much nicer.

Option 0 bis: horseback riding

Many tourists prefer this option. Here are the rates for 2019, count 20,000COP/hour. A guide will accompany you and the horse on foot.

Option 1: 2h55 minimum. 5,6km. 320m of difference in height. Average difficulty. Cost 4000COP/person

  • You start by visiting the Palm Forest (A) El bosque de las palmas – most Colombian tourists stop there and turn around
  • Then you go up to my favorite watchtower where you can touch the palm trees (B)
  • Then you go down through the watchtower (C), a little steep but it is 100% downhill.
  • This is the recommended option if you don’t like walking very much because you visit the most beautiful first (A) and can turn back as soon as you are tired.
follow the arrows of this plan (red then blue)

from left to right: points A, B and C

Option 2: 4h10mn minimum. 7,5km. 470m of difference in level. Cost 4000COP/person

  • You start by visiting the palm trees forest (A), then pass in front of my favorite watchtower, then go to watchtower 1 (not far from the pine forest) (B), then you go down through the watchtower (C), a bit sharp but it’s 100% downhill.
  • Recommended option for those who have a little more time

from left to right: points A, preferred viewpoint, B and C

Option 3: 4h52mn minimum. 9,1km. Important difference in altitude (560m) especially between the last bridge and the Finca la Montana. Cost 7000COP/person

  • This is the path we have taken unintentionally. We zapped the nature reserve, being too tired. Therefore, when you see the arrow to Acaime (see photo), turn left. You will see the valley first, then the jungle, then the palm forest. You finish the trek in beauty
  • Since it’s a loop, some people are tempted to do it in the other direction, but I advise you against it, I find it more dangerous to go down when it’s steep, rather than up, and on top of that, you will see the most beautiful at the beginning and not at the end.
  • Recommended route for those who like to walk/have a lot of time but don’t want to see the birds

from left to right: points A, B, preferred viewpoint, C

Option 4: 5h32mn minimum. 11km. Important difference in altitude (560m). Cost 12 000COP/person

  • This is the itinerary proposed by the mountain guides. People pay for it, but you can go there equipped with your phone and maps.me (map to download in offline mode). You walk in the valley, cross the bridges and continue to the Acaime bird reserve (there is something to snack and drink there) (point A). When you see the arrow to Acaime (see photo), turn right.
  • You go back and follow the arrow indicating Finca la montaña (point B). Then, you go down for 2h-2h30 while birthing through the palm forest (point C). You finish the trek in beauty.
  • Since it’s a loop, some people are tempted to do it the other way around, but I advise against it, I find it more dangerous to go down when it’s steep, rather than up.
  • Recommended option for good walkers who love birds
follow the arrows on this map

What to take with you

  • Some cash (count up to 12 000COP for access, 8000COP for the jeep, and at least 40 000COP for food = 60 000COP max per person)
  • Breathable clothes (I opted for a merino wool t-shirt + a merino wool sweater)
  • Something to protect you from the rain (I took a k-way)
  • Something to snack and hydrate you (snack, bottle of water…)
  • Drums, because you will take a lot of pictures
  • Sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen…
  • Trail shoes are enough

Did you like this article? Find our travel notebook to the Cocora Valley, Salento, transportation from/to Salento and all our travel notebooks & practical guides in Colombia here

Find our vlog on YouTube :

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