99% of tourists reach Cocora Valley via a jeep from the main square in Salento (Blue pin on map). A return ticket will set you back 8000 COP ~ £2 and the journey takes approximately 35 minutes. The Jeeps leave on a rolling basis but we recommend catching the 9:30am. This gives you plenty of time to leisurely undertake the hike. Return jeeps leave from the parking lot you get dropped in, last jeeps depart at 6:30pm.
What’s for lunch?
There is only one stop for food during the hike, this occurs at Acaima hummingbird cafe. They do a cracking soup for 5000 COP as well as a small selection of traditional rice and bean dishes.
However, we highly recommend paying a visit to Brunch Cafe (Red pin on map) in Salento before your departure. They sell packed lunches for a reasonable 14,000 COP ~ £3.50 that include a sandwich, snack, fruit, brownie, bottle of water and a portion of their delicious homemade granola!
How long does it take?
If you hike the full route, (We highly recommend doing this) then including a short break at Acaima Hummingbird cafe it should take you roughly 5/6 hours to complete.
What to bring:
The jeep from Salento will drop you in a parking lot, turn left out of the parking lot onto the road. Here you pass shops a restaurant and a toilet. (hot tip: go to the toilet before starting the hike.) After these, on your right is a blue gate. This is where your hike begins!
Through the blue gate and onto the trail, it begins as a well-trodden path that zig-zags back and forth over the river via small wooden bridges. The start of the hike takes you through farmland with gentle streams and plenty of grazing cows.
At some point along this path an entrance fee of 2000 COP will be collected. Shortly after, you enter a whole new environment, surrounded by jungle and gushing rivers, the bridges getting more and more precarious.
The path then eventually splits in two, one way leads to the Acaima hummingbird cafe, the other continues on to the third section of the hike. A stop at Acaima is a must, entry is 5000 COP but includes a drink. Most commonly a hot chocolate with cheese. The highlight of the cafe is the mass of hummingbirds that flit past your ears, undeterred by the dozens of humans that pass through each day.
You’ll be glad of the short rest as the next leg of the journey sees you returning to the cross roads before hiking a steep path up to a viewpoint. The path then plateaus becoming a gentle downhill gradient along a road for the remainder of the hike.
Along this road you will have to pay your final fee of 3000 COP. You then enter the third and most spectacular environment, and the reason for Cocora valleys popularity… the BIG TREES!!!
Most hikers choose to cut off from the road into the trees, making their way to the bottom via trodden paths through the grass. This is usually a slow process, as you snap hundreds of awe inspiring pics.
If you choose to cut through the trees, following any path will bring you to a small manned hut, turning left here brings you back onto the main road that you started your hike, eventually reaching the blue gate. All that’s left is to grab an ice cream and wait for the next jeep home whilst admiring the days incredible photos!
8000 COP – Return jeep transfer
2000 COP – First entry fee
3000 COP – Second entry fee
5000 COP – Entry to cafe with drink
14,000 COP – lunch from ‘Brunch Cafe’
A total cost of 32,000 COP ~ £8
Hiking Cocora Valley was a highlight of our Colombia trip and we hope this guide helps you enjoy it as much as we did! Let us know what you thought of the hike in the comments below!
When I came to the decision that I wanted to travel, initially I had no clue what I was doing!? There was no guide and no obvious place to start… After days of searching the internet for everything I might possibly need, I set off on my journey. Only to find that flights several days later had been half the price, I’d massively overpacked and my accommodation although cheap was less than ideal, and so the ‘Simple Travel Steps’ seed was planted. The site is first and…. Read More