Hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento!

Colombia is one of the countries that surprised me most, during my travels.  Part of me expected to find a very dangerous country.  And yet, the coffee-growing, rural Salento region of the country proved to be the absolute ANTITHESIS of danger: it’s quiet, peaceful, gorgeous, & filled with some of the kindest people I’ve met anywhere (the owner of my hotel personally drove me to the airport when he couldn’t arrange an Uber)!  One of the best things to do here is the famous Cocora Valley hike, & in this post, I’ll tell you what you need to know about “Hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento!”

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

Let’s go hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento….home of the tallest palm trees in the world!

How to Get to the Cocora Valley

The closest airports to Salento & the Cocora Valley are located in nearby Armenia (AXM) & Pereira (PEI), with Pereira being slightly closer (approx. 45-minute drive).  If you’re choosing between flying or taking a bus from Bogota or Medellin, I STRONGLY recommend flying!!  My flight from Pereira to Bogota took an hour ~ while my bus from Medellin to Armenia took about nine hours (there was a TON of construction on the road).  If I had it to do over again: I would fly.  100%.  From either airport, you can then take a taxi or Uber into Salento.

Salento

Medellin

Bogota

Armenia

Cocora Valley

Cocora Valley Hike Info

  • Starting Point: Jeep Drop-off Point (where everyone gets dropped off)
  • Total Hike Distance: 7.7 miles (12 km)
  • How to Get to Hike: Grab a “Willy” jeep from Salento’s main square to the hike drop-off.
  • Two Different Hikes (Long or Short): Longer one is 7.7. miles, & you’ll need to turn RIGHT & pass through a BLUE GATE for this hike, which makes a big loop.  OR, go STRAIGHT, & head right to the Valley of the Palms. This route takes 2-3 hours, depending how far you go.
  • Hike Type: Loop OR out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Moderate (some steep parts if doing longer hike)
  • Time: 5-6 hours for longer hike
  • Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet (1,000 meters)
  • Highest Point:  9,383 feet (2,860 meters), at Finca La Montana 
  • Elevation in Salento: 6,217 feet (1,900 meters)
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Crowded: Low to moderate 
  • Best Time to Go: During dry season. Either December-February, or June-September. I went in April, & it was VERY muddy ~ but frankly, I liked the adventure of it! Don’t let mud stop you from going.

Hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento

Unless you want to walk several miles from Salento to the start of the hike, you’ll need to take a taxi or “Willy” (jeep) to there.  I hitched a ride from my hotel, EcoHotel La Cabana, located half-way between Salento & the Cocora Valley.  Since I visited in April, my hotel also loaned me tall mud boots: because most of the hike at that time of year is veryyyy MUDDY!!  If you’re visiting during dry season, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

This is the best map I’ve found of the Cocora Valley hike: it shows both the full loop hike, & the out-and-back. The “Valley of the Palms” is located to the left (west) of Finca la Montana.

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

I hiked CLOCK-WISE (left to right), & this is the start of the hike if you choose clock-wise.

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

Look how tall those trees are!!

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

The trail can get SUPER muddy!! I visited during rainy April, & my hotel loaned my tall mud boots ~ which were 100% necessary. My tennis shoes would’ve been ruined.

 Photos of Cocora Valley Hike

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

If you love nature & coffee: the Salento region is a MUST for you to visit, while in Colombia.

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

The most Instagram-worthy spot on the hike is this famous valley of wax palms ~ starting clockwise, it took me about an hour to reach this spot (starting counter-clockwise, it will take longer, likely over 3 hours).

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley by Salento, Girl Who Travels the World

The amount of amazing photo ops available in the Cocora Valley is ENDLESS….

Where to Stay in Salento

My #1 recommendation for accommodation in Salento is where I stayed: a few kilometers out of town (on the way to Valle de Cocora), at the lovely, family-run Ecohotel La Cabana ($45+/night).  The large, graceful porch wraps around the entire main house, & is the perfect place to unwind after your hike.  And the homemade meals they serve here are WONDERFUL!!  I loved the family feel & rural setting (they have cows on property), & after having been in Medellin for two weeks, the tranquility of the countryside was perfection. 

If you’d prefer to stay in the adorable town of Salento, try the Hotel Salento Real ($41+/night), which is located right near the town square, in a vibrantly-colored building with comfortable rooms.

Hiking in Colombia's Cocora Valley, Girl Who Travels the World

Accommodation at popular La Serrana Hostel & Eco Farm starts at just $9/night, including breakfast…

 Hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento!

Horseback riding, visiting a coffee farm, mountain biking….the options are endless in this beautiful region of Colombia.  I would spend AT LEAST 2-3 days here, & more if you love nature & coffee!  Thanks for reading this guide to hiking in Colombia’s Cocora Valley by Salento, & if you’re headed to Bogota ~ make sure & read the article below to make the most of your visit…

Read Next: Ultimate Girl’s Guide to Bogota, Colombia!